TODAY | October 26, 2012
>>> president obama is back in washington this morning after a whirlwind campaign tour as governor romney heads to iowa and the biggest battleground state of ohio . nbc's political director and chief white house correspondent chuck todd is in cincinnati this morning. chuck, good morning to you.
>> reporter: well, good morning, matt. you could be forgiven if you thought barack obama and mitt romney were running for the presidency of ohio . they have been here a lot. they were here a lot yesterday because both campaigns believe this state is that critical to their prospects in 11 days. president obama wrapped up a 48-hour eight-state battleground blitz in cleveland, ohio late thursday, and with a hoarse voice questioned his opponent's trustworthiness.
>> no more serious issue in a presidential campaign than trust. trust matters. you know what, ohio ? after all these years you now know me. you know that i mean what i say.
>> reporter: at almost exactly the same moment 150 miles west, mitt romney took the stage in defiance, ohio .
>> now that's an ohio welcome. thank you.
>> reporter: and borrowing a page from president obama 's 2008 playbook calling himself the candidate of change.
>> this is a time when america faces big challenges. we have a big election, and we want a president who will actually bring big changes. i will and he won't.
>> reporter: ohio is the ultimate bellwether in presidential elections , most recently picking george w. bush in 2004 and barack obama in 2008 . mitt romney 's first stop thursday was in cincinnati, part of hamilton county . it's the largest county in ohio that switched from republican bush in 2004 to democrat obama in 2008 . the president has been putting big emphasis in ohio and other states on early voting which is why he decided to become the first president to cast his ballot before election day . meanwhile, both sides are dealing with some unexpected political speed bumps on the trail. for mitt romney , it's indiana's republican senate candidate richard mourdock who made controversial comments about abortion and rape on tuesday. romney ignored questions about mourdock three times on thursday.
>> governor, do you disavoy mourdock's comments on rape?
>> reporter: and what may be another unforced error for team romney john sununu made these eyebrow-raising comments in response to colin powell 's endorsement of president obama .
>> well, i think when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being president of the united states , i applaud colin for standing with him.
>> reporter: still, mr. obama has his own speed bump to deal with. in an interview published in " rolling stone " magazine the president commented on the wisdom of children. his remarks, which some have interpreted as a dig at romney , included this quotation. you know, kids have good instincts. they look at the other guy and say, well, that's a bsier, i can tell. he said the comment occurred but during a casual interview during the interview. the campaign did not deny the campaign was referring to mr. romney and as competitive as ohio may be other states may be closer. a nbc news/" wall street journal "/marist poll show a close race in colorado with the two men tied at 48% and while nevada remains close the president is at the magic 50% mark. now, overnight the romney campaign had john sununu release a statement on what he said about colin powell . let me read it to you, matt. colin powell is a friend and i respect the endorsement decision he made, and i do not doubt it was based on anything of the support of the president's policies. piers morgan 's question was whether colin powell should leave the party and i don't believe he should. i don't think that's the way the question was and not an apology for how he made