US election: Stage set for Obama - win or lose

Workers complete the final details on US President Barack Obama's election night event at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois Image copyright AFP

At least President Obama had one victory tonight. He played basketball with staff and friends and won the game by 20 points. That's giving his opponents quite a beating. He must be hoping it is an omen.

He's at home now, but later will move across Chicago to a conference centre.

The podium in the middle of the stage looks a lonely sort of spot. It is here that the president will come to talk to the nation - win or lose.

At the moment of writing, a man is reciting "green eggs and ham" to test out the sound-system.

Earlier, they were belting out soul music. It seemed they were preparing for a party, not a wake.

Earlier the president said: "I also want to say to Governor Romney, congratulations on a spirited campaign.

"I know that his supporters are just as engaged, and just as enthusiastic, and working just as hard today.

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"We feel confident we've got the votes to win, that it's going to depend ultimately on whether those votes turn out. And so I would encourage everybody, on all sides, just to make sure that you exercise this precious right that you have - that people fought so hard for, for us to have."

Congratulating your opponent and encouraging his supporters to vote is quite something. If he is faking it, he has got me fooled.

But being president doesn't mean you have a crystal ball. I think the optimism is genuine, but it doesn't mean it is right.

But the Democrats are very proud of their ground game, and the president played his own part in it today. He went to a local campaign office and phoned a surprised potential supporter.

If he wins, it will probably be because of the hard work in getting out the vote. One-hundred-and-eighty thousand volunteers have been working three-hour shifts in the swing states to squeeze out every last voter.

It won't be long before we get some indication whether it has worked.

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