As Democrats Cry Foul, "Moderate Mitt" Rises In Polls

Not long ago, Republican Mitt Romney's crowds on the campaign trail were mostly in the hundreds, he was fading in the polls and his calls to create jobs by limiting government's reach seemed overrun by his own missteps. Then a new Mitt Romney emerged.

The U.S. presidential challenger outmaneuvered a subdued President Barack Obama in their first debate last week, has pulled even with - or ahead of - Obama in national polls, and has seen crowds of thousands of people turn out for him in Ohio this week.

On Wednesday, the campaign became a spat over how Romney got there - and whether his hints of moving to the political center on abortion, taxes and other issues reflected a truly "Moderate Mitt" or was a conservative's sleight of hand, aimed at snaring moderate voters in a tight race for the White House.

"I think the only reason why you're not seeing a little bit more conservative grumbling ... is because conservatives just feel that President Obama is just bad for business," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell said.

Read more from Steve Holland at Reuters

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