(NBC) - Mitt Romney came to dusty Iowa Tuesday on his way to Ohio, with new confidence that he can win key battleground states and a new willingness to open up personally.
Mr. Romney spoke about Glen Doherty, a Navy SEAL he met at a party.
"You can imagine how I felt when I found out that he was one of the two former Navy SEALS killed
in Benghazi on Sept 11. It touched me, obviously," Romney told supporters.
After last week's debate in Denver Romney soared to a lead over President Obama in national polls.
Now, however, Gallup pollsters are seeing Romney's numbers go back down.
"Definitely he got a bump. However as we continue to track in Gallup - Friday - Saturday - Sunday - we think some of that bump is dissipating," says Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport.
As President Obama headed to Ohio, Gallup put him behind by just two points among likely voters.
In San Francisco, the president mocked Romney's threats against Big Bird and PBS.
Big Bird himself appears in a new Obama ad, saying "It's me. Big Bird. Big. Yellow. A menace to our economy. Mitt Romney knows it's not Wall Street you have to worry about, it's Sesame Street."
Romney, meanwhile, countered by mocking the president's move to save a TV character.
"I actually think we need to have a president who talks about saving the American people, and saving good jobs and saving our future," he said.
With Romney ahead now among likely voters but Obama still ahead with a bigger group, all registered voters, Democrats figure they need to motivate a big turnout to win.