WASHINGTON (AP) - For President Barack Obama, winning re-election rests on a workman-like, get-out-the-vote strategy aimed at protecting key territory in the Midwest, ramping up minority turnout, and building early voting leads that could protect against a late surge by Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Polls show Obama and Romney tied nationally. But the president's advisers say the map of competitive states tilts in their favor.
Nine states are up for grabs: Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Iowa, Wisconsin, Colorado and Nevada.
Key to Obama's electoral strategy is protecting a Midwestern firewall: Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin, a three-state combination that would put him over the necessary threshold. The president will visit those states multiple times before the election.