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Obama leads electoral race, but Romney has a shot


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Obama’s team was projecting confidence in Ohio, arguing that the renewed debate in the final weeks over the auto industry financial bailout — which Obama signed and Romney has criticized — has boosted the president at the right time while undercutting Romney. Republicans in the state don’t dispute that characterization, and Obama has kept the heat on Romney over a TV ad he’s running that misleadingly suggests that the auto bailout helped U.S. auto giants send jobs to China.

"This isn’t a game. These are people’s jobs. These are people’s lives," Obama told a raucous crowd in Friday in a Columbus suburb. "You don’t scare hard-working Americans just to scare up some votes."

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Wisconsin, the home state of GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, also figures prominently in the calculations for both sides, but, again, is more critical for Romney, who is looking to stop Obama in the Rust Belt.

Here’s why: Obama surest path to a second term cuts through both Ohio and Wisconsin, and victories in those states would give him 271 electoral votes as long as he wins all of the states that are solidly Democratic or tilting his way.

Those include:

—Iowa, where public and internal campaign polls shows Obama with an edge even though Romney has campaigned in the state a half-dozen times in the past two weeks and has spent the final hours of the campaign working to narrow Obama’s edge in early voting. Both candidates were in Iowa on Saturday, and Romney was back Sunday playing hard for late-deciders his team is confident will break their way and make the difference.

Obama planned to return to the state Monday. Republicans characterized that visit as a sign of instability while Obama’s team said he wanted to end his campaign in the state whose 2008 caucuses put him on the road to the presidency.

—Nevada, where Republicans and Democrats say the president has gained ground over the past few weeks, despite high unemployment and foreclosures. Obama seems to be benefiting from the state’s large Hispanic voting bloc and political machinery of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Romney all but acknowledged the president had an edge in the states. He scrapped plans to visit the state in the final two days. Instead, he sent Ryan.


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