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
Washington (CNN) - Memo to Mitt Romney: Walmart moms find you smart, but slick, and while many are ready to give up on President Obama, they aren't sure you understand their daily struggles.
It's safe to say Governor Romney already knows this: his pollster once was a lead player in the Walmart mom research project, and is close to the two pollsters leading it now.
Washington (CNN) – A top Mitt Romney strategist insisted Friday the debate over whether the GOP contender should release more of his tax information has "stopped hurting." But a new report from a recent Wisconsin focus group comes to a different conclusion – suggesting his refusal to shed more light on his finances raises trust issues with pivotal voters.
"It's not new information," was the case made by the senior Romney strategist, who discussed the issue only on condition of anonymity. His take: that voters who are going to be moved by the tax debate have already moved to the Obama column.
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.
Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - A visit to the Iowa State Fair is a test of diet discipline: They fry just about everything - from Oreos to butter to mac & cheese - and the bigger the better, from half-pound tenderloins to massive turkey legs and pork chops.
Not much changes from year to year. There's the butter cow, nightly entertainment at the grandstand, arcade games and amusement rides.FULL STORY