Bush, Kerry Make Final Bid in Key States

04:51:08 PM
01 2004

Bush, Kerry Make Final Bid in Key States

Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry holds six month-old Brianna McElory after attending mass at Saint John Vianney Church in Orlando, Florida, November 1, 2004. This is the final day of campaigning before Kerry faces President George W. Bush in the 2004 U.S. presidential election. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

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WASHINGTON - President Bush and Democratic Sen. John Kerry make a final push through a handful of crucial swing states on Monday in a final hunt for votes that could break open a deadlocked race for the White House.

National polls and those taken in battleground states showed the bitter White House rivals in a virtual tie 24 hours before Americans choose their leader for the next four years. Both planned exhausting campaign marathons to key swing states during the final run-up to Election Day.

Bush began a 16-hour sweep through Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa and New Mexico before ending the day with a rally in Texas.

Kerry planned his own 16-hour extravaganza, rolling through Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio, then doubling back for second stops in Ohio and Wisconsin.

Americans will also decide which party holds power in Congress and vote on governorships in 11 states on Tuesday, with Bush's Republicans favored to retain control of both the Senate and House of Representatives.

More than 100 million Americans, and perhaps as many as 120 million to 125 million, are expected to cast ballots. The size of the turnout could be critical in determining which candidate gets the 270 electoral votes needed to win, and has made an unpredictable race even harder to forecast.

Before they entrust the campaign to get-out-the-vote efforts on Tuesday, both candidates planned a final day of rallies to fire up supporters and reach out to the small band of undecided voters -- as low as 2 to 3 percent in some polls -- that could decide the race.

Speaking to reporters at Pittsburgh International Airport ahead of a rally in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, Bush said he was "energized" in the marathon stretch to the finish.

"I'm confident we're going to win," said Bush, adding: "The finish line is in sight and I just want to assure you I've got the energy and the optimism and the enthusiasm to cross the line."

In a bitter race dominated by the Iraq war and national security, Kerry once again tried to squash criticism he would be soft on security issues if he were elected president.  - 

Source by Reuters

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