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AP exit poll: Election hinges on economy

WASHINGTON (AP) – Voters never got to enjoy this presidential race as much as they endured it, a grind of a campaign during the weakest economic recovery in generations. Yet they ended up getting exactly a choice that lets them steer the country’s direction — an unmistakable contrast of candidates and agendas for America.

No longer the fresh face of change, President Barack Obama sought four more years as the man who will finish what he started. Challenger Mitt Romney declared Obama a failure and said he doesn’t deserve a second chance.

“You know me by now,” Obama says. And the country surely does, through the health care law and the auto bailout, the ending of the Iraq war and the killing of Osama bin Laden, the slow struggle for jobs and the soaring debt.