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RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's yearslong quest for the presidency is ending with a last-minute round of campaigning in one state he's showered with attention and another he's largely ignored.
After voting near his Boston-area home, Romney was betting that an eleventh-hour appeal to working-class voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania would help him defeat President Barack Obama. He visited both states Tuesday.
"This is a big day for big change," Romney told staffers and volunteers at a Cleveland-area campaign office.
His running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, followed a similar strategy. After voting in his Wisconsin hometown, Ryan joined Romney in Ohio before a scheduled solo visit to Richmond, Va.
Asked about the hectic schedule in recent days, Ryan said of Romney: "He's kind of operating on fumes."
After visiting the campaign office, the pair stopped for lunch at a Wendy's, where Romney ordered a quarter-pounder, chili and a Frosty. Ryan ordered a quarter-pounder and a salad.
Both were returning to Boston later in the evening to await the election returns.
Earlier Tuesday, Romney told reporters he was feeling "very good" as he and his wife, Ann, appeared at a polling precinct near his Belmont, Mass., home just before 9 a.m. EST to vote.
Romney spent less than three minutes completing his ballot. Asked who he voted for, he said with a smile: "I think you know." It was the first time he had answered a direct question from his traveling press corps since late September.
"If we get folks out we'll have the real change that we really need in this country," Romney said. He waged a marathon day of campaigning in five swing states on Monday, which was supposed to be his last day on the trail.
Romney's focus on Ohio is not a surprise. He has spent more time campaigning there over the last year than any other state. And no Republican has won the presidency without carrying the Midwestern battleground.
But Romney has spent very little time in Pennsylvania, which hasn't supported a Republican presidential contender in nearly a quarter-century. As polls showed the race tightening there, Romney launched a statewide advertising campaign just last week.
Dismissed as desperation by Democrats, the Pennsylvania trip will at the very least send a message that Romney did all he could to deny Obama a second term.
"We can't let up now. We need to keep going until the final polls close tomorrow night," Romney political director Rich Beeson wrote supporters Monday. "With an election this important, let's leave it all on the field."