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Obama, Romney make a mad dash in a final bid for votes

Monday, November 5, 2012 - 9:00am

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will spend the final hours of the campaign making a mad dash through battleground states on Monday in a late push to sway a closely divided electorate ahead of Tuesday's election.

In a final 24 hours, Obama and Romney or their campaign surrogates, including their wives as well as the vice presidential candidates, are scheduled to make stops in Ohio, Iowa, Florida, Virginia, Colorado and Wisconsin.

The mad dash comes as national polls show the race locked in a virtual dead heat, or tied.

A new CNN poll showed 49% support for Obama, and 49% for Romney.

A Politico/George Washington University survey has it tied at 48%; an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll indicates Obama at 48% and Romney at 47%; and the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll puts Obama at 49% and Romney at 48%.

The polling numbers are slightly different in the battlegrounds, where Obama holds a small edge in more states than Romney. But most of those leads are well within the polls' sampling errors.

In the early hours Monday morning, Obama wrapped up a campaign stop at a community college in Aurora, Colorado, where he addressed the death and devastation left in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

"Unfortunately, the people of this town understand what it means to grieve better than most," Obama said, recalling the July mass shooting at a movie theater there that left 12 dead and 58 wounded.

"Just as you have begun to heal as a community, we are going to help our friends on the East Coast heal. We are going to walk with them every step of the way. No matter how bad a storm is, we come back. No matter how tough times are, we will thrive."

His voice raspy from weekend campaigning, Obama painted Tuesday's vote as a choice between policies that had moved the country out of the depths of recession and ones that got it into one in the first place.

Obama was scheduled to arrive in Madison, Wisconsin, early Monday morning where he would hold a rally with rocker Bruce Springsteen in Madison. He was then scheduled to fly to Columbus, Ohio, where he would be joined by Springsteen and rapper Jay-Z.

The president will round out his day with a final campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa, before heading to Chicago, where he'll spend Election Day.

Romney's stops include Sanford, Florida; Lynchburg, Richmond and Fairfax, Virginia; Columbus, Ohio; and a finish in Manchester, New Hampshire, where Kid Rock is set to perform, before making the short trip to Boston, where he'll spend Election Day.

Ryan is scheduled to hit Nevada, Colorado, Iowa and Ohio before flying home to Wisconsin, while Vice President Joe Biden will campaign throughout Virginia.

On the campaign surrogate front, former President Bill Clinton is expected to campaign on behalf of Obama in Pennsylvania where Romney made a stop Sunday and his running mate campaigned on Saturday.

Most published polls show Pennsylvania leaning Democrat. But Romney adviser Kevin Madden told reporters on the campaign plane Sunday that Obama is "under-performing" in Pennsylvania, "and it's presented us an opportunity."

"We have a really strong volunteer infrastructure that we think could make a difference," Madden said.

"And that's why we're traveling there with two days to go, and we have spent a lot of time in the last few weeks concentrating on expanding the map."

During a campaign stop in Philadelphia, Romney hammered Obama on the economy, saying the president cared more about a "liberal agenda than he did about repairing the economy."

While the Obama campaign has discounted Romney's chances of reclaiming Pennsylvania, which hasn't gone for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988, it appeared to not be taking any chances and was dispatching Clinton to counter possible GOP gains there.

CNN's Chelsea J. Carter, Dan Lothian, Shawna Shepherd and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

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