Washington: Four years after it catapulted Barack Obama to victory, `change` once again became the buzzword in US politics, as the President and his challenger Mitt Romney both revisited the theme in their last appeals to undecided American voters.
Having returned to campaign fields after a brief break from the election theme, brought out by Hurricane Sandy, the two candidates set about on a packed schedule of rallies through a host of battleground states.
Interestingly, both of them tried to present themselves as the real harbinger of "change", the much promising election slogan of 2008.
Ahead of the last weekend before the November 6 polls, Romney described himself as the candidate of "real change", while Obama dismissed the claim, even finding it laughable.
"Candidate Obama promised change, but he couldn`t deliver it," Romney said on a campaign trail in Wisconsin, before heading to Ohio.
To which Obama retorted in Ohio by saying: "We know what change looks like, and what the governor`s offering ain`t it".
Adding to the last days of election rhetoric came a stronger-than-expected October jobs report which expectedly the Obama campaign touted as showing signs of recovery while the Romney group shrugged off as insufficient.
At three rallies in Ohio, one of the most crucial swing states, Obama briefly referred to the unemployment figures when he said "we learned companies hired more workers in October than at any time in the last eight months."
"We have made real progress," Obama said, adding that "we are here today because we know we`ve got more work to do."
Obama plans a series of stops across Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado and Florida over the weekend, and in between he described Romney as a "salesman" who was trying to "repackage" failed ideas this elections.
Unimpressed by the jobs report, that showed that the US added 171,000 new jobs in October even though the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 7.9 per cent, Romney said the the increase in the unemployment rate was "a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill."
On his part, the Republican was planning a swing through
New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado, Ohio and reportedly Pennsylvania over the weekend.
"Unless we change course, we may well be looking at another recession," Romney said while insisting that he can bring "real change" by bringing in a pro-business administration.
Obama also lashed out at Romney for his camp`s advertisement which said that Jeep plants would be shipping jobs to China, and termed it a false claim.
"Of course, it turns out it`s not true. The car companies themselves have told Governor Romney to knock it off. Knock it off. That`s what they say," he said.
The opinion polls continued to suggest a razor thin margin between the two candidates, more reason why both the incumbent and his challenger were leaving nothing to chance in the very closely-fought affair.
While RealClearPolitics`s closely watched average of national polls suggested yesterday that Obama was leading by a slim 0.1 percentage of votes, ABC News/Washington Poll had Romney`s lead of one point.
As per Rasmussen`s assessment, the race is a virtual tie.
With this, the two campaigns are now focusing on some of the key battleground states, where a win will fetch them the necessary Electoral College votes.
The CNN releasing its latest poll said that the presidential election in the battleground State of Ohio remains very close, and Obama holds a three point advantage over Romney, which is within the survey`s sampling error.
According to a Reuters-Ipsos poll, Obama has a small lead, 47 per cent to 45 over Romney in Ohio, while the Rasmussen survey showed the President into a tie with his Republican challenger at 49 per cent.
The two candidates are in virtual tie, according to polls in four other battle ground states of Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and New Hampshire.