Published November 05, 2012
President Obama and Mitt Romney plunged into the final 24-hour stretch of campaigning Monday homing in on a relatively narrow cross-section of voters in just a handful of states -- each employing his own custom line-up of rock superstars to help sell the campaign message and perhaps move the needle in a historically close race.
The candidates were blazing a trail across six states Monday, with the Republican nominee kicking things off with a peppy rally in Orlando, Fla.
"One final push is going to get us there!" Romney declared, before heading to Virginia, Ohio and finally New Hampshire.
Both campaigns have turned the final full day of campaigning into a veritable battle of the bands. Bruce Springsteen was joining up with Obama for his entire swing through Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa -- riding on Air Force One for the first leg of the trip. Jay-Z is expected to attend the Ohio stop. Romney, meanwhile, was getting back-up on stage from The Marshall Tucker Band in Columbus, Ohio, and from Kid Rock shortly before midnight in Manchester, N.H.
In Madison, Wis., Obama, his voice hoarse, urged voters to help him "finish what we started."
"We have come too far to turn back now," the president said. He accused Romney of trying to "repackage the same old, bad ideas" as change, and tried to hold up the Clinton administration's economic record of the '90s as evidence that Democratic ideas "work."
"This should not be that complicated. We tried our ideas, they worked," Obama said. "We tried their ideas, they didn't work."
The Republican nominee in Florida continued to hammer his message that Obama is holding back the economic recovery, and that clearing him out of office will unleash the power of America's supposedly regulation-burdened entrepreneurs.
"The door to a brighter future is open, it's waiting for us. I need your vote, I need your help," Romney said. "Tomorrow, we begin a new tomorrow."
Romney claimed his campaign has "gathered strength" in recent weeks and become a "movement."
Indeed, Romney gained considerable traction in the polls after his first debate against Obama. But the race is still effectively tied at the national level. And in the battleground states where the election will be decided, voters are similarly split.
By most estimates, Obama comes into Election Day with a slight advantage in the electoral vote count. The RealClearPolitics electoral map shows the states likely to vote for Obama are worth 201 electoral votes, while those likely to vote for Romney are worth 191. It takes 270 to win.
The toss-ups include: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
It takes 270 to win. Perhaps the most fiercely contested is Ohio, where both candidates were campaigning on Monday. Romney is even expected to campaign in Ohio on Election Day.
The state holds 18 electoral votes and is considered crucial for either candidate. Most polls show Obama with a slight lead. Romney, though, has been making a late play for Democrat-leaning Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes -- a win there for Romney could provide him a firewall in case he loses Ohio.
A poll released Sunday in The Pittsburgh Tribune showed the race in the Keystone State locked up at 47 percent in the final week.
The president's team, though, 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, like Romney, pledged to govern in a bipartisan fashion for the next four years as they both tried to reach independent and undecided voters.
"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."