Romney was spending the full day in the state, campaigning with former Gov. Jeb Bush. It was an unusual commitment of time in the final days of a close race, and an indication that Republicans view the state and its 29 electoral votes as anything but secure.
The debate was ferocious over Romney's broadcast ads. The radio version said that after Obama's auto bailout, General Motors has "cut 15,000 American jobs, but they are planning to double the number of cars built in China which means 15,000 more jobs for China.
"And now comes word that Chrysler is starting to build cars in, you guessed it, China."
Biden termed the ads scurrilous. He said that executives from General Motors and Chrysler, which produces Jeeps, had said the claims were inaccurate.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the truth is, just recently in the last couple of months, in Toledo, Ohio, not only is the Jeep plant open and churning out Jeeps, they announced they're adding 1,100 new jobs."
Ryan's emailed response conceded nothing. "President Obama has chosen not to run on the facts of his record, but he can't run from them," it said.
His reference to a $25 billion cost to taxpayers reflected the Treasury Department's most recent estimate of the amount General Motors and Chrysler still owe the government from the financing it received during a managed bankruptcy in 2009.
Ryan didn't mention that the two companies have repaid billions more than that. Nor did he refer to Obama's frequent claim that the administration's bailout, which Romney opposed, saved large numbers of jobs and prevented the collapse of the U.S. auto industry itself.
Obama's aides said the president would return to political travel on Thursday with stops in Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado. But for one more day, he was hands-on commander of the federal response to Sandy, and consoler-in-chief for its victims.
Obama's New Jersey itinerary included a community center in Brigantine Beach that is serving as a shelter for local storm victims. Officials said about 200 people were sleeping in the center's gym at the height of the storm, a number that has been reduced.
The political impact of the storm on the race was difficult to gauge.
Obama senior adviser David Axelrod told reporters it had "tended to freeze this race" in place because "people are focused on the storm. That's what's been in the news."
Not everyone, and not all the time.
In the race's final days, Romney's campaign aired ads in Minnesota and Pennsylvania, two states long considered safe for the president. Republican's allies are airing commercials in Michigan and New Mexico.
Obama's aides insisted the states were safe for him, but it dispatched former President Bill Clinton to Minnesota, and purchased airtime in the other three states to respond to the Republicans.
Both campaigns invested in get-out-the-vote operations in the run-up to Election Day.
Officials in Florida said more than 2.6 million ballots had been cast as of Tuesday night. Democrats voted in slightly higher numbers than Republicans, but nearly 450,000 voters were independents.
Associated Press writers Steve Peoples and Kasie Hunt in Florida, Philip Elliott in Eau Claire, Wis., Ben Feller, Charles Babington, Ken Thomas, Martin Crutsinger and Stacy A. Anderson in Washington, Matthew Daly in Sarasota, Fla., Brian Bakst in St. Paul, Minn., and Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Fla., contributed to this report. Espo reported from Washington.
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