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Ahead Of Storm, Obama Rallies In New Hampshire


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. The approach of Hurricane Sandy is threatening a number of important events this coming week, including Halloween, but it's also forced the presidential candidates to juggle their schedules as they head into the home stretch. President Obama is flying to Florida a day early to beat the storm. Although yesterday, there were clear skies for the president's campaign rally in New Hampshire. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: The only thunder and lightning in Nashua, New Hampshire, yesterday came from the loudspeakers as President Obama went after his Republican rival Mitt Romney.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: You know, this is a guy who has a track record of saying one thing and doing something else.

HORSLEY: The president attacked Romney's record as governor of neighboring Massachusetts, saying he pushed through a tax cut that mostly benefitted a few wealthy families, while increasing fees for everyone else.

OBAMA: He raised fees for marriage certificates and fees for funeral homes, so there were literally cradle to grave tax hikes and fees. And when he left office, there were only three states in the country that had created fewer jobs than Massachusetts. And by the way, one of them was Louisiana that had been hit by Hurricane Katrina.

HORSLEY: The focus on tiny New Hampshire, which has just four electoral votes, shows just how close the presidential contest is nine days before Election Day. Mr. Obama told supporters this state could be decisive. A few voters in the audience, like Donna Watson of Hudson, New Hampshire, say they're still on the fence.

DONNA WATSON: Still torn. My husband's a Republican, so just trying to push me to the other side. And I'm trying to push him on the other side. It's not nice in our household right now.

HORSLEY: Even though Watson calls herself an independent voter, she does seem to be leaning in Mr. Obama's direction.

WATSON: Romney's for people who have a lot of money and for the middle class family, like myself, it's really tough. And I think Obama came in and unfortunately he inherited a lot of stuff that he probably shouldn't have inherited. And I think it's taken four years but I think what we need to do as a country is start working together, Republicans and Democrats, to get stuff done.

HORSLEY: While in New Hampshire, Mr. Obama stopped by a bar for a beer and visited a Teamsters' hall to say thank you to union members who are working for his campaign. He's also been getting daily briefings on the progress of Hurricane Sandy. The storm is forcing Mr. Obama to leave Washington earlier than expected today. He'll travel to Florida, where early voting began this weekend. Congresswoman Kathy Castor says many Floridians will vote this morning, right after church.

REPRESENTATIVE KATHY CASTOR: They're going to fuel up the church vans and we're going to have souls to the polls - souls to the polls.

HORSLEY: The Obama campaign says it expects minorities to cast more than 30 percent of the votes in Florida this year, up from 28 percent four years ago. The campaign expects the vast majority of those minority votes to wind up in the president's column. Scott Horsley, NPR news, Manchester, New Hampshire. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.
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