Thursday, December 12, 2013
By David A. Fahrenthold and Robert Barnes, The Washington Post
The White House the prize, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney raced through a final full day of campaigning on Monday through Ohio and other battleground states holding the keys to victory in a tight race. Both promised brighter days ahead for a nation still struggling with a sluggish economy and high joblessness.
Bruce Springsteen shares a moment with President Barack Obama in Madison, Wis., on Monday. The president urged a crowd of 18,000 supporters to help keep him in the White House.
Nikki Kahn/Washington Post
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns in Sanford, Fla., on Monday before heading to Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire on the eve of the election.
Melina Mara/Washington Post
"Our work is not done yet," Obama told a cheering crowd of nearly 20,000 in chilly Madison, Wis., imploring his audience to give him another four years.
Romney projected optimism as he neared the end of his six-year quest for the presidency. "If you believe we can do better. If you believe America should be on a better course. If you're tired of being tired ... then I ask you to vote for real change," he said in a Virginia suburb of the nation's capital.
Obama held a slim advantage in national and battleground polls going into Election Day as the candidates and their campaigns braced for a day of intense battle -- and the legal fights that may follow.
A Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll showed Obama at 50 percent to Romney's 47 percent. That is Obama's best showing since July and a reversal of the three-percentage-point edge Romney held last month.
Elsewhere, new polls showed the president up by small margins in Ohio, Virginia and New Hampshire, three states that could determine the election by themselves.
The presidency aside, there are 33 Senate seats on the ballot Tuesday, and according to one Republican official, a growing sense of resignation among his party's rank and file that Democrats will hold their majority.
The situation is reversed in the House, where Democrats made no claims they were on the verge of victory in pursuit of the 25 seats they need to gain control.
For both presidential campaigns, Monday was filled with the hard work -- and the head fakes, rumors and spun-up bravado -- that are traditional on an election eve. Volunteers called numbers they'd already called. They rapped on doors they'd already knocked on.
Romney announced that he would campaign into Election Day, visiting Pennsylvania and Ohio, in a gesture of either confidence or concern.
"If anyone wants to know where the energy is -- if anyone out there that's following American politics wants to know where the energy is -- just come right here in this room and you'll see it," the Republican told a crowd at George Mason University in Fairfax County, Va.
Obama finished his campaign on Monday with rallies in Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa. His traveling aides wore fleeces with his 2008 campaign logo and talked confidently of the president's multiple paths to winning 270 electoral votes a second time.
In Madison, Obama rallied a crowd of 18,000 in front of the state Capitol, saying the time was nigh for his supporters to help keep him in the White House.
"If you're willing to work with me again, and knock on some doors with me, make some phone calls for me, turn out for me, we'll win Wisconsin," Obama said. "We'll win this election. We'll finish what we started."
In two key swing states, the parties spent Monday battling over voting procedures. In Florida, the state Democratic Party asked a judge to order an extension of early voting, after an early-voting center near Miami shut down temporarily on Sunday with a line outside.
Afterward, Florida Democrats said, election officials in South Florida made it easier to cast in-person absentee ballots. The party said officials in the heavily Democratic counties of Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade were allowing voters to cast absentee ballots Monday.
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President Obama campaigns in Madison, Wis.
Nikki Kahn/Washington Post