5 things to watch for in the campaign homestretch

AP News
Posted: Oct 31, 2012 3:08 AM
5 things to watch for in the campaign homestretch

WASHINGTON (AP) — Five things to watch for in the final week of the presidential race between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney:

1. STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: It's sort of an odd sight. A week before Election Day, Obama and one of Romney's top surrogates — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — appear together to check out storm damage. Christie, who considered running for president this year, has praised Obama's handling of superstorm Sandy.

2. ROMNEY BACK ON THE TRAIL: Romney plunges back into full-time campaigning after a pause during the storm. He has a full slate of events in Florida. Will he rip into Obama with gusto? Or, mindful of the storm victims, will Romney tone down his criticism? Does he go to Pennsylvania or Minnesota?

3. OBAMA'S SCHEDULE: The president scrapped three full days of campaigning to focus on his presidential duties, betting that tending to his chief executive responsibilities was the smarter political move than traipsing around battleground states in search of votes. How soon will he get back on the road?

4. GOING NICE? Some independent groups that have spent months pounding on the presidential candidates are turning to positive themes in the campaign's final days. Crossroads GPS has spent a chunk of its $19 million expenditure on the race pummeling Obama. Now new ads sing Romney's praises. Who else goes positive?

5. EARLY VOTING: Early and absentee voting was affected in some states hard hit by the superstorm. Early voting traditionally has been strength for Democrats, so any lost days of early balloting could hurt Obama more than Romney. How quickly does it get back on track?