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Obama, Romney make last-ditch pitch for votes

06 November, 2012

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MADISON: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney made last-ditch appeals to American voters on Monday as campaigning drew to a close with the president holding a slender advantage going into election day.

On the eve of Tuesday's (today) vote, after a see-sawing 18-month battle, Romney was tied with Obama in national polls, but the Democrat held narrow leads in 10 of the 12 key swing states that will decide who wins the White House.

Both candidates had engaged in a weekend campaign marathon, going deep into the night on Sunday in a frenetic 11th-hour search for votes before getting a few hours sleep and starting all over again.

Then Romney was first out of the gate on Monday morning, addressing a rally in the biggest swing state of all, Florida, barely 10 hours after wrapping up an event the night before in Virginia.

"We need every single vote in Florida," Romney told a modest crowd at an airport hangar in Sanford outside Orlando, part of Florida's critically important "I-4 corridor", a string of communities cutting across the state.

Obama beginning his final day of campaigning in Madison, Wisconsin, told the crowd Romney was nothing but a "good salesman" and that he, the president, was the only candidate who would bring real change.

Rock legend Bruce Springsteen took the stage before the president and gave a rousing speech dotted with acoustic guitar riffs. "This election, it's sealed because of this song, right here. Swing states, this is the tipping point," he said.

After taking Springsteen with him to rallies in Ohio and Iowa, Obama returns to his hometown Chicago, where he hopes to celebrate tonight becoming only the second Democrat since World War II to win a second term.

Democrats said they were confident of Obama's small but steady lead in key swing states, but acknowledged everything now depends on getting out the vote. After Florida, Romney held the first of two Virginia rallies before heading to potential kingmaker Ohio. He then returns to where he launched his campaign 18 months ago: New Hampshire.

Obama aides have pointed at early voting advantages in Ohio and Florida as evidence the president is close to sealing the deal but the race is still extremely tight and Romney's camp also appeared confident of victory.

End.

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