Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigns with vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan in Fishersville, Va., Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. / AP PHOTO/CHARLES DHARAPAK
(CBS News) -- At a rally last night near Denver, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney made sure to mention what everyone knows - the debates have fueled his surge in the polls, saying they have "supercharged" the campaign.
With the final debate behind them, the candidates took their arguments on the trail in key battleground states: Romney in Nevada and Colorado, and the president in Florida and Ohio.
Romney said that his new momentum has come, in part, because the president has no new ideas. He said, "He's become a president of status quo, and the policies of the president are a continuation of what we've seen over the last four years."
To reinforce that message in 10 swing states, the main outside group supporting Romney, Restore Our Future, Inc., on Wednesday announced a $17.7 million ad buy.
And an outside group Priorities USA Action, supporting President Barack Obama, also unveiled a new ad, hammering a line of attack that was successful for Democrats during summer over Romney's tenure at the private equity firm Bain Capital.
In Ohio, the state that could well decide the election, President Obama stayed on the offensive, arguing the debates had gone well for him. "I hope I made clear that there's a big difference between me and Mitt Romney," he said. "And it's not just that he's got better hair."
Reacting to criticism that he has yet to release specific plans for a second term, Mr. Obama's campaign also released a 20-page booklet of his proposals. He said, referring to the booklet, "It's not a sketchy deal, it's not the okie-doke."
He continued to hit Romney for what he said was his constantly changing positions. "We had a severe outbreak last night," Mr. Obama said. "It was at least stage-three Romnesia."
CBS News political director John Dickerson said the president is working to push trust as a theme in Ohio, which polls show it tightening. "His larger argument coming out of the debate is that you can't trust Mitt Romney, he's been changing his position and he said basically the presidency is all about trust. Forget the economy, foreign policy, it's about trust and who can you trust to fight for you. He then uses the auto bailout, one in eight jobs in Ohio the president says they're dependent on the auto industry, and 'You can trust me, I'll fight for you. I did it there with the auto bailout and I'll keep doing it for you.'"
In a recent Gallup poll, there's been a larger change in men than in women's preferences, compared 2008. At this time in the race, Barack Obama and John McCain, were the same among male voters, but now, Romney has an advantage over Mr. Obama, 57 percent to 43 percent. Republicans traditionally have that advantage, but Dickerson said it's a "big and dangerous gap." He said, "The president can't make up for a gap among men with women. He's got to shrink that gap with men and the thinking basically is that it's on the economy and his stewardship and this notion that four more years of this, what the president has, his economic policy just isn't going to cut it and men are the ones who are moving on that issue particularly.
President Obama has rallies in Iowa, Colorado and Nevada Wednesday. Romney will be campaigning in Nevada and Iowa.