Barack Obama

It's almost over. We're just hours from Election Day 2012, which means President Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney are blitzing the battleground states in the final day of campaigning.

Here's ABC News with the schedule:

With Election Day just two days away, the presidential campaigns of Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Gov. Mitt Romney are spending the final hours criss-crossing the swing states trying to get their supporters to the polls.

Update 6:15 p.m. EDT:

(Revised @ 12 p.m. ET)

The final monthly jobs report before Tuesday's general election contained something for both President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney to work into their closing arguments to voters.

For Obama, it was the news that the economy in October created significantly more jobs — 171,000 — than many economists had forecast. And the Labor Department revised upward the job numbers for September and August, suggesting even more underlying strength in the economy than earlier appeared to be the case.

Just five days before Election Day, President Obama returned to the campaign trail after spending several days preoccupied with overseeing the federal response to the devastation in the Northeast in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Obama began his campaign re-emergence Thursday with a rally in Green Bay, Wis., a state where his once-substantial lead in polls over Republican Mitt Romney has narrowed to only a few points in a majority of the polls.

The campaign calm after the storm is about to end.

Both President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, will be out stumping for votes today. The race for the White House, which was just about put on hold as Superstorm Sandy bore down on the East Coast and then roared ashore, is back on with just five days to go before Election Day.

Romney will be in Virginia. The president will be in Wisconsin, Colorado and Nevada.

Suppose Sandy had struck a week later. With power out across multiple states, how would people be able to vote on Election Day?

"If this were happening next week, we have no provisions for dealing with this in law," says Thad Hall, a political scientist at the University of Utah.

You can barely listen to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney make a speech or give an interview without hearing some variation of this vow:

"On Day 1 of my administration, I'll direct the secretary of Health and Human Services to grant a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states. And then I'll go about getting it repealed," he told Newsmax TV in September 2011.

It's possible that the presidential debates will be remembered mainly for trivia — Big Bird, binders and bayonets.

But Mitt Romney and President Obama did discuss issues of paramount importance, including taxes, entitlements and the role the U.S. should play in the Middle East.

Those issues — and above all else, the economy — dominated discussion throughout the debate season. That meant other important topics such as immigration were barely mentioned, while others never came up at all.

For most American viewers, including this one, much of Monday night's presidential debate on foreign policy was conducted as though it were in a foreign language.

References to Mali, to former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, missile shields in Poland, "status of forces" agreements — could only have befuddled the voting public.

It's not that the candidates invoked unimportant issues. And it's not that the two held so elevated a conversation mere mortals could not understand. It's that they were debating almost entirely in tone rather than content.

We've reached an important landmark in the presidential campaign: President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney face off tonight in the third and final presidential debate.

As was the case the last two times, the debate starts at 9 p.m. ET. This time, the venue is Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.

If you believe the snap polls, the first debate went to Romney, the second went to Obama, which means we have a 1-1 tie with just minutes to go in the fourth quarter. That is to say, we're just two weeks away from Nov. 6.

A day after their second presidential debate, President Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney were in different swing states, reprising some of their greatest hits from Tuesday night.

And "hits" is the exactly the right word because each man energetically repeated attacks he made on his rival.

Answering a question about pay equity for women during last night's presidential debate, Gov. Mitt Romney said something that has become the talk of the Web.

He said that when he became governor, few women applied for cabinet jobs.

Anyone who thought the presidential candidates couldn't get aggressive within a town hall-style format underestimated the sharp differences in policy that divide them.

President Obama and Mitt Romney remained continuously critical against one another throughout their second debate Tuesday night. Neither ever seemed to finish a statement without launching an attack against his opponent.

In a town hall-style debate that saw the candidates constantly challenge each other on issues ranging from the economy to the handling of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney got up close and personal at times Tuesday night.

After a zinger of a vice presidential debate last week, the bosses have a lot to live up to tonight. Just in case you haven't been paying attention: President Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney face off in the second of three presidential debates.

It starts at 9 p.m. at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. The town-hall style debate will be moderated by CNN's Candy Crowley.

After what has been universally called a strong Romney victory during round 1, the spotlight is on Obama.

Neither candidate let his opponent get away with much of anything during the vice presidential debate Thursday night.

The tabletop discussion between Vice President Biden and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin showcased their clear differences over policy. The two disagreed about nearly every issue that came up, whether it was military posture, tax policy or abortion.

Many of these differences were expressed in negative, sometimes surprisingly personal terms.

Mitt Romney may have seized the advantage in terms of poll numbers and momentum, but there's one area where President Obama enjoys the upper hand.

In the end, it's the only area that counts: the Electoral College. Over the past 20 years, Republicans have had a much lower ceiling when it comes to electoral support, while Democrats have had a significantly higher floor.

In its attempt to turn the tables on Mitt Romney following the Republican presidential nominee's big win in the first presidential debate, President Obama's campaign has sought to enlist Big Bird.

The president has repeatedly reminded supporters at rallies that Romney, during the debate, specifically cited Big Bird when he promised to defund the Public Broadcasting Service to reduce federal deficits.

In the five days since Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was declared by many the winner of the first presidential debate, political watchers have waited to see if polls would shift in response to his performance. And, they did.

For most people reacting to last week's presidential debate, their first thought was probably not about who made the best arguments or told the most truths. Rather it was likely deciding who won.

The answer this time around was unusually definitive: Mitt Romney, by virtually every account and measure.

But in presidential debates — and the vice presidential version, which takes place on Thursday — does there need to be a winner?

Two men — well one man and one big, yellow bird — were caught in the crossfire of last night's debate: the moderator Jim Lehrer and the Sesame Street character Big Bird.

It's safe to say that after last night the two of them are having very different mornings. While the veteran news anchor swallowed scathing reviews, Big Bird enjoyed a strong backing.

In their first of three debates, President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney "traded barbs" and stretched some facts, say the nonpartisan watchdogs at PolitiFact.com.

Similarly, the researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center's FactCheck.org found examples of truth-stretching by both men.

Mitt Romney may have given his campaign something of a reset with his performance in the first debate against President Obama.

He appeared more comfortable on stage than the incumbent, and was able at least to lay the groundwork for a message of bipartisanship that could appeal to remaining undecided voters.

Looking to see and hear what the fact checkers are saying during and after tonight's presidential debate about the claims made by President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney?

-- PolitiFact.com says it will be updating on its website and on Twitter. It's also pitching an Argument Ender app.

Good morning! The big story today is of course the first presidential debate between President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The big picture is that this is Romney's opportunity to tighten a race with a little more than a month to go before the Nov. 6 elections.

We're nearly to the last of the many milestones that come along during presidential campaigns.

The primaries? Long over.

The conventions? All wrapped up.

Labor Day, when voters supposedly start paying attention? That was four weeks ago.

An oddity of U.S. presidential politics is that candidates and their campaigns spend nearly all their time telling voters how superior they are to their rivals in virtually every area: the wisdom of their policy proposals; the soundness of their characters and judgments — everything, really.

Except for debating.

It's the old game of setting the bar high for your opponent and lower for your candidate, of course. That way, anything short of a disastrous debate performance can be claimed as a knockout victory.

Undecided voters in Ohio got a lot of attention this week from President Obama and GOP rival Mitt Romney. Coal may be the key to many swing voters in the Buckeye State, which remains a top coal producer.

It's an issue weighing on coal miner Rick Carpenter's mind at the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival in southeastern Ohio.

"Save coal — fire Obama. Yeah, I've got one of those signs in my yard," he says.

A slew of new presidential polls released this week not only confirm a long-established gender gap among voters, but also suggest that the male-female preference divide in this year's presidential contest could hit historic levels.

It may surprise that that divide appears not driven by social issues and arguments over reproductive care or choices, analysts say, but largely by the national conversation over the size of government.

The first official presidential debate isn't until Oct. 3 in Denver. But as The New York Times writes, last night on CBS News' 60 Minutes there was something of a "shadow debate that offered a likely preview of the tone and substance" of what will happen on stage next week.

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