The massive queue to see Barack Obama speak in Cincinnati, Ohio, stretches right around the block. And after that it stretches right round another block. Thousands of excitable people, t-shirts with his face on. These are the first things that make it feel a little like 2008.
The essential spirit of that first victory, built on the grand ideals of 'hope' and 'change' is something he's been trying desperately to recapture this time round. And with just a few frantic hours to go he might finally be succeeding.
Inside the cavernous university arena Stevie Wonder warms up the crowd: "Fired up" he shouts. "Ready to go", they reply, reaching a crescendo just before the President takes the stage. The race is reaching fever pitch right now, several rallies each day, often in several different states, sleeping on the campaign plane and you can hear the strain in his voice as he begins to speak.
He's barely had time to hit his stride before a screaming protester rises from one of the upper tiers. He's an anti-abortion activist who's not going down without a fight, as the fifteen thousand-strong crowd tries to boo him down. But in the end it takes six members of the Cincinnati police force several minutes to remove him. Obama seems un-phased, joking that the man might just be angry about tonight's football result.
He pushes on, listing the achievements of the past four years, killing Osama Bin Laden, ending the war in Iraq, saving General Motors, then his biggest cheers of the night when he promises to keep women's healthcare choices in the hands of women and not old white male politicians from Washington.
The votes of women could be just as important to him as the votes of people from Ohio, so he's hitting the right notes, but this mammoth effort is being matched by Mitt Romney at every single step.
Just hours after Obama leaves the stage, a fresh CNN poll finds the two candidates still tied on 49% each. In the coming hours he'll break out Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z on the campaign trail. That celebrity firepower is yet another reminder of 2008, but remember it's not 2008.The election is so close right now.... And his job this time round is so much harder.
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