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Date published: 10/11/2012
SIDNEY, Ohio--President Barack Obama conceded Wednesday he did poorly in a debate last week that fueled a comeback by his rival in the race for the White House. Mitt Romney barnstormed battleground Ohio and pledged "I'm not going to raise taxes on anyone" in a new commercial.
A perennial campaign issue flared unexpectedly as Romney reaffirmed he is running as a "pro-life candidate and I'll be a pro-life president."
He spoke one day after saying in an interview he was not aware of any abortion-related legislation that would become part of his agenda if he wins the White House.
Romney and Obama maneuvered in a race with 27 days to run as Vice President Joe Biden and Republican running mate Paul Ryan looked ahead to their only debate, set for Thursday night in Danville, Ky.
Whatever the impact of the Biden-Ryan encounter, last week's presidential debate boosted Romney in the polls nationally and in Ohio and other battleground states, to the point that Obama was still struggling to explain a performance even his aides and supporters say was subpar.
"Gov. Romney had a good night. I had a bad night. It's not the first time I've had a bad night," Obama said in an ABC interview.
Asked if it was possible he had handed the election to Romney, the president replied: "No."
"What's important is
Despite the presidential display of confidence, public opinion polls suggested the impact of last week's debate was to wipe out most, if not all, of the gains Obama made following both parties' national conventions and the emergence in late summer of a videotape in which Romney spoke dismissively of 47 percent of Americans who he said pay no income taxes. They feel as if they are victims, he said, adding they don't take personal responsibilities for their lives.
Eager to capitalize on his newfound momentum, Romney told more than 7,000 packed into a western Ohio rally: "We can't afford four more years of Barack Obama."
The Republican challenger made three public appearances in Ohio on Wednesday and will spend two of the next three days in the state.
"Ohio could well be the place that elects the next president of the United States," he said. "I need you to do that job. We're going to win together."
Romney's new television commercial was an appeal to voters' pocketbooks--and also a rebuttal to Obama's claim that Romney had a plan to cut taxes by $5 trillion on the wealthy that would mean higher taxes for the middle class.
"The president would prefer raising taxes," Romney is shown saying in an exchange from last week's debate.
"I'm not going to raise taxes on anyone. My priority is putting people back to work in America."