It's hard to know how U.S. society, so accustomed to the abortion status quo of four decades, would react to states suddenly outlawing the procedure.
Hurricane Sandy is a reminder of how different political philosophies can affect people at more mundane, day-to-day levels. Romney has suggested shifting much of the responsibility for emergency management from the federal government to the states. That approach might have severely tested New Jersey this fall. But conservatives grow weary of looking to Washington to solve problem after problem.
In unguarded moments, politicians sometimes show their clearest philosophical leanings. Romney's much discussed remarks at a private fundraiser — criticizing the 47 percent of Americans who don't pay income taxes — suggested he sees a world of givers and takers. Such societies, he says, are in danger of having the government-dependent takers overwhelm the job-creating givers.
Republicans, on the other hand, pounced on Obama's non-scripted "you didn't build that" comment, his contention that people who built businesses had help, from teachers, family and other supporters — and sometimes the government. Obama said he was noting that successful businesses rely on government roads, schools, water, police protection and other tax-paid amenities.
The "you didn't build that" controversy underscored philosophical differences that voters will choose between Tuesday. Obama and Romney look at the same set of facts — in this case, successful businesses — and seize on different aspects.
The election winner may have a hard time pushing his agenda through a divided Congress. But voters have a vivid choice about what that agenda should look like.
EDITOR'S NOTE — Charles Babington covers national politics for The Associated Press.
An AP News Analysis
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