Republican nominee Mitt Romney chided President Barack Obama Saturday for calling on Americans to vote for “revenge” as the battle for the White House raced to an ill tempered climax.
Three days before voters chose between giving Obama a second term or sending him packing back to Chicago, the rivals chased one another through a handful of states that will decide Tuesday’s too-close-to-call election.
Romney was up early in New Hampshire, which has only four of the 270 electoral votes needed to claim the White House but could punch above its weight in a tight finish, accusing Obama of “demonizing” political foes.
Romney also debuted a new political ad on Saturday, seizing on Obama’s comment in Ohio on Friday when he told supporters angry at the Republicans not to boo but to vote, saying “voting’s the best revenge.”
The ad featured Romney telling his biggest crowd of the campaign in Ohio also Friday that Obama “asked his supporters to vote for revenge — for revenge.”
While Romney was campaigning, Obama was back in Washington visiting the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as New York and New Jersey struggle to deal with the aftermath of murderous superstorm Sandy.
The Obama campaign enjoys the comparison between Obama doing his job managing the government while Romney campaigns as polls show a majority of Americans approve of the president’s handling of Sandy.
With time running down until the election, Obama soon headed back to the campaign trail, with a long day of campaign stops planned in Ohio, the possible tipping point state before heading to Wisconsin and Iowa.
He will wrap up his day with a late night rally in Virginia, a state where he and Romney are locked in a tight race.
Romney, fresh from the biggest rally of his campaign, which drew at least 18,000 people on a cold night in West Chester, Ohio, left New Hampshire for trips to Colorado and Iowa.
In a show of close combat on the last weekend of the campaign, both candidates will be in the eastern Iowa town of Dubuque, within hours of one another.
Latest polls show Obama and Romney tied nationally, but Obama appears to be solidifying his position in enough of the eight or so swing states that will decide the election to support his hopes of a second term.
New surveys by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News Saturday showed the president up by 47 to 49 percent in Florida and leading Romney by 51 to 45 percent in Ohio, double the margin in the current RealClearPolitics average.
A Mason Dixon poll for the Miami Herald, however, had Romney up by six points in Florida, which the Republican, who also needs Ohio, cannot afford to lose if he is to be elected America’s 45th president.
The Obama and Romney campaigns have sharply differing views of the race.
The president’s team believe that early voting and polling data, plus the president’s grass roots turnout machine, mean that Obama will prevail in a close race.
But Romney’s camp believes opinion polls are overstating the proportion of Democrats in the electorate and that their candidate is poised to ride the support of independent voters to victory on Tuesday.
On Friday, Obama earlier evaded a last-minute time bomb as the economy pumped out more jobs than expected in October.
Romney, however, seized on an uptick in the jobless rate by a tenth of a point to 7.9 percent to bemoan an economy at a “virtual standstill.”
Obama, campaigning in Ohio Friday repudiated Romney’s claim to being an agent of change, accusing him instead of trying to “massage the facts,” highlighting a Romney ad that claims that Chrysler plans to outsource jobs to China to produce its Jeep vehicles.
The president repeatedly touts his decision to bail out indebted US automakers in a politically unpopular 2009 move that helped restore the industry to health.
One in eight jobs in Ohio are linked to the sector, and Romney’s opposition to the bailout has emerged as a liability for the Republican.