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Americans Prepare To Vote in Tight Race for US President

The long months, weeks and days of campaigning are coming to an end, and the American people are about to make their choice for president of the United States. With polls showing a race that is virtually tied, both Republican President George Bush and Democratic Party nominee John Kerry were on the road non-stop on election eve.

They were up before dawn with campaign rallies scheduled long after sunset.

For President Bush, the day began in the upper Midwest -- the heart of the battle for the White House. "There is nothing like an early morning rally in the great state of Ohio!," he said.

Meanwhile, John Kerry was getting ready to board his campaign plane in Florida, where he had a final word for his supporters. "So are you ready to take this thing and win and finish it off and get the job done?," he asked.

Their voices sounded hoarse, but their energy levels were high as the two candidates engaged in one last flurry of campaign activity. President Bush likened it to the sprint at the end of a marathon. "The finish line is in sight and I just want to assure you I have the energy and the optimism and the enthusiasm to cross the line," he said.

The goal in these last few hours of campaigning is to energize core supporters and try to win over the last few undecided voters. The president made his case in six states Monday, starting in Ohio and ending with a late night rally in his home state of Texas. At each stop the message was the same.

"Get your friends and neighbors to go to the polls tomorrow, fellow Republicans to go the polls, wise independents and discerning Democrats," the president said to cheers.

Voter turn out is always important, but in a close election it will be crucial. And so while the candidates were making speeches, campaign volunteers were making phone calls and going door to door in neighborhoods across the country. At an event in Wisconsin, one of four states he visited Monday, Senator Kerry said their efforts could make all the difference. "I need you in these hours to go out and do the hard work. Knock on those doors, make the phone calls, talk to friends, take people to the polls, and help us change the direction of this great nation for the better," he said.

Throughout the campaign, the war on terrorism, Iraq and economic issues have framed the debate. That was the case right up until the final hours. Mr. Bush said John Kerry does not have the leadership qualities required to be president. For his part, Senator Kerry said the whole world will be watching to see what America does on Election Day, adding it will be a moment of accountability for the United States.