The next presidential debate is in New York on Oct. 16, followed by a final one in Florida on Oct. 22.
The campaign planned to keep Obama's travel options flexible in the final weeks of the race, but was still focused heavily on Florida, Ohio and Virginia, states with large Electoral College vote hauls. Obama victories in two of those three states would almost certainly block Romney's path to the required 270 electoral votes.
Obama had stops planned in all three states over the next week.
Smiling anew, the president spoke to the largest crowd of the campaign on Thursday afternoon, about 30,000 people in the college town of Madison, Wis.
As the president mockingly searched for the "real Mitt Romney" during an earlier speech in Denver, Vice President Joe Biden pounded the message in Iowa, another toss-up state.
"Ultimately, presidential races, unlike any other race, get down to character," Biden said. "They get down to the character of the man or woman and the character of their convictions: Do they mean what they say and will they do what they say."
AP White House Correspondent Ben Feller in Washington contributed to this report.
- Crystal ball commentary: National...
- Dick Harmon: John Beck very impressed with...
- Utah football: Utah coach Kyle Whittingham...
- High school football: East's Ula Tolutau...
- Utah Jazz: Better game but same losing result...
- Brad Rock: Jazz dreaming of a Blazing future
- BYU football: Cougars to play Washington in...
- Prognosticating, for fun, a bright BYU...
- BYU football: Cougars to play... 102
- Crystal ball commentary: National... 68
- Commentary: Long-term success in... 52
- Dick Harmon: How would BYU's Taysom... 49
- Utah football: Utah coach Kyle... 49
- Florida St-Auburn title game to usher... 44
- Utah basketball: Runnin' Utes bounce... 43
- Former BYU star Jimmer Fredette likes... 34