US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the end of the third and final presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad
President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are crisscrossing the country with their closing arguments, often coming within miles of each other as they did on Friday.
They are both expected to address campaign events around Columbus, Ohio. Obama has three to Romney’s one, where the candidate will parade no less than a hundred of his surrogates.
It’s a tight race: the Washington Post-ABC daily tracker showed 49% support for Obama among likely voters to Romney’s 48%. The president has an edge in battleground states such as Ohio, but the Romney camp claims other states earlier considered safe for Obama are now in play.
The battle now is for the few remaining undecided voters.
“I am offering real change and a real choice,” Romney said in a signed piece to CNN on Friday. He reiterated his promise of creating 12 million jobs in five years, if elected.
That message is selling as the economic recovery continues to be sluggish. Fresh labour department data released Friday showed the economy added 171,000 jobs in October. And unemployment went up to 7.9% from 7.8%. “The increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill,” said Romney.
But it’s under 8% where it was for many months, showing, therefore, that the recovery might have finally found some momentum.