TODAY   |  October 27, 2012

Candidates hit swing states in fight for key votes

President Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney are crisscrossing the U.S., trying to close the deal with voters in key battleground states. Ohio is a place they have spent a lot of time and money, as that state looms as the potential decider of the race. NBC’s Ron Mott reports.

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>>> hurricane sandy is already impacting the race for the white house . mitt romney and vice president joe biden each cancelled planned weekend appearances in virginia . ron mott is in ohio , he's traveling with vice presidential candidate paul ryan . ron, good morning.

>> reporter: it takes 270 electoral votes to win the white house . 18 votes are up for grabs in ohio and they just may be the most important votes of all. along with the weather churning over the atlanta, president obama and mitt romney are whipping up a storm of their own, a campaign blizzard.

>> thank you so much!

>> reporter: as election day looms just ten days away . friday, a day after voting early himself, mr. obama hit the airwaves, giving a flurry of interviews, including mtv, where he courted younger voters.

>> i believe in an america where we grow when everybody's got a shot. that's the america that allowed me to sit in this place and that's the america i want to recreate for the next generation.

>> god bless iowa.

>> reporter: meanwhile, governor mitt romney spent his day in two battlegrounds, iowa and ohio , rallying last night with paul ryan , who got a hollywood introduction from tv star patricia heaton .

>> i have to tell you, backstage, i didn't recognize him his shirt on.

>> reporter: in the waning days, the war of words is growing more intense.

>> it's time to have a president and vice president who care more about the people than they care about politics.

>> reporter: the president seemingly referring to his opponent as a bs-er to " rolling stone " magazine, questioning why republican colin powell endorsing obama.

>> i applaud colin for standing with him.

>> reporter: he later said he doesn't doubt powell's motive was policy-related. back on the trail, many eyes are focused on ohio , where the president has maintained the lead in the polls as the make or break vote.

>> if we don't win ohio , it's tough to see us winning the election nationally.

>> reporter: but the fight for key votes runs through more than just ohio . florida, virginia , colorado, and nevada are also being vigorously contested by both men, evidenced by recent trips and now the watch is on to see how sandy factors into the stretch run, already nixing campaign events in virginia for governor romney and vice president biden this weekend and a new hampshire stop for the first lady early next week. governor romney campaigns today in florida with senator marco rubio . paul ryan will hold a rally here and then embark on a two-day, 400-mile bus tour for ohio this weekend. the president will campaign later today in new hampshire.