Mitt Romney made his closing pitch to the American people on Friday, warning undecided voters that four more years of Barack Obama risked plunging the US into "another recession".
Hours after monthly job figures showed unemployment ticking up fractionally to 7.9%- a level that leaves Obama facing the electorate with the highest unemployment rates since Franklin Roosevelt - Romney urged voters to consider the president's record in office, not his fine words.
"Look beyond the speeches, the attacks and the ads, and look to the record, to the accomplishments and the failures and the judgments. Words are cheap, a record is real," he told a raucous crowd in West Allis, Wisconsin.
"Real change is not measured in words, real change is measured in achievements and four years ago Candidate Obama promised to do so very much, but he's fallen so very short."
Itemising Obama's failures, the former boss of Bain Capital said the president had fallen nine million jobs short of what he had promised, while presiding over falling household incomes and rising costs for health insurance and gasoline.
"Do you want more of the same, or do you want real change?" he asked, warning that four more years of Obama could be catastrophic for America.
"It means $20?trillion in debt in four years, it means stagnant take-home pay, depressed home values and a devastated military, and unless we change course, we may well be looking at another recession," he said.
Although consumer confidence and house price indices show that America is emerging from recession, both campaigns admit that the recovery, which last month put on 171,000 new jobs, has been painfully slow for millions of middle-class Americans.
Alan Krueger, the chairman of Obama's council of economic advisers, said the economy was "continuing to heal" after the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Past data, however, show that at this stage in a recovery, jobs should be returning at 300,000-400,000 a month.
It was into this gap that Romney tried to insert his claim to the votes of the few remaining undecided voters who could still swing the election his way on Tuesday, with polls showing the candidates tied in the national vote and Mr Obama only narrowly ahead in many of the key swing states.
Romney promised to cut non-military discretionary spending by five per cent, reduce taxes, hit China by naming it a "currency manipulator", tackle the teacher unions, increase permits for oil and gas drilling and boost trade ties with Latin America.
Above all, he promised to run a White House that - unlike Obama's, he contended - would be unashamedly pro-business, pro-jobs and pro-growth, promising to use his experience as a chief executive to fire the economy back to life.
"Every small business person, every job creator will know that for the first time in four years the government of the United States likes business, and loves the jobs and higher wages it creates," he said, promising a sweeping review of all "Obama-era regulations" with an eye to spurring jobs and helping business.
Recalling his own record of managing a Democrat-controlled legislature while he was the Republican governor of Massachusetts, Romney also attacked Obama for failing to do enough to tackle the political gridlock in Washington.
"He has not met on the economy, or on the budget, or on jobs with either of the Republican leaders of the House or the Senate since July," he said, to boos and laughter, "Instead of bridging the divide, he's made it wider."
On education, another favourite topic of Obama who has pledged to invest heavily in schools and colleges, Romney promised to invest power back in the hands of parents and tackle the teachers' unions to which, he said, Obama and the Democrats were in hock.
"If the president were to be elected, he will say every good thing imaginable about education. But in the final analysis, he'll do what his largest campaign supporters - the public sector unions - tell him to do. And your kids will have the same schools and the same results.
"When I'm president I'll be a voice of the children and their parents. There's no union for the PTA," he added to one of the loudest cheers of the day. Concluding with a final request for everyone to get out and vote, Romney invited everyone - including that guy with the "other sign" in his yard - to accept his invitation to a better future for America.
"There is much more to this than just being our moment, it is America's moment of renewal, and purpose and optimism. We've journeyed a long way in this great campaign for America's future, and now we're almost home.
"One final push is going to get us there. The bridge to a better future is there, it's open, it's waiting for us. I need your vote, I need your help: walk with me."