PHILADELPHIA -- His path to victory narrowing, Mitt Romney is looking to Pennsylvania to help slow President Barack Obama's momentum ahead of a high-stakes meeting on the debate stage next week.
The Republican presidential nominee was to campaign Friday in the Philadelphia area, first courting donors at a high-dollar fundraiser and then meeting voters at a midday rally.
Fresh off a promise to spend more time in the swing states that matter most, Romney will pass much of the day in a state that has not supported a Republican presidential candidate in nearly a quarter-century. His campaign is not running any television ads in Pennsylvania, and aides privately concede that Obama has a significant advantage just 40 days before Election Day.
They suggest that Romney's visit - his first to the state in more than two months - is largely designed to raise the money needed to narrow Obama's edge in more competitive states. After raising $5 million at a Washington event Thursday, Romney is expected to generate more than $1 million in Philadelphia and an additional $7 million at a Boston fundraiser later Friday.
"We're going to have to make the right choice on Nov. 6, and you're going to make that happen," Romney told cheering donors in Washington.
Obama will also focus on raising cash Friday as he keeps his campaign close to Washington, where he has three fundraising events scheduled.
He is set to deliver remarks at a finance event at the Capital Hilton in Washington, where tickets start at $250 but go as high as $10,000 per couple. Obama will attend a smaller fundraiser at a private residence before returning to the Capitol Hilton for a third event.
On Thursday, Romney and Obama campaigned a few hundred miles apart in Virginia.
The president pledged to create many more jobs and "make the middle class secure again," while Romney focused on threats beyond American shores, accusing Obama of backing dangerous cuts in defense spending.
The Republican's message, including questions about the president's response to recent violence in Libya, comes as he tries to move beyond his long-held economic focus to help score political points and reverse a slide in the polls.
"The idea of cutting our military is unthinkable and devastating. And when I become president we will not," Romney declared at an American Legion hall in Springfield, Va.
He is expected to push a similar message on Friday in suburban Philadelphia during a rally at Valley Forge Military Academy and College.
While Romney aides are not optimistic about their chances in Pennsylvania, Republicans are not giving up on the state.