Candidates Focus on Battlegrounds, Undecided Voters in Final Days
Both candidates make final push to sway undecided voters in battleground states.AP
Mitt Romney and President Obama blazed across the country Saturday, hitting key battleground states where both candidates vowed bipartisan compromise if elected and urged supporters to help them win over the remaining undecided voters.
The promises for compromise in Washington were an attempt to appeal to independent voters who could swing the tight race now in its final three days.
“I need you to reach across the lawn to the neighbor with the other (campaign) sign,” Romney said at a rally in Colorado, his third of four Saturday. “I’ve got to reach across the aisle. Walk with me. We can do this.”
Romney began the day with an outdoor rally in New Hampshire, then made a stop in Iowa before attending the rally in Colorado Spring. His finally rally of the day will be in Englewood, Colo.
President Obama made similar arguments during his stops — Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, then Virginia in the evening.
The president told the crowd in Ohio: “I’ll work with any party to make this country move forward. If you want to break the gridlock of Congress, vote for me.”
He also took a jab at what he sees as the Romney plan for White House-Capitol Hill compromises — agreements to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, health care and student financial aid.
“I’m not going to have that,” the president said inside a school gymnasium in Mentor, Ohio. “That’s not bipartisanship. … Knock on some doors with me, make some calls for me.”
In Wisconsin, the president delivered similar remarks but added some star power — singer Katy Perry, who wore a shiny blue mini dress with the word “Forward” across the top and sang into a microphone that looked like the Statue of Liberty torch.
In Iowa, the president referred to the fatal, devastating superstorm Sandy to make his point about working together.
“We are in this together,” he said in Dubuque, Iowa. “We will rise and fall as one nation.”
The president began the day with an early-morning meeting at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters to discuss relief efforts for the Sandy victims.
Most polls show the race too close to call and that it will likely be decided in the battleground states.
The latest RealClearPolitics average of national polls has Obama up by less than 1 percentage point. Obama also is leading in Ohio and Wisconsin, while Romney is leading in Virginia and Florida.
The Obama campaign on Saturday also released a memo on its get-out-the-vote effort and followed it with a conference call to reporters in which National Field Director Jeremy Bird said Obama has 1.8 million new voters in key battlegrounds states whom described as the “backbone of the campaign.”
In Romney’s New Hampshire stop, he criticized Obama’s suggestion Friday to vote out of “revenge,” telling Americans to instead vote out of “love of country.”
Obama made the remark when he talked about Republican opposition to a Clinton administration plan to increase taxes, mentioned Romney’s name, then said, “Voting is the best revenge.”
On Saturday, Obama repeated the story about the Clinton plan but dropped the revenge line.
“This is the most partisan president in history,” said Romney in what are now his closing arguments. “He hasn’t been able to deliver on the promises he made.”
Romney also restated his five-point plan to improve the U.S. economy and said his successful record in business and as Massachusetts governor proves he is up for the task.
The Obama campaign released a web video Saturday titled “President Barack Obama is Leading with Faith Values.”
“In my moments of prayer, I’m reminded that faith and values play an enormous role in motivating us to solve some of our most urgent problems,” the president says in the beginning of the video, which includes testimony from several religious leaders.