BOCA RATON, Fla. — Their debates now history, President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney on Tuesday open a two-week sprint to Election Day powered by adrenaline, a boatload of campaign cash and a determination to reach Nov. 6 with no would-have, should-have regrets in their neck-and-neck fight to the finish.
From here, the candidates will vastly accelerate their travel, ad spending and grass-roots mobilizing in a race that's likely to cost upward of $2 billion by the time it all ends.
Obama's campaign released a 20-page booklet called the "Blueprint for America's Future" on Tuesday to promote a second term agenda, responding to Republican criticism that the president has not clearly articulated a plan for the next four years.
The campaign was printing 3.5 million copies of the plan, which were being distributed at campaign events and field offices across the country, aiming to outline proposals Obama has discussed to improve education, boost manufacturing jobs, enhance U.S.-made energy, reduce the federal deficit and raise taxes on the wealthy.
The plan was part of a closing argument to voters pitched in a new 60-second television advertisement released following the final debate. In the ad, Obama speaks directly to the camera about his plans for a second term and touts economic gains.
"We're not there yet," Obama says in the ad, "but we've made real progress and the last thing we should do is turn back now." The ad will air in the nine states whose electoral votes are still considered up for grabs — New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada and Colorado.
No surprise then, that Obama campaigns Tuesday in Florida and Ohio while Romney heads West to Nevada and Colorado.
Asked Tuesday whether the race comes down to Ohio, Virginia and Florida as some observers have suggested, Vice President Joe Biden described the three as "critically important." He predicted victory in Ohio and Florida — without mentioning Virginia.