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Pa.: One last Romney foray for Obama to defend

Associated Press Modified: November 2, 2012 at 5:32 pm •  Published: November 2, 2012

Obama's tour with Christie to survey the storm's damage this week and Christie's compliments for Obama's response are bound to be noticed in some parts of the state.

"The president performs, he's on the ground, he's getting praise by one of the nation's leading Republicans and early supporters of Gov. Romney," Madonna said. "It's certainly helpful. We don't know how helpful."

Romney political director Rich Beeson said Romney will gain in Republican regions where he will push issues of jobs and energy, particularly gas exploration in the northeastern part of the state and coal in the southwest corner. But much of the attention by the two campaigns is in the ring of counties around Democratic-heavy Philadelphia. Romney will campaign in those suburbs this weekend.

With 1 in 5 of Pennsylvania's registered voters living there, the heavily populated, moderate suburbs of Chester, Delaware, Bucks and Montgomery counties are a reliable predictor of who will win the state. Voters there are highly educated and accustomed to splitting their tickets; they tend to lean liberal on environmental and social issues but conservative on fiscal matters.

"The types of voters in places like Bucks County or any of the suburban counties in Philadelphia are not a bad fit for Mitt Romney, especially the moderate Mitt that he's pitched himself as this fall," said Christopher Borick, a pollster and political scientist at Muhlenberg College in Allentown.

"These aren't individuals who are going to say 'Oh, I can't relate at all to a wealthy businessman,'" Borick said, "because in that part of the state a wealthy businessman is not exotic."

Indeed, Beeson sees inroads in those Philadelphia suburbs where Romney could gain from a primary contest when he was labeled a "Massachusetts moderate" by conservative opponents.

It's no wonder that a Romney radio ad playing in Mrs. Marty's Deli stressed his time as Massachusetts governor, working with a Democratic legislature, and his willingness to work across partisan divides as president.

Perry Gresh, 50, a Republican who owns an oil exploration company, said he voted for Ron Paul in the primary but will support Romney as the party's nominee in hopes of seeing a more stable tax structure.

Jonathan Marsh, a 21-year-old software engineer and registered Democrat, said he would vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson if it were not, in essence, a wasted vote. Instead, he will vote for Obama because he finds Romney to be untrustworthy and unreliable.

About 45 minutes away, in Newtown, Warren May, 67, a registered independent, said he will be voting for Romney after supporting Obama in 2008. May said he doesn't regret voting for Obama and struggled to pinpoint exactly why he's switching.

"I don't know what (Obama's) agenda is," May said as he left a drugstore. "He definitely has the smarts to be a great leader, but he didn't show himself to be a great leader."


Kuhnhenn reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Mark S. Smith contributed to this report.


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