US President Barack Obama congratulated Republican rival Mitt Romney for running a hard-fought race for the White House and expressedconfidence he would win re-election during a stop at a local campaign office to thank volunteers as voters went to the polls.
"I ... want to say to Governor Romney congratulations on a spirited campaign. I know that his supporters are just as engaged and just as enthusiastic and working just as hard today," Obama said as volunteers made more phone calls encouraging supporters to get to the polls.
"We feel confident we've got the votes to win, but it's going to depend ultimately on whether those votes turn out. And so I would encourage everybody on all sides just to make sure that you exercise this precious right that we have that people fought so hard for us to have."
Obama made calls to volunteers from the campaign office to thank them for working for his re-election. "I expect that we'll have a good night, but no matter what happens, I just want to say how much I appreciate everybody who supported me, everybody who's worked so hard on my behalf."
Obama ended his final campaign on Monday in Iowa, the place that launched his first White House bid and that could hold the key to his political future.
Opinion polls showed Obama and Romney in a virtual dead heat, although the Democraticincumbent had a slightadvantage in several vitalswing states that could give him the 270 electoral votes needed to win the state-by-state contest.