WASHINGTON: From A to Z, the battle for the White House has been a gripping ride. Here is a lexical walk through some of the campaign's most memorable moments and characters.
A is for Abortion
While social issues have taken a back seat in the campaign, both sides have played up their stance on abortion to motivate their base. Obama's camp has warned that abortion rights are at risk in the event of a Romney victory.
B is for Binders
During the second presidential debate on Oct 16, Romney triggered widespread ridicule by saying that he had gone through “binders full of women” when considering potential female hires as governor of Massachusetts.
C is for Clint
Tough guy actor Clint Eastwood bemused millions of television viewers on the final night of the Republican National Convention when he improvised a debate with an imaginary Obama sitting in an empty chair.
D is for Denver
Or for “debate disaster.” The University of Denver was the site of the first presidential debate, on Oct 3, at which a listless Obama was roundly trounced by a more focused and determined Romney.
E is for Etch-A-Sketch
In March, Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told CNN the Republican would move from the primaries to the general election as if shaking an Etch-a-Sketch toy to create a clean slate. It became a byword for his ideological flexibility.
F is for Forty-Seven Per cent
In September, a grainy video surfaced showing Romney addressing an audience of wealthy donors and writing off 47 per cent of the US electorate as lazy victims with a sense of entitlement living off state support.
G is for General Motors
Obama has targeted northeastern swing states by celebrating his bailout of the auto industry, his camp summarising his position with the slogan: “Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.”
H is for Herman
Pizza mogul Herman Cain briefly lead the Republican primary field despite a noted inability to address foreign policy knowledgeably and having a tax policy that could be summarised by the three digits 9-9-9.
I is for Iran
Both candidates have talked about the need for strong financial sanctions against Iran to disrupt its nuclear enrichment program, but Romney criticised Obama for allowing Iran to be “four years closer” to having a nuclear weapon.
J is for Jobs
Which candidate has a better plan for creating jobs? While the unemployment rate has dropped slightly, Romney has repeatedly hit out at Obama, touted his business experience and promised to create millions of new jobs.
K is for Keystone
Both candidates vowed to increase America's domestic energy production but Romney has also promised that, if elected, he would approve an extension of the Keystone Pipeline, which brings oil from Canada to the US.
L is for Libya
Libya became a hot topic on the campaign trail after the US ambassador to the country was killed in early September in an attack on the consulate in Benghazi. The Romney camp came close to accusing the Obama team of a cover-up.
M is for Middle Class
Both candidates put middle class concerns at the center of their candidacy – with Obama's camp attempting to portray Romney as an out of touch plutocrat, and Republicans pointing to economic stagnation, persistent high unemployment and falling household buying power.
N is for Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a longtime friend of Romney, was accused of interfering with the US election campaign when he publicly upped the pressure on Obama to act over Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program.
O is for Ohio
Ohio has become the key battleground state in the election. Seven presidents have hailed from Ohio, and no Republican candidate has won office without winning the state – but Obama has a narrow edge in recent polls.
P is for PBS Romney sparked a social media storm when he threatened to cut off federal funding from the Public Broadcasting Service, home of the Sesame Street kids' show and its star Big Bird, who became an inadvertent campaign icon.
Q is for Al Qaeda
In their third debate, Romney did not try to counter Obama's big foreign policy boast that he ordered the commando raid that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but warned: “We can't kill our way out of this mess.”
R is for Rape
Romney has been forced to distance himself carefully from two Republican senatorial candidates who caused widespread offense when they appeared to downplay the seriousness of rape while justifying their anti-abortion views.
S is for Super PACs
Independent political organisations known as “super PACs” serve as vehicles for wealthy donors to funnel support to candidates without breaking campaign spending limits. Some 212 super PACs have spent $438.6 million this year.
T is for Taxes
While Romney has accused Obama of “crushing” enterprise and middle class incomes under high taxation, Obama says the challenger's across the board cuts would be a giveaway to the super-rich that would explode the deficit.
U is for Unemployment
The central argument of Mitt Romney's candidacy is replacing Democrat incumbent Barack Obama after his failed attempted to mend a stale economy with little to no job growth.
V is for Vouchers
The Romney camp proposes a voucher program to buy health insurance in the private market, a plan Obama says would spell the end of the popular Medicaid health program for the poor as it is currently understood.
W is for Wars
Obama came to office promising to end the war in Iraq and wind down the war in Afghanistan. He ended up sending reinforcements to Afghanistan, but now vows that combat forces will leave by the end of 2014.
X is for P90X
Romney's vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan says he owes his impressive physique to the P90X weightlifting and exercise plan, and his arrival on the campaign trail sent sales of the program soaring.
Y is for Yuan
China's economic policies, and particularly Beijing's handling of its yuan currency was a key campaign issue. Romney has vowed to label China a "currency manipulator" on day one of his administration.
Z is for Zingers
The buzz word of pre-debate commentary, describing the quips and retorts the candidates laboriously memorised in order to generate pithy sound bites and feed social media buzz.
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