In homestretch, Obama and Romney begin battleground blitz

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The president’s supporters also chided Mr. Romney for giving what they said was short shrift to military veterans in the final debate on foreign policy Monday night.

“Mitt Romney failed to mention our veterans even once during a 90-minute debate focused on foreign policy, wars abroad and America’s future in the world,” said Rob Diamond, the Obama campaign’s vote director for veterans and military families. “While Mitt Romney wrote off half of our country as people who see themselves as ‘victims,’ which includes veterans receiving the benefits they’ve earned, President Obama understands that war has consequences and that we have an obligation to our service members, not just when they are serving, but when they return home as well.”

However, Mr. Ryan said the Republican nominee showed in the debate that he would be a more effective steward of America’s foreign policy. He said voters got from Mr. Romney “clear answers, a clear vision for foreign policy, very clear distinctions and how we should go forward with this country.”

“What we got from President Obama were mostly attacks on Mitt Romney. That’s not an agenda,” Mr. Ryan said on “Good Morning America,” paraphrasing a line from Mr. Romney on Monday night. “We really actually didn’t get an agenda for how we should move our country forward on foreign policy.”

The debates also have helped to boost Mr. Romney’s likability, according to polls, another area in which the president had been far ahead of the Republican in public-opinion surveys.

Gary Berg of Boca Raton, a retiree who said he is a “big time” Obama supporter, agreed that Mr. Romney has become “a little bit” more likable as a result of the debates.

“He came off a little more articulate than we’d ever seen him before,” Mr. Berg said at the rally for the president in Florida. “His previous debate performances within the Republican Party were just average. I think he got coached pretty well and was able to do a little better [in the debates against the president]. And Obama didn’t necessarily have his best performance, especially in the first one. So by contrast, yes, he looked OK. Romney presents himself well, so that has helped him, too.”

Mr. Romney this week moved above 50 percent in his favorability rating in the Real Clear Politics average of polls, pulling ahead of Mr. Obama for the first time on that measure.

The Republican had a 44.5 percent favorability rating at the end of September, before the debates. But by Monday, Mr. Romney’s favorability average was up to 50.5 percent.

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