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Candidates Barnstorm Battleground States in Last Full Day of Campaigning

President Obama; photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Obama arrives for a campaign rally Sunday in Concord, N.H. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

The Morning Line

In a game that’s all about numbers, President Obama and Mitt Romney are looking at 83.

Those are the combined Electoral College votes up for grabs in states the Associated Press dubs tossups: Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Let’s take a look at the average of polls taken in these six battlegrounds, which will all receive a visit Monday from at least one member of the Democratic or Republican tickets.

Colorado: Obama +0.3 percent (48 percent to 47.7 percent)

Florida: Romney +1.8 percent (49.5 percent to 47.7 percent)

New Hampshire: Obama +2.0 percent (49.7 percent to 47.7 percent)

Ohio: Obama +2.9 percent (49.4 percent to 46.5 percent)

Virginia: Obama +0.3 percent (48 percent to 47.7 percent)

Wisconsin: Obama +4.2 percent (50.4 percent to 46.2 percent)

On the margins are Nevada (+2.8 percent) and Iowa (+3 percent), which are looking to favor Mr. Obama, and three states where Republicans believe they’re making a dent: Pennsylvania (Obama +3.9 percent), Michigan (Obama +3.8 percent) and Minnesota (Obama +5.2 percent).

The GOP presidential nominee held a rally Sunday evening near Philadelphia but returns his attention to the true tossups on Monday, with events in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire. His running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, makes stops in Nevada, Colorado, Iowa and Ohio.

The president will spend the day securing his Midwest firewall, stumping in Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa, while Vice President Biden holds a pair of rallies in Virginia.

But don’t forget North Carolina, the state Mr. Obama captured by 14,000 votes four years ago. Poll averages there have Romney ahead by 3 percent, but Mr. Obama’s team swears they still have a chance. That’s one reason first lady Michelle Obama is making Charlotte one of her last stops before Election Day voting kicks off.

Assuming for the moment that North Carolina goes to Romney and Nevada and Iowa stay blue for the president, that would put the Electoral College total at 249 for Mr. Obama and 206 for the former Massachusetts governor — and leave the president needing just Ohio [18 electoral votes] and any of the five remaining states to clinch re-election.

Game out scenarios yourself in our Vote 2012 Map Center:

The final weekend of the campaign included whirlwind visits to the states mentioned above and new television ads.

During a rally in Morrisville, Pa., Sunday evening, Romney told supporters he was the candidate who would bring real change to Washington. “The question of this election comes down to this: Do you want four more years like the last four years or do you want real change? President Obama promised change, but he couldn’t deliver. He could not deliver the change he promised.”

But the president, campaigning in Cincinnati said Romney was simply repackaging old policies and putting a fresh label on them.

“It turns out we know what change looks like. And what Gov. Romney is selling is not change,” the president said. “Another $5 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthy — not change. Refusing to answer questions about the details of your policy until after the election — definitely not change. That’s the oldest trick in the book.”

They also sparred as Romney highlighted a new spin on a standard stump line Mr. Obama has been using for more than four years. The president told his supporters not to boo Romney’s name, saying that voting is the best “revenge.” He’s long had the line, “You don’t need to boo, you just need to vote.” Romney put out an ad saying he wants his backers to vote “for love of country,” not “revenge,” and his campaign called the president’s comments “scare tactics.”

Judy Woodruff was in Columbus, Ohio, to capture the mood on the ground. Don’t miss her report about the last-minute get-out-the-vote efforts on Monday’s NewsHour.


The NewsHour and public media partners spent this election cycle exploring states and races at the top of the ticket and down the ballot in a new Battleground Dispatches series. Airing Friday was the sixth piece, which focused on the often overlooked issue of immigration and how it’s motivating some voters to get to the polls.

Watch the report from special correspondent Paul Yaeger of Iowa Public Television here or below:

Politics production assistant Alex Bruns was along for the trip. He made this video looking at Perry, Iowa, and filed a story with a great lede:

Imagine a place where campaigning never stops. Where the election lasts a lifetime and the candidates want to meet you, shake your hand and talk about the issues most important to you. A place where the biggest draw at the state’s fair is either the next president of the United States or a giant butter sculpture.

Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.

Read it here and watch Alex’s video below.


On Friday’s NewsHour, Mark Shields and David Brooks gave their final thoughts before the election. David called Romney’s speech in Wisconsin on Friday the best one of his campaign but said he’s “dubious” it will sway voters this late. Mark said if it weren’t for superstorm Sandy, the focus of the week would have been the spat over the Jeep television ad.

They also reacted to the Iowa piece with a discussion about immigration politics.

Watch here or below:

Christina filled in for Hari Sreenivasan hosting the Doubleheader in the newsroom. They chatted about Senate races to watch, that predictive(?) Redskins game and bobbleheads. Watch here or below.

Mark and David will join Gwen Ifill and Judy for our election special, which begins Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET and goes until there’s a winner and both presidential candidates have spoken.


PBS’ news teams came together for an in-depth look at the presidential contest and policy questions raised this campaign cycle for a major election special, which aired Friday night. Hari hosted. Watch here or below:

Watch What’s at Stake: PBS Election 2012 on PBS. See more from Need To Know.



The NewsHour’s Cindy Huang took a look at church-going voters and efforts to persuade them against one or another.

Watch here or below.


Monday’s tidbit from NewsHour partner Face the Facts USA let’s you know that it takes $26.8 billion to build the U.S.’ newest aircraft carrier.


  • The NewsHour takes a look at the jobs figures by talking to economists John Taylor and Austan Goolsbee.
  • NewsHour politics production assistant Allie Morris puts a spotlight on Wisconsin in our latest Listen to Me feature.
  • The New York Times has dueling profiles of the two presidential candidates, with Peter Baker looking at the final campaign for Mr. Obama and Ashley Parker and Michael Barbaro tackling Romney.
  • Romney pens an op-ed in USA Today with his closing pitch, and here’s the op-ed from Mr. Obama.
  • The Washington Post dives into a 2007 video featuring Romney talking about his Mormon faith.
  • The Root’s Kelli Goff rounds up states where voter ID laws could make the difference.
  • The NewsHour’s David Pelcyger pulls up a chair in a cafe in battleground Colorado. Here’s his post on what patrons are saying about the close election.
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev., disses Romney’s assertion that he’d be a bipartisan outreach president.
  • The non-partisan organization HeadCount has a site for voters to check their registration status.
  • The Washington Post’s Eli Saslow pens a richly reported story from the Iowa-Missouri border that details how some neighbors are prime targets for battleground politics while others are left behind.
  • Roll Call’s Janie Lorber explains how the electors will actually secure the election result, more than a month from now.
  • Christina makes her predictions for Tuesday’s outcome in the Washington Post’s Crystal Ball contest. Of the 13 participants, 11 forecast a victory for the president.
  • Mr. Burns endorses Romney.


  • Connecticut Republican Senate hopeful Linda McMahon uses doorhangers urging votes for her and the president, Talking Points Memo reports.
  • Sen. Mark Kirk grants his first interview since his stroke and says he hopes to return to Washington by next year.
  • Roll Call’s Kyle Trygstad gets Tim Kaine’s harmonica into the lede of his story on the Virginia Senate battle.
  • California Gov. Jerry Brown gets his Welsh Corgi in on his election push.
  • Picture it: More than 1,000 African-Americans marching in unison for over seven miles. “A voter-less people is a powerless people,” they chant, holding banners that read “We Will Vote.” Now quick, guess the year. Click here for the answer.
  • Al Tompkins explains how the Electoral College system works.
  • Abby Livingston of Roll Call ranks the nastiest ads of election 2012. Here’s one of them, running against Rep. Jeff Flake in Arizona.
  • The Washington Post moves Indiana’s Senate race to Lean Democratic, an indication that Treasurer Richard Mourdock’s rape comments have made a difference in the contest.
  • GOP Rep. Aaron Schock is thinking about a bid for governor of Illinois, Reid Wilson reports for National Journal.

Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.


All events are listed in Eastern Time.

  • President Obama closes out the campaign with three events in three states: Madison, Wis., at 9:45 a.m., Columbus, Ohio, at 4:10 p.m. and Des Moines, Iowa, at 10:50 p.m.
  • Mitt Romney makes five campaign states across four states Monday. He begins in Sanford, Fla., at 9 a.m. Then it’s on to Virginia for an event in Lynchburg at 12:35 p.m. and another in Fairfax at 3:15 p.m. From there he travels to Columbus, Ohio, for a 6:25 p.m. rally, and holds his final event of the 2012 campaign in Manchester, N.H., at 10 p.m.
  • Vice President Biden and Jill Biden campaign in Virginia, with a stop in Sterling at 12:15 p.m. and another in Richmond at 7 p.m.
  • Paul Ryan hits four states on Monday, starting in Reno, Nev., at 12:25 p.m. He also stops in Johnstown, Colo., at 3:35 p.m., Des Moines, Iowa, at 6:30 p.m. and Vienna, Ohio, at 9:15 p.m.
  • Michelle Obama makes a stop in Charlotte, N.C., at 3:15 p.m. and another in Orlando, Fla., at 6:10 p.m. before traveling to Iowa to join the president for the Des Moines rally at 10:50 p.m.

All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:

For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

Follow the politics team on Twitter: @cbellantoni, @burlij, @elizsummers, @kpolantz, @indiefilmfan, @tiffanymullon, @dePeystah, @meenaganesan and @abbruns.









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