In a close election everything is important

Barack Obama at a campaign rally in Lima, Ohio 2 November 2012

The hangar-like fairground site was not the most inspiring venue - chilly and bare - but US President Barack Obama has certainly warmed up.

He bounced on to the stage, grinning broadly, grabbing hands and hugging supporters with something like joy.

It is amazing what a few days of crisis management can do. Or maybe it is improving opinion polls.

President Obama's new zeal is reflected in a new speech. The man who wrote it stood by the side silently mouthing the words as the president spoke.

Friday's jobs figures got a passing mention.

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"This morning, we learned that companies hired more workers in October than at any time in the last eight months," President Obama said.

But his message was more general.

"As long as there's a single American who wants a job and can't find one; as long as there are families working harder but falling behind; as long as there's a child anywhere in this country who's languishing in poverty, and barred from opportunity, our fight goes on. We've got more work to do."

'Real change'?

The president's voice is slightly hoarse, but he is now pounding his message, the repetitive rhythm familiar to many from Sunday services, roaring with a preacher's passion.

"I'm not ready to give up on the fight. I'm not ready to give up on the fight to make sure that the middle class is growing. I'm not ready to give up on the fight to make sure every child has opportunity."

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who held a big rally in Ohio tonight, does not scale these rhetorical heights, nor does he seem to have the same confidence that he had a week earlier.

He makes a point that he is not about words but deeds. He tells his audience that President Obama has clearly failed.

"He said that the unemployment rate would now be 5.2%. Today we learned that it is 7.9% - it is 9 million jobs short of what he promised," Mr Romney says. "Unemployment is higher today than when Barack Obama took office."

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And Mr Romney says he is the man to make a difference: "This is why I am running for president. I know how to change the course the nation is on, how to get us to a balanced budget and how to build jobs and rising take-home pay.

"Accomplishing real change is not something I just talk about - it is something I have done. And it is what I will do when I am president of the United States."

Although pundits and politicians pore over the monthly jobs figures, I am not sure how much impact they make. Most people are likely to look to their own experience.

Friday's statistics indicate what we all know: there is a recovery, but it is very slow.

But this close to such a tight election, everything is important. If one of the candidates' multiplication of figures by rhetoric adds up to just a handful of votes, that could equal victory.

The BBC will be providing full online live results of the US presidential election on 6 November. More details here

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  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    It's all about US jobs. Obama is 9m jobs down on what he promised and will pay on election day if Romney is astute at pounding his message home. A lot of Americans think Obama has had his shot and blew it. Maybe Romney can fix it.
    The sad thing is the rest of the world and all democrats know, Romney can't, and what's more, is likely to mess thing up badly due to a lack of policy and coherence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    10 random alias

    ‘Romney's lack of polish wouldn't be a problem if people could see that he is sincere, speaking a constant message in harmony with his core principles and values.’

    Of course this would need him to have ‘core principles and values’ beyond ‘I want to be President and will say absolutely anything to get elected’.

  • Comment number 52.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    ref #18 and 16

    google polls and you will see them all over the place, one polls in Ohio has Romney up by 5 and another has Obama up.

    then you have pundints pretending to be polsters like Nate Silver

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    I suspect that on the economy the actual ability of either candidate to do anything radical is more limited by the physics of economics (overwhelming deficit, fiscal strategies of the rest of the world and moral of the actual population).The actual difference here is really the way the rest of the social issues are handled. egIf you limit family planning choices you subjugate half your population.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    ref #28

    Don't know Lichmann but Nate Silver the guy works for the NYT and writes for the Huffington Post. I would not trust such a biased source.
    MM once again praises Obama I've seen no lack of confidence in Romney but Obama is getting a bump from Sandy but the polls are all over the place. the meida is definitly trying to spin it for Obama look at NYT today

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    Mark, it's pore, not pour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    44 pmk

    Iran is determined to play a dangerous game that almost certainly won't end well. I don't see a good resolution for this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    42 pmk

    I always thought Bush got a bum rap for Katrina; Obama will probably get one for Sandy too. It's also unreasonable for people to live in disaster prone areas and not expect disaster to strike or expect instant help from the government for millions of people over huge geographical areas. That said, my heart goes out to the people affected.

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    Re #41 d_m

    I'm afraid it's IRAN which will force the issue. Since ayatollahs are pressing on regardless with their nuclear weapons program.

    But agree with you that whoever is in the White House on the eve of them being weaponized will have to take a strong, remedial action.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Obama has tried to buy votes and it seems to have worked to a degree. Let's face it, his supporters aren't backing him because of a positive record in office.
    If Romney fails it will because too many people fear him, especially the hoards of immigrants Obama has bribed and the ever expanding number of people made dependent on the state.
    Not that it matters, they both have the same bosses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Since so many persistently criticize GWB's and his FEMA's response to Katrina, it's worth pointing out that many NYC and NJ citizens critise Obama's FEMA as well:

    [...] "lines for gasoline that stretched 30 blocks in Brooklyn.

    “FEMA please help us,” read one sign in Broad Channel, Queens.
    (NYT has details)

    Btw. Millions of metropolitan New Yorkers are still without electricity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    39 pmk

    I haven't a clue about Obama's plan or Romney's plan or if he has one. But my guess is that Israel will force the issue and no matter who is in the white house, they will have no choice but to act.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    38 pmk

    I agree we need to reduce the debt. I think any responsible plan has to include cuts to social programs as well as the military and must also include tax increases. It was the voters choice of legislators that got the country into this mess and so voters should help get the country out of it by helping to pay for it through higher taxes--at least until we begin reducing the debt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    "this coming from the only minority in the US that is still allowed to be bad mouthed - agnostic/atheists)."

    Agnostics/atheists are most strongly bad-mouthed by Iranian ayatollahs, who claim other 'infidels' "at least believe in something".

    Btw. Do you know by any chance what Obama's policy re nuclear arms-seeing Islamist Iran is going to be in the next 4 years?

    [Because I sure don't]

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Re #37 d-m

    That's why I said many a time it's not that important who's elected president at the time when the most pressing issue is huge federal deficit and gigantic national debt. And that's why I consider TEA Party such an important factor: supporting FISCAL conservatives, having already demonstrated they're willing to vote against Republicans who in the past cared most about bringing pork.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    34 pmk

    Unless one party gains control of congress, not much is going to change. Outside of the limited purview of executive orders the president can only propose; after that it's up to congress and if the house and senate aren't cooperating, nothing is going to change.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.


    "This guy OBAMA is AMAZING! I [...] Now the BBC is pounding his message, the repetitive rhythm familiar to many: VOTE FOR BARRY OBAMA!"

    Don't be harsh: official Chinese, Cuban and Russian media controlled by comrades Hujintao, Castro and Putin expressed their preference for Obama and not Romney - much more clearly.

    [don't know why it makes me shiver]

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    I have been fortunate to be where I am. I see it as my job to protect the weak or troubled people who were not so fortunate. So please raise my taxes and allow the ill people here to get what they need on me. This is not socialism, its the right thing to do (this coming from the only minority in the US that is still allowed to be bad mouthed - agnostic/atheists)..

    Lets fix this.......


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