presidential race has two days left.

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    United States President George W Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry have courted voters on Sunday in the make-or-break states of Florida and Ohio, squeezing every minute out of the last 48 hours of a race that could swing either way.

    So far neither candidate has managed to stake a lead, with Washington Post and Fox polls placing them dead even, even as national security fears leapt to the forefront with the 11th-hour appearance of Osama bin Laden on Friday.

    Both men tried to work bin Laden's video address to their political advantage, with Mr Kerry using the tape to remind voters that Mr Bush has failed to capture the man who launched the September 11, 2001 strikes on the United States.

    The President's camp accused the Massachusetts Senator of opportunism.

    Mr Kerry began his day in Ohio, receiving communion at a Roman Catholic Church before joining African-American worshippers at Shiloh Baptist church in Dayton.

    He headed to the tiny north-eastern state of New Hampshire and then on to Florida.

    Mr Bush, meanwhile, was stumping across Florida before travelling north to Ohio.

    Votes in either state could prove crucial in the all-important scrap for electors, the super-votes awarded state-by-state that actually determine who wins the US presidency.

    The latest surveys ahead of Tuesday's election pointed to a photo finish to rival the 2000 contest, with the possibility a candidate could lose the popular vote and win the presidency for the second straight time.

    --AFP

    Dave R.
 
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