(WASHINGTON) — The candidates will spend the final 24 hours of this long presidential race bouncing around the country, rallying supporters at 14 scheduled events across nine battleground states.
President Obama is set to hit urban centers in Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa on Monday, with Bruce Springsteen tagging along as his opening act. Jay-Z is scheduled to join the campaign at a mid-afternoon gathering in the Buckeye State.
Like the president, Mitt Romney will make one last play for Ohio, arriving in Columbus four hours after Obama leaves for Iowa. It will be the Republican’s third stop in a day that sees him track north from Florida — where the wait to register an early vote this weekend lasted as long as six hours — to Virginia, ending the night with one last rally in New Hampshire.
Paul Ryan will make five stops on Monday in five different states, covering four time zones. He closes out the election season back home, with a late night rally in Milwaukee.
While the candidates push their supporters to the polls and smile for the cameras in what they expect to be packed arenas, parks and airplane hangars — at least seven of the events will be hosted at airports — there have been some rumblings from Republicans that Romney’s campaign might have been dealt an insurmountable blow by superstorm Sandy.
“The hurricane is what broke Romney’s [post-debate] momentum,” former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said on CNN Sunday morning. “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.”
The Romney campaign, though, insists it is traveling steadily along a well-charted course to victory on Tuesday.
“I don’t look at what happened with the storm and how it affected so many people through a political lens,” Romney adviser Kevin Madden said Sunday. “We are focused on what we can do to make sure that the enthusiasm that we have seen in states that it’s part of helping our get out the vote efforts in all these key battlegrounds and then just focusing on the message. So I wouldn’t entertain the same notion that those folks did.”
And in Cleveland Sunday, Romney made one last argument for dismissing Obama from office after a single term.
“He promised to do so very much, but, frankly, he fell so very short,” Romney said. “He promised to be a post-partisan president, but he’s been most partisan; he’s been divisive, blaming, attacking, dividing. And by the way, it’s not only Republicans that he refused to listen to; he also refused to listen to independent voices.”
Obama seems to have taken on a more fatalistic approach, telling 14,000 supporters in New Hampshire Sunday that the election was in their hands, joking that he’d be little more than a “prop” the rest of the way.
“It’s now up to you,” he said. “That’s how a Democracy works, right? That ultimately, it’s up to you. You have the power. You are shaping the decisions for this country for decades to come. Right now. In the next two days.”
But that doesn’t mean the Democrats are done trying to convince voters how to exercise that power. ABC News obtained a set of talking points distributed by the party to surrogates for their last round of chatter with the press.
Among the lines you can expect to hear on Monday: “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.”
They’ve also been asked to deliver one last round of attacks on the Republican challenger.
According to the memo, “Gov. 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.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio