Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Presidential Election

November 6, 2012

Suspense to the end, Obama, Romney yield to voters

(Continued)

By contrast, Election Day came early for more than a third of Americans, who chose to cast ballots days or even weeks in advance.

An estimated 46 million ballots, or 35 percent of the 133 million expected to be cast, were projected to be early ballots, according to Michael McDonald, an early voting expert at George Mason University who tallies voting statistics for the United States Elections Project. None of those ballots were being counted until Tuesday.

The two candidates and their running mates, propelled by adrenalin, throat lozenges and a determination to look back with no regrets, stormed through eight battleground states and logged more than 6,000 flight miles Monday on their final full day of campaigning, a political marathon featuring urgency, humor and celebrity.

Obama's final campaign rally, Monday night in Des Moines, Iowa, was filled with nostalgia. A single tear streamed down Obama's face during his remarks, though it was hard to tell whether it was from emotion or the bitter cold.

Team Obama's closing lineup included Bruce Springsteen, rapper Jay-Z, singers Mariah Carey, Ricky Martin and John Mellencamp, the NBA's Derek Fisher and actors Samuel L. Jackson and Chris Rock. Springsteen, who hitched a ride aboard Air Force One for part of the day, even composed an anthem for the president, rhyming "Obama" with "pajamas."

"Not the best I've ever written," the rocker confessed.

Obama, making his last run for office at the still-young age of 51, was tickled to have Springsteen along as his traveling campaign, telling the crowd in Madison, "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."

Team Romney's closing events offered a slimmer celebrity quotient, including Kid Rock and country rock performers The Marshall Tucker Band. But the GOP nominee didn't seem to mind.

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Presidential Election