Mad dash to the finish for Romney, Obama

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney walks off stage at the conclusion of a campaign rally...

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney walks off stage at the conclusion of a campaign rally at the airport in Columbus, Ohio November 5, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Bryn Weese, Senior Washington Correspondent

, Last Updated: 1:59 AM ET

BOSTON, Mass. — Republican Mitt Romney is hoping his party here Tuesday night will be a victory rally — even if he won't carry this liberal state.

But for Romney to win Tuesday's historic presidential election, he almost certainly has to carry Ohio and breaking with tradition, Romney is campaigning in Cleveland and in Pittsburgh, Pa., Tuesday.

Candidates generally don't hit the hustings on election day, so are Romney's events — particularly the rally in Pennsylvania — a head-fake? A sign of desperation? A sign of strength? It could be all three.

While recent polls show Pennsylvania as a tight race -- even a tie in some surveys — it's not generally considered up for grabs. But if Romney loses Ohio, where Obama has consistently polled slightly ahead, stealing Pennsylvania from the democrats could provide another path for Romney to win.

The Romney campaign and the Republican party took out about $3 million in ads in Pennsylvania last week, and making a play for your opponent's so-called safe states certainly exudes confidence. But it's also a ploy past Republican candidates have made, even though the state hasn't voted for the GOP since 1988.


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Elsewhere on Monday, both presidential candidates kept frenetic schedules crisscrossing the country making their final pitches to voters in critical swing states.

Romney was expected to finish Monday with a late night rally with Kid Rock in New Hampshire, a neighbouring state to this one where he owns a cottage. There are only four electoral college votes up for grabs there, but given how close this race is, they could be deciding votes on election day.

Earlier, a confident-sounding Romney stumped in Florida, Virginia and Ohio and promised he'd focus on creating jobs from day one.

"I'm not going to waste my time complaining about my predecessor when I am president. I am not going to spend my time trying to pass partisan legislation that's not related to jobs," he told supporters in Lynchburg, Va., accusing Obama of failing to deliver on economic promises he made four years ago. "From day one I am going to go to work to help Americans get back to work."

But Air Force One was clocking miles Monday, too, and Obama campaigned in the three states considered to be his firewall: Wisconsin, Ohio, and finally Iowa.

Democrats think if Obama wins those three states, it will be enough to push him over the 270 electoral college votes he'll need to be re-elected, but that likely assumes Pennsylvania goes for Obama, too.

On Monday in Wisconsin, Obama told supporters bringing change to Washington is hard, because the status quo is "fierce."

"I know everybody sometimes romanticizes the last campaign — the posters and all the good feeling — but I said back then, when I talk about change I'm not just talking about changing presidents or political parties, I'm talking about changing how our politics works," he said. "I ran because the voices of the American people, your voices, had been shut out of our democracy for way too long by lobbyists and special interests and politicians who will say and do anything just to keep things the way they are. To protect the status quo. The status quo in Washington is fierce."

But smaller crowds — smaller than Romney's this election and smaller crowds than Obama himself drew in 2008 — have been greeting the president recently. Democrats insist Obama's campaign is more focused on getting their supporters to vote than they are about getting big crowds. Republicans are pointing to the smaller crowds as a sign Obama will lose Tuesday's historic election.

bryn.weese@sunmedia.ca

 


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