Editor's Note: This is the first in an occasional series, "The Home Stretch," counting down to Election Day with Mitt Romney.
Newport News, Virginia (CNN) – With 28 days to go, conventional wisdom is all wet. After a day of dodging buckets of rain at events across Virginia, Mitt Romney may have turned the corner in what's fast becoming a remarkable horse race to the finish with President Barack Obama.
The Romney campaign received word that a new national poll indicated he had pulled ahead of the president just before a rally Monday under a torrential downpour in Newport News.
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"People wonder why it is I'm so confident we're going to win. I'm confident because I see you here on a day like this. This is unbelievable," Romney told a drenched and understandably small crowd of supporters. Soaking wet, the GOP nominee was all smiles.
Just about an hour after Romney personally delivered McDonald's Quarter Pounders to members of the media riding in the back of his campaign charter Monday, his top advisers were handed the super-sized poll numbers from the Pew Research Center.
READ MORE: Two very different polls in battle for White House
The survey of likely voters conducted between October 4 and October 7 showed Romney taking a 4 percentage edge over Obama – a clear sign of the bounce he received from his strong debate performance last week.
After weeks of setbacks for the campaign, ranging from Romney's controversial reaction to the diplomatic attacks in Libya to the hidden camera video of his regrettable remarks at a May fundraiser, the Republican contender believes the first debate has given him a fresh chance to break through with voters.
Campaign officials are "encouraged by the enthusiasm we are seeing from supporters who are energized, as well as undecided voters who are now giving the governor a new look," a senior Romney adviser said.
Romney is "continuing to work hard to bring home persuadable voters," the adviser added.
Reporters traveling with the candidate witnessed this effort firsthand as Romney's motorcade made a U-turn for an impromptu visit with schoolchildren standing alongside the route to the airport in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley on Monday.
By the time Romney and his campaign staff arrived at the school, the students had already returned to their classrooms. Minutes later, however, a Romney aide was leading the children back outside to shake hands with the GOP nominee and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.
"Are you Mitt Romney?" one student asked. "I am Mitt Romney," he answered.
The surprise visit came after Romney's foreign policy address to a group of supporters and cadets at the Virginia Military Institute. In the home stretch of Romney's long run for the White House, the campaign discovered that pictures can matter almost as much as policies.
– Watch CNN at 6 p.m. ET Tuesday for Wolf Blitzer’s live interview with Mitt Romney.
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OBAMA 2012 !...robmoney and lyan ryan are a menace...a carney and a fascist working to get fools to ante up their $$$$ for their twisted self serving agendas.
I love all these pro republican comments acting like Mitt Romney actually has any semblance of a chance to win! Let me be clear, news angencies would PREFER a close race because it keeps everyone on their toes, adamantly checking their websites. In reality, Obama is going to destroy Romney in the election.
Brandon, I liked your comment but it seems to me that the Obama administration is the one that started the lie about Romney lying in the debate. When you democrats believed him, who is the gullible??
Gotta make this a close race for the individuals and corporations that paid millions of dollars to buy the office of the president.
Thanks goodness in 28 days all the Mitt-lies will be over and his fans won't have a word to say. Nov 6, 2012 .
D-Day (defeat day), Mitt. da-da-da-dah
President Obama for ALL Americans
Mitt is not Dubya...and certainly the opposite of that do-nothing in the white house. All the Dems have is attacks, character assasinations and lying about Romney.
While it's fun to see the media make it a horse race, it's just not accurate reporting. It feels like a football game with the sports announcer all about the team that is ahead and then quickly shift gears in thier adoration for the team that comes from behind and finally when a team wins they are all about how they knew it would happen....Me fellow, intelligent mainstream Americans...vote for our President.
This Romney horse will dance to any tune that his party wants him to dance. This is his now or never moment, but in the end he will remain a lame horse.
Why is it a horse race for Romney and not for Obama. If Obama bombs in the rest of the debates, he's toast. THANK GOD. America can't stand 4 more years of Obama's failed policies. Doubled gas prices, high unemployment for 4 years, 6 Trillion in new debt, never passed a budget in 4 years, Fast and Furious coverup, Libian Ambassator Murdered and reason covered up. Reason for now sedurity in Libia covered up. What a pathetic record.
Mitt is a proven liar (factcheckers), a draft dodger who protested FOR the Vietnam but went to Paris to serve his church instead of serving American (shows he won't stand up for what he believes), and is a tax dodger (where are your returns, Mitt? On the planet Kolob?). Finally, MItt, you are a loser and will be proven to be one Nov. 6th. Again.