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Obama turns re-election prospects over to voters

10:37 AM, Nov 6, 2012   |    comments
President Obama greets a cheering crowd at a campaign event on the University of Cincinnati campus, Nov. 4, 2012, in Cincinnati, Ohio
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CHICAGO (AP) - President Barack Obama has turned over his re-election prospects to the voters.

Obama closed down his campaign late Monday with a nostalgia-filled rally in Iowa, the state that jumpstarted his first presidential bid. He'll spend Election Day in his hometown of Chicago, making his last appeals to voters in satellite interviews rather than a final flurry of campaign rallies.

"It all comes down to you," Obama told supporters in Des Moines on Monday. "It's out of my hands now. It's in yours."

The president heads into Election Day tied with Republican challenger Mitt Romney in national polls. But in some of the key battleground states, including Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin, that will decide the White House race, Obama appears to have a slight edge.

Obama spent Monday night at the South Side home where he lived with his family before moving to the White House. The Obamas had pledged to come back to Chicago frequently, but the realities of the presidency and the security concerns that come with it made those trips a rarity.

There will be no traditional Election Day photo opportunity of Obama casting his ballot Tuesday. The president voted in Chicago last week, part of his campaign's efforts to promote early voting. First lady Michelle Obama mailed in an absentee ballot.

One tradition Obama will keep is an Election Day basketball game.

In 2008, Obama played basketball with aides before his win in the kickoff Iowa caucuses. The president and his aides decided to make the games an Election Day tradition after they lost the next contest - the New Hampshire primary - on a day when they didn't hit the court.

"We made the mistake of not playing basketball once. I can assure you we will not repeat that," said Robert Gibbs, a longtime Obama aide who joined the president on the road for the campaign's waning days.

The president plans to have lunch and dinner at his home, but will decamp to a downtown Chicago hotel for parts of the day. He'll sit for a series of satellite interviews with television and radio stations and urge his supporters to get to the polls.

Obama will be joined at the hotel later by his family, several close friends and his top aides to watch the election returns. Once a winner is declared, Obama will climb into his black armored limousine and depart for his campaign's election night party at the McCormick Place convention center, where he will either deliver a victory speech or a concession.

Win or lose, Obama's election night party will look far different than it did four years ago, when 125,000 people gathered on an unseasonably warm night in Chicago's Grant Park. The decision to stay indoors this time appears to have been a smart one. The forecast in Chicago is for cold and rain, 26 degrees cooler than it was four years ago.

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