WASHINGTON — Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is shifting sharply to the political center as he begins to deliver a closing argument aimed at a slice of moderate, undecided voters a month before Election Day.
On taxes, immigration, his “47 percent” comments and more, the former Massachusetts governor has toned down his heated, campaign trail rhetoric this week, including during his strong debate performance Wednesday night, as he looks to gain ground against President Barack Obama in the handful of states that will determine the outcome of the competitive race.
“I know this is going to be a close-fought battle,” a jubilant and invigorated Romney said in Colorado.
Joined by running mate Paul Ryan and country star Trace Adkins at an evening rally in Fishersville, Va., Romney was confident and upbeat, basking in sustained cheers from a crowd of thousands. “Last night was an important night for the country —” Romney said before getting cut off by loud chants of “Romney, Romney.” After he finished speaking, his campaign set off fireworks.
In the coming days, the Republican nominee will try to capitalize on his well-received appearance by moderating his pitch and working to narrow Obama’s advantage in swing-state polling that aides say showed signs of tightening even before Romney and the president sparred. The Republican’s aides played down the notion that the debate was a game-changing event. But they appeared more optimistic about Romney’s chances than they had been during a troubled stretch that lasted several weeks. “We’ve got over a month here,” Romney strategist Stuart Stevens said. “That’s an eternity.”