- The Washington Times - Monday, November 5, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Running at a breakneck pace in what is shaping up to be one of the tightest presidential battles in American history, President Obama and Mitt Romney spent the last full day of the campaign scouring the country for additional votes, and calling on their troops to give them the ground support they need to capture the White House.

Mr. Obama began his longest day of campaigning in Wisconsin, where he linked up with rocker Bruce Springsteen, and then he dropped into Ohio and Iowa before overnighting in Chicago.

Mr. Romney, meanwhile, started his day with a Florida rally at an airport hangar in the Orlando area before leapfrogging from Virginia to Ohio.

He closed out the day with a racous event in New Hampshire where Kid Rock whipped the thousands in attendance into a frenzy by dancing atop a piano and belting out “Born Free” — the campaign’s theme song.

Speaking in Madison, Wis., Mr. Obama urged his supporters to “keep pushing forward” with their plans to bring change to Washington and to ensure that “no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, no matter how you started out, no matter what your last name is, you can make it here in America if you try.”

“And Wisconsin, that’s why I need your vote,” Mr. Obama said. “And 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. We’ll win this election. We’ll finish what we’ve started.”

Mr. Romney delivered a similar get-out-the-vote appeal minutes later in Lynchburg, Va., calling on his supporters to make sure they get “every single” person they can to the polls Tuesday and he assured them that “we are only one day away from a fresh start — one day away from the start of a new beginning.”

“If there is anyone who is worried that the last four years are the best we can do,” Mr. Romney said. “If there is anyone who fears the American dream is fading away. If there is anyone who wonders if better jobs and better paychecks are a thing of the past, I have a clear and unequivocal message: Under the right leadership America is about the come roaring back.” 

Polls: A dead heat

The appearances coincided with a CNN/Opinion Research national poll of likely voters that showed the race could not be any closer — a 49 percent to 49 percent tie. A Gallup poll showed Mr. Romney with a 49 percent to 48 percent lead over Mr. Obama.

The race, though, almost certainly will be decided in about eight battleground states, where the vaunted Obama ground game will be pitted against Mr. Romney’s advantage when it comes to overall voter enthusiasm.

Both camps sounded confident that they would win.

“We had a good organization in ‘08 and right now we’re light-years ahead of where we were then,” senior adviser David Plouffe told reporters traveling with Mr. Obama. “We think the president is going to have a very good day tomorrow.”

Kevin Madden, a top Romney adviser, said: “We have an intensity level with our voters that they just don’t have.

“They have relied on a network of paid staffers to try and identify and target voters, just like they did in 2008,” Mr. Madden said. “The problem for them is that they’re finding them, but there aren’t enough of them or the ones they do find are disappointed in Obama and not voting for him this time around.”

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