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Romney reaches out to independent voters in Ohio

The focus remains on Ohio, but both candidates raced through battleground states in the final sprint to Election Day. Mitt Romney visited seven states where he conducted eight events. NBC's Peter Alexander reports.


CLEVELAND, Ohio – The clock ticking down in this critical state, Mitt Romney spent his Sunday afternoon rally in Cleveland reaching out to the independent voters he'll need to claim victory on Tuesday, saying that President Barack Obama has refused to listen to voices like theirs.

“Four years ago, let’s look at the promises the president made. He promised to do so very much, but frankly he fell so very short. He promised to be a post-partisan president, but he’s been most partisan, he’s been divisive, blaming, attacking, dividing," Romney said. "And by the way, it’s not only Republicans that he refused to listen to; he also refused to listen to independent voices."

President Barack Obama is calling on his biggest supporters and surrogates in the final two days before Election Day. His focus remains on Ohio, which offers 18 electoral votes. NBC's Kristen Welker reports.

"You’ve watched what’s happened in this country over the last four years with an independent voice," Romney said. "You hoped that President Obama would live up to his promise to bring people together to solve big problems, but he hasn’t. And I will.”

The calculated appeal to independents, similar in every recitation of the Romney closing argument, takes on additional importance here in Ohio, where a poll out this morning conducted by The Columbus Dispatch newspaper shows President Obama ahead of Romney, 50 percent to 48 percent, in the Buckeye state overall, helped by winning unaffiliated voters by ten points.

Romney advisers say their polling shows the former Massachusetts governor winning independent voters, and they argue that whoever wins independent voters almost certainly wins Ohio.

A new NBC poll should give both presidential campaigns reason to hope. Obama comes in at 48 percent; Romney at 47 percent. Taking Sandy into account, 80 percent in the Northeast said they approved of the president's handling of Superstorm Sandy. NBC's Chuck Todd reports.

With that mindset, closing argument promises to focus on economic issues and to work beyond partisan boundaries are designed to resonate.

"I won't spend any of my efforts trying to pass partisan legislation that won't help with economic growth," Romney told the roughly 6,000 supporters who gathered to hear his remarks on Sunday afternoon.

Democrats have scoffed at Romney's claim of a record of bipartisanship, or that he would be better than President Obama at reaching across aisle. They cite that Romney issued more than 800 vetoes during his time as governor in Massachusetts, where the state legislature was overwhelmingly Democratic.