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2012 US presidential election to be Barack Obama's last race, win or lose

President Obama looked out at the sea of shivering supporters at a chilly late-night rally here and soaked in the wave of blue campaign placards and the flashing of a thousand smartphone cameras.
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Bristow, Virginia:

President Obama looked out at the sea of shivering supporters at a chilly late-night rally here and soaked in the wave of blue campaign placards and the flashing of a thousand smartphone cameras.

It was 37 degrees, and he warmed his left hand in his pocket even as he jabbed at the air with his right. Midnight was approaching. It was the last rally of the last Saturday of his last campaign, and he drifted off script.

"I was backstage with David Plouffe," Mr. Obama told the crowd, referring to his political guru, who looked surprised as he stood offstage. "And we were talking about how, as the campaign goes on, we've become less relevant. I'm sort of a prop in the campaign. He's just bothering a bunch of folks, calling, asking what's going on."

Indeed, for Mr. Obama, the campaign is effectively over. Oh, there will be a final round of rallies on Monday, a final frenetic swing through swing states and plenty of Plouffe phone calls asking what is going on. But the machinery they have assiduously put in place over four years is now on remote control. The campaign is out of their hands, and so is the fate of the 44th president.

© 2012, The New York Times News Service

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