JIM LEHRER: Candidates began their closing arguments in the midterm elections. They did so in a torrent of new campaign ads and appearances in the drive to Election Day.
With time ticking down to Tuesday, strategies for the final push came into view.
MARCO RUBIO (R-Fla.),senatorial candidate: Thank you so much.
JIM LEHRER: Republicans, like Senate hopeful Marco Rubio in Florida, focused on shaking up the government. Rubio will air a two-minute closing ad this weekend.
MARCO RUBIO: It's very clear. If we stay on this road Washington has us on right now, we will risk the essence of what makes us exceptional.
JIM LEHRER: On the other hand, some Democrats, including nine-term Congressman Earl Pomeroy in North Dakota, tried to distance themselves from their leaders.
REP. EARL POMEROY (D-ND): I'm not Nancy Pelosi. I'm not Barack Obama. I'm Earl Pomeroy.
JIM LEHRER: Funding all of these ads are record campaign contributions.
The New York Times reported today that Democratic candidates still hold an edge in their races. It found that, in 109 key House races, Democrats have outraised their opponents by 30 percent, about $40 million. Outside groups have made up some of the difference for Republicans. They have spent more than $60 million in competitive races since July. That's 80 percent more than groups backing Democrats.
Much of the money, as usual, has gone to finance attack ads. On Tuesday, the candidates for governor of California got an earful about that at a women's conference.
Moderator Matt Lauer of NBC posed the question.
MATT LAUER, moderator: Would either of you, or both of you, be willing to make a pledge that you would end the negativity?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
JERRY BROWN (D-Calif.), gubernatorial candidate: If she takes her negative ads, as reasonably defined, and I take -- I will take mine off, no question. We do it together, no problem.
LAUER: That's what I'm asking.
MEG WHITMAN (R-Calif.), gubernatorial candidate: I will take down any ads that could even be -- even remotely be construed as a personal attack, but I don't think that we can take down the ads that talk about where Governor Brown stands on the issues. I just think it is not the right thing to do.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
JIM LEHRER: Beyond the ads, the parties are also focused on key voting groups. President Obama hosted an event today on ending violence against women. Tonight, he goes on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," as he did in 2007 in a bid to energize younger voters.