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AP News

THE RACE: Candidates push ground game 4 weeks out

The presidential race is extremely close with just one month to go.

You can see it in the polls, which have tightened following President Barack Obama's listless performance in the debate with Mitt Romney. And you can see it in their campaign itineraries.

With an ever-dwindling number of undecided voters and early balloting under way in many states, rallying core constituencies has become a prime home-stretch objective for both the president and his GOP challenger.

For Romney, that includes evangelicals, military voters and rural families. For Obama, young voters and Hispanics.

"Don't boo, vote," Obama tells supporters who boo references to his opponent.

Both are engaging in heavy on-the-ground politicking in a handful of key battlegrounds including Ohio — where both were campaigning Tuesday — Florida, Virginia and Iowa.

Obama did first spent two and a half days in California — definitely not a swing state — but that was mostly to raise cash. However, he also sandwiched in an event courting Latino voters.

Romney campaigned Tuesday on a farm near Des Moines, Iowa, leveling an attack on the president's farm policies ahead of an evening rally near Akron, Ohio.

He'll be in Ohio for parts of the next four days— a must-win state for Romney with 18 electoral votes. No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio. Obama could lose Ohio and still win an electoral victory — but not easily.

Obama was seeking support from students at Ohio State University. Tuesday was the last day to register to vote in Ohio. Obama campaigns in Florida later in the week then heads to Williamsburg, Va., this weekend for debate prep.

Romney was still savoring his strong debate performance. "I'm so confident we're going to win," he told supporters in Newport News, Va. Obama wasn't ceding any ground. "I am pretty competitive," he told donors in San Francisco.


Follow Tom Raum on Twitter: For more AP political coverage, look for the 2012 Presidential Race in AP Mobile's Big Stories section. Also follow and AP journalists covering the campaign:

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