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Campaign 2012: The Story in Photos

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After nearly $1 billion spent on TV advertising, dozens of debates, and countless primaries, caucuses, and polls, today is the day: Election Day 2012. Republican hopefuls battled through state contests, winnowing the group down to the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney. The incumbent, President Barack Obama, formally announced his re-election campaign on April 4, 2011, and began engaging Mitt Romney once it became apparent he would get the Republican nomination. Since then, both teams have traveled thousands of miles on cross-country trips from strongholds to swing states to ask for your vote. Gathered here are photographs from the trail, a look back at Campaign 2012 as it comes to a close. [50 photos]

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The choice. At left, Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, listens to a question from a reporter in Livonia, Michigan, on February 28, 2012. At right, President Barack Obama speaks as a tear streams down his face, at his final campaign stop, on November 5, 2012, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, Carolyn Kaster)
The choice. At left, Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, listens to a question from a reporter in Livonia, Michigan, on February 28, 2012. At right, President Barack Obama speaks as a tear streams down his face, at his final campaign stop, on November 5, 2012, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, Carolyn Kaster)
Voters put corn kernels into jars with their favorite Republican presidential candidates on the first day of the Iowa State Fair, on August 11, 2011 in Des Moines, Iowa. The candidates, including Mitt Romney, John Huntsman and Newt Gingrich, visited the fair ahead of Saturday's Iowa Straw Poll to greet voters and engage in traditional Iowa campaigning rituals. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) #
Minnesota Republican Representative Michele Bachmann addresses a crowd during a welcome home event in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, on Sunday, June 26, 2011. Bachmann said her bid to unseat President Barack Obama shouldn't be viewed as "anything personal" against the Democrat -- he's "just wrong" on his policies for America. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain stops to address the media as he arrives for a meeting with developer Donald Trump, in New York, on October 3, 2011. He's a mathematician, a minister, a former radio talk show host and pizza magnate. But most of all, Herman Cain is a salesman. And how he sells. "The sleeping giant called 'we the people' has awakened," Cain thunders, pacing the stage in his trademark dark suit, brown fedora and "lucky" gold tie, delivering a rollicking, 45-minute performance that evokes an old-fashioned church revival, complete with cries of "Amen" from his audience. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) #
Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, speaks during a campaign stop at Bethel University, on February 4, 2012, in Arden Hills, Minnesota. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) #
Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman walks with his wife Mary Kaye (left) and daughter Gracie Mei (right) before announcing his candidacy for the Republican U.S. presidential 2012 campaign at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey, on June 21, 2011. Huntsman, President Barack Obama's former ambassador to China, entered his party's 2012 presidential race on Tuesday pledging to make the "hard decisions" to deal with America's debt. (Reuters/Shannon Stapleton) #
Donald Trump speaks to a crowd of 600 people during a gathering of Republican women's groups, Thursday, April 28, 2011, in Las Vegas. Trump's flirtation with a White House bid continuedwith a lavish reception at the Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas.(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) #
Republican presidential candidate, Texas Governor Rick Perry fills out his papers to be on the New Hampshire's First-in-the-Nation presidential primary ballot, on October 28, 2011, at the State House in Concord, New Hampshire, (AP Photo/Jim Cole) #
Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum waits for an interview in Miami, on January 27, 2012. Santorum was taking a pause from Florida campaigning just days before the Tuesday primary that even he expected to deal him a third consecutive loss. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) #
Republican presidential hopefuls Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Texas Gov. Rick Perry and businessman Herman Cain talk during a break in their debate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, on October 11, 2011. (Reuters/Adam Hunger) #
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets the Fisher family backstage prior to a campaign rally in Elko, Nevada, on February 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) #
Callista Gingrich, wife of Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich meets with Republican supporters at a Smashburger restaurant, on February 14, 2012, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) #
A young supporter of Republican presidential candidate U.S. Congressman Ron Paul celebrates at Paul's New Hampshire primary night rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, on January 10, 2012. (Reuters/Shannon Stapleton) #
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Representative Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, arrive at a campaign stop in Portsmouth, Virginia, on May 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) #
A supporter calls for "four more years" as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally in Tampa, Florida, on October 25, 2012. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque) #
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle are saluted by soldiers as they arrive at the Fort Stewart Army post, on April 27, 2012, in Fort Stewart, Georgia. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
A supporter of Barack Obama cheers during a campaign stop on September 12, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Isaac Brekken/Getty Images) #
President Barack Obama tries to evade the wandering fingers of 8-month-old Cooper Wall Wagner as he poses for a picture with his parents, Captain Greg Wagner and Meredith Wagner as Obama met U.S. Marines and their families having lunch at Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps base in Hawaii, on December 25, 2011. (Reuters/Jason Reed) #
Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally on Monday, October 8, 2012 in Newport News, Virginia. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) #
Trace Nystrom, 6, of Knoxville, sits on his father's shoulders and prays during the invocation before Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally at West Hills Elementary School in Knoxville, Tennessee, on March 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) #
Actor Clint Eastwood addresses an empty chair and questions it as if it is President Obama, as he endorses Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during the final session of the Republican National Convention, on August 30, 2012. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and vice presidential nominee Representative Paul Ryan are joined on the stage by their families at the end of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, on August 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) #
Luke Frank, 6, and his brother Zachary, 8, right, from Grafton, Wisconsin, wearing Romney cheesehead hats, listen as Mitt Romney campaigns at the Wisconsin Products Pavilion at State Fair Park in West Allis, Wisconsin, on November 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) #
Members of the audience take pictures as President Barack Obama steps to the podium at a fundraising event, on June 26, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
Delegate Vickie Vogel of La Grange, Texas, wears earrings decorated with the image of President Barack Obama as she heads to a caucus to see first lady Michelle Obama speak in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 5, 2012. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
Former President Bill Clinton bows as President Barack Obama walks on stage after Clinton's address to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 5, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) #
President Barack Obama waves to the crowd after his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) #
President Barack Obama embraces first lady Michelle Obama during a campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on November 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) #
Mitt Romney, campaigns at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire, on January 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) #
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan picks out spices for making venison sausage at the Tenuta's Del in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on October 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) #
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Paul, as his wife Val Keller watches, on May 11, 2012, after talking about mortgage relief outside their home in Reno, Nevada. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) #
Vice President Joe Biden acquaints himself with customers during a stop at Cruisers Diner in Seaman, Ohio, on September 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) #
President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event at Capitol Square in Concord, New Hampshire, on November 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) #
Mitt Romney campaigns at Van Dyck Park in Fairfax, Virginia, on September 13, 2012. (Win McNamee/Getty Images) #
Dawn and Randy Cornell, watch the presidential debate at the United Steelworkers Local 4856 Union Hall in Henderson, Nevada, on October 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) #
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama spar during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on October 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) #
Ann Romney grabs her husband Mitt, as he greets members of the audience at the conclusion of the final U.S. presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida, on October 22, 2012. (Reuters/Jason Reed) #
Associated Press Instagram photos from the campaign trail, Romney/Ryan edition: Romney's view in Doswell, Virginia. / Romney press pool hold in St. Petersburg, Florida. / Ryan campaign flight arriving in Ohio. / Mitt Romney after a campaign event in Doswell, Virginia. / "Guess Who?" Romney campaign edition / Catering at a campaign event in Mansfield, Ohio. / "Over the shoulder shot", Denver / Romney supporters in Kissimmee, Florida. (AP Photo/ Charles Dharapak, Mary Altaffer) #
Associated Press Instagram photos from the campaign trail, Obama/Biden edition: Delegate Richard Rios from Virgin Islands dances at DNC Charlotte / Media center at DNC. / Flying west on Air Force One. / The media center at Center College before the start of the VP debate. / Air Force One tarmac with cameras. / Bill Clinton front and center DNC Charlotte. / Columbus Ohio with President Obama. / Approaching Columbus, Ohio on Air Force One. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster,Jae C. Hong, Charles Dharapak, J. David Ake) #
Mitt Romney, walks away from the stage after a campaign rally in Las Vegas, on February 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) #
A light shines behind President Barack Obama as he speaks during a campaign event at Bayliss Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on August 13, 2012, during a three day campaign bus tour through Iowa. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) #
Mitt Romney, with his newly announced vice presidential running mate, Paul Ryan standing behind him, during a campaign rally in Manassas, Virginia, on August 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) #
Vice President Joe Biden smiles during a campaign rally at West Middle School in Muscatine, Iowa, on November 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) #
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan speak to an overflow crowd during a campaign rally at Randolph Macon College on August 11, 2012 in Ashland, Virginia. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) #
President Barack Obama, is lifted off the ground by Scott Van Duzer, left, owner of Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant during an unannounced stop, on September 9, 2012, in Ft. Pierce, Florida, (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) #
Shannon Westfield, 20, left, and Jane Kernan, 16, make calls for the Romney campaign in Fairfax, Virginia, on June 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) #
Fireworks explode in the distance as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney walks on stage at a Virginia campaign rally at Newport News International Airport, in Newport News, Virginia, on November 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) #
Mitt Romney speaks at a Ohio campaign rally at Port Columbus International Airport, in Columbus, Ohio, on November 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) #
President Barack Obama speaks to supporters during his final 2012 campaign event in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, on November 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) #
Carol and Amon Burton, Obama campaign volunteers, place election day signs on Lamar Blvd. before polls open on Tuesday morning, November 6, 2012 in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa) #

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