Obama holds lead in key states
By the time they pause to await the election results tomorrow, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will have attended 14 rallies in the final two days of the campaign, in Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. They are in a dead heat, at 48 per cent to 48 per cent, according to an ABC-Washington Post poll published yesterday.
But Mr Obama maintains a slight edge in swing states. One of Mr Romney’s aides conceded that Nevada is “off the table,” and Mr Romney’s 11th-hour visit to Pennsylvania yesterday was interpreted as a sign of desperation, because he looks likely to lose Ohio and Wisconsin.
Mr Obama was hoarse when he and the former president Bill Clinton addressed what was billed as the largest political rally ever held in New Hampshire at a crisp, cold, outdoor rally yesterday morning, in the state capital Concord.
“I am not ready to give up the fight, and I hope you aren’t either, New Hampshire,” Mr Obama said. “We have come too far to turn back now. We have come too far to let our hearts grow faint . . . We will win New Hampshire. We will win this election. We will finish what we started.”
Around the same time, Mr Romney also promised victory, in Des Moines, Iowa.
“The question of this election comes down to this: do you want four more years like the last four years or do you want real change?” Mr Romney asked.
Mr Romney accused Mr Obama of “caring more about a liberal agenda than he did about repairing the economy”.
He vaunted his own record: “I built a business. I turned around another business. I helped put the Olympics back on track. And then with a Democrat legislature, I helped turn my state from deficit to surplus, from job losses to job growth and from higher taxes to higher take-home pay.”
By this evening, Bill Clinton will have held 30 rallies for Mr Obama. “These are the reasons that I support him,” he said, introducing Mr Obama in Concord yesterday.
“Number one, he has been a faithful commander-in-chief for our national security. He has taken good care of our men and women in uniform. He has ended the war in Iraq. He is drawing down the war in Afghanistan. He has fought the terrorists with vigour.”
Mr Clinton contrasted Mr Romney’s shifting policies with Mr Obama’s role as “decider-in-chief”. And he deflated Mr Romney’s promise to create 12 million new jobs in the US, pointing out that the independent business forecaster Moody’s Analytics says “we will get 12 million jobs in the next four years if we just don’t mess up what the president has already done”.
Mr Clinton was also hoarse at a Saturday night rally, where he got a huge laugh when he said that Mitt Romney “has tied himself in so many knots . . . he could be hired as the chief contortionist for Cirque de Soleil.”
The Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan attacked Mr Obama for joking with supporters at a rally on Friday night that voting was the best revenge.
“He was telling his supporters to vote out of revenge,” Mr Ryan said. “Mitt Romney and I are asking you to vote out of love of country. That’s what we do in this country. We don’t believe in revenge. We believe in change and hope.”