COLUMBUS, Ohio – The White House the prize, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney raced through a final full day of campaigning on Monday through Ohio and other battleground states holding the keys to victory in a tight race. Both promised brighter days ahead for a nation still struggling with a sluggish economy and high joblessness.
“Our work is not done yet,” Obama told a cheering crowd of nearly 20,000 in chilly Madison, Wis., imploring his audience to give him another four years.
Romney projected optimism as he neared the end of his six-year quest for the presidency. “If you believe we can do better. If you believe America should be on a better course. If you’re tired of being tired … then I ask you to vote for real change,” he said in a Virginia suburb of the nation’s capital. With many of the late polls in key states tilting slightly against him, he decided to campaign on Election Day in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where he and Republicans made a big, late push.
“No retreat, no surrender,” sang rock icon Bruce Springsteen, warming up Obama’s crowd on a frosty morning outside the state Capitol in Madison, Wis. The Boss then boarded Air Force One for his first flight. “Pretty cool,” he judged it.
Romney had Kid Rock and the Marshall Tucker Band in the wings for his late appearances in Ohio and New Hampshire.
“This is it,” the challenger said in a last-minute emailed request for campaign donations.
In his longest campaign day, Romney raced from Florida to a pair of speeches in Virginia to Ohio and then an election eve rally in New Hampshire.
Obama selected Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa for his final campaign day, an itinerary that reflected his campaign’s decision to try and erect a Midwestern firewall against Romney’s challenge.
Vice President Joe Biden and Republican running mate Paul Ryan of Wisconsin went through their final campaign paces, as well.
In Sterling, Va., not far from Washington, the vice president accused Republicans of running away from their record, but added, “a leopard can’t change his spots.”
Ryan started out in Reno, Nev., where he said the president has come up short in his promises to change Washington and repair the economy.
“This may be the best that Barack Obama can offer, but this is not the best America can,” he said, before flying off to Colorado and Ohio. Then it was home to Wisconsin, where he is on the ballot for re-election to Congress in case Republicans were unsuccessful in the presidential campaign.
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