CLOSING TIME: In Final Hours, Are There Still Undecideds Left to Swing?
President Obama and Mitt Romney resume their foray into battleground states Monday morning with Election Day now just hours away.
Romney closed the weekend with stops in Pennsylvania and Virginia, battleground states considered critical in the quest for the 270 electoral votes it takes to win the White House.
“I know how to change the course this country is on,” Romney told a crowd in the suburban Philadelphia town of Morrisville. “It’s something I’m going to do as president of the United States. … Two more days and we can get to work on rebuilding our country.”
His comments were similar to those he made earlier in the day, in Des Moines, Iowa, then in Ohio.
Romney is making a late play for votes in Democratic-leaning Pennsylvania, with his campaign and allies putting millions of dollars into TV ads there during the race’s final weeks.
The state last voted for a Republican presidential candidate in 1988, but Obama and his allies also began advertising heavily in the campaign’s final days.
A poll released Sunday in The Pittsburgh Tribune shows the race for state’s 20 electoral votes locked up at 47 percent in the final week.
The president’s team called the Pennsylvania move a “Hail Mary” and a sign Romney still doesn’t have a clear pathway to reaching the required electoral votes.
Obama on Sunday also had four stops – jetting from a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was joined by Stevie Wonder, to a final one in Colorado.
The Obama campaign announced late in the day that the president’s final campaign stop would be Monday in Des Moines, Iowa. He also is scheduled to make stops Monday in Wisconsin and Ohio.
Romney is scheduled to be in Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire and Virginia.
The campaign announced the final event — a “victory rally” — will now be held Monday night at the George Mason University Patriot Center to accommodate an “overwhelming demand” to attend the event.
Both candidates laid out their final arguments to win the remaining undecided voters in the battleground states and urged supporters to do everything they could in the final hours of the 2012 race.
They also pledged to be bipartisan in an effort to appeal to Independent voters, who will help decide the race.
“I want all parties to work together,” the president said at a rally in Hollywood, Fla. “We’re not Democrats and Republicans first. We’re Americans first. … As long as I’m president, I will work with anybody, of any party, to move this country forward.”
The candidates are once again tied nationally with two days remaining before Election Day, according to a Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll released Sunday.
Among likely voters, Obama and Romney are deadlocked at 48 percent. And for the first time this year, they are tied among independents voters, at 46 percent each, the poll says.
“After all we have been through, we can’t give up now. “I’m not ready to give up the fight,” Obama said during his first event Sunday, an outdoor event in Concord, N.H., where he was introduced by former President Bill Clinton and that was attended by more than 14,000 people.
At practically the same time, Romney argued the president had four years to improve the country and warned that another Obama term might result in more economic decline.
“The same course we’ve been on, will not lead to a better destination,” Romney told a crowd of about 4,400 in Des Moines, Iowa. “Unless we change course, we may be looking at another recession.”
Before the candidates hit the trail, their top campaign officials expressed confidence about victory Tuesday and argued about who had the edge in battleground states and in early voting.
“They are in deep trouble,” Obama senior campaign adviser David Axelrod said on “Fox News Sunday.” “They understand the battleground states where they’ve been working is not working out for them.”
Rich Beeson, Romney’s political director, said the campaign has found success in a final get-out-the-vote effort that reached out to people who are not core Republicans or vote regularly.
“We’ve done a much, much better job of getting our low propensity voters out to vote,” he told Fox. “And we’ve got all of our high propensity voters ready to go vote on Election Day.”
On the criticism that the campaign has failed to lock down Republican-friendly Florida, Beeson said: “For them to go down and spend more money down there is a little bit like Barack Obama’s government right now. They want to throw money at the problem and hope it fixes it, but at the end of the day, Gov. Romney will carry Florida by a significant margin.”
Obama’s campaign has also mobilizing a massive get-out-the-vote effort that officials say has registered roughly 1.8 million new voters in battle ground states.
Obama is closing out the campaign with an apparent edge in some key battleground states, including Ohio. But Romney’s campaign is projecting momentum and banking on late-breaking voters to propel him to victory in the exceedingly close race.