(NEW YORK) — With polls showing tight races in battleground states and Mitt Romney pulling ahead in the latest national ABC News/Washington Post tracking survey, President Obama will take his message to young voters Friday during a half-hour interview on MTV.
The MTV special comes a day after parts of Obama’s one-on-one with Rolling Stone magazine appeared online, including an exchange in which he offered a colorful assessment of his opponent’s relationship with the truth.
“You know, kids have good instincts,” Obama said, joking that he was “a killer” with the “six to 12″ demographic.
“They look at the other guy and say, ‘Well, that’s a bullsh**ter, I can tell.’”
Asked to expand on the comment, Obama spokesman Dan Pfeiffer told reporters, “Trust is a very important part of the election… and Gov. Romney’s answers in the debates on domestic issues and foreign policy raise real questions about that.”
He also asked that the media not be “distracted” by the word choice.
“President Obama is rattled and on the defensive,” top Romney aide Kevin Madden responded. “He’s running on empty and has nothing left but attacks and insults. It’s unfortunate he has to close the final days of the campaign this way.”
Asked by Inside Edition about his comment, Obama sought to soften the tone, saying, “[Romney's] got a wonderful family. He’s a man of deep conviction… Obviously I have great respect for what Gov. Romney has done with his life.”
The MTV interview will give the president an opportunity to stoke his base of younger voters. Obama won the 18-29 demographic by more than 30 points in 2008 and figures to do well there again, but turnout estimates are down in the latest polls.
Among the possible topics of discussion mentioned on MTV.com are “health care, immigration reform, gun control, clean energy, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, and marijuana legalization.” Talk about potential gun control legislation, gay rights or marriage and marijuana legalization or decriminalization was mostly absent from the three major presidential debates.
Before he goes “live” with MTV at 5 p.m., Obama will do seven TV and two radio interviews with local affiliates from seven battleground states.
The president’s media blitz involves a 48-hour campaign swing through eight key states that left his voice sounding slightly hoarse.
Both campaigns insist that the numbers are on their side with just 11 days to go until polls open across the nation. Among the most tightly contested states is Florida.
“Floridians are fired up to reelect the president… we’ve already seen a record number cast ballots by mail,” Obama’s Tampa-based spokesman told ABC News Thursday.
Romney spokeswoman Sarah Pompei insisted the Sunshine State was breaking for the Republican.
“Florida is like an aircraft carrier,” Pompei said, “it’s tough to get turning but once you start, it’s hard to stop.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio