Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Presidential Election

November 5, 2012

On final lap, Romney, Obama focus on key states

(Continued)

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.

At stops, Obama has been telling crowds, "If you want to break the gridlock in Congress, you'll vote for leaders who feel the same way, whether they are Democrats or Republicans or independents." But the local candidates he often cites are inevitably Democrats.

As the race approached its conclusion, the two candidates engaged in their own personal moments with friends and close aides, an acknowledgement that no matter who won, this was the end of the campaign.

Longtime Obama chums Mike Ramos, a childhood friend from Hawaii, and Marty Nesbitt, a friend from Chicago, joined the president on Air Force One. On Monday, longtime adviser and former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and former personal aide Reggie Love were to join the entourage.

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