Candidates hopscotch through battlegrounds in final two-day blitz

Candidates hopscotch through battlegrounds in final two-day blitz

POSTED: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 9:30pm

UPDATED: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 9:34pm

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are barnstorming through the electoral battlegrounds Sunday and Monday, making their closing arguments in an election that two new national polls show to be tied.

Obama left the White House on Sunday morning for New Hampshire, where he appeared at a rally in Concord with top surrogate former President Bill Clinton. In Concord, he tried to paint 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.

Romney, he said, is trying "as hard as he can to repackage the same old ideas and pretend they're new."

"We know what change looks like, and what he's selling ain't it. It ain't it," Obama said. "Giving more power back to the biggest banks -- that's not change. Another $5 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthy -- not change. Refusing to answer questions about the details of your policies until after the election is over -- that's definitely not change. That's the oldest trick in the book."

Also on his Sunday schedule: Hollywood, Florida; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Aurora, Colorado. Campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the president was "reflective" and "nostalgic" working the crowds in what he's said will be his last run.

"He's enjoying himself," Psaki said, adding, "He's taking in every moment."

Romney told supporters at a Sunday rally Des Moines, Iowa, that a second Obama term could mean a new economic downturn.

"The same path means 20 trillion dollars in debt," he said. "It means continued, crippling unemployment. It means stagnant take-home pay. It means depressed home values and a devastated military. Unless we change course, we may be looking at another recession. We're only two days away from a very different path from a fresh start -- two days away from a new beginning."

Ahead for the former Massachusetts governor were stops in Cleveland; in Morrisville, Pennsylvania; and Newport News, Virginia.

Obama's running mate, Vice President Joe Biden, was already in Cleveland. He told a crowd at a high school that Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, are "running away from what they've stood for the last decade faster than you can imagine."

"But like a little kid, they can't run away from their shadow until the sun goes down," Biden said. "It's going down Tuesday."

Ryan, meanwhile, took a few minutes to tailgate with fellow Wisconsinites at Lambeau Field, where the Green Bay Packers were taking on the Arizona Cardinals. Ryan left before kickoff to hit rallies in Ohio, Minnesota and Colorado, but the GOP is hoping to break a 28-year Democratic winning streak in his home state on Tuesday.

National polls show the race locked in a virtual dead heat. A new NBC/Wall Street Journal survey shows Obama with a 1-point lead, 48%-47% and an ABC News/Washington Post poll showing Obama and Romney tied at 48%.

CNN will release its final national poll at 8 p.m. Sunday.

The 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.

Obama ends his blitz Monday with three rallies with rocker Bruce Springsteen in Madison, Wisconsin; Columbus, Ohio -- where he'll be joined by rapper Jay-Z -- and Des Moines, Iowa. First lady Michelle Obama will introduce the president to a crowd in Iowa, where Obama's 2008 Democratic campaign took off with a surprise win in the caucuses there. The couple then will head to Chicago, where they'll spend Election Day.

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

CNN White House Correspondent Dan Lothian contributed to this report.

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