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Debates loom

Next up for Mr. Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney are the presidential debates, which begin a month from now.

Mr. Romney this week remained holed up in the Northeast preparing for the debates and leaving the front pages to Democrats.

But in a statement Thursday night he said voters should base their vote on whether their situation has improved under Mr. Obama.

“He offered more promises, but he hasn’t kept the promises he made four years ago,” Mr. Romney said. “Americans will hold President Obama accountable for his record — they know they’re not better off and that it’s time to change direction.”

Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama are running about even in national polls, though the president has the edge in nearly every battleground state.

But Mr. Romney has an edge in another vital area — his campaign treasury is bulging, and he has outraised Mr. Obama in the last two fundraising reports.

Aware of the challenge, Mr. Obama blasted our an urgent email plea for money just minutes before he took the stage on Thursday, asking for supporters to give $25 — five times his usual ask in these emails.