Three days before voters chose between giving Obama a second term or sending him packing back to Chicago, the rivals chased one another through a handful of states that will decide Tuesday’s too-close-to-call election.
Romney was up early in New Hampshire, which has only four of the 270 electoral votes needed to claim the White House but could punch above its weight in a tight finish, accusing Obama of “demonising” political foes.
“I won’t represent just one party, I’ll represent one nation,” Romney told a crowd at an airport rally outside Portsmouth, and warned Obama would find it impossible to work with congressional Republicans if he wins re-election.
Romney also debuted a new political ad on Saturday, seizing on Obama’s comment in Ohio on Friday when he told supporters angry at the Republicans not to boo but to vote, saying “voting’s the best revenge”.
‘Vote for love of country’
The ad featured Romney telling his biggest crowd of the campaign in
Ohio also Friday that Obama “asked his supporters to vote for revenge
– for revenge”.
“Instead, I ask the American people to vote for love of country,” Romney said.
While Romney was campaigning, Obama was back in Washington visiting
the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as
New York and New Jersey struggle to deal with the aftermath of
murderous superstorm Sandy.
“We still have a long way to go,” said Obama, stressing he had no time
for government “red tape” which could hold up the relief effort, after
discussing the crisis with the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut
and New York.
The Obama campaign enjoys the comparison between Obama doing his job
managing the government while Romney campaigns as polls show a
majority of Americans approve of the president’s handling of Sandy.
With time running down until the election, Obama soon headed back to
the campaign trail, with a long day of campaign stops planned in Ohio,
the possible tipping point state before heading to Wisconsin and Iowa.
He will wrap up his day with a late night rally in Virginia, a state
where he and Romney are locked in a tight race.
Romney, fresh from the biggest rally of his campaign, which drew at
least 18 000 people on a cold night in West Chester, Ohio, left New
Hampshire for trips to Colorado and Iowa.
In a show of close combat on the last weekend of the campaign, both
candidates will be in the eastern Iowa town of Dubuque, within hours
of one another.
Latest polls show Obama and Romney tied nationally, but Obama appears
to be solidifying his position in enough of the eight or so swing
states that will decide the election to support his hopes of a second
New surveys by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News Saturday showed
the president up by 47-49% in Florida and leading Romney by 51-45 % n
Ohio, double the margin in the current RealClearPolitics average.
A Mason Dixon poll for the Miami Herald, however, had Romney up by six
points in Florida, which the Republican, who also needs Ohio, cannot
afford to lose if he is to be elected America’s 45th president.
The Obama and Romney campaigns have sharply differing views of the race.
The president’s team believe that early voting and polling data, plus
the president’s grass roots turnout machine, mean that Obama will
prevail in a close race.
But Romney’s camp believes opinion polls are overstating the
proportion of Democrats in the electorate and that their candidate is
poised to ride the support of independent voters to victory on
On Friday, Obama earlier evaded a last-minute time bomb as the economy
pumped out more jobs than expected in October.
Romney, however, seized on an uptick in the jobless rate by a tenth of
a point to 7.9% to bemoan an economy at a “virtual standstill”.
‘This isn’t a game’
Obama, campaigning in Ohio Friday repudiated Romney’s claim to being
an agent of change, accusing him instead of trying to “massage the
facts”, highlighting a Romney ad that claims that Chrysler plans to
outsource jobs to China to produce its Jeep vehicles.
“I know we are close to an election, but this isn’t a game. These are
people’s jobs. These are people’s lives,” Obama said, noting that auto
bosses had directly contradicted Romney on the attack.
The president repeatedly touts his decision to bail out indebted US
automakers in a politically unpopular 2009 move that helped restore
the industry to health.
One in eight jobs in Ohio are linked to the sector, and Romney’s
opposition to the bailout has emerged as a liability for the