Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Presidential Election

October 31, 2012

Obama tours storm damage, Romney mutes rhetoric

(Continued)

The political impact of the storm on the race was difficult to gauge.

Obama senior adviser David Axelrod told reporters it had "tended to freeze this race" in place because "people are focused on the storm. That's what's been in the news."

Not everyone, and not all the time.

In the race's final days, Romney's campaign is running ads in Minnesota and Pennsylvania, two states long considered safe for the president, and the Republican's allies are airing commercials in Michigan and New Mexico.

Obama's aides insisted the states were safe for him, but it dispatched former President Bill Clinton to Minnesota, and purchased airtime in the other three states to respond to the Republicans.

Both campaigns invested in get-out-the-vote operations well in advance of Election Day.

Officials in Florida said more than 2.6 billion ballots had been cast as of Tuesday night. Democrats voted in slightly higher numbers than Republicans, but nearly 450,000 voters were independents.

___

Associated Press writers Steve Peoples and Kasie Hunt in Florida, Philip Elliott in Eau Claire, Wis., Ben Feller, Charles Babington, Ken Thomas and Martin Crutsinger in Washington, Matthew Daly in Sarasota, Fla., Brian Bakst in St. Paul, Minn., and Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Fla., contributed to this report. Espo reported from Washington.

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Presidential Election