President Obama speaks to supporters in Des Moines, Iowa at his final campaign event before election day.
Des Moines, Iowa — For the final campaign event of the 2012 cycle, President Barack Obama returned to where his bid for presidency began.
At a rally downtown here, against the backdrop of the capital, the president and first lady Michelle Obama took the crowd back four years ago, when they were campaigning at the state fair and celebrating the birthday of one of their daughters.
“Tomorrow we get the chance to finish what we started in Iowa,” the first lady said before introducing her husband.
Talking about those early days in Iowa, the president appeared emotional as he started by thanking the volunteers gathered.
"All of you who have lived and breathed the hard work of change, I want to thank you," Obama said.
To the others, he evoked popular lines from his 2008 stump speech.
"When the cynics said we couldn't, you said yes we can – you said yes, we can, and we did. Against all odds and we did," he said. But, he added, “We're not done yet on this journey."
About 20,000 people filled the streets downtown with signs that read “Forward!” They cheered when the president challenged them to fight with him.
"I've got a lot more fight left in me,” he said. “But to wage that fight on behalf of American families, I need you to still have some fight in you too.”
Jason Reed / Reuters
Tears were visible on President Obama's cheek during his final presidential campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday.
His mentions of 2008 also served as a reminder that even at larger rallies, the president’s campaign does not have the same energy as his first. The president seemed to acknowledge that as well when he said, “We’ve come too far to let our hearts grow faint.”
He also told a story he recounted during the 2008 campaign, which on Monday night took on new meaning.
The story was about Edith Childs, the South Carolinian who brought the “Fired up, Ready to Go” chant to his campaign.
This time, the story had a new twist. The Obama campaign had offered to fly Childs to Des Moines for Obama’s last event of the 2012 campaign.
But she refused, the president said, because she didn’t have time. She was organizing people to knock on doors – she thought he still had a chance to win North Carolina.
Concluding the story – and his campaign – Obama said, “And that shows you what one voice can do.”
GOP candidate Mitt Romney has added last-minute events on Tuesday, Election Day, but for Obama, the election has wrapped up.
He flies to Chicago on Tuesday and will spend the day playing basketball – which tomorrow becomes an Election Day tradition – with staff and friends, including his former bodyman Reggie Love, who made an appearance on the trail Monday as well.
"It’s out of my hands now,” Obama said. “It’s in yours. All of it depends on what you do.”