WEST WINDSOR, Vt. (AP) — Obama-Biden signs dot the back roads of Vermont, a state that has voted for a Democratic president since 1988. One of the shops in the nearby town of Woodstock is called “The Collective.” And yet, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney chose a friend’s home in rural Vermont to hunker down to prepare for a trio of high-stakes debates.

Presidential candidates in the past have chosen their homes or battleground states for debate preparation. Not Romney — and his timing is unusual, too. Candidates usually spend the week of Labor Day campaigning heavily in battleground states. Romney, though, is staying largely out of the spotlight as President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party hold their convention in Charlotte, N.C.

In 2008, Barack Obama picked Florida and then North Carolina, both swing states, to practice and still appear at campaign events and earn local media coverage.

Republican John McCain scheduled some of his sessions in Arizona, his home state. In 2004, Democrat John Kerry chose Wisconsin, where he and President George W. Bush were both competing, while Bush stayed at his Texas ranch to bone up.

The three presidential debates — the first is scheduled for Oct. 3 with the other two later that month — could represent the final opportunities for Romney or Obama to break out of a tight presidential race.

Romney’s advisers say he was looking for the distraction-free quiet of Vermont’s Green Mountains. But even when the Republican nominee made a brief foray into the town just across the nearby border with New Hampshire, a swing state, Romney knew he was still in unfriendly territory.

Read More at OfficialWire. By Kasie Hunt.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)

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