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 274.

    As ever one has to be amused at the 'chutzpah' of people who pontificate on the ability, intelligence and work ethic of others, such as President Obama, when they themselves are unable to manage a sentence in the English language...

    (Then again, they are very ‘partsian’ (sic))

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    MagicKirin, Obama tried about as hard as anybody could have to make good on the promise of bipartisanship. If anything, way TOO hard. Obvious from the word go the GOP was never going to buy into bipartisanhip. Their sole objective: block Obama any way they could. Obama could have accomplished a lot more if hadn't tried so hard to conciliate them. Won't make this mistake in 2nd term!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    ref #268

    Sarah Palin's resume was also superior to Barack Obama's you betcha.

    and as unqualfied as she may have been she would have done a better job than the disaster in chief

  • Comment number 271.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

    Get over it ...soon, saying the word 'yes' will be a 'no no'. If not for saying 'yes' half the problems wouldn't be or have happened.

    btw Obama will win & take a second term.

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    5. DavidinUSA

    More lessons from Plato:
    Dave, you do realise that Tea Party supporters hicks and rednecks think you're talking about a disney character.


    As long as FoxNews fills a void it will prosper,

    There's nout so void as a Tea Party Cranium.

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    252 ‘You're a treasure LucyJ’

    Anyone who wonders how S Palin could potentially have been a heartbeat away from the Presidency need only read the collected thoughts of the treasure in question

    As comedian Al Murray The Pub Landlord said, ‘I love Yanks. Always ready to speak their mind. Even if there's nothing in there, they'll give it a shot...’

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    252. Curt

    You're a treasure LucyJ, and a hope the Repubs appreciate how very, very well you represent them as a group.

    Except that she's been a dem her entire life. At least, as a dem, she's not disparaging fat white people.

    Any other groups you'd care to insult before giving them a tkt onto your imaginary lifeboat?

    266. Sound

    Except LBJ said he wanted a "N" on the Supreme Court.

  • Comment number 266.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.


    If we recognise (not all do) that we all today live under dictatorship (whether overt or sham-democracy under Mammon), why - except perhaps when drawn into mortal struggle as elites declare war - why should we expect a stable trajectory of 'government' as between alternating inventions, 'representative' of (divide & rule) 'average upper-middle' and 'average 'lower-middle'?

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    248. Curt
    AndreaNY@227 "Does this mean we're really not all in this together?"

    Alas no. You and your kind have a seat on the lifeboat too, no matter how little you do to deserve it, no matter how hard you work to sink it.

    Said like a true big-govt proponent who believes the seats are his to allocate and dispense. Magnanimous in the imaginary

    249. Sound

    LBJ used the "N" word too. Check

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    ref #254
    7 Minutes ago
    Can't believe all these peolple who are saying "Obama had his chance, he failed."
    Yes he came in with no resume broke his promises of bipartsianship and transparency and has shown himself unqualfied in ability tempermant and work ethic for the job.

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    253 ‘I've never hheard (sic) such racial dslander (sic) from a poster, not even John in Dublin’

    You have never heard any racial slander from me of any kind.

    You are a stranger to truth.

    No wonder you support Romney

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    Wonderful isn't it. If not for politics, who else could you blame for your problems. Next week, this time, you all will have something new to add to the mix of 'they lie, and I'm a failure because they do.'

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.

    The quote of the day, I think. Nice!

    If elected and by my count, Mitt has promised to do 43 different things on his first day in office -- and nine of those things are going to be the FIRST thing he does on the first day. I've often wondered how he'd do that, but now I see.

  • rate this

    Comment number 259.


    Farage relies on ignorance to peddle propaganda - strange that he never complains about US influence on UK or is it? Hedge funds love him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

    Obama is basically a centrist Democrat. It's funny to hear he's "socialist," "anti-business," etc. Obama is kind of like FDR, who also got accused of being anti-business while in fact saving capitalism from itself. Cf. auto bail-out, bank bail-out, a health plan that actually helps the insurance companies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.


    To me EU comes off as dictatorship

    EUp: It is a dictatorship and not by accident. Fanatical "EU"-lovers idolise The Romans, Charlemagne and Napoleon - sick fascist, arrogant, megalomaniac mass-murderers every one.

    Brits never wanted a political union. We are in it because we have been tricked and deceived, presumably/reportedly with the help of the USA

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.

    I suppose Romney does deserve a measure of credit for preemptively breaking most of his campaign promises before the campaign even ended.

  • rate this

    Comment number 255.

    228 Andrea ‘Flip flopping is acceptable as long as the candidate meant well and was truly incapable of doing what he said he'd do (versus lying about doing it).’

    As opposed to Romney, who flip flops to suit his current audience and what they want to hear, so ultimately no one knows what he believes in, except for getting elected


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