CONCORD, N.H. -- President Barack Obama made his last appeal to voters in swing-state New Hampshire on Sunday, telling them that rival Mitt Romney stands for surrender rather than real change.
Two days before the election, Obama and former President Bill Clinton spoke to a crowd estimated at 14,000 behind the Statehouse, kicking off a frenzied push to mobilize voters in battleground states. With recent polls showing more voters trust Republican rival Romney to break up gridlock in Congress, Obama said he’s willing to work across party lines to end Washington’s stalemate. But he said he won’t give up key Democratic measures like college financial aid or health care.
"That’s not a deal I’m willing to take. That’s not a price I’m willing to pay. That’s not bipartisanship, and it’s certainly not change," he said. "That is surrender to the same status quo that has squeezed the middle class families for way too long. And New Hampshire, I’m here today because I’m not ready to give up on the fight."
The visit, Obama’s fourth since Labor Day, was bookended by Romney rallies Saturday in Portsmouth and Monday night in Manchester, where he’ll be joined by singer Kid Rock.
"He’s bringing along a rock star," Democratic Gov. John Lynch said Sunday while introducing Clinton.
It was a reference to one of Clinton’s most memorable New Hampshire moments. Six days before the 1992 primary, then-Gov. Clinton spoke in hoarse voice, telling an audience in Dover that he would be with them "until the last dog dies." The speech marked a turning point in his stumbling campaign, and he later dubbed himself the "Comeback Kid" after finishing second in the primary to Paul Tsongas.
Clinton, who was returning to the scene of that speech later Sunday, reminisced a bit about his own New Hampshire campaign days before launching into his endorsement of Obama. He said Obama has "done a good job with a difficult hand" and that voters should ask themselves not whether all of the nation’s problems have been solved but whether the country is moving in the right direction.
He said Romney’s message boils down to "Don’t pay too much attention to our solutions are, just be disappointed, and look at me: I look like a president, and I talk like one, and I’m telling it’s going to be all right if you elect me," he said.
A WMUR Granite State Poll released Saturday showed Obama and Romney tied in New Hampshire, which backed Obama in 2008 but has been highly contested this election cycle.
Making his closing case to voters Sunday in Des Moines, Iowa, Romney also pledged, if elected, to work with Democrats to restore the American dream and bring the economy roaring back to life.
"We’re Americans. We can do anything," Romney said. "The only thing that stands between us and some of the best years we can imagine is a lack of leadership -- and that’s why we have elections."
Romney’s campaign spokesman, Michael Levoff, said re-electing Obama will result in four more years of stagnation.
"The people of New Hampshire, along with the rest of America, will choose Governor Romney’s optimistic vision for our country’s future and will vote for real change so he can get our country back on the right track," he said.