Obama, Romney Stay Above the Fray in Final Videos

Jill Lawrence

President Obama portrayed himself as a hands-on super-storm crisis manager and Mitt Romney promised “real recovery and real change” Saturday in the final pre-election video addresses from the White House and the Republican Party.

Obama’s message as the nation’s commander in chief and Romney’s more political pitch to succeed him had a common theme: reaching across the aisle to transcend differences and get things done. Four days before the election, the two addresses were an 11th-hour turn toward an upbeat endgame, though negative advertising and rhetoric continue to dominate the campaign.

Romney, who ran as a “severely conservative” candidate in the GOP primaries, pledged to move the nation beyond “the standoffs and stalemates” he said have crippled Obama and the economic recovery. Recapping his resume, he said that during his 25 years in business, “I helped people turn their dreams into success stories.” As Massachusetts governor, he said, he worked with a legislature that was 85 percent Democratic.

“I didn’t ask people what party they belonged to, I asked them what ideas they brought to the table,” Romney said. “We don’t need more of the same petty partisan attacks. We need a leader, a leader with a real plan that will deliver real results,” he said.

Obama ran into recalcitrant House and Senate Republicans throughout his term and has blamed them for unwillingness to compromise. But his video address featured footage of him with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (who gave the keynote address at the GOP convention) surveying what Obama called “heartbreaking” devastation from Hurricane Sandy.

As conditions remain difficult and in some cases dangerous in hard-hit areas, Obama’s address appeared designed to inoculate him against fallout. He warned that “recovery will be a long, hard road for many communities” and outlined the steps he’d taken to help – including pre-deploying emergency response teams, food, water and generators, using military cargo planes to transport trucks and equipment, and telling federal officials “not to let red tape and bureaucracy get in the way of solving problems.” His message to those affected: “Your country will be there for you for as long as it takes to recover and rebuild.”

The two nominees’s schedules for the final three days of the campaign made clear they have similar priorities. Obama started Saturday with a meeting at the Federal Emergency Management Agency before heading out for campaign events in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Virginia. He’ll be in New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio and Colorado on Sunday and Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa on Monday.

Romney began Saturday in New Hampshire and went on to three stops in Iowa and Colorado. He planned rallies in Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia on Sunday and finishes out the campaign Monday with five events in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire.