Fla. remains tough sell to end for Obama, Romney

Associated Press Modified: November 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm •  Published: November 5, 2012

If Obama loses Florida by a hair, partisan recriminations seem inevitable.

Florida's unemployment rate — 8.7 percent, compared to the nation's 7.9 percent — would seem to help Romney's economic argument against Obama.

"Jobs, the economy, that's it," said Tammy Celeste, chairwoman of the Romney campaign in Osceola County, explaining why independents and some Democrats walk into the Kissimmee office to make phone calls for the GOP nominee.

And yet Romney has been forced to spend precious time and money in Florida from the very start. He campaigned Wednesday in Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville. He was in Sanford, north of Orlando, on Monday morning. First lady Michelle Obama will be in Orlando in the evening.

"We can begin a better tomorrow tomorrow," Romney said Monday in central Florida.

Obama adviser David Plouffe taunted the former Massachusetts governor Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

"A few weeks ago, Gov. Romney's campaign was saying, 'Oh, we're going to win Florida, we're going to win Virginia,'" Plouffe said. "On Monday, the day before the election, Gov. Romney is going to Florida and Virginia. Why? Because he's at great risk of losing those states."

Obama made his last Florida campaign stop Sunday afternoon, before about 23,000 people south of Fort Lauderdale. As usual, he accused Romney of having said Clinton's tax and spending policies would hurt the economy.

"Turns out his math then was just as bad as it is now," Obama said.

Both parties take comfort in selected details about Florida's early voting and absentee balloting. Democrats have an advantage, but Republicans say it is smaller than it was in 2008.

While Democratic activists delight in Romney's struggles, even some people who go to pro-Obama events aren't confident the president will carry the state.

"I think it's probably going to go for Romney," said Greg Harman, 46, who attended the Clinton rally in Palm Bay. He said he voted for Obama in 2008, but is disappointed that the president hasn't done more to protect Americans from domestic surveillance.

This year, Harman said: "I'm on the fence."

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