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Thousands of people stand in a light drizzle on a path winding through the George Mason University campus while waiting to attend an Obama campaign rally in Fairfax, Virginia, yesterday.
NEW YORK: After a one-night truce that saw President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney trade jokes at a charity dinner, the two dashed back onto the trail yesterday before prepping for their third and final debate.
Each heads to one of the hotly contested political battleground states just 18 days before an election that by all accounts is on a knife edge.
The president stumps for votes in Virginia, where he holds a grassroots event, while Romney flies to the largest swing state of all, Florida, to hold a rally with running mate Paul Ryan.
Obama won both states in 2008, but as a measure of the tightness of this year’s contest, the two are now up for grabs, with Florida leaning toward Romney, according to a poll average by Washington website RealClearPolitics. Romney will be greeted with encouraging news when he arrives Friday: an endorsement by the Orlando Sentinel.
“We have little confidence that Obama would be more successful managing the economy and the budget in the next four years,” the newspaper’s editors wrote. “For that reason, though we endorsed him in 2008, we are recommending Romney in this race.”
Obama has come in for Republican criticism for failing to lay out just what he would do in the next four years to improve the struggling US economy. Romney has a five-point plan, but Democrats contend he has been light on specifics.
The candidates will no doubt return to the lacerating jibes that have marked the last several months, after they managed to find fleeting respite from the heated rhetoric in New York city.
The two embraced biting sarcasm and self-deprecation Thursday night at the fabled Al Smith Memorial Dinner, where Obama mocked his own “nap” in the first debate and Romney took aim at his extraordinary wealth.
The tuxedo-wearing candidates sat at the top table of the glittering affair, separated only by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, just two days after their latest acrimonious debate. Romney’s debut zinger took a shot at his own wealth, saying it was nice for him and wife Ann to slip into clothes they would wear around the house.