En route to New Hampshire, Obama held an airborne conference call with administration officials about the federal government’s role in minimizing storm damage and a ensuring speedy recovery effort.
Campaign spokesman Jennifer Psaki said the Obama team was continuing to promote early voting as something that provides flexibility for busy families, but she added that with the storm headed for shore, ‘‘safety comes first, and that’s the case with early voting as well.’’
Romney’s trip to Florida, with three events across the state, was timed to coincide with the first day of in-person early voting in a state that went for Obama four years ago and where 29 electoral votes are up for grabs this time. Both campaigns already have been working furiously to gain the advantage in the state’s vote-by-mail program, an area where Republicans typically have been stronger.
‘‘I need you to vote early!’’ Romney told supporters in Land O'Lakes.
Republican Rep. Paul Ryan worked his way across rainy, chilly Ohio, on a two-day bus trip, with his family in tow. At a factory in New Philadelphia, Ryan stressed the hit that manufacturing industries have taken over the last four years and promised more coal jobs, natural gas jobs and increased military spending if Romney is elected.
Speaking to more than 1,000 supporters on the factory floor at Gradall Industries, Ryan told voters: ‘‘You know it’s you. You know what you have in front of you. You know your responsibility.’’
Campaign 2012 was serious business, with so little time left and the storm complicating the end game, but Ryan’s children helped to lighten the tone. His 7-, 9- and 10-year-olds scampered between parts bins and heavy chains at the factory.
Nine-year-old Charlie waved the peace sign and mugged for cameras, prompting his mother, Janna Ryan, to shake her head and declare, ‘‘I don’t know where he gets it. It’s kind of crazy.’’
During a later stop at a bakery in Circleville, Ohio, 10-year-old daughter Liz told the bakery clerk that her dad was ‘‘sugar-free except for doughnuts and ice cream.’’
‘‘And apple-fritters,’’ Ryan agreed.
Obama, for his part, made a stop at the Common Man Merrimack, a restaurant where he toasted patrons with a Common Man Ale, saying: ‘‘To voting. To America. Doesn’t matter what party.’’
The campaigns and their allies kept up a steady stream of TV and radio ads in the battleground states. The right-leaning Americans for Job Security made a rare purchase of Philadelphia airtime, amounting to $1.2 million, for pro-Romney ads. While a few independent groups have tried to make Pennsylvania competitive for Romney, neither Obama nor Romney has devoted ad resources to the state, which is expected to go for Obama.
Benac reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Philip Elliott in Ohio, Julie Pace in New Hampshire and Matthew Daly in Virginia contributed to this report.
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