Romney bids to put focus on economy
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has tried to keep voters focused on the US economy instead of a fellow Republican's comments that pregnancy caused by rape "is something God intended".
With President Barack Obama spending the day at the White House after a two-day dash across eight battleground states that will determine the tight election, Mr Romney gave what he called a major speech on the economy, the top issue among voters with less than two weeks left before November 6.
Mr Romney, however, faced questions about the remarks of Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock and new questions about his role in a key supporter's divorce. Court documents have revealed that Mr Romney created a special class of company stock for Staples founder Tom Stemberg's then-wife as a "favour". Mr Romney uses his equity capital firm Bain's involvement in the creation of the office supply company to show off his business skills.
Mr Romney has tried to ignore both lines of attack, instead accusing Mr Obama of playing partisan politics in an "incredibly shrinking campaign".
Opinion polls show Mr Obama and Mr Romney tied nationally. A new Associated Press-GfK poll of likely voters had Mr Romney up 47% to 45%, a result within the poll's margin of sampling error.
The presidential contest has crossed the two billion dollar (£1.2 billion) fundraising mark, putting the election on track to be the costliest in history. It is being fuelled by a campaign finance system vastly altered by the new proliferation of independent political action committees that are bankrolling TV ads in closely contested states.
Mr Romney delivered his speech on the economy in the battleground state of Iowa.
"Instead of more spending, more borrowing from China and higher taxes from Washington, we'll renew our faith in the power of free people pursuing their dreams," he said.
He argued that Mr Obama has no proposals that can meet "the challenges of the times".
The US presidential race is not decided by popular vote but on a state-by-state basis. The outcome depends on nine of the 50 US states - Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado - that do not reliably vote Democrat or Republican.