WASHINGTON -- Locked in a stubbornly tight race, President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are demonstrating the urgency of the campaign's final stretch, with the incumbent alone set to cover 5,300 miles in the busiest single day of his re-election bid. Both men claimed a growing edge even as voters showed little give.
From Colorado to Iowa to ever-important Ohio, bigger crowds and late October scenery offered the feel of a campaign starting to finally crackle. Obama centered on a closing theme that voters simply cannot trust Romney, while the challenger warned of the bleak times that four more Obama years would bring.
At the majestic Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado late Tuesday, Romney said Obama's promise of more of the same is "why he's slipping and it's why we're gaining."
He cast the race as moving his way during a rally of up to 10,000 at the amphitheater, a stunning setting cut into mountain rocks outside Denver. Blue lights and the Romney "R'' logo lit the rocks rising on either side of the venue, and the crowd wore colored T-shirts that, viewed from afar, formed the Colorado state flag.
Romney wasn't staying in Colorado long. With just two weeks left and all three of their debates behind them, the candidates turned to travel - a lot of it.
Their mission remains to sway the small pool of undecided voters, but their increasing emphasis is to implore their millions of supporters to vote, particularly in the battleground states that allow early ballots to be cast.
Setting up for a frenetic finish, both campaigns sought to show they had enthusiasm and organization on their side.
"We have the ball, we have the lead," Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod insisted.
Obama was to campaign nearly around the clock Wednesday.
His day was taking him from Washington to Iowa, Colorado, California and Nevada, and then overnight to Florida. Not stopping to sleep in a hotel was meant to signal spirit and drive - although, with a comfortable suite on Air Force One, Obama was hardly crashing out in the coach section for his red-eye flight.
It was the first time Obama was spending the night on his plane for a domestic trip, but far from unprecedented for an incumbent scrambling to keep his job.
Across the miles, Obama was holding rallies from morning to night, appearing on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno and calling some voters from the plane. It is the first half of a two-day trip that will see him going to Florida, Virginia and Ohio on Thursday, with a stop sandwiched in for him to cast his vote in Chicago.
Romney, too, is picking up the pace.
He is campaigning Wednesday in Reno, Nev., and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, before a three-stop swing in Ohio on Thursday.