WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP)– Illinois. New Hampshire. Virginia. Ohio.
President Barack Obama has made his final days on the campaign trail into a sprint, working his way through seven states in one weekend – with multiple stops made in battleground Ohio – to make as much as possible of his remaining time before Tuesday’s election.
On Friday, he made three stops in Ohio alone. He then attended four rallies Saturday, covering Ohio again, followed by rallies in Wisconsin, Iowa and Virginia. On Sunday, he traveled to New Hampshire, Florida and Colorado, as well as returning to Ohio. And it doesn’t stop one day before the election as the president will hit Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio Monday.
Preceding this weekend’s campaign events, Obama spent time in regions of the Mid-Atlantic battered by superstorm Sandy. And he will even spend Election Day outside of Washington, D.C., by going back to his hometown of Chicago to wait out the final hours of a grueling campaign.
And where Obama himself could not be, others went on his behalf, including Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan have also kept busy over the past few days, hitting some of the same states – and in the case of Dubuque, Iowa, the same towns – as the Obama campaign.
Romney also ventured into traditionally Democratic Pennsylvania, seeking a breakthrough in a close race he mused aloud he might lose.
Each campaign is vying for critical wins in battleground states, where popular votes translate to crucial amounts of electoral ones.
Ohio alone offers 18 electoral votes. North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin also have more than 10 votes each for the winning candidate.
Polls suggest the race is very close, and that the candidates are not wasting their time with their final pushes. A new Gallup/USA Today poll suggests that voters in swing states are split evenly, with 48 percent of the electorate favoring Obama, and 48 percent preferring Romney.
Other recent polls also show the candidates to be essentially tied as the final day of campaigning begins.
But as each campaign pushes forward until the last voting location closes, both campaigns are predicting wins for themselves.
Biden, who campaigned throughout Ohio on Sunday, told host Chris Matthews of MSNBC that he and Obama would win Ohio, perhaps the most critical battleground in the closely fought election.
“I think the firewall here of Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa — I think it’s going to hold firm,” he said. “I think we’re going to win clearly.”
Conceding nothing, Romney flew to Pennsylvania for his first campaign foray of the general election.
The theme from “Rocky” blared from the loudspeakers as he stepped to the podium. “The people of America understand we’re taking back the White House because we’re going to win Pennsylvania,” Romney told a large crowd that had been waiting for hours on a cold night.
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