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Final debate puts focus on foreign policy clashes

india Updated: Oct 22, 2012 01:34 IST
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There's not much that the campaigns of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney agree upon these days, except for this: The 2012 presidential election remains to be won or lost in the next 16 days because neither side has been able to close the deal with voters.

Close to three-quarters of a billion dollars in advertising - more than 80% of it negative - has flooded the airwaves of the battleground states. Legions of volunteers have spent tens of thousands of hours making phone calls and knocking on doors. There have been two conventions and three debates.

And yet, as the presidential race heads into this final stretch, it is ending up pretty much where it started - exceedingly tight.

So what has to be accomplished in these last two weeks? Both campaigns also agree on that.

"What we've got to do is two things and two things only: persuade the undecided, and turn our voters out," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said. "We have a strategic advantage in size and footprint on the ground - and, even more importantly, in experience."

Those in Romney's camp, however, insist that their ground operation will not be outdone as John McCain's was four years ago. Theirs, they say, is more like the superior one that George W. Bush ran in 2004 - and with technological advantages that weren't available then, which will keep them nimble until the end.