By NEIL H. SIMON
Sen. Barack Obama saved his biggest Virginia rally for last -- attracting more than 85,000 people to the Prince William County Fairgrounds on the eve of Election Day. The Democratic presidential nominee's final major rally before voters head to the polls brought Obama back to where he kicked off his general-election race five months ago -- Northern Virginia.
"I know Virginia's ready to bring about change in America," Obama told a roaring crowd that waited hours under a "Vote for Change" sign for their candidate to appear. "It starts here, Virginia," he said.
By JEFF ZELENY
Senator Barack Obama closed with a classic.
At the final campaign rally of his presidential bid, Mr. Obama dusted off a chant here Monday night that sustained the first year of his candidacy, a tale born last year in South Carolina that has since been told around the nation.
It is the story of "Fired Up, Ready To Go," a spontaneous call and response from a woman named Edith Childs, which Mr. Obama turned into the spoken anthem of his campaign. It originated in the early stages of the primary, when Mr. Obama was miles away from being the front-running candidate in the field of Democrats.
So when he visited the town of Greenwood, he met Ms. Childs, who lit up one of his docile campaign meetings with her signature chant. She yells, "Fired up," the rest of the crowd responds, "Ready to Go." The point of the story, as retold again and again by Mr. Obama, is that one voice can change a room. And, by extension, can change the world.
By John McCormick
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Seeking to keep Democrats motivated, Barack Obama kept his focus on John McCain today as he made the first of three campaign stops in Atlantic Coast states that went Republican in 2004.
In the final critical hours before Tuesday's election, Obama hammered McCain for saying in September that the "fundamentals of our economy are strong" during a campaign stop in the same building.
"John McCain just doesn't get it. Remember what he said when he was here in Jacksonville on September 15th?" the Illinois Democrat asked a less-than-capacity audience of about 9,000 inside Veterans Memorial Arena.
"That day, more than 5,000 jobs were lost. More than 7,000 homes were foreclosed on. The day before, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said we were in a 'once in a century' crisis," he said. "And yet, despite our economic crisis, John McCain actually came here ... and repeated something he's said at least sixteen times on this campaign. He said - and I quote - 'the fundamentals of our economy are strong.'"
By JEFF ZELENY
"In a marathon, when you are on mile 20 you start getting tired, but when you are on mile 25 you don't," said Mr. Lippert, who has grown familiar with Mr. Obama's travel rhythms while accompanying him on the four foreign trips he has taken since becoming a senator. "That's where he's at."
Whatever emotions or anxiety Mr. Obama feels as his candidacy draws to a close, he displays little of it, either in public appearances or private conversations with his close advisers. The air of confidence he exudes, which some critics take as arrogance, grew in part out of the primary, when he worked to avoid perceptions that he was weak or not ready.
But now, he is described by friends as feeling as though he has been thoroughly tested and is prepared to take on the job he has spent 22 months fighting for. Still, it is hard for even those closest to Mr. Obama to fathom what these days are precisely like, even for the unflappable - often inscrutable - senator from Illinois.
By JOE HALLETT, JACK TORRY and JONATHAN RISKIND
On a fall day masquerading as summer, Barack Obama urged an estimated 60,000 people at the Statehouse yesterday to guard against overconfidence and complacency by voting Tuesday to put him in the White House.
"Ohio, I have just two words for you: two days," Obama said from the west lawn, as the Capitol's magnificent limestone pillars served as a backdrop and a sea of humanity faced him along State, Broad and High streets and beyond.
"In two days, at this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change it needs."
By KATHY KIELY
MANASSAS, Va. - Barack Obama ended his history-making campaign for the presidency at a mammoth rally here late Monday, making an appeal for votes in a state that hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
"Virginia, your voice can change the world tomorrow," the Democratic nominee told a crowd of more than 90,000 at a fairground.
By David M. Brown
In a fiery speech billed as the closing argument of his presidential campaign, Democrat Barack Obama pledged to represent the needs and values of middle-class Americans and unite the nation at a time of a severe economic crisis. "Pittsburgh, I've got two words for you: One week," Obama said Monday. The Mellon Arena crowd of about 15,800 roared when he added: "We are one week away from bringing change to America." "The choice in this election isn't between tax cuts and no tax cuts," Obama said. "It's about whether you believe we should only reward wealth, or whether we should also reward the work and workers who create it." Obama again pitched his tax plan promising to "give a tax break to 95 percent of Americans who work every day and get taxes taken out of their paychecks every week."
By Todd Hartman
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, speaking to a young crowd of about 45,250 at Colorado State University, urged them to vote early, to keep the faith and promised to find ways to help with tuition if they were willing to serve their country. "I'm going to make a deal with you," he said. "If you're willing to commit to joining the military, to joining the Peace Corps, or whatever way you decide to serve, then we are going to make sure you have the money to go to college, no ifs, ands or buts." Speaking on the lawn to students who had been gathering since 4 a.m., Obama urged them to put an end to the philosophies of President George Bush and Sen. John McCain.
By MICHELE DARGAN
Nancy Vallejo raised her arms above her head and shouted "We're here!" as she stepped through the doors of the gymnasium on the Palm Beach Community College campus in Lake Worth Tuesday. Vallejo, of Lake Worth, and Angie Williams, of Boynton Beach, could barely contain their excitement at the prospect of seeing Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama...Obama spoke for 15 minutes before getting into a discussion with the others on stage...Obama's proposals include creating a job tax credit for each new employee hired by American businesses; eliminating capital gains taxes for small businesses; rebuilding the nation's infrastructure; rebuilding a "broke" health-care system; creating a world-class education system and investing in renewable energy.
By Jim Stratton and Daphne Sashin
Campaigning in Orlando for the first time since becoming the Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama rallied an estimated 40,000 supporters at Amway Arena on Monday, saying he'd offer a "rescue plan for the middle class" by creating "jobs, baby, jobs." Obama, joined by New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, said Americans had suffered through two terms of the "failed policies" of President Bush -- policies Obama claims Republican John McCain would continue. "It'll take a real change in the policies and politics of the last eight years," Obama said. "We've got to reverse the last eight years. And that's what this election is all about." Obama said he would spend $15 billion creating new jobs in the field of renewable energy and the auto industry. "Jobs," he said, "building fuel-efficient cars made not in Japan, not in South Korea, but right here in the United States of America."