Romney, Obama converge on Iowa in late scramble for votes

DUBUQUE, Iowa Sat Nov 3, 2012 7:35pm EDT

1 of 12. U.S. President Barack Obama walks down the steps of Air Force One after arriving at Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport in Ohio, November 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (Reuters) - The U.S. presidential race, which has hinged for months on a handful of states, converged on one city in Iowa on Saturday as President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney each made a last-minute appeal for support before Tuesday's election.

With the race in a dead heat nationally, both candidates touched down briefly in Dubuque, a Mississippi River city of 58,000 people, as they sprinted across the country in a bid to secure any possible advantage before Election Day.

In an airport rally early in the afternoon, Romney urged supporters to try to sway friends and neighbors who back Obama. He said he would reach out to Democrats as well if elected - a stance that could appeal to independent voters who have little stomach for partisan gridlock.

"I want you to reach across the street to the neighbor, who has that other sign in his front yard. And I'm going to reach across the aisle in Washington, D.C., to the politicians who are working for the other candidate," Romney told about 2,000 people.

Six hours later, Obama reminded about 5,000 people in a park in downtown Dubuque that he had started his first presidential bid in Iowa in 2007, and highlighted successes of his time in office, such as ending the war in Iraq and expanding access to healthcare.

"After two years of campaigning and after four years as president, you know me by now. You may not agree with every decision I made, you may have sometimes been frustrated with the pace of change. But you know that I say what I mean and I mean what I say," Obama said.

Earlier in the day in Ohio, Obama hammered Romney for opposing his bailout of the auto industry and said his challenger tried to scare workers by saying inaccurately that Chrysler planned to shift jobs to China.

About one in eight Ohio jobs is tied to auto manufacturing, and the bailout has helped Obama win over some of the white-working class voters who are heavily backing Romney in rest of the country.

"I've been a Republican for 35 years and I've never voted for a Democrat on the federal level - until now," retiree Patrick Dorsey said as he waited for Obama to speak. "Economically, Romney's just going to make the rich richer."

TIGHT RACE IN POLLS

Romney will have a hard time winning the White House if he does not carry Ohio, and a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Saturday showed him trailing Obama by a statistically meaningless margin of 1 percentage point in the state. Other polls show him trailing by a larger margin in Ohio.

The race for the White House remains effectively tied at a national level, with 47 percent backing Obama and 46 percent supporting Romney, according to a Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll released on Saturday.

Still, analysts say Obama holds an edge in many of the eight or nine competitive states that will determine who controls the White House. Reuters/Ipsos polls released on Saturday showed Obama leading by 3 percentage points in Virginia but trailing by 2 points in Colorado. The two were dead even in Florida. All the results were within the credibility interval, a measurement of the accuracy of online polls.

Other surveys generally show Obama leading by narrow margins in Wisconsin, Nevada, New Hampshire and Iowa. Romney is considered to have the edge in North Carolina.

Romney has tried to expand the battlefield over the past week to states that had been considered beyond his reach.

"We win Pennsylvania, we save America in three days," Romney's vice presidential running mate, Paul Ryan, said at an airport rally in the state capital, Harrisburg.

Ryan is due to visit Minnesota on Sunday, another state that has been considered solidly Democratic. Romney himself is due to speak in Pennsylvania on Sunday.

Obama officials say the Romney campaign is visiting those states out of desperation because he has been unable to establish a clear lead in other battleground states.

Nevertheless, the Obama campaign is dispatching Vice President Joe Biden's wife, Jill Biden, to Pennsylvania and former President Bill Clinton to Minnesota.

On Saturday, Obama held a rally in Wisconsin, a state considered safely in his column earlier this year.

"You don't take anything for granted, you go as hard as you can to the end, and that's exactly what we're going to do in all our battleground states," campaign manager Jim Messina said on a conference call.

Obama started the day at the federal government's disaster-relief headquarters in Washington, where he received an update on the efforts to help Northeastern coastal states recover from devastating storm Sandy.

The storm has afforded the Democrat an opportunity to rise above the fray of campaigning. But it has also raised the stakes for him to show his administration can respond quickly and effectively in a crisis, as residents of New York and New Jersey vent frustration at power outages and gasoline shortages.

(Additional reporting by Samuel P. Jacobs, Matt Spetalnick, Jeff Mason and Mark Felsenthal; Writing by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Alistair Bell and Peter Cooney)

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Comments (27)
jars13 wrote:
You want to talk about the last four year? Read this post and it has government chart links. Voting records can’t be lied about and I suggest you look further into this. Not only should Obama be re-elected, people need to wake up and there are names to be taken for treason. Look at the article and then look at the voting records on Government web sites. Also imagine what going back to Bush policies would do to us now. We need to vote for Obama and hold those accountable for holding our country down.

Nov 02, 2012 10:07pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
llll wrote:
these two are the same…both support massive intrusions into personal privacy & both support massive redistribution of wealth – just the victims differ by party. How about someone who protects privacy & believes your money is your own? Vote Libertarian.

Nov 02, 2012 10:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
nsawoman wrote:
I think Reid should be recalled by the Constitutes that put him in office 2 yrs ago in Nv. This man refuses to bring any house voted and approved bill to the Senate Floor and continues to blame it on the Republicans. I have been a democrat 99% of my adult voting life I recently changed to Independent. This man has to go. He is making a laughing stock of America and what we stand for. Obama needs to be ashamed of himself also. He has divided this country so bad that we will have one heck of a time repairing the damage.

Nov 02, 2012 10:53pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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