After Final Push, Election Day is Here
It's all over but the voting.
Following an exhausting home stretch sprint through the battleground states, President Obama and Mitt Romney will be mostly on the sidelines Tuesday as millions of Americans head to the polls. Romney has scheduled stops in Cleveland and Pittsburgh to thank volunteers and encourage supporters to vote, and both candidates are doing interviews during the day, but there will be no more big campaign rallies, debates or fundraisers for either candidate. The 2012 presidential campaign - the most expensive in history, at nearly $2 billion - is finally coming to an end.
The president spent Monday trying to shore up his Midwestern firewall, making stops in Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa - and appearing alongside supporters Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z. Entering Election Day, most polls suggested the president had narrow leads in all three states, though Romney was within striking distance. If the president triumphs in the states he visited Monday - along with the states he is expected to win - he will have in excess of the 270 electoral votes he needs for another four years in office.
At an appearance in Madison, Wis., the president once again deemed Romney a "talented salesman" who is seeking "to repackage the same old bad ideas and make them out to be good ideas." He also attacked his rival for trying to appropriate the mantle of change that Mr. Obama rode to victory four years ago.
"[W]hen I say, Wisconsin, that I know what real change looks like, you've got cause to believe me because you've seen me fight for it, you've seen me deliver it, you've seen the scars on me to prove it, you've seen the gray hairs on my head to show you what it means to fight for change," said Mr. Obama.
Romney spent Monday in four states: Florida, Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire. In Florida, he told supporters that the nation is "one day away from the first day of a new beginning." He argued that Mr. Obama does not deserve to be reelected because he has failed to reach across the aisle.
"If he can't work with Congress, think what happens the next time the debt ceiling comes up," Romney said. "All right, there will be threats of shutdown and default. And what that means is the economy freezes and jobs aren't created."
Though the candidates are dead even in national polls, the battleground state polls suggest Mr. Obama enters Election Day with an edge. In addition to the three states he visited Monday, he appears to hold a clear lead in Nevada and a small advantage in New Hampshire. Romney's only clear lead is in North Carolina, though surveys out of Florida suggest he may hold a slight advantage there as well. (The remaining battlegrounds, Virginia and Colorado, look just about dead even.) While there are 237 electoral votes that are almost certain to go to Mr. Obama, there are just 191 that are almost certainly in Romney's column. That means that even if he wins Florida's 29 electoral votes, Virginia's 13 electoral votes and Ohio and North Carolina's 15 electoral votes each, Romney would still need another battleground state to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold necessary for victory.