The U.S. economy has been slowly recovering, but economists warn it could plunge back into recession if Congress does not take action to avoid what's become known as the fiscal cliff.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
That is the name that some clever communications specialist gave to the combination of expiring tax cuts - in other words, tax increases - and broad, mandatory spending cuts aimed at reducing the deficit. The two are set to go into effect at the end of the year.
Asking voters to raise taxes on themselves is a tough sell, but there are initiatives around the country doing just that. In Missouri, it's the cigarette tax. Missouri has the lowest cigarette tax of any state, and some of the highest smoking and lung cancer rates. St. Louis Public Radio's Veronique LaCapra reports.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: And I'm Scott Horsley, traveling with the president, who's also milking every last hour from these final days. Mr. Obama was up long past midnight, and he's planning another 14-hour, voice-taxing marathon today, ending with a final rally in Iowa, where his national campaign began five years ago.
(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I'm here today because I'm not ready to give up on the fight. I know I look a little older, but I got a lot of fight left in me.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
When voters go to sleep on election night, they have usually heard reports on who's won the election. Many people are devoutly hoping that that will be the case on Tuesday night. But not all the results are actual results. Some are vote tallies, but most are projections based on exit polls and other data collected by pollsters.
Mitt Romney is making his final appearance in the states where he needs to slip past President Obama in Tuesday's election. Over the weekend, Romney traveled more than 5,000 miles and held eight rallies in seven states.
The final days of an election cycle bring an obsession with the short term — the very short term. Daily tracking polls. A relentless get-it, post-it, blog-it news cycle. Trending topics on Twitter telling us something (though it's not always clear what).
But for just a moment, let's slow it down, look at what's happening over a somewhat longer time frame, and see what it tells us about what the country will look like for the winner of the presidential race.
Anyone who traveled to Breezy Point, Queens, in New York City in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, even as recently as a few of days ago, would have needed an SUV — its main thoroughfare was under 3 feet of water. Today, you can see pavement. It sounds like a small victory, but this beachfront, blue-collar town is willing to accept progress in increments.