LIVE BLOG: Sunday Before the Election
The end is near. And while that might be welcome news for some people, the candidates are still hard at work on the stump, taking one last opportunity to rally their supporters and swing any remaining undecided voters.
President Obama will hit four states today, starting in New Hampshire with Bill Clinton by his side - their second joint appearance in as many days - before heading south to Hollywood, Fla., then off for points west: Cincinnati, Ohio, and Aurora, Colo.
Tune in to ABCNews.com on Tuesday, Nov. 6 for livestreaming coverage of Election 2012. Our Election Day show kicks off at noon, and the Election Night event begins at 7 p.m.
For Mitt Romney the trail leads him through Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania to Virginia, where he'll headline a rally tonight in Newport News - a late addition to his schedule, which includes two stops in the Commonwealth.
There are less than two days now until the polls open across the country - HERE is a look back at Saturday, as it happened.
6:26 p.m. ET - Money for Nothing?
Veteran political prognosticator Charlie Cook recently made the following prediction:
- Barack Obama will be re-elected President
- 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans in the newly elected Senate
- 240 Republicans and 195 Democrats in the House
Now consider that the current political breakdown is this:
-Barack Obama is the President
-53 Democrats and 47 Republicans in the Senate
-240 Republicans, 190 Democrats and 5 vacant seats in the House
In other words: After a $6 billion* campaign, it is quite possible that nothing at all will have changed in the national political lineup. Nothing.
*$6 billion is a rough estimate of the total spending by campaigns, parties, and outside groups in the House, Senate and Presidential campaigns during the 2012 election.
6:11 p.m. ET - Democrats Off 2008 Pace in Florida Vote
James Hill reports: "As of Saturday, 4.4 million votes have been cast early or by absentee ballot in Florida.
Democrats have an advantage of about 159,000 votes, so far, well short of the Early Vote/Absentee Ballot advantage they had four years ago
Absentee voters have until Tuesday at 7 p.m. to get their ballots in. So those numbers can still go up quite a lot. There are about 700,000 outstanding absentee ballots (and others can still get one in person if they are determined to vote early)."
5:04 p.m. ET - The Detritus of Campaign 2012
Thousands of empty, crushed Zephyrhills water bottles blanketing the football field at McArthur High School in Hollywood, Fla.
The flotsam after an Obama rally > twitter.com/devindwyer/sta…
— devindwyer (@devindwyer) November 4, 2012
5:01 p.m. ET - ABC News/WaPo Poll: Leadership Ratings Help Obama; 50 Percent Approval, Not So Much
Gary Langer breaks it down: "Barack Obama has maintained a sizable advantage over Mitt Romney in trust to handle a major crisis and regained his lead in being seen as the stronger leader, wielding the benefits of incumbency to stay competitive, economic discontent aside, in the razor-close 2012 election.
Obama also has managed essentially an even split with Romney in views of which candidate has better ideas on the size and role of government - another case, as with the economy, on which Romney has been unable to capitalize fully on a vulnerability of the president's…
…Romney's held his ground nonetheless, notably with record levels of support within the Republican Party and broad backing in some of its key constituencies, and in the final weekend of the race the contest remains deadlocked, with 49 percent support for Obama among likely voters, 48 percent for Romney in the latest ABC News/Washington Post daily tracking poll.
There's no clear evidence that Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy has directly helped him; while he holds a 10-point lead over Romney in trust to handle a major crisis, 52-42 percent, that's the same as it was earlier this fall, long before the storm struck."
4:15 p.m. ET - The Redskins Lose, 21-13, to the Carolina Panthers
Carolina's Cam Newton threw for one touchdown and ran for another as the now two-win Panthers beat the Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. Why did you just read that sentence on this page? Because, as noted earlier, over the past 70+ years only one incumbent party candidate (George W. Bush in 2004) has won or kept the White House after a 'Skins loss in their last home game before the election. Nervous moments, surely, in the Obama camp right now.
3:48 p.m. ET - This Happened Earlier Today in New York City
Great set for election night on abc news. Sitting here on Sunday getting ready. Fun times. twitter.com/matthewjdowd/s…
- Matthew Dowd (@matthewjdowd) November 4, 2012
3:34 p.m. ET - This Happened Today in Florida
- devindwyer (@devindwyer) November 4, 2012
3:22 p.m. ET - Romney Trades Favorite Movie Lines with Staff to Unwind
Emily Friedman is with the candidate in Cleveland:
"How does a presidential candidate spend the final down hours of his campaign? By quoting movie lines, of course.
Romney spokesman Kevin Madden shared some behind-the-scenes details of life on the Romney charter in the last few days of the campaign, telling reporters that Romney ditched his journal writing ritual to discuss movies with his staffers.
'He works a lot on his laptop. And he reads a lot. He keeps a journal. So he does that. Yesterday, since it was a little bit of a longer flight, we were all having this big discussion about what our favorite movies are,' Madden saiid. 'And literally, it was like an hour-and-a-half conversation with everybody shouting out movies and shouting out movie lines.
'[Romney] kept trying to interject in that,' said Madden. 'So, he put away his journal for a little bit and he kept saying what his favorite movie was and what his favorite line was.'
'His favorite movie is, 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' But you know, you can only have so many, 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' lines shouted at you by the Governor,' Madden joked. 'And we wanted to move on to other movies and other lines. 'Diner' was a consensus pick yesterday for everybody else, in case you were wondering. And 'Anchorman' lines were pretty plentiful."
3:00 p.m. ET - Romney, Biden Arrivals Make for Busy Day at Cleveland Airport
AF2 and Romney's plane at the airport in Cleveland, OH earlier today twitter.com/ArletteSaenz/s…
- Arlette Saenz (@ArletteSaenz) November 4, 2012
2:33 p.m. ET - Seven Swing State Election Irregularities
Sarah Parnass reports: "National elections involve many moving parts and in swing states, where campaigns pour in with millions of dollars in ads and aides, the process can become even more complicated.
Out of this chaos, problems inevitably arise. In some cases, those problems appear to be maliciously motivated. In others, they're simple mistakes. Either way, state officials take them seriously, as any irregularity has the potential to deter someone from voting, depriving them of their right as an American."
2:27 p.m. ET - The Redskins Are Losing, 14-3, at Halftime in Washington
Only one incumbent president/party has held on to the White House after the 'Skins lost their final home game before Election Day. So, good news for Romney.
1:38 p.m. ET - Democrats Sharpen Talking Points for the Final 48 Hours
Rick Klein reports:
"There's plenty of celebrity name-dropping, bragging about ground game, and a particular phrase that's being repeated quite a bit…"
Here are a few lines you should expect to hear, a lot, in the coming days. See if you can pick out the theme:
"Even though this is President Obama's final campaign, he's fighting for the same things he's always believed and run on - that this country cannot succeed without a growing, thriving middle class. "
"Middle class security - which has been undercut by the policies and decisions of the last decade - is what's at stake in this election, and the President is leading the fight to reclaim it."
"We know and trust President Obama. We know what he believes, where he stands, and that he's willing to make tough decisions even when they're not politically convenient. We know he'll fight for middle-class families every single day, as hard as he knows how."
"Governor Romney has been using his talents as a salesman to dress up the same policies that failed our country and crashed our economy, and offers them up as change."
"President Obama is pointing the way forward to real change that will create jobs, boost the middle class and create a stronger future for all Americans."
HERE is a look at what the Romney folks are talking about.
12:55 p.m. ET - Florida Democrats: More Voting Today in Five Counties
The head of the Florida Democratic Party, Scott Arceneaux, emailed this statement:
"If you live in one of five Florida counties - Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Hillsborough, Orange or Pinellas - you can vote today. Voters can go to their county Supervisor of Election office to cast their absentee ballot in person. Additionally, voters in Orange County can early vote this afternoon in Winter Park at the Winter Park Library (460 E. New England Ave., across from Rollins College); to make up for the four hours that location was closed yesterday, Floridians can vote in Winter Park today between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. ET. If you are in line by 5 p.m., you can vote.
We encourage registered voters in these counties to cast their ballots today. With unprecedented turnout in South Florida, it is still our hope that the court will extend the early voting hours so that every eligible voter has a chance to vote."
Here's the scene yesterday, when the waiting time to vote in at some polling places exceeded six hours:
12:28 p.m. ET - With Ohio In Doubt, Romney Campaign Looks to Wisconsin
"With polls in nearby Ohio showing a small but consistent Obama lead, the Romney campaign has made a concerted effort in states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin - both thought earlier in the campaign to be more Democratic. If Romney can win either of these states, he can win the election without Ohio.
Why could Romney win Wisconsin? Jonathan Karl points out that after the decisive victory in the Scott Walker recall election, Republicans believe their organization is stronger in Wisconsin than in any other state. Republican Scott Walker won that recall race by seven points (53-46) after most polls predicted he would win by 2 points. Republicans believe if there is one state they can out-perform the polls it is Wisconsin.
But there is a difference between a recall election and a general election. According to exit polls from the recall, 60 percent of voters who participated in Walker's win believed that recalls should only for official misconduct. Walker's recall, on the other hand, was a triggered by a policy difference - his curbing of collective bargaining rights for public sector unions."
A note from Bill Weir: "Anecdotally, almost every Obama supporter I met on a two-day tour of the state last week voted against Walker's recall. As you might expect from people who wear cheese as a fashion, these are voters who defy party convention as a point of pride…Wisconsin Dems may not like the governor, but they hated the vindictive nature of the recall (fueled by out-of-state money) even more."
Here's the video from Weir's trip to Wisconsin:
12:24 p.m. ET - Paul Ryan and (Two) Romney Sons Meet Cheeseheads Before Packers Game
Shushannah Walshe reports: "Paul Ryan, wearing a Green Bay jacket and tie, visited Lambeau Field to tailgate before today's game. The Packers are hosting their NFC rival Arizona Cardinals at 1 p.m. ET
People dressed in Green Bay gear waved to the motorcade as it passed through the residential part of town.
Josh and Matt Romney are also here. They were greeted by a crush of press and fans."
More from Walshe in Wisconsin HERE .
12:13 p.m. ET - Biden Invites Restaurant Hostess to Ride in His Suburban
And Arlette Saenz was there to see it: "Really nice moment just now at a stop in Cleveland, Ohio. Vice President Joe Biden, during a visit to Friends Cafe this morning, invited one of the hostesses to ride in his suburban to the event in Lakewood.
Per the pool, while Biden was paying for his pies, Amira Nasrallah, a senior at Lakewood High School, told the VP that she wanted to go to his event at her high school and had a ticket but had to work this morning. Biden quickly extended an invitation for her to ride in his car to the event if she could get a ride back to work. Her boss told her she could go.
Her twin brother Amir Nasrallah, who is a busser at the same restaurant, is also tagging along for the ride."
UPDATE from Arlette: The brother and sister are now standing in the front row at Biden's event.
11:55 a.m. ET - Romney, Obama Fight for Battleground States as Polls Stay Tight
With the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll showing the candidates in a dead heat, ABC's Jake Tapper and David Muir have more from the trail:
11:42 a.m. ET - Another Republican Blames Sandy for Stalling Romney's 'Momentum'
Karl Rove said it on Friday and, as National Journal reports, he's not the only one:
"Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on Sunday joined the chorus of Republicans suggesting that Hurricane Sandy could help President Obama and hurt Mitt Romney politically.
'The hurricane is what broke Romney's momentum,' Barbour said on CNN's State of the Union. 'I don't think there's any question about it. Any day that the news media is not talking about jobs and the economy; taxes and spending; deficit and debt; Obamacare and energy; is a good day for Barack Obama.'"
Stephanopoulos: "Rove, a top strategist for President George W. Bush, told the Washington Post that Hurricane Sandy negatively impacted the Romney campaign.
'When you have attention drawn away to somewhere else, to something else, it is not to his [Romney's] advantage, Rove told the Post.
Romney campaign senior adviser Ed Gillespie appeared on 'This Week' following Plouffe and said 'I just don't know' when I asked him if President Obama's response has helped him politically."
Later in the show, the "powerhouse roundtable" submitted one final round of electoral predictions (Remember, it's 270 to win):
George Will: Romney 321, Obama 217, with Minnesota making a surprise defection to the red column.
Cokie Roberts: Obama 294, Romney 234. Colorado swings to Romney, but it's not enough.
Matthew Dowd: Obama 303, Romney 235, with Obama edging out the challenger by less than one point in the popular vote.
Ron Brownstein: Obama 288, Romney 250, as Nevada, Wisconsin, and Ohio put the president over the top.
HERE is the full transcript of this morning's show.
Michael Falcone and Amy Walter on Romney's route:
If Romney is unable to make a comeback in Ohio on Tuesday, his White House hopes may rest on his running mate Paul Ryan's home state of Wisconsin. As ABC News' Jonathan Karl points out, if Romney can successfully turn the Badger State from blue to red (it has not swung for a Republican presidential candidate since 1984) and if he also also wins Florida, Virginia, Colorado and New Hampshire, the GOP hopeful would end up with a 271 to 267 Electoral Vote victory over Obama.
11:01 a.m. ET - Four More Hours: Appeal For More Voting Hours in Orange Co. Granted
AP reports: "Democrats say judge has ordered 4 more hours of early voting in Orange County."
Orange Co. is home to Orlando. In 2008, Obama defeated Sen. John McCain there by 19 points.
Standby for more on other decisions coming out of the Sunshine State.
10:11 a.m. ET - Top Romney, Obama Campaign Aides Confident Ahead of Tuesday Vote
Both David Plouffe, a top White House adviser, and Romney campaign senior adviser Ed Gillespie made their case to "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos, citing enthusiastic partisans and a winning message for voters still on the fence.
Speaking about Republican super-operative and American Crossroads Super PAC leader Karl Rove, Plouffe suggested that the former George W. Bush political guru "is going to be a at a crossroads" trying to explain to donors why their money didn't yield a Republican victory.
Gillespie was equally confident. Shaking off polls that show President Obama with a small but persistent lead in state polls, he predicted Romney would "not only a win on Tuesday, but win decisively.
For a minute-by-minute account of this special edition of "This Week," visit the show's always-updating Twitter page.
10:06 a.m. ET - Florida Democrats File Suit to Extend Early Voting Hours
Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith released this statement:
"Voting is a fundamental right, and we all have an interest in assuring that all Americans have effective opportunities to vote. Florida's Republican state legislature has already reduced the number of days to early vote by six days. Because of Gov. Scott's refusal to follow precedent and extend early voting hours in the face of unprecedented voter turnout in South Florida, we are requesting in federal court that more Floridians have a meaningful chance to early vote."
Requests submitted yesterday, as lines at the polls reached six hours at some polling places in the Miami-Dade area, were rejected by Gov. Rick Scott and Secretary of State Ken Detzner.