— SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — One day left in their stubbornly deadlocked race, President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney are storming through a final exhaustive campaign push Monday that won't end until the wee hours of Election Day in pursuit of every possible vote.
Both candidates say the winner will be determined by which of their operations can get the most supporters to the polls. "This is going to be a turnout election," the president declared in an interview airing Monday morning as he pleaded with urban radio listeners to get to the polls.
With national polls showing a neck-and-neck race, the final day's schedule showed where the two campaigns believe the race will be decided. Romney was in Florida, Virginia, and New Hampshire, while Obama was trying to protect Wisconsin from an eleventh-hour challenge from the GOP before heading to Iowa.
And, in an indication of just how all-important Ohio was once again to the future occupancy of the White House, both candidates planned to be on the ground in Columbus Monday evening for dueling rallies seven miles apart.
Whoever wins Ohio has a simpler path to amass the 270 electoral votes needed to claim the presidency. With Obama showing a lead in most polls of the state's likely voters, Romney voiced guarded optimism Sunday in Cleveland, saying Obama's re-election is "possible, but not likely."
Obama also raised the possibility of defeat as he pleaded with listeners of The Rickey Smiley Morning Show to get to the polls. "If we don't turn out the vote, we could lose a lot of the gains we've already made," Obama said.
It was one of two of the president's radio interviews airing Monday aimed at turning out minority voters, the other with a Spanish-language station in Ohio. The president is relying on black and Hispanic voters to help offset Romney's lead with white men in particular, but the risk for him is that some of those key supporters aren't as motivated to vote as they were in 2008.