DENVER Now in the presidential campaign's final two weeks, President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney crisscrossed the nation Wednesday in search of support from the remaining undecided voters in swing states who will determine the next occupant of the White House.
Romney, appearing in Reno, declared that the three presidential debates left Obama's campaign "slipping and shrinking." He exuded confidence, twice correcting himself, replacing "If I'm elected," with "No, when I'm elected." "We've had a number of debates lately, did you notice that? And they have really propelled our campaign," he said.
"We've seen that across the country and at the same time I think in some respects they've diminished the president's campaign because he's now been reduced to talking about 'Sesame Street' characters, word games and misplaced attacks on me."
Obama embarked on a marathon tour of a half-dozen battleground states Wednesday, attempting to chip away at Romney's apparent momentum. He flew from coast to coast with stops in Iowa, Colorado and Nevada on Wednesday and Florida, Virginia and Ohio today.
He also stopped Wednesday in California to tape an appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." While traveling on Air Force One, he made calls to undecided voters and to 50 disc jockeys, most of them African American, in swing states.
Obama continued to criticize Romney for flip-flopping on issues which he has dubbed "Romnesia" but returned to a familiar plea for voters to give him the time he needs to finish his goals.
"We haven't finished everything that we want to get done," he said. "That's why I'm running for a second term. But every single day that I set foot in the Oval Office, I'm fighting for your families. And with your help, I've kept many of the major commitments that we made."
Romney has an edge in national rankings, according to a compilation of surveys by the website RealClearPolitics, though Obama continues to lead in some battleground states, including Ohio, New Hampshire and Iowa.
Romney spoke to 2,500 supporters, many retirees, at an events center in downtown Reno before heading to Iowa. He called the election a "defining" one for the "families of the nation, for your family." Supporters cheered lustily as Romney said, "People will elect me to repeal Obamacare and replace it."
Dave Tammen, a Sparks, Nev., retiree wearing a "Romney-Ryan 2012" button, said he's "much more optimistic than I was a month ago" about Romney's chances.
Obama spoke to 3,500 in Davenport, Iowa, before heading to a pizzeria where he lunched with a trio of campaign volunteers. In Denver, an energized Obama spoke to an estimated 16,000, one of his largest rallies this campaign.