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Obama says, 'I had a bad night' during Denver debate

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Despite the presidential display of confidence, public opinion polls suggested the impact of last week's debate was to wipe out most, if not all, of the gains Obama made following both parties' national conventions and the emergence in late summer of a videotape in which Romney spoke dismissively of 47 percent of Americans whom he said pay no income taxes. They feel as if they are victims, he said, adding they don't take personal responsibilities for their lives.

Eager to capitalize on his newfound momentum, Romney told more than 7,000 packed into a western Ohio rally: "We can't afford four more years of Barack Obama."

The Republican challenger made three public appearances in Ohio on Wednesday and will spend two of the next three days in the state.

"Ohio could well be the place that elects the next president of the United States," he said. "I need you to do that job. We're going to win together."

Romney's new television commercial was an appeal to voters' pocketbooks — and also a rebuttal to Obama's claim that Romney had a plan to cut taxes by $5 trillion on the wealthy that would mean higher taxes for the middle class.

"The president would prefer raising taxes," Romney is shown saying in an exchange from last week's debate. "I'm not going to raise taxes on anyone. ... My priority is putting people back to work in America."

Unemployment and the economy have been the dominant issues in the race for the presidency, and while Romney gained from the debate, last week's drop in the jobless rate to 7.8 percent gave Obama a new talking point for the Democratic claim that his policies are helping the country recover, however slowly, from the worst recession in decades.

Romney also sought to lay any abortion-related controversy to rest as he campaigned across Ohio, a battleground with 18 electoral votes and one of the places where he has gained ground since last week's debate.

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