President Obama is set to hit urban centers in Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa, with Bruce Springsteen tagging along as his opening act. Jay-Z is scheduled to join the campaign at a mid-afternoon gathering in Ohio.
Like the president, Mitt Romney will make one last play for the state, arriving in Columbus four hours after Obama leaves for Iowa. It will be the Republican’s third stop in a day that sees him track north from Florida — where the wait to register an early vote this weekend lasted as long as six hours — to Virginia, ending the night with one last rally in New Hampshire.
If the Romney ticket doesn’t win enough votes to unseat President Obama Tuesday night, it won’t be because Paul Ryan was a lazy campaigner. The vice presidential candidate will make five stops today, in five different states, covering four time zones. He closes out the election season back home, with a late-night rally in Milwaukee, Wis.
While the candidates push their supporters to the polls and smile for the cameras in what they expect to be packed arenas, parks, and airplane hangars — at least seven of the events will be hosted at airports — there have been some rumblings from Republicans, GOP strategist Karl Rove among them, that Romney’s campaign might have been dealt an insurmountable blow by Superstorm Sandy.
“The hurricane is what broke Romney’s [post-debate] momentum,” former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said on CNN Sunday morning. “Any day that the news media is not talking about jobs and the economy, taxes and spending, deficit and debt, ‘Obamacare’ and energy, is a good day for Barack Obama.”
The Romney campaign, though, insists it is traveling steadily along a well-charted course to victory Tuesday.
“I don’t look at what happened with the storm and how it affected so many people through a political lens,” Romney adviser Kevin Madden said Sunday. “We are focused on what we can do to make sure that the enthusiasm that we have seen in states, that it’s part of helping our get-out-the-vote efforts in all these key battlegrounds and then just focusing on the message. So I wouldn’t entertain the same notion that those folks did.”
And Romney made one last argument in Cleveland Sunday for dismissing Obama from office after a single term.
“He promised to do so very much, but, frankly, he fell so very short,” Romney said. “He promised to be a post-partisan president, but he’s been most partisan; he’s been divisive, blaming, attacking, dividing. And by the way, it’s not only Republicans that he refused to listen to; he also refused to listen to independent voices.”
Obama seems to have taken on a more fatalistic approach, telling 14,000 supporters in New Hampshire Sunday that the election was in their hands, joking that he’d be little more than a “prop” the rest of the way.
“It’s now up to you,” he said, former President Bill Clinton once more on hand to warm up the chilly crowd. “That’s how a Democracy works, right? That ultimately, it’s up to you. You have the power. You are shaping the decisions for this country for decades to come. Right now. In the next two days.”
But that doesn’t mean the Democrats are done trying to convince voters how to exercise that power. ABC News obtained a set of talking points distributed by the party to surrogates for their last round of chatter with the media.
Among the lines you can expect to hear today: “We know and trust President Obama. We know what he believes, where he stands, and that he’s willing to make tough decisions even when they’re not politically convenient. We know he’ll fight for middle-class families every single day, as hard as he knows how.”
They’ve also been asked to deliver one last round of attacks on the Republican challenger.
“Gov. Romney has been using his talents as a salesman to dress up the same policies that failed our country and crashed our economy,” according to the talking-points memo, “and offers them up as change.”