Obama, Romney surrogates insist their guy will win. Both can't be right.

On this last Sunday before 2012’s contentious presidential election, campaign surrogates had their game faces on, bluffing and butting heads rhetorically about what Election Day portends.

By , Staff writer

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    President Obama and former President Bill Clinton appear onstage after Mr. Obama addressed the crowd at a campaign event at State Capitol Square in Concord, N.H., Sunday.
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Except for religious broadcasting on some obscure cable channels, Sunday morning pre-football TV is all about the nation’s other contact sport: politics.

On this last Sunday before 2012’s contentious presidential election, Republican and Democrat campaign surrogates had their game faces on, bluffing and butting heads rhetorically about what Election Day portends.

"I'm very confident that, two days out from Election Day, the president's going to be re-elected on Tuesday night," David Plouffe, a White House adviser who managed Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, said on NBC’s "Meet the Press."

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Over on “Fox News Sunday,” Rich Beeson, Mitt Romney’s campaign manager, was confidently predicting that his man would win 300 electoral votes – far more than the 270 necessary to take the White House.

"It's going to be a big win for Governor Romney," Mr. Beeson declared.

In Pictures: A roadtrip across the political landscape

Also on Fox News, Obama senior adviser David Axelrod dismissed GOP claims to have made Pennsylvania competitive.

"They understand that they're in deep trouble," Mr. Axelrod said. "They understand that the traditional, or the battleground, states that we've been focusing are not working out for them. Now they're looking for somewhere, desperately looking for somewhere." 

In the all-important battleground state of Ohio, the Real Clear Politics polling average shows Mr. Obama ahead by nearly three percentage points.

But US Sen. Rob Portman (R) of Ohio, a prominent Romney campaign surrogate, told CNN’s Candy Crowley he’s confident that the GOP candidate has a good chance of taking the state.

"All the polls are going in the right direction, so I'm very happy about the polling," he said. "I feel very good about Ohio.” Still, he acknowledged, he “wouldn’t want to risk” trying to win without Ohio – something no Republican presidential candidate has ever done.

Last-minute polls show a race that could hardly be closer.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll of likely voters published Sunday finds Obama leading Romney by a nose – 48 percent to 47 percent. 

Another new poll – Politico/George Washington University’s battleground tracking poll of 1,000 likely voters – shows the two tied at 48 percent.

The Real Clear Politics national polling average has Obama ahead by a tiny fraction: 2/10ths of 1 percent.

As Politico’s James Hohmann points out, “History shows that most of the 3 percent of remaining undecided voters probably won’t go to the polls on Tuesday, so the winner will be determined by which candidate can turn out more of their supporters in the 10 or so competitive states.”

That’s exactly the aim of the two candidates as they make their last dash toward Election Day.

Obama began his Sunday in New Hampshire before heading to Florida, Ohio, and Colorado. Romney’s schedule had him in Iowa before hitting Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Hurricane Sandy – this year’s “October Surprise” – appears to have helped Obama as he divides his time between campaigning, meeting with federal emergency management officials, and staying in very close touch with state and local officials in states hit hardest by the superstorm.

In the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, nearly 70 percent approved of how he’s handled the storm – something former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour acknowledged Sunday.

"The hurricane is what broke Romney's momentum,” he said on CNN's "State of the Union." “I don't think there is any question about it.”

Some Republicans were complaining that Sandy had knocked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie from his Romney campaign role as chief attack dog, choosing instead to ignore the race while lauding Obama’s handling of the storm and its aftermath.

Speaking after former President Bill Clinton in Bristow, Va., Saturday night, Obama said that at this point in the campaign, he was largely "a prop" and the race was in the voters' hands.

"The power is not with us anymore," he told the estimated crowd of 24,000 gathered on a cold night. "It's all up to you."

In Pictures: A roadtrip across the political landscape

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