Mitt Romney greets an overflow crowd at PR Machine Works as he campaigns… (Charles Dharapak/Associated…)
MANSFIELD, Ohio -- Is Mitt Romney campaigning hard enough?
The question came up Monday during a news conference with senior Romney campaign advisor Kevin Madden, who found himself in the unusual position of defending the Republican presidential nominee's work ethic.
“The governor's been campaigning very vigorously and we're going to continue to campaign very vigorously,” Madden told reporters after a Romney speech at a machine tool plant in central Ohio. “We don't look at many days where we're not very busy getting our message out.”
INTERACTIVE MAP: Tally up the battleground states
The questions may reflect a sense that some conservatives are growing restive about the state of the campaign. Tracking polls have shown President Obama widening a lead, albeit a narrow one, over Romney in the aftermath of Democratic and Republican national conventions. It isn't clear whether that advantage will last, but the conventional wisdom holds that Romney didn't come out of the conventions with the wind at his back.
If Romney is concerned, it’s hard to see it. He continues to maintain a calm, steady-as-she-goes demeanor that may be precisely what voters want in a president -- but isn’t necessarily what excites them in a candidate.
Romney took the day off from campaigning Sunday, following his usual protocol, and had just the one public event on Monday, the speech in Mansfield. Afterward, he flew to Chicago, where he attended a fundraiser at a private home in suburban Lake Forest. He has just one public event scheduled Tuesday, in Reno. Like Ohio, Nevada is a battleground state where polls have shown Obama leading.
But Madden, asked whether that didn't constitute a light schedule, insisted that wasn't the case, noting that Romney is also making time for fundraisers and to prepare for his three debates next month with Obama.
“We've been very busy over the past few days,” he said. “I would disagree with anybody ... that we're not keeping up a pretty good pace.”