"I know we're close to an election, but this isn't a game," Obama said from Hilliard, Ohio, a heavily Republican suburb of the capital city of Columbus. "These are people's jobs. These are people's lives. ... You don't scare hardworking Americans just to scare up some votes."

For once, the intensely scrutinized monthly jobs report seemed overshadowed by the pace of the presidential race. It was unlikely to affect the outcome.

Employers added a better-than-expected 171,000 jobs in October, underscoring that the economy is improving. But the rate is still short of what will be needed to seriously shrink unemployment. The jobless rate ticked up to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent â¿¿ mainly because more people jumped back into the search for work.

No issue matters more to voters than the economy, the centerpiece of a Romney message called the closing case of his campaign.

He said an Obama presidency would mean more broken relations with Congress, showdowns over government shutdowns, a chilling effect on the economy and perhaps "another recession."

"He has never led, never worked across the aisle, never truly understood how jobs are created in the economy," said Romney, a former private equity firm executive, in a campaign stop in Wisconsin.

Later in Ohio, he declared: "I will not represent one party. I will represent one nation."

Democrats sought to kick the legs out of Romney's late-campaign theme of bipartisanship.

"Mitt Romney's fantasy that Senate Democrats will work with him to pass his 'severely conservative' agenda is laughable," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Obama claimed he loved working with Republicans â¿¿ when they agreed with him. His tone was scrappy.

"I don't get tired," he said in the longest days of the campaign. When Romney's name drew boos, Obama blurted out: "Vote! Voting is the best revenge."

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