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Obama, Romney plunge into the campaign's final 2 weeks

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney focused on their closing appeal to voters as they entered the final stretch of an excruciatingly close race for the White House. Obama stressed that voters simply cannot trust Romney and the Republican nominee warned of bleak times ahead should the president be re-elected.

With polls showing the race virtually tied nationally and in some of the key states, both candidates claimed a growing edge as they sought to sway the small pool of undecided voters while imploring their millions of supporters to vote, particularly in battleground states such as Ohio and Iowa were early voting is already under way.

Obama was planning to cover 5,300 miles (8,500 kilometers) on Wednesday in the busiest single day of his re-election bid. He was traveling from Washington to Iowa, Colorado, California and Nevada, and then overnight to Florida. It was the first time Obama was spending the night on Air Force One for a domestic trip but far from unprecedented by incumbents scrambling to keep their job.

Obama was holding rallies from morning to night, appearing on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno and calling some voters from the plane. It was the first half of a two-day trip that will see him going to Florida, Virginia and Ohio on Thursday with a stop sandwiched in for him to cast his vote early in Chicago.

Romney, too, was picking up the pace. He was campaigning Wednesday in Reno, Nevada, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, before a three-stop campaign in Ohio on Thursday.

Setting up for a frenetic finish, both campaigns sought to show they had enthusiasm and organization on their side even as polls showed an up-for-grabs race.

At the majestic Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado late Tuesday, Romney said Obama's promise of more of the same is “why he's slipping and it's why we're gaining.”

He cast the race as moving his way during a rally of up to 10,000 at the amphitheater, a stunning setting cut into mountain rocks outside Denver.

“His is a status quo candidacy,” Romney said of Obama earlier Tuesday as he teamed with running mate Paul Ryan at a rally in Henderson, Nevada.

The challenger told the large, cheering crowd in Henderson that Obama wants a new term for the same policies that have produced slow economic growth and high unemployment for four long years.

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U.S. President Barack Obama waves after speaking during a campaign rally at the Delray Beach Tennis Center in Delray Beach, Florida on Tuesday, Oct. 23. President Obama and Mitt Romney focused on their closing appeal to voters as they entered the final stretch of an excruciatingly close race for the White House. (AFP/AP)

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