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The ground war: Knock, knock

TELLTALE differences of style mark the campaign offices from which Republicans urge Mitt Romney supporters to vote, and those used by Democratic volunteers for President Barack Obama. In the swing state of Virginia the Republican state headquarters fuels its troops on pizza, a television is set to Fox News and volunteers make calls on internet telephone terminals with buttons to record voters’ replies, zapping the information to a central database. The mood is brisk and upbeat. “People are very energised,” says Christine O’Connor, a volunteer.A few miles away in Fairfax County, a Democratic bastion, the mood is more emotional. A senior White House aide to Mr Obama, Valerie Jarrett, is visiting a field office (in a personal capacity, note staffers). Tucked away in a shopping centre, it is one of more than 60 Obama offices in Virginia—the Republicans have only half as many. Mrs Jarrett offers reassurance, and a sprinkling of Obama stardust. “We really need him, but the world needs him too,” she tells one young man. Hand-painted posters bear such slogans as “Keep VA Blue” and “Sushi 4 Obama”. A sign seeks donations…

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