Race to the finish line — Romney, Obama in swing states
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK: US President Barack Obama spent the final hours of his re-election campaign, touring five swing states and urging his supporters to turn up in large numbers on Tuesday.
His Republican challenger Mitt Romney also spent the final hours in swing states of Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania with the same message for his supporters: come out and vote.
These are called swing states because they are not clearly identified with either the Republican or the Democratic Party and have a large number of independent voters.
“If you’ve already early voted, then go grab some friends and neighbours and co-workers and boyfriends and girlfriends,” Mr Obama told his supporters at one of the rallies. “Now, you should convince them to vote for me before you drag them to the polls.”
And Mr Romney said: “What I need you to do is to go across your street to your neighbour that has that other sign in the front yard,” Mr Romney said. “And in Washington I’m going to go across the aisle, to the guys who’ve been working for the other candidate.”
This has been Mr Romney’s main theme in trying to win over independent voters in 11 swing states, saying that in his four years in Washington President Obama failed to take a Republican-led Congress along and that’s why the country suffered.
Unlike Mr Obama, Mr Romney argues that he worked with Democrats when he was the governor of Massachusetts, where Democrats controlled the state legislature.
President Obama, on the other hand, reminded independent voters that Republicans had always derailed programmes aimed at helping the masses, such as his healthcare plan.
At an earlier rally in Ohio, when President Obama mentioned Mr Romney’s name, the crowd booed.
“No, no, no — don’t boo, vote,” Mr Obama responded. “Vote, voting is the best revenge.”
This gave Mr Romney a good line to use against the president. “Vote for revenge? Let me tell you what I’d like to tell you: Vote for love of country. It is time we lead America to a better place,” he told a rally in New Hampshire.
In the final push for votes, Mr Obama also has a powerful ally, former US president Bill Clinton who is still very popular among the masses.
In Concord, New Hampshire, they worked a crowd of 14,000 as loudspeakers blared: “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow,” Mr Clinton’s 1992 campaign anthem.
In Virginia, another swing state, Mr Obama told a crowd of 24,000 that it was now up to them to decide whether he keeps the White House or gives it to Mr Romney.
“The power is not with us anymore, what we do doesn’t matter. It’s all up to you, it’s up to the volunteers… you have got the power. That’s how democracy is supposed to be,” he said.
Mr Clinton, his voice hoarse from his exhaustive campaigning for Mr Obama, told the crowd he had literally given “my voice in the service of my president”.
Mr Romney landed among his supporters in an aeroplane hangar in Iowa, “Believe in America” painted on both sides of his plane and a stylised “R” for Republican on its tail.
The crowd roared and a soaring music filled the air as Mr Romney told his supporters: “It’s not just the size of the crowds — although this is pretty darn impressive … It’s also the energy and the passion, the recognition that we share a deep conviction about the future of this country.”
The Republican told another crowd in Colorado, also a swing state, the election would be “a moment to look into the future, and imagine what we can do to put the past four years behind us”.
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