Obama ends sprint in important Ohio

President caps off 48 hours of campaigning

CLEVELAND -  

President Barack Obama capped off his 48 hours of campaigning at an Ohio rally Thursday complete with the most presidential of backdrops -- Air Force One.

The president de-planed in Cleveland to address supporters on the tarmac and once again encouraged early voting, something he did himself earlier in the day.

"So Ohio I gotta tell you, even though I've been going for about 38 hours straight, even though my voice is getting a little hoarse, I still got a spring in my step because our cause is right," Obama said.

Thursday's event was the second in the state this week, yet another example of how crucial the Buckeye State is on the path to 270 electoral votes.

"I need you Ohio, America needs you Ohio," the president told the roughly 12,000 people gathered on a warm night.

Obama consistently stuck to his message during an intense campaign swing that he described as going from the "East Coast to the West Coast and back to the East Coast."

With polls tightening nationally and in nearly all the battleground states, aides say this is the race they always expected.

"Our goal is to get to 270 and we have multiple paths to do that," White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer told reporters Thursday. "We believe we have a strong electoral college advantage."

"The travel we're doing is to maximize that," he added.