"We're not where we all want to end up, but we are making serious important progress moving forward," Obama senior campaign adviser Robert Gibbs said on "CBS This Morning."
Ohio loomed large on the campaign calendar Friday, with Obama scheduling three stops in that crucial battleground. He also had larger rallies in more urban areas planned for the weekend. Romney was set to hold two rallies in Ohio — the second a large evening kickoff for the final weekend of campaigning.
Romney doesn't usually speak from a written text at campaign events but planned to outline his closing argument in prepared remarks at an event earlier Friday in Wisconsin.
But while Ohio was emerging as the most contested state in the final push, Romney and the Republican Party were launching a new drive into Pennsylvania, a state that had been considered safely in Obama's column. Romney planned to campaign in the state Sunday and the Republican National Committee was putting $3 million in ads into the state.
Romney aides said they detected that Obama was underperforming in the southeastern counties around Philadelphia, a usual Democratic stronghold, and in the working-class area in and around Scranton. Obama won the state handily in 2008, largely on the strength of his performance in the eastern part of the state. The RNC, however, says its voter outreach program has already exceeded its performance four years ago, with three times more phone calls and 19 more door knocks than at this time in 2008.
Obama aides dismissed the eleventh-hour move as an act of desperation that underscored Romney's weakness in other battlegrounds but said the Democratic campaign would increase its ad purchases in the state to respond to the RNC incursion.
"It means the Romney-Ryan campaign is desperate to try to figure out how to win this race outside of the states that they've been contesting it in for 15 months," Gibbs said. "Look, John McCain spent the last weekend in 2008 in Pennsylvania in a desperate attempt to do this as well."