Obama left Friday for Camp David, the presidential hideaway in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains. He was to remain there with advisers until Monday morning. Romney was to spend the weekend in Florida with aides preparing for the debate.
Romney running mate Paul Ryan planned campaign stops in Pennsylvania and Ohio on Saturday. Vice President Joe Biden was headed for St. Augustine, Fla.
Monday’s 90-minute debate will be moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News. It will be similar to the first debate, with both men standing at lecterns on a stage. Schieffer has listed five subject areas, with more time devoted to the Middle East and terrorism than any other topic.
While the economy has been the dominant theme of the election, foreign policy has attracted renewed media attention in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Obama had ranked well with the public on his handling of international issues and in fighting terrorism, especially following the death of Osama bin Laden. But the administration’s response to the Libya attack and questions over levels of security at the consulate have given Romney and his Republican allies an issue with which to raise doubts about Obama’s foreign policy leadership.
Ryan accused Obama of stonewalling, telling Milwaukee radio station WTMJ on Friday that the president was refusing to answer even basic questions. “His response has been inconsistent, it’s been misleading,” Ryan said.
Obama stuck with domestic policy themes Friday, accusing Romney of moderating his stands and conveniently forgetting his past positions on economic and women’s issues and coining a new campaign term for what he described as his opponent’s condition: “Romnesia.”
Romney has spent large amounts of time off the campaign trail to prepare for the upcoming foreign policy debate. Aides say the additional time preparing is well-spent even if it comes at the expense of public events.
Obama planned a lengthy tour of battleground states in the days after Monday night’s debate. Obama was campaigning in Florida and Ohio on Tuesday, joining with Vice President Joe Biden at a stop in Dayton, Ohio, before heading back to the White House. On Wednesday, he was packing his schedule with events in Davenport, Iowa; Denver; Los Angeles and Las Vegas, followed by campaigning in Tampa, Fla.; Richmond, Va.; Chicago and Cleveland on Thursday.
The president planned a mix of small and large events and wasn’t even settling down in a hotel for the night, choosing instead to sleep on a red-eye flight aboard Air Force One from Las Vegas to Tampa on Wednesday night. Obama planned to cast his early ballot in his hometown of Chicago on Thursday, trying to drum up interest in early voting in several swing states.
Kuhnhenn reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Julie Pace and Ken Thomas in Washington contributed to this report.