WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama put campaign battleground travel on hold to tour the ravaged New Jersey coast Wednesday, while under-the-wire campaigning resumed in swing state Florida that is critical to Republican Mitt Romney's victory plan.
Obama is emphasizing his incumbent's role for a third straight day, skipping voter contact in the handful of states that will decide the election to visit victims of Hurricane Sandy around Atlantic City in a state he's confident of winning.
The former Massachusetts governor must show respect for the superstorm's casualties all along the Eastern Seaboard. But Romney can ill afford to waste a minute of campaign time, with the contest virtually deadlocked in several key states and the election six days away.
After tamping down his partisan tone Tuesday at an Ohio event that chiefly emphasized victims' relief, Romney planned a full-blown return to the trail Wednesday. Sandy largely spared Florida, so Romney calculates he can campaign there without appearing callous.
Obama's revised schedule is a political gamble, too. Rather than use the campaign's final Wednesday to woo voters in tossup states, he will go before cameras with New Jersey's Republican governor, Chris Christie. Christie is one of Romney's most prominent supporters, and a frequent Obama critic. But Christie praised Obama's handling of superstorm Sandy, a political twist the president's visit is sure to underscore.
Associated Press writer Thomas Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report.