, WASHINGTON, Nov 1 – US President Barack Obama sprinted back onto on the campaign trail on Thursday after a sombre pause imposed by a devastating storm, as East Coast residents confronted the daunting task of rebuilding.
With just five days left before the presidential election, Obama launched an ambitious swing through four vital battleground states a day after touring New Jersey’s coastline, which was left swamped by the super storm Sandy.
Addressing a crowd in Green Bay, Wisconsin, against the back drop of his Airforce One jet Obama, praised Americans for coming together in the wake of the storm and urged supporters to give him four more years in office.
“As long as there’s a single American who wants a job but can’t find one, our work isn’t done. As long as there are families who are working harder but falling behind, our work isn’t done,” he declared.
“Our fight goes on because America has always done its best when everybody gets a fair shot. And everybody is doing their fair share. And everybody is playing by the same rules. That’s what we believe.”
His take-charge, cross-party approach to storm relief did him no harm in his re-election bid but, with the race so tight, the president was eager to meet as many voters as possible in a whirlwind last dash to November 6.
He flew on Thursday to Wisconsin, and was then bound for swing states Nevada and Colorado for events before spending the night in key battleground Ohio.
And his Republican rival Mitt Romney, struggling to not become a blip on the radar after being sidelined by Sandy, returned to full campaign mode on Thursday, making three stops in battleground Virginia.
“I know the Obama folks are chanting ‘four more years, four more years’,” Romney told supporters in Virginia. “But our chant is this: ‘Five more days!'”
Romney, desperate to shift the campaign’s final arguments back to the economy, swiftly returned to attack mode and reminding voters of the “enormous consequence” of the November 6 election.
He ridiculed Obama for what he dubbed “small measures” – including the president’s announcement this week that he wants to create a “secretary of business” – that Romney said will do nothing to turn the economy around.
“We don’t need a secretary of business to understand business; we need a president who understands business, and I do,” he said.
Meanwhile, much of the national discussion still focused on the storm and its aftermath.