(NBC) -- While the president is gearing up for a meeting with the United Nations Mitt Romney is kicking off a three-day tour of the all-important battleground state of Ohio.
Even Romney's staunchest defenders concede the past few days haven't been a high point, but there's still a lot of time left - 43 days remaining until decision 2012.
Romney wants to shift the conversation away from his tax returns and "47 percent" comments and back to jobs, the economy and leadership after a week spent largely on the defense.
Democrats are not ready to change the conversation.
"It's fair to say that a lot of those 47 percent that he was slandering earlier in the week probably pay more -- a higher percentage of their income in taxes overall than he does," senior Obama adviser David Axelrod pointed out on "ABC This Week".
That's an almost certain talking point for the first debate, now just nine days away.
Romney says he wants to stay in full-time campaign mode, but admits he's had to spend a lot of time fundraising to keep up with President Obama.