Fierce finish: Romney, Obama sharpen closing lines

Down to a fierce finish, President Barack Obama accused Mitt Romney of scaring voters with lies on Friday, while the Republican challenger warned grimly of political paralysis and another recession if Obama reclaims the White House.
AP Wire
Nov 3, 2012


Heading into the final weekend, the race's last big report on the economy showed hiring picking up but millions still out of work.

"Four more days!" Romney supporters bellowed at a rally in Wisconsin. "Four more years!" Obama backers shouted as the president campaigned in Ohio.

With Ohio at the center of it all, the candidates sharpened their closing lines, both clutching to the mainstream middle while lashing out at one another. Virtually all of the nine homestretch battleground states were getting personal attention from the contenders or top members of their teams, and Romney was pressing hard to add Pennsylvania to the last-minute mix.

Romney drew the largest crowd of his years-long quest for the presidency at an Ohio rally attended by 18,000 people on a cold Friday night.

"We're almost home," a confident Romney, surrounded by family and more than a dozen Republican officials, told a sea of supporters. "One final push will get us there."

Urgency could be felt all across the campaign, from the big and boisterous crowds to the running count that roughly 24 million people already have voted. Outside the White House, workers were setting the foundation for the inaugural viewing stand for Jan. 20. Lawyers from both camps girded for a fight should the election end up too close to call.

Obama, for the first time, personally assailed Romney over ads suggesting that automakers General Motors and Chrysler are adding jobs in China at the expense of auto-industry dependent Ohio. Both companies have called the ads untrue. The matter is sensitive in Ohio, perhaps the linchpin state of the election.

"I know we're close to an election, but this isn't a game," Obama said from Hilliard, Ohio, a heavily Republican suburb of the capital city of Columbus. "These are people's jobs. These are people's lives. ... You don't scare hardworking Americans just to scare up some votes."

For once, the intensely scrutinized monthly jobs report seemed overshadowed by the pace of the presidential race. It was unlikely to affect the outcome.

Employers added a better-than-expected 171,000 jobs in October, underscoring that the economy is improving. But the rate is still short of what will be needed to seriously shrink unemployment. The jobless rate ticked up to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent — mainly because more people jumped back into the search for work.

No issue matters more to voters than the economy, the centerpiece of a Romney message called the closing case of his campaign.

He said an Obama presidency would mean more broken relations with Congress, showdowns over government shutdowns, a chilling effect on the economy and perhaps "another recession."

"He has never led, never worked across the aisle, never truly understood how jobs are created in the economy," said Romney, a former private equity firm executive, in a campaign stop in Wisconsin.

Later in Ohio, he declared: "I will not represent one party. I will represent one nation."

Democrats sought to kick the legs out of Romney's late-campaign theme of bipartisanship.

"Mitt Romney's fantasy that Senate Democrats will work with him to pass his 'severely conservative' agenda is laughable," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Obama claimed he loved working with Republicans — when they agreed with him. His tone was scrappy.

"I don't get tired," he said in the longest days of the campaign. When Romney's name drew boos, Obama blurted out: "Vote! Voting is the best revenge."

While the politics intensified, real-life misery played out in the Northeast.

The death toll and anger kept climbing in the aftermath of the massive storm Sandy. Millions were without power, and many drivers could find no gasoline.

Obama noted at the top of his campaign speeches that he was still commanding the federal storm response. He also managed to tie it to the theme of his political bid. "We rise or fall as one nation and as one people," he said, before launching directly to the economic recovery under his watch.

Polling shows the race remains a legitimate toss-up heading into the final days. But Romney still has the tougher path to victory because he must win more of the nine most-contested states to reach 270 electoral votes: Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada, Wisconsin, Iowa and New Hampshire.

The dash for cash continued to the end. A fundraising email under Romney's name asked for money to expand operations into other states and "redefine the landscape of this election." An Obama fundraising pitch said final decisions were being made Saturday on where to direct the last campaign money. "It's not too late," it said.

Romney was making a late, concerted push into Pennsylvania, drawing jeers from Obama aides who called it desperation. Obama won the state comfortably in 2008. Romney appeared intent on another path to the presidency should he lose Ohio.

His foray into Pennsylvania is not folly. Unlike states that emphasize early voting, Pennsylvania will see most votes cast on Election Day. The state has not been saturated with political advertising, giving Romney and his supporting groups — still flush with cash — an opportunity to sway last-minute voters with a barrage of commercials. Obama is countering by buying commercial time in the state as well and is sending former President Bill Clinton to campaign Monday in Pittsburgh, Scranton and the Philadelphia area.

The candidates' wives and running mates fanned out to the South, Midwest and West to cover more ground.

"Here's what it comes down to: We can't afford to wait four more years for real change to get us on the right track," said the Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, rallying for votes in Montrose, Colo. "We only need to wait four more days."

Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden drew roaring support in Beloit, Wis., in a middle school near Ryan's hometown.

Obama reached beyond the big cities of Ohio before heading back to the White House. Romney was headed into the weekend with a kickoff event for the finish, joining up with his running mate and their wives.

AP White House Correspondent Ben Feller reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Ken Thomas, Julie Pace and Julie Carr Smyth in Hilliard, Ohio, Steve Peoples in Pataskala, Ohio, Daniel Sewell in Cincinnati, Ann Sanner in Springfield, Ohio, Matthew Daly in Beloit, Wis., Philip Elliott in Montrose, Colo., and Jim Kuhnhenn and Mark S. Smith in Washington contributed to this report.


Tri-cities realist

"These are people's jobs. These are people's lives. ... You don't scare hardworking Americans just to scare up some votes." hmm I wonder which of the 2 of them is more guilty of doing it. As for the unemployment rate rising, funny how now the Obama camp recognizes that there are actually people out here who are looking, but can't find work. They must not have gotten the memo to stay off the unemployment roles, otherwise the rate would have gone down again. Sad that the "real" rate is way above 15 percent. Let's vote for some real change.

Captain Obvious

The scaring "Brainwashing" of America started back in 1990 with the dynamic duo of Frank Luntz and Newt Gingrich. From Wikipedia "In 1990, after consulting focus groups[36] with the help of pollster Frank Luntz,[37] GOPAC distributed a memo with a cover letter signed by Gingrich titled "Language, a Key Mechanism of Control", that encouraged Republicans to "speak like Newt" and contained lists of "contrasting words" – words with negative connotations such as "radical", "sick," and "traitors" – and "optimistic positive governing words" such as "opportunity", "courage", and "principled", that Gingrich recommended for use in describing Democrats and Republicans, respectively"


What a choice! Romney has pathologically lied his way from being a "severe" conservative (his words) for the past 2 years, to now a "compassionate" moderate these past few weeks. We're not talking "spin" here, but outright, verifiable lies (even our auto industry CEO's are publicly denouncing his recent lies about Chrysler/Jeep and the auto bailout). And he chose Ryan, another "severe" conservative flip-flopper who voted for the stimulus act, asked Obama for money for his state of Wisconsin, but now skewers Obama for it. Between the 2, they have campaigned on dismantling, defunding, repealing or crippling Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Dept of Education, the FDA, the EPA, FEMA, Planned Parenthood, and ObamaCare, now that people are beginning to realize how beneficial this is to American families. BUT - more tax cuts for their wealthy associates. Are they CRAZY? Independent economic commissions have repeatedly stated that: 1) Romney's 5-point plan does not add up, and will actually INCREASE TAXES for the MIDDLE CLASS. 2) Romney's tax plan will INCREASE THE DEFICIT, NOT DECREASE IT. 3) A current independent report has shown that there is no correlation between tax cuts for the wealthy and economic growth or job creation - virtually the main building block of their campaign. It's telling that Romney's approval rating as Massachusetts governor is very low, and he is losing his home state by over 30 points. Ryan the same - recent polls show he could lose his race to retain his House seat, as well as possibly losing his home state of Wisconsin on the Romney/Ryan ticket that is now showing an Obama win.
Romney refuses to show tax returns earlier than 2010. What is he hiding? Perhaps the fact that he and Ann profited through an investment in the purchase of Delphi to the tune of tens to hundreds of MILLIONS of taxpayer money. Yes, that's right - the Romney's engaged in auto bailout profiteering. Throw in the fact all the money he has made off money (not creating or building something) has gone to Swiss bank accounts, Cayman tax havens, and a tax rate of 12-14% and what do you get? A man who will do and say anything to anybody to get power and wealth. A man of family wealth and privilege who doesn't understand the average American, the American Dream, or the American role in the world. A man who lies with the ease of somebody used to lying to get what he wants. A man who will fire, outsource jobs, demolish - whatever it takes - to get a favorable bottom line. The deception is beyond words - Romney/Ryan is bad news for the future of our country, our families, and the American Spirit.


Don't worry Laninvain, President Romney will give us real change and growth for the country. Your tired rhetoric is falling on deaf American ears, they see thru your straw man.


It will be nice when Obama wins and sends Willard Rmoney back to Utah, or Mass, or wherever the H*** he is from on Tuesday. Good riddance to him, and I hope we never see his face again! Amazing how much denial there is on here. Romney is a pathological liar, a cheat (taxes), and a religious zealot. He has no substance, no plan, no foreign policy, his math never adds up, and he has the most ignorant woman for a wife. This joker RMoney is NOT Presidential material, and never will be. You people are voting for a dead horse if you vote for him, just throwing your vote away.


Hey wait a minute 43, I thought you said there was no h***. You are conflicted from post to post.




Oh, I actual believe he comes from "help", which is what he will bring us once elected....carry on.


Can anyone name 5 industries that have benefited from Obama's Presidency? Before you scream the auto industry remember, the big 3 are still standing despite the President's policies and are still buried in billions of dollars in debt. about 3 then? Still too hard, how about 1? No, entitlements are NOT an industry....keep trying. When is the last time you've heard of a company in the private sector hiring people because of Obama's programs? Go ask the people on the East Coast how the President is leading a Nation after a devistating Hurricane. Complete incompetence. The next 24 hours cannot come soon enough. Romney will win big tomorrow so, don't forget to focus on all 6 proposals, and the Michigan Supreme Court. Very Important, as well.


Obama told us he would have the most transparent administration when he was running in 08. We still do not know what happen in Libya! He said how bad it was to run up our debt on a Chinese credit card, our debt is at 16 trillion and out of control. Unemployment would drop to 5%, we are nearly 8%, higher if you count the people that gave up. Cost of living, gas, food, all up. His closing argument speech and he says we should vote out of revenge!! Who is this guy? He is dividing this country along class, racial, and gender lines for his political gain. People wonder why the political environment is so toxic! Vote for your country tomorrow. This political poison needs to go. Romney is not a bitter Chicago career politician. He is an American business leader with experience in the private sector that will help this country out of this stagnate growth we are in. He is a positive, decent man without shady acquaintance in his past. Watch each man give a speech in these closing hours. Romney is presidential, he is positive and he smiles often. Obama is glaring, indignant and petty. If you want to feel better about your country, vote for Romney tomorrow. If want real change, vote for Romney tomorrow.



Don't vote for the fear monger, liar (GM, Jeep jobs), cheat (taxes), flip flop (not the sandal), who doesn't care for you ("Let Detroit go bankrupt" & 47%), who wants control of every woman's body (!). If you have a bridge card, get help with heating/electric/food or get unemployment, you shouldn't vote for RMoney- you ARE the 47%.


Fear monger and Obama are the only words that should have been strung together here.


Do you not see the irony in your post?


@43 N. your "!" should come after the word OUT in your headline. Furthermore, if you have a bridge card and need help with your heating bill, electric bill, tanning bill, cigarette bill, tatoo bill, casino bill, and food bill even after getting unemployment checks for 99 friggin' weeks then, you need to get off your arse and get a JOB. Therefore, voting for MITT ROMNEY is a very natural fit because apparently he is the only one of the two that knows how to create them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I rest my case for all of you receiving help. The right see you as moochers, ALL OF YOU! Why would you ever cast a vote for them, ever? You can secretly vote for Obama and not have to tell anyone of your friends if it would embarrass you in front of them. It is a private vote.


You can secretly vote Romney too


@ 43 N, All of us support providing help to people that need it to get back on their feet. Were we disagree is when these same people sit on their brains all day and use this help as a way of life while demanding more from the tax payers! Ironically, your secret voting strategy works for fed up Obama supporters too....Thanks soooo much for giving them a road map to vote for Romney/Ryan! Sweet, I apologize to are a team player.


yes, as you know, everyone's situation is exactly as you have described it. All lumped into one fine 47% group. Seniors, women with children, homeless. You know if you take tax deductions, you are in that 47% who take government 'welfare', as you probably get more in deductions than someone like that receives all year long. (oh, did I just describe RMoney?) Thank you for steering undecideds to Obama/Biden, you are also a great team player. Kudos!


Hey 43, tax deductions allow you to keep, or get back, money that was taken from your paycheck by the government, to redistribute. How telling it is when you think tax dollars are the governments money. To put it another way, the government didn't build that it came from the people!


The difference is that I EARRRRNED this deduction! I'm the one that bought my computer or put an addition onto my business thereby, contributing to the economy by purchasing these products and construction service and hiring people and creating JOBS! Hard work is a cure-all for most problems in our society. People that make a living receiving entitlements are less productive than people that don't. If you reseach jail inmates, you will find a majority of them were on some kind of Govt. assistance when they were arrested. Way of life entitlements dumb down our society, increases crime, and destroys families.(especially minority families) Hard work injects pride, ownership, honor, integrity, self confidence, happiness, and charity. An entitlement society creates none of this. Stop hating the people that are successfull....especially the ones that are more than you. Learn from them and go do it yourself too...that is what makes America so darn GREAT!


Well put dyankee


'better off than you (me)'. You obviously have no idea. I own my house outright for 8 years now. No mortgage, no CC debt, paid cash for our vehicles. Only because I have owned my own businesses for 35 years. I pay my employees twice the minimum wage, and most have been with me over 6 years. I have a comfortable 401k because I invested my own money which I earned with back breaking work. You have no idea dyankee, who you address. You ass sume too much.


Part of the problem is that the redistributionists have made living off the government largesse or working for a minimum wage more attractive than working for a living. A 2010 analysis found that that "a one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year (minimum wage) has more disposable income than a family making $60,000 a year." . Of course, what makes this possible is that the government, in picking winners and losers, has made the successful people losers, and those who are unsuccessful, many of whom because of lifestyles they have adopted, winners. This is unsustainable, both from a fiscal and a national survival perspective. As Wing pointed out, this kind of thinking leads to the conclusion that all money is the government's, and what it deigns to return to the successful in terms of a tax deduction is a form of "welfare" - amazing. To quote U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore on the National Guard response to Hurricane Katrina, if you believe the government returning YOUR money to you, after redistributing the rest, is welfare, you are "STUCK ON STUPID."


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