Romney plans to spend Saturday morning at a hotel outside Columbus, where he'll meet with top advisers and get ready for his showdown with Obama in Hempstead, N.Y., on Tuesday. He returns to Massachusetts in the evening but first makes two campaign stops in Ohio.
After his widely panned performance in the first presidential debate, polls show Obama still holds a slim edge in Ohio. The state is crucial for Romney because his path to winning the 270 electoral college votes he needs is far narrower if he can't win Ohio. Losing here would mean he'd have to win almost all of the other up-for-grabs battleground states.
Obama was in Ohio this week, too, but he was spending the weekend in Williamsburg, Va., preparing for the debate. The president has acknowledged he needs to turn in a stronger performance when the two meet again.
Obama and top aides plan hours of practice sessions ahead of the town hall-style event, including some mock exchanges with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who is playing the role of Romney.
Campaign officials sought to keep details of Obama's preparations secret. But they said the president was working on being more aggressive in responding to Romney and calling the Republican out on issues as well as pointing out what they maintain are Romney's true positions.
While Obama has no public events planned in Virginia over the next three days, his mere presence in the state will drive some local news coverage. And he may make unscheduled visits in the Williamsburg area.
The president practiced for the first debate in Nevada, another battleground state.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bruce Springsteen will join former President Bill Clinton at an Obama rally in Parma, Ohio, on Tuesday, the day of the second presidential debate. Obama will not attend the rally.
Springsteen campaigned for Obama in 2008, but this is his first political appearance of the 2012 cycle. Clinton and Springsteen's joint appearance in Ohio underscores the importance of the key swing state. Polls show Obama with a slight lead there over Mitt Romney.