US election at a glance: 26 Oct

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Day in a Nutshell

President Barack Obama took a rare day off from the campaign trail, instead huddling at the White House with advisers. Among the presumed topics of conversation: how to deal with a predicted Republican-controlled House of Representatives and weakened Democratic Senate majority.

Former President Bill Clinton campaigned in Illinois for Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias and gubernatorial candidate Pat Quinn.

California Republican Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina was admitted to hospital for treatment of an infection associated with reconstructive surgery following recent treatment for breast cancer. A campaign spokeswoman said she would be back on the campaign trail "soon".

A report by campaign watchdog group Public Campaign Action Fund found that US House and Senate candidates have spent nearly $2bn (£1.2bn) this campaign season.

Quote - Unquote

"All we're really asking for is two more years - that's a total of four - to get us out of the hole and get us into the future. That's half as much time as you gave [the Republicans] to dig the hole. Seems fair to us to give us two more years," said Bill Clinton, exhorting Illinois voters to back Democrats.

"I'm sorry that it came to that, and I apologise if it appeared overly forceful, but I was concerned about Rand's safety," said Tim Profitt, a supporter of Republican Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul, explaining why he was shown on camera stepping on liberal activist Lauren Valle's head after she was thrown to the ground by other Paul backers on Monday night.

"I think that this is an extreme example of the kinds of sentiments that people are feeling in many races across the country. I think that tension is incredibly high," Lauren Valle, 23, said.

"We've done a lot in the last 20 months. The economy has grown four quarters in a row, not what it needs to, but it's growing, it's not shrinking. Just since January, 860,000 private-sector jobs, not nearly enough. But guess what? That's more jobs than were created in the entire eight years of the Bush Administration," said Vice-President Joe Biden as he campaigned for a Democratic House candidate in New York.

Key Numbers

Americans' optimism about their system of government has fallen to a 36-year low, according to an ABC News/Yahoo poll. Thirty-three per cent of poll respondents said they were optimistic about "our system of government and how well it works". That was the lowest figure among the 11 times pollsters have asked the question since 1974, when 55% said they were optimistic.

But in a follow-up question, the survey also found Americans see the people running the government as the problem, rather than the system itself, by a margin of 74% to 24%.

Daily Picture

Image caption,
Rand Paul supporter Tim Profitt apologised on Tuesday for stepping on a liberal activist's head, but said the camera angle made it look worse than it was