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November 5, 2012

NATION: Obama, Romney pursue last votes in close race

(Continued)

Obama dispatched former President Bill Clinton to Pennsylvania on Monday for an eleventh-hour bid to keep the state in his column. 

Meanwhile, about 30 million people have already voted in 34 states and the District of Columbia, either by mail or in person, although none will be counted until Election Day on Tuesday. More than 4 million of the ballots were cast in Florida, where Democrats filed a lawsuit demanding an extension of available time. A judge granted their request in one county where an early voting site was shut down for several hours Saturday because of a bomb scare.

Both men were spending the final days of the campaign presenting themselves as can-do leaders willing to break partisan logjams in Washington.

The former Massachusetts governor warned that a second Obama term would threaten the American economy because of the president’s inability to work with Congress. “He’s ignored them, he’s attacked them, he’s blamed them,” Romney said.

Obama cited bipartisan work on middle-class tax cuts and on ending the Pentagon’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy, but warned that he would not compromise away his priorities, such as health care. “I’m not willing to pay that price,” he said.

As aides for both candidates looked for early marks of success, there were signs for the superstitious. Since 1936, with only one exception, whenever the Washington Redskins won on the Sunday before the election, the incumbent party would retain the White House. On Sunday, the Redskins lost to the Carolina Panthers, giving hope to Republicans.

But the Obama camp often compares this election to 2004, when President George W. Bush held the White House in his race against Democrat John Kerry. That year was the exception to the rule; the Redskins lost, and so did Kerry.

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