Romney cancels his visit to area

Presidential contenders Mitt Romney and Barack Obama now share at least one thing in common: They've both canceled trips to York County in the past week.

Romney postponed an "Ask Mitt Anything" session planned for Saturday in Tega Cay, five days after Obama scuttled a town hall-style meeting in Rock Hill.

Both candidates gave different reasons for backing out, and their shuffling reflects the helter-skelter nature commonplace in the world of presidential politics.

Officially, Romney turned Saturday into a personal day, also canceling a breakfast in Pawley's Island and a meet-and-greet in Florence, a campaign spokesman said. He'll return to South Carolina on Oct. 18, with the Tega Cay event now planned for 6 p.m.

Fundraising deadline nears

An e-mail sent to Romney supporters on Tuesday afternoon sheds more light on the change.

"Because it's the end of the quarter, Governor Romney is currently fundraising on the West Coast, and he will not be able to make it back cross-country in time for this weekend's events," the e-mail said.

Candidates are focusing their attention this week on raising money in advance of Sunday's midnight deadline. Some are going to unusual lengths. Republican hopeful John McCain, for example, e-mailed supporters on Tuesday with a request for donations from former Dallas Cowboys great Roger Staubach.

Obama, the Democratic senator from Illinois, gave a different reason for canceling last Thursday's appearance at the Freedom Center in downtown Rock Hill -- he had to be in Washington, D.C., to take part in Senate votes on the war in Iraq.

Unlike Romney, Obama has not said when he'll be back, though he told a Charlotte radio station last week that he would reschedule "immediately."

Last-minute changes aren't uncommon in a national campaign, particularly when every move can draw scrutiny from the media, said Adam Temple, a former S.C. staffer for the McCain campaign.

"You promise people lots of things, and then you do as much as you can," said Temple, who now works for the ONE Campaign, an anti-poverty group. "Frankly, at the end of the day, you can't do everything you've promised."