Election Day: Presidential Candidates Make Final Push for Votes

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

President Barack Obama has turned over his re-election prospects to the voters.

Obama closed down his campaign late Monday with a nostalgia-filled rally in Iowa, the state that jumpstarted his first presidential bid. He'll spend Election Day in his hometown of Chicago, making his last appeals to voters in satellite interviews rather than a final flurry of campaign rallies.

"It all comes down to you," Obama told supporters in Des Moines on Monday. "It's out of my hands now. It's in yours."

The president heads into Election Day tied with Republican challenger Mitt Romney in national polls. But in some of the key battleground states, including Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin, that will decide the White House race, Obama appears to have a slight edge.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's yearslong quest for the presidency is ending with a last-minute round of campaigning in one state he's showered with attention and another he's largely ignored.

After voting near his Boston-area home, Romney visits airports in Cleveland and Pittsburgh on Tuesday, betting an 11th-hour appeal to working-class voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania will help him defeat President Barack Obama.

His running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, is following a similar strategy, using his travel time after voting in his Wisconsin hometown to join Romney in Cleveland and then visit Richmond, Va. The campaign isn't ruling out additional swing-state appearances as well. Later, Ryan will await returns with Romney in Boston.

Obama spent Monday night at the South Side home where he lived with his family before moving to the White House. The Obamas had pledged to come back to Chicago frequently, but the realities of the presidency and the security concerns that come with it made those trips a rarity.

There will be no traditional Election Day photo opportunity of Obama casting his ballot Tuesday. The president voted in Chicago last week, part of his campaign's efforts to promote early voting. First lady Michelle Obama mailed in an absentee ballot.

One tradition Obama will keep is an Election Day basketball game.

In 2008, Obama played basketball with aides before his win in the kickoff Iowa caucuses. The president and his aides decided to make the games an Election Day tradition after they lost the next contest -- the New Hampshire primary -- on a day when they didn't hit the court.

"We made the mistake of not playing basketball once. I can assure you we will not repeat that," said Robert Gibbs, a longtime Obama aide who joined the president on the road for the campaign's waning days.

The president will decamp to a downtown Chicago hotel for much of the day. He'll sit for a series of satellite interviews with television and radio stations and urge his supporters to get to the polls.

Obama will be joined at the hotel later by his family, several close friends and his top aides to watch the election returns. Once a winner is declared, Obama will climb into his black armored limousine and depart for his campaign's election night party, where he will either deliver a victory speech or a concession.


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