Obama, Romney make last-minute pleas in close race
It was one of two of the president's radio interviews airing Monday aimed at turning out minority voters, the other with a Spanish-language station in Ohio. The president is relying on black and Hispanic voters to help offset Romney's lead with white men in particular, but the risk for him is that some of those key supporters aren't as motivated to vote as they were in 2008.
"Four years ago, we had incredible turnout and I know people were excited and energized about the prospect of making history," Obama said. "We have to preserve the gains we've made and keep moving forward."
A final national NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll showed Obama getting the support of 48 percent of likely voters, with Romney receiving 47 percent. A Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll had Obama at 49 and Romney at 48. A Pew Research Center poll released Sunday showed Obama with a 3-point-point edge over Romney, 48 percent to 45 percent among likely voters.
Obama dispatched former President Bill Clinton to Pennsylvania on Monday to keep the state in his column. First lady Michelle Obama went south to North Carolina and Florida. Vice President Joe Biden made a final reach in Virginia, while Romney running mate Paul Ryan was covering the most ground, flying to Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The hunt for swing voters was so concentrated that Biden and Romney crossed paths in northern Virginia, the vice president's motorcade pulling past Romney's plane on the tarmac at Dulles International Airport as the GOP nominee prepared to leave the aircraft. Stopping for lunch at Mimi's Cafe in nearby Sterling, Va., Biden confidently predicted: "It's all over but the shouting."
Meanwhile, about 30 million people have already voted in 34 states and the District of Columbia, either by mail or in person, although no ballots will be counted until Election Day, Tuesday. More than 4 million of the ballots were cast in Florida, where Democrats filed a lawsuit demanding an extension of available time. A judge granted their request in one county where an early voting site was shut down for several hours Saturday because of a bomb scare.
Pickler reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Jim Kuhnhenn and Julie Pace in Madison, Wis., Ken Thomas and Stephen Ohlemacher in Washington, Matthew Daly in Sterling, Va., and Steve Peoples in Lynchburg, Va., contributed to this report.
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