Final days of Obama campaign steeped in nostalgia
Still, the bruising 2012 campaign, plus a four-year term consumed by partisan gridlock, have taken some of the shine off the president and his advisers, who were hailed as political masterminds after engineering Obama's improbable 2008 victory. Like the president, this may be the last campaign for many of them as well.
Though they're projecting confidence, aides know the closing days of this campaign are far different than the finale in 2008.
Back then, an Obama victory was a near certainty by this point in the race. The prospect of his historic election as the nation's first black president drew massive crowds across the country, up to 100,000 people in some places. And there was no record to defend, just the lofty promise of hope and change.
This time around, the crowds are smaller and Obama's sales pitch more workman-like. The polls are tight and his political future is unknown.
Still, the president appears to be relishing the moment, particularly as he makes his final political trips to the battleground states that have become familiar destinations.
Obama's final rally in New Hampshire Sunday drew 14,000 people to downtown Concord on a cold morning. The previous night, he spoke to 24,000 people in Bristow, Va., his final stop in the traditionally Republican Southern state he flipped in 2008.
At both stops, Obama lingered far longer than usual after wrapping up his remarks. He went down into the crowd and shook countless hands, then bounded back on stage. He gave a last look back to the crowds, and with a big smile on his face and a hearty wave, disappeared offstage.
Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC