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Obama, Romney bear down on battlegrounds

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NEW YORK — President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are returning to the sometimes-nasty rhetoric of a close presidential campaign after a brief truce, renewing their focus on two battleground states and preparing for next week’s final, perhaps pivotal, debate. Romney and Obama set aside their differences — mostly — to poke fun of themselves and each other Thursday night at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner. Today, it’s back to campaigning in Florida and Virginia, two of just a handful of states that will decide the election, now less than three weeks away.

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