The Washington Post

Obama leaves Washington with Bill Clinton for final campaign swing before election

President Obama left Washington on Sunday morning for the last time before the election, jetting to this important northeast state with former President Bill Clinton for a final campaign push.

Appearing before a crowd of 14,000 outside the state capital building here, the 44th and 42nd presidents repeated their stageshow from the night before in Bristow, Va., with Clinton giving a hearty — and relatively lengthy-- introduction of Obama.

“Twenty years and nine months ago, New Hampshire began the chance for me to become president,” Clinton recalled. “I’ve worked very hard during this campaign. I worked hard last campaign. I did did 40 events for the president last time. [Wife] Hillary did 70. But I’m much more enthusiastic now than I was then.”

Obama returned the love after Clinton wrapped up his remarks, which lasted about 25 minutes. During the past two weeks he has pointed to Clinton’s economic policies as a model for his own path toward prosperity: asking wealthier Americans to pay more in taxes to help invest in education and infrastructure and reduce the deficit.

During Clinton’s presidency “a Senate candidate named Mitt Romney said Bill Clinton’s plan would hurt the economy and kill jobs,” Obama said. “Turns out his math was as bad then as it is now.”

Explore the 2012 electoral map and view historical results and demographics

After his appearance with Clinton, Obama is scheduled to appear in three more swing states Sunday — Florida, Ohio and Colorado — before visiting three more in his final day of campaigning on Monday — Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa. The final event in Des Moines will return Obama to the state that launched his 2008 primary victory over Hillary Rodham Clinton and march to the White House.

Bill Clinton, meanwhile, will continue to stump for the president, appearing in North Carolina and Pennsylvania on Sunday and Monday, two states Obama has not visited since the Democrats held their nominating convention in Charlotte in early September. GOP nominee Romney has made a late play for the Keystone State and holds a slim lead over Obama in the Tar Heel State.

Obama has sought to protect a slim lead in New Hampshire, despite Romney having closed the gap in the final weeks. Romney appeared at a rally of his own Saturday at the Portsmouth airport.

Romney told 2,000 supporters that Obama failed to live up to his pledge to be a “post-partisan president.”

“He’s been the most partisan, dividing and demonizing,” Romney said, before citing Obama’s remark at a rally two days ago in Ohio that “voting is the best revenge” after the crowd booed a mention of Republicans.

“Vote for revenge?” Romney said. “Let me tell you what I’d like to tell you: Vote for love of country.”

As the campaigns battled for an edge, the Romney campaign got another boost from the state’s largest newspaper, the New Hampshire Union Leader, whose publisher endorsed the Romney-Paul Ryan ticket in an editorial Sunday.

“It is too often said, but this really is a very important election,” Joseph W. McQuaid wrote. “Nationally, we will have either four more years of deficit spending and government expansion under President Obama and Joe Biden, or at least the chance of restoring the economy and reining in the government under Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. We think the right choice is Romney-Ryan.”

During his remarks, Obama vowed to keep fighting for the middle-class even though Washington has remained in political gridlock.

“Back in 2008, I spent a little bit of time here in New Hampshire,” Obama said. “We talked about change you can believe in. We were not talking just about changing parties or presidents but changing our politics. . . I’m not ready to give up the fight. I know I look a little older, but I’ve got a lot of fight left in me.”

David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.

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