Carolyn Kaster / AP
President Obama spoke Sunday morning at a campaign event in Concord, N.H.
Updated 1:30 a.m. ET With the hours quickly running out before voters render their verdict, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned Sunday night in Pennsylvania, an eleventh-hour foray into a state that no GOP nominee has won since 1988.
Speaking to a chilled crowd in in Bucks County, a county which President Barack Obama carried in 2008 with 54 percent of the vote, Romney said, “We’re only two days away from a fresh start. Two days away from the first day of a new beginning.”
As he has for several stops in the last two days, Romney alluded at his Bucks County event to Obama’s comment on Friday that “voting’s the best revenge,” by saying, “In his closing argument, this is last week, President Obama asked his supporters to vote for revenge. For revenge. Instead, I ask the American people to vote for love of country."
A new NBC poll should give both presidential campaigns reason to hope. Obama comes in at 48 percent; Romney at 47 percent. Taking Sandy into account, 80 percent in the Northeast said they approved of the president's handling of Superstorm Sandy. NBC's Chuck Todd reports.
He added, “He’s hoping we’ll settle. Americans don’t settle. We build, we aspire, we dream, we listen to that voice which says ‘we can do better’!”
Romney suggested to the crowd that they “reach across the street to that neighbor with the other guy’s yard sign. And we’ll reach across the aisle in Washington to people of good faith in the other party.”
In a sign of hope for Romney, Obama’s once-wide lead in the state appears to be slipping.
A new Allentown Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll Sunday showed Obama only 3 percentage points ahead of Romney, 49 percent to 46 percent. Another recent Pennsylvania survey, the Franklin & Marshall College poll, had Romney trailing Obama by only 4 percentage points among likely voters.
A Romney victory in the Keystone state, which has 20 electoral votes, would be one of the campaign’s biggest surprises.
Asked by a reporter Sunday whether it was a little too late for Romney to invest time campaigning in Pennsylvania, Romney senior advisor Kevin Madden said, "No, because this is one of those states that came into view right after the first debate. And as a result it just presented a great opportunity…. And here you are with an incumbent president under 50 (percent in polling). We're essentially tied. We're over-performing in many of these critical areas of the state, like the Philadelphia suburbs, areas like Scranton, southwest Pennsylvania. So we see it as a great opportunity and traveling there today we think can help make a difference. And this is actually the perfect time given that you're 48 hours from people making a decision, given that that they don't have early voting there.”
In addition to his Pennsylvania stop, Romney campaigned in Virginia, Florida, Des Moines, Iowa and Cleveland, Ohio.
Mitt Romney, striking a hopeful tone in the final days of the 2012 race, returned to Iowa, the state that launched his campaign.
After campaigning with former president Bill Clinton in New Hampshire Sunday morning, Obama touched down in Florida Sunday afternoon, then headed to Ohio for an evening rally, then to Colorado for a late appearance.
Romney reached out Sunday for the votes of independents who may be disenchanted with Obama, telling a crowd in Cleveland, “He promised to do so very much, but frankly he fell so very short. He promised to be a post-partisan president, but he’s been most partisan, he’s been divisive, blaming, attacking, dividing. And by the way, it’s not only Republicans that he refused to listen too, he also refused to listen to independent voices.”
Later in his speech Romney added another pitch to independents in Ohio: “Now so many of you look at the big debates in this country, and you don’t look at them as a Republican or as a Democrat, but first as an American…. You hoped that President Obama would live up to his promise to bring people together to solve big problems, but he hasn’t. And I will.”
Two hours earlier, only eight miles away from the Romney event, Vice President Joe Biden campaigned in Lakewood, Ohio, accusing Romney and his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin of playing "a con game" in the waning days of the campaign. "They're running away from what they believe."
He appealed to Democrats to get out the vote in the state that decided the 2004 election and whose 18 electoral votes might well decide the election: “We need you Ohio. We need you. We win Ohio, we win this election.”
President Obama is calling on his supporters and surrogates in the final two days before Election Day. His focus remains on Ohio, which offers 18 electoral votes. NBC's Kristen Welker reports.
In a NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released Saturday, Romney was trailing Obama in Ohio 51 percent to 45 percent among likely voters, including those who were undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted early. The survey found that 3 percent were undecided.
Ryan was also campaigning Sunday in Ohio with a stop in Mansfield. As his first event Sunday Ryan, dressed in a Green Bay Packers jacket, arrived at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisc., to attend a tailgate party. Green Bay has ranked among the nation’s top presidential campaign TV ad media markets in recent weeks.
Meanwhile Obama opened his day by rallying Democrats in the small but vital battleground of New Hampshire which has only four electoral votes of the 270 needed to win the presidency. George W. Bush carried the state in 2000 but Democrat John Kerry won it in 2004 and Obama won it in 2008.
“Just as we did when Bill Clinton was president, we gotta ask the wealthiest to pay a little bit more so we can reduce the deficit and still invest in the things we need to grow,” Obama told a crowd in Concord, N.H.
The president told the crowd that on Saturday night he had consulted with his campaign advisers.
“I looked at David Plouffe, some of you know he’s my big campaign poo-bah smart guy. But Plouffe and I looked at each other and we said, ‘You know what. We’re no longer relevant. We’re props. Because what’s happened is that now the campaign falls on these 25-year old kids who are out there knocking on doors, making phone calls, and then we realized, you know, pretty soon after they do their jobs then they’re not relevant either because it’s now up to you.”
Romney will hold his final rally of the campaign Monday night in Manchester, N.H., underscoring again the significance of its four electoral votes.
In his first event Sunday in Des Moines, Iowa, Romney reminded his supporters how vital Iowa is to his campaign strategy: “I need Iowa – I need Iowa so we can win the White House and take back America, keep it strong, make sure we always remain the hope of the earth. I’m counting on you. Will you get the job done?”
A Des Moines Register Iowa poll released Sunday showed Romney trailing Obama 47 percent to 42 percent.
NBC News’s Carrie Dann, Garrett Haake and Ali Weinberg contributed to this story