STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): Good morning, and welcome to a special election edition of "This Week."
AUDIENCE: Four more years!
AUDIENCE: Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!
STEPHANOPOULOS: It is here. After two years...
ROMNEY: I'm Mitt Romney, and I'm running for president of the United States.
OBAMA: We are not going back. We are moving this country forward.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... more than $2 billion.
BIDEN: This man has courage in his soul and a spine of steel.
RYAN: What is missing is leadership in the White House.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Just two days to go in this historic campaign. In these final hours, is Obama closing with a kick? Do Romney's last-minute moves signal confidence or desperation? How has Hurricane Sandy changed the race? And will we know the winner Tuesday night? We'll ask our headliners, Obama's top White House strategist David Plouffe and Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie.
Plus, insight, analysis, and election predictions on our powerhouse roundtable, with George Will, Donna Brazile, Matthew Dowd, Cokie Roberts, and Ron Brownstein of the National Journal.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos. It's your voice, your vote. Reporting from ABC News election headquarters, George Stephanopoulos.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello again. This is it, just hours to go before the final votes. And for so many Americans, up to 40 percent of voters, Election Day has already come and gone, a new record that has already led to long lines like these at polling places across the country.
Both campaigns see some good news in the early vote, which makes sense. The race has been tight from the start, the closest in memory, and today it could not be closer. Our brand-new ABC News-Washington Post poll shows an absolutely dead heat, 48 for Obama, 48 for Romney.
Still, in those critical battleground states, nearly all of the public polls this week show a small but steady lead for President Obama, and it's in the battlegrounds, especially those Midwestern states of Iowa, Wisconsin, and Ohio where the candidates are making their closing arguments.
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OBAMA: The American auto industry is back on top. Osama bin Laden is dead.
We have made real progress. But we are here today because we know we've got more work to do.
ROMNEY: The question for this election in my view is this: Do you want to stay on the same course we're on, or do you want real change? Because we represent real change.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: And with that, let's hear from the campaign's top strategist, Ed Gillespie for Governor Romney and David Plouffe for the president.
And, David, let me begin with you. Good morning. You know, I know you've been steadily confident throughout this campaign, but you saw our ABC News-Washington Post poll, still absolutely deadlocked, 48-48. It can't seem to break out of that range. How can you remain so confident?
PLOUFFE: Well, George, we've always known this was going to be a very close race. But it is going to be decided in the battleground states, and we think in those states -- you mentioned three in the Midwest, in Florida, Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire, Nevada -- we have an important lead in those states.