NBC's Mark Murray reporting from New York highlights the questions that today's election has the possibility to answer.
Video edited by NBC's Jordan Frasier.
NBC's Mark Murray reporting from New York highlights the questions that today's election has the possibility to answer.
Video edited by NBC's Jordan Frasier.
JANESVILLE, Wisc. -- With just a few hours to go before polls close and the 2012 election draws to a close, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is optimistic Mitt Romney will become the next president of the United States.
Eric Thayer / Reuters
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan and his wife Janna vote during the U.S. Presidential election accompanied by their children Charlie, Sam and Liza in Janesville, Wisconsin November 6, 2012.
Asked if the GOP ticket would win Tuesday, Ryan told reporters after casting his ballot: "I think we are, I feel good about it."
The Wisconsin congressman and his wife, Janna, voted at the Hedberg Library in their hometown of Janesville. Ryan’s three children -- Liza, Charlie, and Sam -- joined their parents as well.
Who did Ryan vote for?
"It'll be suspenseful," the congressman, wearing a suit, joked with reporters as he walked into the library.
"It felt good waking up in my hometown,” Ryan said after submitting his ballot. “It felt good coming to this neighborhood I grew up in. I went to junior high about 60 yards that way. So it’s great to be here in my hometown. It’s great to vote and we’re really excited."
Ryan will head to the battleground states of Ohio and Virginia before heading to the election night party in Boston this evening.
GREENVILLE, Del. -- Saying that "it's always a kick" to vote on a ballot that bears his name, Vice President Joe Biden made his political picks Tuesday in his home state of Delaware.
Matt Rourke / AP
Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by his son Beau Biden, his wife, Hallie and their daughter Natalie, stands in line to cast his ballot at Alexis I. duPont High School, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Greenville, Del.
Outside his polling place at Alexis I. duPont High School, Biden told reporters that this is the eighth time he has run statewide and urged all Americans to exercise the "honor" of voting.
Asked if today's vote for the Obama-Biden ticket would be the last time he votes for himself, he grinned widely and replied "no, I don't think so."
The vice president was accompanied by his wife, his son Beau and daughter-in-law, and granddaughter Natalie. Biden joked to Natalie, 7, that she should make sure to keep him in mind if she votes. But, he noted with mock penitence, "I'm not supposed to be campaigning" inside the polling place, per federal law.
Biden travels tonight to Chicago, where he and the president will await election results.
It’s Decision Day… How to watch tonight, especially the states with early closing times… What’s at stake in this election… The state of play… The final ad spending… The first results -- Dixville Notch, NH: Obama 5, Romney 5… Hart’s Landing, NH: Obama 23, Romney 9… And Obama holds his Election Night festivities in Chicago, while Romney holds his in Boston.
*** Decision Day: After nearly $1 billion spent on TV ads, a wild GOP primary season, 20 primary debates and four general-election ones, endless campaign stops to the battleground states, and a hurricane on the final full week, the 2012 presidential election comes to an end today. Or at least we think it will. And tonight will help answer so many of the questions we’ve posed over the past two years: Can an incumbent president win when the unemployment rate is just below 8%? Or is an incumbent who doesn’t face a primary challenge tough to beat? Did Mitt Romney’s opposition to the auto bailout prove fatal to his chances, especially in Ohio? Or was his overall economic messaging successful? Did the Super PACs -- including the $53 million Sheldon Adelson donated -- move the needle? What segment of the electorate proved more decisive, white voters or Latinos? Was there a significant gender gap? Were the polls right? And given that both candidates have thrived when their backs have been against the wall, which man will ultimately prevail? We’ll find out tonight.
The Daily Rundown's Chuck Todd previews the final hours before the polls close in the 2012 election.
*** How to watch tonight: With several battleground states having poll-closing times at 8:00 pm ET or earlier (Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania), we’re going to know a lot about how the race is breaking fairly early in the evening. How long does it take to call North Carolina (a state Romney probably wants to put away early) and Pennsylvania (ditto Obama)? Will Florida and Virginia take hours to call? (Remember, no state better matched the 2008 popular than Virginia did four years ago.) Here are all the final poll closing times in ET (NBC News will not call a race until all polls have closed in that state):
7:00 pm: GA, IN, KY, SC, VT, VA
7:30 pm: NC, OH, WV
8:00 pm: AL, CT, DE, DC, FL, IL, ME, MD, MA, MS, MO, NH, NJ, OK, PA, RI, TN
8:30 pm: AR
9:00 pm: AZ, CO, KS, LA, MI, MN, NE, NM, NY, ND, SD, TX, WI, WY
10:00 pm: IA, MT, NV, UT
11:00 pm: CA, HI, ID, OR, WA
1:00 am: AK
NBC's Mark Murray reporting from New York highlights the questions that today's election has the possibility to answer.
*** What’s at stake: This year’s elections might not have the same huge rallies of four years ago. Or the unbridled energy and enthusiasm. Or even Sarah Palin. But it could very well be a more consequential election -- with so much at stake. The winner of the presidential contest between Obama and Romney could determine the fate of the Bush tax cuts. The outcome also could decide the future of entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid. And the race could impact the implementation of the 2010 federal health-care law. What’s more, the winner could potentially fill as many as two or three Supreme Court vacancies -- with Ruth Bader Ginsburg at age 79, Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia at 76, and Stephen Breyer at 74 -- which could change the court’s political composition for decades. Furthermore, whichever party wins the presidential contest will likely hold the upper hand in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, which will begin immediately after the ballots are counted. And speaking of that last point, it raised our eyebrows that House Speaker John Boehner’s office last night released this quote from Boehner in a Politico piece: “We’re not raising taxes on small-business people,” he said. “Ernst and Young has made this clear: It’s going to cost our economy 700,000 jobs. Why in the world would we want to do that?” Would Boehner’s office have released this hours before the end of the campaign if it was confident Romney was going to win? Remember what state Boehner is from: Ohio.
*** State of play: The presidential contest is a race to 270 electoral votes. Throughout the race, Obama has enjoyed more paths to 270 than Romney. A note: If there is a 269-269 tie, which has never happened before, the new House of Representatives would determine the presidential election’s outcome, while the U.S. Senate would elect the vice president. In the battle for control of the U.S. Senate, Democrats (and the independents who caucus with them) hold a 53-47 majority in the chamber. To win back control, Republicans must net four seats if Obama wins re-election or three seats if he doesn’t. The reason: The vice president gets to break a 50-50 tie. And in the House, Republicans hold a 240-190 majority in the chamber (with five vacancies). This means Democrats must pick up a net of 25 seats to win back control -- a doable but unlikely feat due in part to redistricting.
*** The final ad spending in the presidential contest:
Overall ad spending: $984 million
Team Romney (includes outside groups): $583 million
Team Obama (includes outside groups): $401 million
Total ad spending by the campaigns: $549 million
Obama campaign: $336 million
Romney campaign: $213 million
Total outside ad spending: $435 million (44% of total)
Outside spending supporting Obama: $65 million
Outside spending supporting Romney: $370 million
Per state: Ohio $197 million, Florida $192 million, Virginia $152 million, Colorado $81 million, Iowa $74 million, North Carolina $70 million, Nevada $60 million, Wisconsin $45 million, New Hampshire $44 million, Pennsylvania $35 million, Michigan $19 million, Minnesota $11 million, New Mexico $3 million, Maine $400,000
*** The first results: And we have already received our first election results from New Hampshire: In Dixville Notch, Obama and Romney both received five votes, and in Hart’s Landing, the president won 23 votes, Romney nine, and Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson 1.
*** On the trail: Obama spends his Election Day in Chicago, where he conducts a dozen satellite interviews in battleground states and where he holds his Election Night event in McCormick Place… Romney casts his vote in Belmont, MA at 8:35 am ET before heading to Cleveland at 11:40 am ET and Pittsburgh at 2:55 pm ET, and he holds his evening event in Boston… Biden already voted in Delaware… And Ryan votes in Wisconsin before visiting Cleveland and Richmond, VA.
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*** Tuesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, anchoring from Democracy Plaza, interviews Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, Priorities USA Co-founder Bill Burton, Democratic strategist Bob Shrum, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, and NBC’s Kristen Welker, Peter Alexander, Ron Allen and Kelly O’Donnell.
*** Tuesday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: MSNBC’s Tamron Hall interviews Democratic strategist Keith Boykin, the Washington Post’s Anne Kornblut, Republican strategist Danny Vargas, conservative radio talk show host Steve Deace, MSNBC contributor Michael Smerconish, Mark Naymik from The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Obama 2012 Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and NBC News presidential historian Michael Beschloss.
NBC’s Shawna Thomas covers Obama’s final rally in Des Moines last night. “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.”
More: "It’s out of my hands now,” Obama said. “It’s in yours. All of it depends on what you do.”
NBC’s Garrett Haake on Romney’s final rally in Manchester, NH: “On a day full of ‘lasts’ for Mitt Romney -- his last campaign event in Florida, and last rallies in Virginia have come and gone -- it was his last rally here in New Hampshire that seemed to move the Republican nominee most, as 12,000 supporters filled an arena to cheer on the man who's presidential run they launched more than 16 months ago. Returning to New Hampshire, where Romney began his presidential campaign last June, and where in January Republican voters handed him a resounding victory in the first in the nation primaries, Romney sounded wistful as he thanked Granite State voters for their support, and asked for their help on Election Day.
“‘You know this is a special moment for Ann and for me because this is where our campaign began,’ Romney said after nearly three minutes of applause died down enough for him to speak. ‘And tomorrow your votes and your work right here in New Hampshire will help me become the next president of the United States!’”
MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Paul Ryan held his final rally of the campaign in his home state here exactly five months to the day after Republicans survived a gubernatorial recall and the GOP vice presidential nominee hopes his state will go red again Tuesday.
“They have always taken us for granted, Wisconsin. They thought it was easy. We haven't gone Republican since 1984. One more day. One more day. One more day,” Ryan told the 2,500-person crowd. “Let's prove them wrong. Scott Walker showed you what leadership looks like. Our leaders led and the people of Wisconsin had his back. But we’ve got one more left. We’ve had a lot of elections here in Wisconsin lately. We know how they work and we know how to win them.”
Walker, the Wisconsin governor who embraced Ryan Monday night after introducing him, was victorious during the bitter recall election on June 5, 2012, beating labor unions and Democrats who tried to remove him from office.
The late-night rally was the last of five events for Ryan across four time zones on the eve of the election. The seven-term Wisconsin congressman was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd inside a hangar at the General Mitchell International Airport here -- it’s the airport Ryan flew in and out of on weekends to visit his family in Wisconsin from Congress.
"Boy, it feels so good to be home,” Ryan proclaimed after holding rallies in Nevada, Colorado, Iowa and Ohio. “This is a special moment for us. It's a special moment because we have traveled across this country as a family talking with people throughout America who care so deeply about their country, who know that this is a unique moment, who know it’s a serious moment, it's a serious time and I've gotta tell ya, the experience that Janna and Liza and Sam and Charlie and I have had together, meeting with people around this country has warmed our hearts, it has been incredible because so many Americans have come out to get their country back on the right track.”
Ryan continued: “And we know in one day we 're going to turn this thing around, elect Mitt Romney, the next president of the United States and turn this thing around. We're going to do it right here in Wisconsin."
Polls are tight in the Badger State between President Barack Obama and Romney, but Ryan is optimistic that the state’s “beautiful 10 electoral votes” will fall to the GOP’s side on Election Day.
“We can do this. All eyes are watching us. Wisconsin, the Packers made it last Sunday, they are on a roll. We know how to win. We know how to make a difference,” Ryan said as he wrapped up his nearly 20-minute speech to his hometown crowd. “I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart on behalf of my family. Thank you for what you’ve done. Thank you for your support.”
Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus, Sen. Ron Johnson, and U.S. senate candidate Tommy Thompson were all in the crowd Monday to wish their hometown son on to victory in just a few short hours.
Ryan will vote in Janesville on Tuesday morning before two quick stops in the battleground states of Ohio and Virginia. Then he heads to Boston for his party’s election night party.
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.”
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire.
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- On a day full of "lasts" for Mitt Romney -- his last campaign event in Florida, and last rallies in Virginia have come and gone -- it was his last rally here in New Hampshire that seemed to move the Republican nominee most, as 12,000 supporters filled an arena to cheer on the man who's presidential run they launched more than sixteen months ago.
Returning to New Hampshire, where Romney began his presidential campaign last June, and where in January Republican voters handed him a resounding victory in the first in the nation primaries, Romney sounded wistful as he thanked Granite State voters for their support, and asked for their help on Election Day.
"You know this is a special moment for Ann and for me because this is where our campaign began," Romney said after nearly three minutes of applause died down enough for him to speak. "And tomorrow your votes and your work right here in New Hampshire will help me become the next president of the United States!"
Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA
Campaigning with Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, voting and election results.
The Romney's were introduced by a live version of the campaign's theme song, "Born Free," performed by Detroit-native and Romney-backer Kid Rock, who has appeared at rallies for Romney in Michigan and Ohio after lending his fellow Michiganders his support.
The New Hampshire audience heard Romney's closing argument speech, which he debuted late last week. The remarks are a balance of attacks on President Obama, mainly for failing to work across the aisle with Republicans and independents, and hopeful rhetoric meant to inspire those same independents and undecided voters to abandon the president in favor of someone new when they cast their ballots.
“Together we must lead America to a better place," Romney said near the close of his half hour remarks. "We’re one day away from fresh start, one day away from the first day of a new beginning. My conviction is that better days are ahead, and that’s not based on promises and hollow rhetoric but on solid plans and proven results, and on an unshakeable believe in the greatness of the American spirit.”
RICHMOND, Va. -- In what could be his last political rally as a national candidate after a career that's spanned four decades, Vice President Joe Biden called for civility and compromise in his final campaign event of 2012.
"Now is the time for our politics to be as good and as noble as our people," Biden told a crowd of 1,200 at a chilly outdoor venue in Virginia's capital city here.
"It’s time we come together and realize the great potential of this great country," he said. "It’s time to replace unyielding ideology with principled compromise. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe most Democrats and Republicans are prepared to do just that."
Biden's remarks were prefaced by a musical performance by John Mellencamp – who crooned a modified version of "Pink Houses" that praised the middle class – and speeches by Sen. Mark Warner and Senate candidate Tim Kaine.
The vice president, who has drawn criticism for saying that GOP banking policies would put people "back in chains," urged Virginians throughout the final day of campaigning to send a message of civility with their votes.
"We have a chance not just to win but to make a real statement about unifying this country," he told volunteers in Roanoke.
The vice president – who may be open to running for president in 2016 (although he would be 73 years old) – will cast his ballot Tuesday morning in his hometown, Wilmington, Del.
ORLANDO, Fla. – Declaring "we are going to get this done," an emotional Michelle Obama rallied a central Florida crowd Monday night, telling supporters on the eve of the election that it's "all on the line" Tuesday.
"Your president is nowhere near satisfied," she said, making the pitch for a second term for her husband, President Barack Obama.
The first lady has maintained a busy schedule visiting key swing states since the Democrats' national convention in Charlotte, N.C., in September.
Here in an Orlando park, she made her final solo campaign appearance of the 2012 cycle.
"Together, slowly but surely, we have been pulling ourselves out of that hole that we started in," Obama said, casting her husband's first term in office as a difficult but productive road to economic recovery.
Though she didn't mention Republican nominee Mitt Romney, she warned against moving backward, touting her husband's overhaul of the health care system and regulation of the financial industry.
The campaign estimated the crowd at 2,600. The decision to hold the first lady's final rally here in Central Florida is no doubt tied to the campaign's strategy to win the state's 29 electoral votes.
Both the Obama and Romney campaigns have poured tens of millions into advertising in the Sunshine State, hoping to win the so-called "I-4 corridor," a key part of the Florida puzzle.
Obama was joined on stage Monday by Sen. Bill Nelson and Puerto Rican-born performer Ricky Martin.
Nelson, who is leading in polls against his Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, made a pitch for support in Spanish.
Almost 4.5 million people in Florida have already cast ballots, taking advantage of early and absentee voting opportunities here. The latest data from the Florida Secretary of State's office shows that Democrats have cast 1,915,630 votes – giving them a lead against Republicans, who have cast 1,747,977 votes.
But Michelle Obama warned that the president needs every vote he can get.
"Don't let anybody push you out of line," the first lady said, telling those who haven't voted yet to get to the polls early. "Don't let any delays deter you."
Michelle Obama was scheduled to appear later Monday with her husband in Des Moines, Iowa.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ten thousand cheering supporters offered an emotional send-off for Mitt and Ann Romney on Monday night, as the Republican nominee held his final Buckeye state rally in an enormous airport hangar here.
"This is amazing," Romney could be seen saying to his wife as the couple took the stage. Ann Romney, ever her husband's more emotive half, was visibly affected by the crowd's welcome.
"I am just so moved," Ann Romney said. "It’s so emotional to be here and have this kind of reception from Ohio, a state that is going to make the next president of the United States."
Ohio may do just that on Tuesday, with campaign advisers and analysts from both parties predicting that as goes Ohio, so goes the White House. Most public polls show Romney trailing the president here by several points.
Both candidates campaigned here Monday, and Romney will return Tuesday to visit a campaign office in Cleveland to inspire volunteers and staff and to promote the Republican get-out-the-vote effort.
"You know, what makes this rally and all your work so inspiring is that you are here because you care about America. This campaign is about America and the future we are going to leave to our children," Romney said. "We thank you, and we ask you to stay at it all the way until victory on Tuesday night is clear!”
DES MOINES, Iowa – Holding his third event on the eve of the election, Paul Ryan briefly stopped in the same city where he held his first solo rally as Mitt Romney’s running mate nearly four months ago. This time, he told Iowans the GOP ticket will “win” on Tuesday.
“That is the kind of leadership we need right now: Common sense leadership, get things done, stop blaming people, and don’t try to transform this country into something it was never intended to be,” said Ryan, speaking inside an airport hangar at the Des Moines International Airport. “That’s who we are. That’s why we need your help. That’s why we have momentum. That’s why we are going to win. And that’s why we only have one more day before we get us on the right track.”
The Republican vice presidential nominee first appeared in the battleground state of Iowa just two days after he was added to the ticket. Ryan spoke at the popular Iowa State Fair on Aug. 13 – his first event campaigning without Romney. Monday’s evening rally marked Ryan’s twelfth in the state.
While national polls show a neck-and-neck race for the White House, President Barack Obama leads Romney here in Iowa, which has six electoral votes up for grabs. According to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll, Obama is up by six points.
Ryan, who is hitting five battleground states the day before the election, had a welcome response in Iowa’s state capital a few miles down the road from where Obama is holding his final campaign event tonight.
“Look we’ve kind of gotten to know each other these last few months here, haven’t we?” Ryan told the crowd. “The hospitality that Iowans have shown this Wisconsinite, I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I want to thank you so much.”
President Obama closes out his 2012 presidential campaign with performances from Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z during a rally in Ohio. Watch the president's entire speech.
COLUMBUS, OH -- The campaign stops of the 2012 election have ceased feeling like rock concerts -- they've become rock concerts.
It took no less than two of music's two biggest stars, Bruce Springsteen and Jay Z, to join forces on behalf of President Barack Obama on Monday to drive that point home.
Jason Reed / Reuters
President Barack Obama is greeted on stage by rapper Jay-Z at an election campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio, November 5, 2012 on the eve of the U.S. presidential elections.
But before the show and the afterparty and the hotel lobby, there’s the plane ride to the next gig.
Springsteen told one reporter that his first flight on Air Force One, from Madison, Wis. to Columbus, was "pretty cool," and that he and the president had a chance to chat about the effects of Hurricane Sandy on New Jersey. And according to the Associated Press, the president also handed the phone over to Springsteen after getting an update on Sandy recovery from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Once at the gig, it had become clear that Springsteen has gotten a little bit of his own stump speech together for these events. For the second time today, he told a tongue-in-cheek story about the president asking him to write a campaign song that includes the campaign’s theme of “Forward” and the president’s name. He then performed the hastily crafted song that includes lines like, “Usually this time of day I’m in my pajamas. Well, let’s vote for the man who got Osama. Forward and away we go.”
The 15,500-person audience in the not-quite-full Nationwide Arena enjoyed Springsteen’s performance, but it took a huge American flag unfurling, unrelenting bass and, well, Jay-Z to get hands in the air.
Reuters, Getty Images
In the final push in the 2012 presidential election, candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama make their last appeals to voters.
"HOVA" performed crowd-pleasers like "Run this Town" and "Public Service Announcement." He also modified a line or two of "99 Problems," attempting to remove any profanities and replace it with a cleaner version. (The result? “I’ve got 99 problems but a Mitt ain’t one.” Still, a couple of curse words in his background vocals slipped through the cracks.)
The president seemed to enjoy his last day of campaigning with the rock stars, inviting the two on stage at the end for a photo op and saying for the second time today, “I'm …flying with Bruce Springsteen on the last day that I'll ever campaign; that's not a bad way to bring it home, with 'The Boss.'"
FAIRFAX, VA -- Mitt Romney barnstormed the Old Dominion on this final full day of campaigning, cramming two stops, separated by hundreds of miles, in this hotly-contested swing state over the course of just a few hours.
Here on the campus of George Mason University, Romney was greeted by his best crowd of the day for a boisterous rally that seemed to overwhelm the GOP nominee, prompting him to joke that the attendees must have been expecting someone else to take the stage.
Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney speaks in Virginia. Watch his speech.
"That is really something special. I am looking around to see if we have the Beatles here or something to have brought you but it looks like you came just for the campaign and I appreciate it," Romney said to 8,000 supporters here. "Your voices and your energy and your passion are being heard all over the nation."
Romney's rally here was a rare foray into Fairfax County, which broke heavily Democratic in 2008 and where he must cut into President Barack Obama's margins to carry the state.
Charles Dharapak / AP
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his wife Ann Romney wave to the crowd at a Virginia campaign rally at The Patriot Center at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Va., Monday, Nov. 5, 2012.
Romney touched down in Lynchburg, Virginia earlier in the afternoon for a lunchtime rally on the tarmac before a smaller crowd of a few thousand supporters. This was safer territory for the Republican nominee, since Arizona Sen. John McCain carried all of the surrounding counties in 2008 and are expected to remain in the GOP column this fall.
To carry Virginia on Tuesday, Republicans will likely need to run up wide margins in these central and western counties, and Romney opened his remarks in Lynchburg by thanking the volunteers in crowd, and urging them to do yet more in the race's final hours.
Telling crowds in Florida that 'this nation is going to change for the better tomorrow,' GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney rallied voters by saying he would break the gridlock in Washington. NBC's Peter Alexander reports from Columbus, Ohio.
"Your voices are being heard all over the nation loud and clear, thank you. I also want to thank many of you in this crowd that have been out there working on the campaign. Making calls from the victory centers, and by putting up a yard sign, in your neighbor's yard," Romney joked.
"This is a campaign about America and about the future we’re going to leave to our children. And we ask that you stay at this all the way until victory on Tuesday night," he continued.
Romney did add a tinge of conservatism to his usual "closing argument" speech, blaming Obama for being overattentive to a "liberal agenda" at the expense of minding the economy. Romney also warned of the specter of "card check," a union organizing reform law detested by conservatives.
STERLING, Va. -- For a second time in two days, Vice President Joe Biden on Monday predicted a strong electoral showing for Democrats, saying "it's all over but the shoutin.'"
"I'm feeling good," the vice president told reporters at Mimi's Cafe during an unscheduled stop. "I really am but you know, as an old expression goes it's all over but the shoutin'."
The day before Election Day, Vice President Joe Biden attacks rivals former Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan on women's issues, the economy and foreign policy during a final campaign stop in Sterling, Va.
Biden predicted - as he did yesterday in an interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews - that the Obama-Biden ticket will prevail in "firewall" states, but he acknowledged that swing states of Virginia and Florida could be squeakers.
"I'll take a one-vote majority, but I think we have a clear shot at doing well and the so-called firewall," he said, envisioning victory in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire.
"I think Florida will be close but I think we have a real shot of winning," he added. "And this state, we got a clear shot of winning it."
Biden's last full day of pre-election campaigning in virginia marks his ninth trip to the state this year.
He is barnstorming today with Senate candidate Tim Kaine, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner and retiring Sen. Jim Webb.
Updated 4:08 p.m. ET - STERLING, VA -- Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign announced Monday afternoon that the candidate would add two campaign stops on Election Day in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
A campaign official said Romney would make stops in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, part of what the GOP nominee's campaign called an effort to "keep working until the polls close."
Pollsters divide the state of Ohio into five regions: coal country, northeastern Ohio, the auto belt, the Columbus area and the Cincinnati region. Currently, Obama is doing well in the north and has also made inroads in coal country – but the real area to watch is the auto belt where Romney will return to campaign Tuesday. NBC's Chuck Todd reports.
Romney campaign advisers have eyed Pennsylvania in recent weeks as a backstop against losing other battleground states, especially as Obama has managed to maintain a mostly consistent if slight advantage over Romney in Ohio. Pennsylvania lacks a robust early voting effort and the vast majority of ballots are cast on election day. Romney's campaign and outside groups supporting it have poured money into television advertising there in recent weeks.
Pittsburgh has advantage of bleeding over into the Ohio media markets, too.
David Goldman / AP
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney waves to supporters after finishing his speech at a campaign event at the Lynchburg Regional Airport, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012.
In Cleveland, Romney will visit his campaign's victory office, according to a Republican operative familiar with the campaign's plans.
Romney will travel to the two Midwestern battlegrounds after voting in Belmont, Massachusetts on Tuesday morning.
On Monday, Romney barnstormed across four swing states, with rallies in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire. The New Hampshire midnight rally in in Manchester had been billed as the campaign's finale.
Jen Psaki, the traveling campaign spokeswoman for President Barack Obama, suggested the stop was a sign of weakness.
Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA
Campaigning with Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, voting and election results.
"I will say it's no surprise that Mitt Romney is headed to Ohio, or reportedly headed to Ohio tomorrow," she told reporters in a gaggle aboard Air Force One. "Without that state it's a rocky road to victory -- an insurmountable road I would say."
Romney campaign advisers say the candidate himself decided on Monday to add the last minute stops, preferring to motivate volunteers and supporters by showing them that he was working just as hard as they are in the final hours, to sitting at home and waiting for results to come in.
RENO, Nev. – Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan kicked off what he called a "barnburner" of a final day on the campaign trail, courting voters out west in Nevada.
GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan stopped by a campaign event in Reno, Nev., to rally supporters behind Governor Mitt Romney, saying "What we have is a leader ... a man of achievement, a man of faith, a man of accomplishment."
“Are you gonna help us win this thing Nevada? We're doing a barnburner today. We are crisscrossing the country Mitt and I are because we are asking you to work with us, to stand with us to get our country back on the right track,” Ryan told the crowd inside a hangar at the Reno Tahoe International Airport.
Ryan is holding five campaign rallies in four time zones Monday while Romney is holding five events along the East Coast.
Monday’s stop in Reno marks the GOP VP nominee’s sixth event in the Silver State and, with national polls tight between Romney and President Barack Obama, Ryan said Tuesday’s election could come down to Nevada.
"Look, a handful of states are gonna figure this out. So many Americans are looking to you, right here in Reno, right here in Nevada, and a handful of states like my own. And they're looking to you to make sure that you cast your vote for actual real change. That you cast your vote to get us off this dangerous path that we are on and back on the right track," he said to the roughly 1,000 people in attendance.
Ryan was joined by his wife and three children in addition to Romney’s son, Craig, at this first stop of the day less than 24 hours before polls open.
“Nevada we are counting on you. We know you can do this. We are in this together and let's just run through the tape, let's leave it all on the field,” Ryan asked supporters before heading off to Colorado for his next event.
MADISON, WI – Kicking off his last full day of campaigning here, President Barack Obama enlisted rocker Bruce Springsteen to motivate supporters who have already voted and those who will head to the polls Tuesday.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
President Barack Obama and rocker Bruce Springsteen wave to a crowd of 18,000 people during a rally on the last day of campaigning in the general election November 5, 2012 in Madison, Wis.
Taking the stage just after Springsteen finished an acoustic set, the president touted the fact that Springsteen will be hitching a ride on the presidential aircraft from Madison to the next campaign stop in Columbus, Ohio.
“I get to fly around with him on the last day that I will ever campaign. So that's not a bad way to end things,” he told the crowd of 18,000 gathered in a square near the state capitol, which was festooned with a giant American flag.
President Obama speaks at a campaign event in Madison, Wis. Watch his entire speech.
But Obama also used the rock star’s appearance to drive home a serious message about one of his signature agenda items: allowing the lower Bush-era tax rates for the wealthiest Americans expire.
“If we’re serious about the deficit, we can’t just cut our way to prosperity,” Obama said. “We’ve also got to ask the wealthiest Americans to go back to the tax rates they paid when Bill Clinton was in office. And by the way, we can afford it. I haven’t talked to Bruce, but he can afford it. I can afford it. Mr. Romney, he can afford it.”
In 2008, Springsteen’s appearances on behalf of the president underscored Obama’s image as a transformational figure of inspiration. But even The Boss acknowledged during his performance that despite his four years in office, the environment in Washington had not changed.
“President Obama ran last time as a man of hope and change, and you hear a lot of talk about things are different,” Springsteen said.
“Things aren’t any different now. They’re just realer. It’s crunch time now,” he continued.
After the rally, the president and Springsteen boarded Air Force One together to head to Columbus for another joint appearance.
Updated 11:27 a.m. - President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney returned Monday evening to the states that launched their respective bids for the presidency, wrapping their campaigning ahead of Election Day.
Joined by their spouses, Obama returned to Iowa -- where he won the 2008 caucuses -- and Romney stopped in New Hampshire -- where he won the primary at the beginning of this year -- to bring to an end their long, hard battle over whom Americans would select as their president for the next four years.
"I've come back to Iowa one more time to ask for your vote," a visibly emotional Obama told a crowd near his first campaign office in Des Moines. "Because this is where our movement for change began. Right here."
"It's out of my hands now," he said. "It's up to you."
Emmanuel Dunand / AFP - Getty Images
Mitt Romney holds a rally at Orlando Sanford international airport in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 5, 2012.
Both Obama and Romney seemed to drink in the adulation of their supporters in the closing hours of the campaign, before voters would take to the polls in fewer than 12 hours to render their verdict on the election.
"This is a special moment for Ann and for me, because this is where our campaign began," Romney said to a crowd in New Hampshire. "Your primary vote put me on the path to win the Republican nomination, and tomorrow your votes and your work here in New Hampshire will help me become the next president of the United States."
The stops mostly concluded the campaigning of the 2012 election. Romney was set to make stops Tuesday in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, and Republican vice presidential nominee would also stop in Cleveland and Richmond. Those stops, though, were billed as less formal than the giant, raucous rallies that have dominated the candidates' schedules in the closing days of the campaign.
Obama and Romney capped what was a "barnburner" final day of campaigning, as he and Romney hop-scotched across the country to make stops in the states on which they're relying tomorrow.
So far, more than 4.5 million Floridians have already voted, sometimes after waiting in hours-long lines. NBC's Mark Potter reports.
Romney made a four-state tour through Florida, Virginia and Ohio – states that are critical to his hopes of becoming president – before concluding in New Hampshire, the cornerstone of Romney’s victory in the GOP presidential primary earlier this year, and the state neighboring Massachusetts, where Romney served as governor and his campaign is now headquartered.
Both sides agree, winning Colorado could be key. A recent NBC/WSJ/Marist poll had the race tied at 48 percent each. NBC's Mike Taibbi reports.
The president spent the day visiting Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio -- the states composing his Midwestern "firewall," where he's sought to build an advantage over Romney.
Their schedules, coming on the heels of a jam-packed weekend of campaigning across the country by both the candidates and their surrogates, was nothing short of a “barnburner,” as Ryan put it at first rally of the day, in Nevada.
“We're doing a barnburner today,” Ryan said in the state, which is seen as leaning toward Obama in NBC News’ battleground map. “We are crisscrossing the country – Mitt and I are because we are asking you to work with us, to stand with us to get our country back on the right track.”
Both Obama and Romney stuck to well-worn scripts that they had used throughout the frenetic final days of the campaign. The candidates at times seemed to acknowledge that much of the campaign’s outcome might be out of their hands, pleading with supporters to sway a winnowing number of swing voters over to their cause.
How will the Hispanic vote and the white vote impact the presidential election? What about older voters and younger voters? How much of an impact will Hurricane Sandy have on voting? NBC News' Chuck Todd and Time's Mike Murphy join a conversation on the issue.
“Your voices are being heard all over the nation loud and clear, thank you,” Romney said in Virginia. “I also want to thank many of you in this crowd that have been out there working on the campaign – making calls from the victory centers, and by putting up a yard sign, in your neighbor’s yard and maybe convincing a coworker to vote for Paul Ryan and me.”
Obama kicked off his first rally of the day with rocker Bruce Springsteen, who would hitch a ride with the president to Columbus for an afternoon rally, which was also to feature rapper Jay-Z.
"I get to fly around with him on the last day I'll ever campaign, so that's not a bad way to end things," he said of Springsteen, who will accompany Obama to Columbus, Ohio, on Air Force One.
The state with 13 electoral votes could go either way in this election, and may play a critical role in determining not only the next president, but also which party will control the U.S. Senate. NBC's Tom Costello reports.
Both Obama and Romney’s schedules, though, sent a powerful signal about their fundamental strategy for Election Day.
The states Romney is visiting, for instance, are virtually essential for his hopes come Tuesday. Failing to win Florida, for instance, would force Romney to have to win every single other remaining battleground state.
Obama’s stops, meanwhile, suggested attentiveness to his so-called “firewall,” which Republicans have argued is cracking amid surging Republican enthusiasm in battleground states.
Reuters, Getty Images
Campaigning with Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, voting and election results.
Vice President Joe Biden, during a stop at a cafe in Sterling, Va., predicted the bloc would hold.
“I think we’ll win Ohio, I think we’ll win Wisconsin, I think we’ll win Iowa. I think we’ll win Nevada, I think we’ll win new Hampshire,” he told reporters. He added that Florida would be “close,” but said he thought “have a real shot of winning” the Sunshine State.
As they made their final arguments to sprawling crowds throughout the day, both Romney and Obama got an assist from additional superstars who entertained audiences before rallies had begun.
Larry Downing / Reuters
Supporters hold a sign as President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at Fifth Third Arena at the University of Cincinnati, Nov. 4, 2012.
Obama was traveling with Springsteen and Jay-Z on Monday, but Katy Perry and John Mellencamp had played before other Obama audiences over the weekend. Romney’s rally on Monday in Ohio was also slated to feature the Marshall Tucker Band.
Both Springsteen and Jay Z each did special songs for the Obama campaign, in Jay Z's case, changing an epithet in one of his songs to reference Romney instead.
"If you're having world problems, I feel bad for you son," he said, "I got 99 problems, but Mitt ain't one."
In the past six presidential elections, Wisconsin has been reliably blue – but this year, thanks to Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, the race is much tighter. NBC's Ron Mott reports.
SANFORD, FL -- Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said farewell to Florida voters on Monday morning, making his final stop here at the top of a four-stop, four-state tour of battleground states on the second-to-last day of the election.
With less than 24 hours before Election Day, Governor Mitt Romney headed to Sanford, Fla., where he stressed how critical the state was in securing his victory over President Obama.
Romney, whose path to the White House would be significantly endangered by a loss in Florida, said that a better tomorrow begins with a Romney victory on Tuesday.
"Tomorrow, we begin a better tomorrow. This nation is going to change for the better tomorrow. Your work is making a difference, the people of the world are watching, the people of America are watching," Romney said at an airplane hangar rally in an Orlando suburb this morning. "We can begin a better tomorrow tomorrow, and with the help of the people in Florida, that's exactly what's going to happen."
Romney, joined by Republican statehouse leaders past and present, including sitting Florida Gov. Rick Scott, and the popular former Gov. Jeb Bush, urged Floridians to get to the polls on Tuesday, asking for "every single vote."
"Look, we have one job left and that's to make sure that on election day we get, make certain that everybody who's qualified to vote gets out to vote," Romney said. "We need every single vote in Florida."
Advisers to the campaign say that of the three biggest swing states -- Florida, Virginia and Ohio -- they're most confident about a victory in Florida on Tuesday, and the candidate's schedule reflects that confidence.
This morning's rally marked Romney's final appearance in the sunshine state. He has two more rallies planned today in Virginia, and the Associated Press has reported the campaign is considering adding one last Ohio rally on Tuesday, after what was expected to be Romney's final appearance in that state at an airport hangar rally this afternoon
All about turnout and racial composition… National NBC/WSJ poll: Late momentum appears to favor Obama… Shades of 2004?... Romney up with independents, ahead on economy… But is the undecided vote breaking in Obama’s direction?... NBC/WSJ/Marist poll of VA: Obama 48%, Romney 47% -- same as our national poll… Closing time: Obama (in WI, OH, IA) and Romney (FL, VA, OH, NH) spend their final day on the trail in the states they HAVE to win… And welcome Kate Montanaro!
*** All about turnout -- and racial composition: Our final national NBC/WSJ poll has it Obama 48%, Romney 47% among likely voters. If anything is likely to decide this very close presidential contest, it probably comes down to turnout (duh!), as well as the racial composition of the electorate. Since the campaign began, Team Obama has assumed that whites would make up 72% of voters, down from 74% in 2008. (The logic: This percentage has decreased in every U.S. election, and the minority population continues to grow.) On the other hand, Republicans counter that due to greater GOP enthusiasm, the white percentage could very well stay the same as in 2008 -- or even be a tick higher. And according to our NBC/WSJ pollsters, the final outcome here could sway the election. If you assume that both sides maximize their margins (Romney wins whites by 20 percentage points and Obama wins minority voters by 60 percentage points), whites making up 75% of the electorate would give Romney the edge with the popular vote by a fraction of a point. But if the white percentage is 74%, Obama would win the popular vote by a fraction of a point. And if it’s 73%, Obama wins by one point. Bottom line: Watch the white percentage in tomorrow night’s exit polls; it will tell you more about where Virginia or Iowa or Colorado or Wisconsin will go.
With polls showing a neck-and-neck presidential race, NBC's Chuck Todd runs through some potential paths to presidential victory, including how it might go if President Obama won the Electoral College vote and Governor Romney won the popular vote.
*** Late momentum appears to favor Obama: The national NBC/WSJ poll provides good news for both Obama and Romney. For Obama, the past couple of weeks have been kind to the president: 41% of likely voters say that what they have read, heard, and seen over the past couple of weeks have given them a more favorable impression of Obama, compared to 40% who said it had given them a less favorable impression -- which is up from his 38%-43% score on this question two weeks ago. Part of that more favorable impression is due to his handling of Hurricane Sandy, of which 67% of likely voters approve. By comparison, 45% of voters say they have a less favorable impression of Romney from what they have read, heard and seen over the past couple of weeks, versus 40% who have a more favorable view. But two weeks ago -- fresh off his debate performances -- Romney’s score here was tied, 44% more favorable, and 44% less favorable. So if there’s been a bump, it’s been in Obama’s direction. The caveat for Team Obama: Al Gore in 2000 and Gerald Ford in 1976 had the momentum in the closing days, and they ended up losing (both were representing the incumbent party).
Keith Srakocic / AP
*** But is this 1976 or 2004?: In other good news for Obama, his numbers in this national poll look almost identical to George W. Bush’s in the final NBC/WSJ survey before the 2004 presidential election, which Bush ended up winning 51%-48%. Obama’s approval rating among likely voters stands at 49 percent -- exactly matching Bush’s 49% approval in the final ’04 NBC/WSJ poll. What’s more, 42% say the country is headed in the right direction, versus 41% who said the same thing in late Oct. 2004. And the head-to-head score between Obama and Romney -- 48% to 47% -- is identical to what it was in the final NBC/WSJ poll before the 2004 election: Bush 48%, Democrat John Kerry 47%.
*** Romney up with independents, on economy: The good news for Romney in this national poll is that 53% of likely voters are comfortable with the idea of him as president, which ties Obama’s percentage on this question (although 39% are “very comfortable” with Obama versus 26% who are “very comfortable” with Romney). Also, Romney is ahead of Obama among independents, 47% to 40%. And the former Massachusetts governor leads Obama by five points on which candidate is better prepared to create jobs and grow the economy, 47%-42%. However, a majority of voters -- 52% -- say the economy is recovering.
*** Undecided vote breaking in Obama’s direction? Here’s one last point we want to make about our national poll: The survey found that 9% of the likely voters are up for grabs (meaning they’re undecided or just leaning to a candidate), and these folks have more positive feelings toward Obama than Romney. Obama’s job approval with them is 48% approve, 41% disapprove. What’s more, Obama’s fav/unfav with them is 46%/29%, vs. Romney’s upside down 22%-49%. Bottom line: Our pollsters see more of an opportunity for Obama among these voters and more of an uphill climb for Romney.
*** Breaking down the NBC/WSJ/Marist Virginia poll: Meanwhile, our final NBC/WSJ/Marist state poll before the election shows the race extremely close in Virginia, which makes sense since Virginia most closely mirrored the national popular vote in 2008. Our Virginia numbers are identical to our national numbers, where Obama gets support from 48% of likely voters and Romney gets 47%. The other findings pretty much mirror what our other state polls have shown: Obama’s approval rating (48%) matches his ballot percentage (48%); Romney has a slight lead on which candidate would better handle the economy; and a whopping 71% approve of Obama’s handling of Hurricane Sandy. But the Virginia survey has a narrower gender gap than elsewhere – Obama wins women by six points, 51%-45%, and Romney is up by five with men, 50%-45%. And in the Senate contest, Tim Kaine (D) leads George Allen (R) by three points among likely voters, 49%-46%.
*** Closing time: One striking thing about today is that both Obama and Romney are in states they HAVE to win rather than WANT to win. Obama is in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Iowa -- the firewall states. And Romney hits Florida, Virginia, Ohio, and New Hampshire. Yesterday was about luxury (Obama in Florida, Romney in Pennsylvania); today is about necessity. By the way, as NBC’s Justin Kirschner observes, both Obama and Romney will conclude their 2012 campaigns where it all began for them. For Obama, his final rally is in Iowa the state that launched his 2012 presidential bid. And for Romney, his last rally will be in New Hampshire, where he launched his 2012 campaign and where he owns a home.
*** Final ad-spending numbers in the battleground states by all the campaigns and outside groups: OH: $189 million; FL: $185 million; VA: $146 million; CO: $79 million; IA: $72 million; NC: $69 million; NV: $56 million; WI: $40 million; NH: $40 million; PA: $22 million.
*** On the trail: The final day of campaigning: Obama campaigns in Madison, WI at 11:45 am ET (with Bruce Springsteen), in Columbus, OH at 2:25 pm ET (with Springsteen and Jay-Z), and in Des Moines, IA at 10:30 pm ET (with Springsteen and wife Michelle)…. Romney holds rallies in Sanford, FL at 9:00 am ET, Lynchburg, VA at 12:35 pm ET, Fairfax, VA at 2:45 pm ET, Columbus, OH at 6:25 pm, and Manchester, NH at 11:00 pm ET (with wife Ann)… Biden stumps in Virginia… Ryan hits Nevada, Colorado, Ohio, and Wisconsin… And Michelle Obama makes stops in North Carolina and Florida.
*** And welcome Kate Montanaro! Congratulations to Domenico and Beth Montanaro on the birth of their baby daughter, Katherine Elizabeth Montanaro. Kate was born yesterday on Nov 4 -- two days from Election Day! -- and she checked in at 7 pounds, 2 ounces and 19.25 inches. Mom, dad, Jack, and Kate are all doing well.
Countdown to Election Day: 1 day
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In what could be a preview of crises to come on election day in Florida, NBC’s Jamie Novogrod reports that a Miami-Dade elections office on Sunday temporarily shut its doors, leaving a crowd of several hundred people in the street, shouting, "Let us vote."
They had come after the county announced it would open its headquarters for people to request and file absentee ballots in person. Officials said they were overwhelmed by the size of the crowd, but re-opened their doors an hour later. The Miami Herald later reported Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered the interruption.
The meltdown in Miami came after Democrats in Florida filed a lawsuit early Sunday seeking an opportunity for people to cast votes in person using absentee ballots. The lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Miami, cited reports of lines up to seven hours at polling stations Saturday -- the last day of Florida's eight-day early voting period.
"These extraordinary lines … have required voters to stand in line for many hours to exercise their right to vote," the complaint read, adding that in some cases the wait "deterred or prevented voters from casting their ballots."
Florida's Republican Secretary of State Ken Detzner is named as a defendant, along with the supervisors of elections in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties.
Miami-Dade officials told the Miami Herald that they reached a decision late Saturday to allow in-person absentee voting the next day, though their announcement came after the Democrats' suit was filed. The other two counties named by the Democrats also complied. Later, Democrats sent out releases noting additional counties where in person absentee ballots could be requested and filed.
If Sunday looked like a PR win for the Democrats, it also illustrated how politics still tangles the vote here in Florida, 12 years after the recount following Bush v. Gore. But this year, analysts say, the point of contention is not voting technology.
"Unlike in 2000, where the problem was voting equipment, this time it's not about equipment. It's about the process," said Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of Southern Florida.
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.
Virginia remains a toss up. That’s the takeaway from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll out from the battleground released Sunday.
Just two days before what is shaping up to be a very tight presidential election, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney remain in a statistical tie for Virginia's crucial 13 electoral votes. Obama holding a narrow 48 percent to 47 percent edge among likely voters in the commonwealth. (There’s little change with registered voters – Obama’s advantage grows one point, 48 percent to 46 percent.)
Three weeks ago, the results were reversed in the poll, with Romney holding a 48 percent to 47 percent edge.
The president continues to benefit from better feelings about the direction of the country. While more people think that the country is headed in the wrong direction (49 percent) than the right path (46 percent), it's still an improvement from just three weeks ago when the spread was 10 points (53 percent wrong direction, 43 percent right path).
That’s a consistent trend seen in the battlegrounds and national polls since Labor Day. Voters had consistently been saying the country was off on the wrong track by much wider margins.
There also continues to be a slight gender gap, with the president leading Romney 51 percent to 45 percent among women, but that chasm has been cut in half since last month.
That’s about the margin Obama won by in Virginia in 2008 over Republican Sen. John McCain – seven points.
But more men said they support the president this month than last. Last month, Romney led by 15 points with men; this month, it’s five points. McCain beat Obama with men by four points in 2008 in Virginia.
Obama’s approval is 49 percent, a point better than his ballot score. Seven-in-10 Virginians said they approve of the president’s handling of Hurricane Sandy.
Geography is key to either side’s victory on Tuesday. The president needs to run up big margins in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. He leads there by 17 points, 56 percent to 39 percent. But in the swing Northern Virginia exurbs, Romney holds a narrow edge at 49 percent to 47 percent. Romney also leads by five points in the central/western part of the state, is up eight points in swing Richmond/eastern part of the state, and is tied with Obama in the Tidewater region.
Romney leads by five points with independents, but Obama leads by 12 points with moderates. In 2008, Obama won independents by a point and moderates by 17 points.
In the Senate race, Democrat Tim Kaine continues to edge Republican George Allen 49 percent to 46 percent, a two-point improvement for Kaine.
The poll was conducted Nov. 1-2, interviewed 1,165 likely voters, and has a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points. The party ID in the poll is +3D. In 2008, it was +6D.