COLUMBUS, Ohio — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is preparing for his second debate with President Barack Obama but also taking time to tell voters in Ohio that enthusiasm for him is on the rise.
Obama was hunkering down Saturday in Virginia to go over the game plan for the town hall-style debate with Romney. But in his weekly radio and Internet address, he spoke of an industry that's critical to Ohio and to Romney's chance of victory.
"We refused to throw in the towel and do nothing. We refused to let Detroit go bankrupt," Obama said in the address. "GM is back. Ford and Chrysler are growing again. Together, our auto industry has created nearly a quarter of a million new jobs right here in America."
Romney opposed using government funds to help the auto industry go through bankruptcy. Many analysts believe the industry would not have survived if it had relied on private investment for rescue. It's an issue that has dogged Romney in Ohio, where numerous auto parts suppliers benefited from the survival of the Detroit Three automakers.
The Obama campaign also released a new TV ad narrated by actor Morgan Freeman noting the challenges Obama inherited and highlighting the president's successes, including saving jobs for American autoworkers and killing Osama bin Laden.
Romney is concluding a week of campaign rallies that saw him drawing larger, more excited crowds than he has through the fall campaign. More than 10,000 people turned out to several rallies, with the campaign saying that more people were signing up to attend events since Romney's strong debate performance last week in Denver.
Romney accused Vice President Joe Biden of "doubling down on denial" concerning security at the diplomatic post where the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed. During the vice presidential debate Thursday, Biden said "we weren't told" about the Benghazi consulate's requests for additional security. Although a State Department official told Congress on Wednesday about the requests, the White House said Friday that Biden was speaking just for himself and for the president.
After Obama's widely panned performance in the first presidential debate, polls show he still holds a slim edge in Ohio. The state is crucial for Romney.