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Romney's path: Win indies, stoke base, no errors

Associated Press Modified: November 3, 2012 at 3:15 am •  Published: November 3, 2012
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Aides say the pitch is working, citing polls showing Romney gaining ground with independent voters.

Romney's also working to further rile up a Republican base that's already energized by the notion of beating Obama in hopes of turning out conservatives in droves Tuesday.

Advisers say a perception that Romney is heading to victory is critical to maximizing GOP interest in the contest. But while Romney gained ground in polls after the first presidential debate, Republicans and Democrats alike say that surge has slowed if not abated. Superstorm Sandy also drew attention away from the presidential race, raising questions about whether it froze a tight race in place, benefiting Obama more than Romney.

Romney also is trying to fire up his base by running carefully targeted TV ads in key states aimed at stoking anti-Obama sentiment.

In northwestern Ohio, working-class white voters were the target of TV and radio ads suggesting Chrysler is moving jobs to China at the expense of Ohio. The spots triggered withering criticism from state newspaper editorial boards, U.S. automakers and Obama's campaign, with Vice President Joe Biden calling the claim an "outrageous lie." In Miami, Romney is running an ad — intended for conservative Cuban American voters — that tied Obama to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuban President Raul Castro's daughter, Mariela. And in northern Virginia, he's airing an ad reassuring suburban women that he supports abortion under certain circumstances.

To ensure all goes as planned, Romney is trying to play it safe and avoid the verbal slip-ups that have caused him heartburn at critical times in the campaign.

He hasn't done interviews with local TV stations in weeks. His last newspaper interview, with the Columbus Dispatch editorial board, was on Oct. 10. His most recent press conference was Sept. 28.

It's a dramatic switch from September, when, trailing in polls, Romney did round after round of interviews with national TV networks as well as local affiliates and repeatedly answered questions from reporters traveling with him.

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