US polls: Hours to go, promises to keep

Mitt Romney has a ton of promises to keep if he becomes president, and that’s on his first day alone, never mind the other 1,460 days. Barack Obama was similarly brimming with will-do's in his first presidential campaign, racking them up by the hundreds, big and small.

He’s more restrained now. That’s typical of an incumbent who's built a record, suffered rope burns from the tug of war with Congress and seeks to be judged on leadership that the country has already seen, instead of a list that may get lost in the wind.

The election is about economic revival on both sides, and that means a lot of nuts and bolts along with competing visions of how to achieve it.

So there are promises of training programs here, a Department of Business there, tax cuts galore, a powered-up armed forces, energy initiatives at every turn and more, all improbably paired up with pledges from both men to tackle the national debt.|

Almost everything they promise hinges on the makeup of Congress after the election, their skill at twisting arms in those halls and postelection judgments about whether some things are really worth the fight.

Romney’s promised repeal of “Obamacare” can't happen without enough like-minded lawmakers, just as Obama’s promised steps on climate change didn't happen — and that was with fellow Democrats in control.Obama achieved the big health care law against tough odds, but an immigration overhaul eluded him and those George W Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy that he swore he’d end are still around, for him to go after again.

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