UK & World News
US Election Battle Shifts To Key State Ohio
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will arrive in the key electoral state of Ohio today ahead of the much-anticipated release of new unemployment figures.
Both presidential candidates have been waiting anxiously to discover whether the fresh jobless data will provide a boost to their campaign.
Last month, the jobless rate fell from 8.1% to 7.8% and the figures were used by the Obama campaign as evidence that the fragile US economy was finally on the mend.
But, if the figure rises again just four days before the election, it will be seized upon by the Republicans as proof the economy would be safer in the hands of businessman Mr Romney.
Ohio is a key state in determining the outcome of the election.
No Republican candidate for the White House has ever won the election without capturing Ohio.
Mr Obama is thought to be slightly ahead in the state, which delivers 18 electoral college votes.
As the battleground shifts to Ohio, Mr Obama's campaign has received a boost by scoring the endorsement of New York City's popular mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Both candidates had eagerly sought the backing of Mr Bloomberg, who did not endorse a presidential candidate in 2008.
Mr Bloomberg, whose city was hard hit by Superstorm Sandy, said the storm had made the stakes of the election even clearer.
The billionaire businessman and former Republican said the climate is changing and that Mr Obama has taken major steps in the right direction.
Climate change has barely been mentioned as an issue during the past few months, but the storm which battered the eastern seaboard has reawakened the debate.
Sandy has dominated the news agenda in the past few days, and Mr Obama's calm and determined response to cut red tape and provide emergency relief has earned praise.
Pictures of him meeting victims and community leaders have also been a welcome break from repetitive stump speeches.
Speaking at his first campaign outing since the disaster struck, Mr Obama praised Americans on Thursday for coming together in the wake of the storm.
He said Sandy was a reminder that political leaders can put aside partisanship to address the country's needs.
"As long as there's a single American who wants a job but can't find one, our work isn't done. As long as there are families who are working harder but falling behind, our work isn't done," he said.
"Our fight goes on because America has always done its best when everybody gets a fair shot."
Meanwhile, at Mr Romney's rally in Virginia Beach on Thursday, a heckler brandishing a climate change placard interrupted the candidate's speech.
The heckler was ignored by Mr Romney and drowned out by Republican supporters.
Mr Romney made three stops in the key battleground of Virginia on Thursday, having returned to the campaign trail in earnest following the storm.
"I know the Obama folks are chanting 'four more years, four more years'," Mr Romney told supporters at a rally in Roanoke, Virginia.
"But our chant is this, 'Five more days.'"
Speaking about Superstorm Sandy, Mr Romney added: "A lot of people lost their lives, a lot of families have been devastated, a lot of homes have been lost, and our hearts go out to the people who are suffering."