Editor's note: The 2012 presidential race is CNN Chief National Correspondent John King's seventh campaign. King is traveling through battleground states, where the election will be decided, to find the voters who will determine whether President Barack Obama gets a second term or if the country needs the change in direction that Mitt Romney represents.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) - The clock on the mantle has ticked past midnight, but Jessica Lundgren is studying - so she can't afford to think about sleep just yet.
"I'm a single mom to a 5-year-old girl who is fantastic," Lundgren told CNN this week. "I work full-time and go to school full-time. So my day usually starts around 4:45 a.m. and ends close to 1 a.m."FULL STORY
COMMERCE CITY, Colorado (CNN) - Maria Zepeda-Sanchez remembers the excitement of the "change" argument in 2008.
"There was really a change then," she said with a nostalgic smile. "People were really anxious to have a new person."FULL STORY
DENVER (CNN) - To win in November, Mitt Romney must emerge from his first debate with President Barack Obama as the leader on this campaign's defining question: Which candidate do voters trust more to handle the economy?
"He has to paint a compelling picture of a better economic future and why he can lead us there and President Obama can't," GOP pollster Whit Ayres told CNN when asked to define Romney's paramount debate challenge.
Tune to CNN for Wednesday's presidential debate coverage starting at 7 p.m. ET on CNN TV, CNN.com and via CNN's apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. Web users can become video editors with a new clip-and-share feature that allows them to share favorite debate moments on Facebook and Twitter.FULL STORY
Iowa City, Iowa (CNN) – Katherine Valde is ready when a fellow student says "no thanks" to early voting because of the thrill of casting a ballot on Election Day.
"Things come up, you can have an exam," says Valde, the president of the University of Iowa Democrats.FULL STORY
Sterling Heights, Michigan (CNN) - Joe Cefali has to leave 10 minutes earlier for work in the morning because the traffic is getting worse. And get this: That makes him happy.
"You feel the rejuvenation," the 19-year Chrysler worker says of the mood inside the Sterling Stamping plant and in the busy restaurants and other businesses near the Chrysler and GM factories.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) - First Mitt Romney makes two references to 47 percent. Then he suggests President Barack Obama "starts off with 48, 49."
"These are people who pay no income tax," Romney said at a May fund-raising event that was secretly recorded and is now at the center of a campaign controversy.FULL STORY
Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN) - Four years later, consider the role reversal: As he closes his convention, Barack Obama's greatest challenge is to make the case against change.
Yet he can't ask the American people to simply stay the course.FULL STORY
Editor's note: The 2012 presidential race is CNN Chief National Correspondent John King's seventh campaign. He analyzed what challenger Mitt Romney and Republicans needed to do in their convention last week.
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (CNN) - It is a very different year – and very different mood - as Democrats gather for their convention. But there is one carryover from 2008: To win the White House, Barack Obama will once again have to make history.
Four years ago, it was a groundbreaking victory for the first African-American to win the presidency. Now, to win four more years, it is a less glamorous but still significant barrier in his way: only Franklin Roosevelt was re-elected with unemployment this high.FULL STORY
Tampa, Florida (CNN) – The black and white images form a Reaganesque ring around the concourse of the Tampa convention hall, sending an unmistakable message: This is now Mitt Romney's Republican Party.
Romney's convention challenges are many, beginning with what his top advisers unanimously say is their overriding goal: improve his "image" scores - meaning how voters view him on questions of likeability, empathy, and understanding the struggles of the middle class.FULL STORY