Obama in Springfield, Mo.

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This conservative southwest corner of the state went nearly two-to-one for George Bush in the last election. Not since 1964 has a Democrat carried this county. So people in Springfield were surprised when Obama showed up in July, and didn’t take him all that seriously when he promised to come back. But here we are, late on a Saturday night, just three days before the election, and Obama is speaking here on a high school football field to a crowd that numbers in the tens of thousands.

That Obama is spending the final days of the campaign playing offense in such ruby-red areas as this one tells you more than any poll number can about how his campaign reads its opportunties between now and Tuesday.