x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Both sides insist they are heading to the White House

Romney makes late push as Obama tries to get his vote out.

CONCORD, New Hampshire // Just one day from the finishing line, the campaign of Barack Obama, the US president, is mobilising a massive get-out-the-vote effort aimed at carrying the Democrat incumbent to victory.

Meanwhile, the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, made a late play for votes in the Democratic-leaning state of Pennsylvania.

Both campaigns were predicting wins in tomorrow's election. Mr Obama was concluding the campaign with an apparent edge in some key battleground states, including Ohio.

But Mr Romney's campaign was projecting momentum and banking on late-breaking voters to propel him to victory in the exceedingly close race.

Mr Romney's political director, Rich Beeson, suggested yesterday that Mr Romney could earn more than 300 electoral votes tomorrow. He needs just 270 to win.

Making his closing case to voters yesterday in Des Moines, Iowa, Mr Romney pledged, if elected, to work with the Democrats to restore the American dream and bring the country's economy roaring back to life.

"We're Americans. We can do anything," Mr Romney said. "The only thing that stands between us and some of the best years we can imagine is a lack of leadership - and that's why we have elections."

Mr Obama, too, said he was willing to work across party lines to break Washington's gridlock, but he assured some 14,000 supporters who gathered in Concord that he would not compromise key Democratic priorities such as health care and college financial aid.

"I know I look a little bit older, but I've got a lot of fight left in me," Mr Obama said. "We have come too far to turn back now. We have come too far to let our hearts grow faint. It's time to keep pushing forward."

Mr Romney switched briefly yesterday from the nine or so competitive states that have dominated the candidates' travel itineraries.

He and his running mate, Paul Ryan, had an early evening event planned in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, his first rally in the state this autumn.

The visit follows the decision by his campaign and its Republican allies to put millions of dollars in television advertising in Pennsylvania during the race's final weeks.

Mr Obama's team followed suit, making a late purchase of additional advertising of its own.

"You saw the differences when President Obama and I were side-to-side in our debates," Mr Romney says in a new TV advert released yesterday. "He says it has to be this way. I say it can't stay this way. He's offering excuses. I've got a plan. I can't wait for us to get started."

The Republican team cast the late push into Pennsylvania as a sign that Mr Romney had momentum.

The president's team called the move a sign Mr Romney still does not have a clear pathway to reaching 270 electoral college votes. The Democrats have a million-voter registration advantage in Pennsylvania.