MORRISVILLE, Pa. -- President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney clashed Sunday over who could deliver change to a gridlocked nation as they crisscrossed the country on the second to last day of campaigning in a race that remains too close to call.
No battleground state was too small for a personal visit – by noon Obama had wooed New Hampshire – which has just four electoral votes -- and Romney was rallying in Iowa, which carries just six electoral votes.
But they also went for the bigger prizes, as Obama spoke in Ohio and Florida, while Romney visited Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Romney looked for a last minute upset, traveling to Morrisville outside Philadelphia for a rally that drew tens of thousands.
“What a Philadelphia welcome, thank you,” Romney said after taking the stage to the theme music from Rocky.
Though Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in recent elections and long appeared a lock for Obama, polls released Sunday showed Obama’s lead had shrunk.
“The economy being so bad is turning this Democrat state” Republican, said Kevin Ryan, 48, of Holland, Pa. “I feel the independents wanted to give Obama a chance, but it didn’t work out. I think he (Romney) can win the state.”
In his stump speeches Sunday, Romney sharpened his attack on Obama’s handling of the economy, saying the president “cared more about a liberal agenda than he did about repairing the economy.”
In Des Moines, Iowa, he belittled Obama’s record, asking the audience estimated at 1,440 inside a convention center whether it believed that Obama’s health care law created jobs. “Did his war on coal, oil and gas create jobs?” Romney said. “Does raising taxes put people to work?”
He painted a bleak picture of America under Obama, charging that four more years would lead to “lower take home pay, higher prices for gasoline, for health insurance, for food, for clothing.”
“I not only promise change,: he added, “I have a record of achieving it.”
Earlier Sunday, in New Hampshire, with former president Bill Clinton at his side, Obama sought to reprise the glory days of the Clinton years while telling an enthusiastic if chilled crowd outside the gold-domed New Hampshire state capitol that Romney represents a return to failed policies.
"New Hampshire, we know our ideas work,” Obama told an audience estimated at 14,000. “We tried them and they worked for middle class families. We tried giving big tax cuts to the wealthiest….And what did we get? Falling incomes and record deficits that we’ve been cleaning up ever since."
Obama’s campaign rhetoric belied the fact that incomes have dropped on his watch, too, and dropped more since the end of the recession than during it. Also, he has presided over the 4 largest budget deficits in history, adding to the national debt rather than cleaning it up.
At the close, Obama shook hands along with Clinton as the former president’s 1992 campaign anthem, "Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)” blared out of loudspeakers.
As the candidates worked the voters, strategists for both sides took to TV and Twitter, seeking to exude confidence about winning a race that is going to come down to who best can get their voters to the polls.