Analysis By ABC News’ Michael Falcone and Amy Walter
(WASHINGTON) — Mitt Romney embarks on a four-state, four-day bus tour Saturday morning that marks his most intense streak of retail campaigning since his previous bus trip in June.
This journey will take him to Virginia on Saturday, North Carolina on Sunday, Florida on Monday and Ohio on Tuesday, making multiple stops in each state along the way.
The presumptive Republican nominee is once again hitting those crucial battlegrounds just as a flurry of new polls suggest President Obama is opening up a lead, nationally.
A CNN-ORC poll shows Obama up by seven percentage points, 52 percent to 45 percent and a Fox News poll gives the president a slightly larger edge. Among independent voters, President Obama leads Romney 53 percent to 42 percent, according to the CNN numbers.
But, cautions one Romney insider, there’s not a lot that’s really happened across the country that could actually account for the widening gap between the president and his GOP challenger. What’s more, the latest Gallup Poll still shows race a dead heat at 47 percent for Obama to 45 percent for Romney. Even so, these numbers are sure to spook many Republicans who want to see a more aggressive campaign and a “bold” choice of running mate from the former Massachusetts governor.
And they just might get it. As ABC’s Jonathan Karl reported on Good Morning America Friday, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan remains on the “shortest of the short list” in Romney world during the same week that he has been at the center of a movement by forces on the right to get the 42-year-old budget guru on the presidential ticket.
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Stephen Collinson, CNN
Mike Price, EastIdahoNews.com
Eric Bradner, CNN
Jackson Adams, Teton Valley News