As Americans cast their votes Tuesday to decide who would hold the title of "Leader of the Free World" for the next four years, the two largest political parties found one area where they were in agreement.
Whether Democrat or Republican, the people on the ground in Warren County who have been working to build support for their candidates agreed this was an election where the basic direction of the nation is at stake.
"This election will determine a lot about the direction of our country," Warren County Republican Committee Chairman David Bauer said. "There are major, major policy and philosophy differences about how to govern the country in the two federal races on the ballot. The direction of our country really is at stake. We've gone one direction for four years. Are we going to continue or possibly change course? Certainly that is monumental"
"Everyone within our group certainly recognizes the importance of this election," Neighborhood Team Leader for President Obama's re-election campaign, Jeff Eggleston agreed. "It's a clear choice between two philosophies on how to govern."
What those visions consist of, said the two, are starkly different.
"If you look at the issues, especially economic issues, we have never been in the position we are in now since the Great Depression," Bauer said. "There's been very little progress the last four years. Fast growth in the size and power of government. Do we continue or make a correction? that's really the heart of what's at stake today with the federal election."
"We have a lot people returning from last time (the 2008 campaign) and there's a sort of doubling down to ensure a second term," Eggleston, who is the primary contact with Obama's national campaign, said. "Sort of cementing what progress has been made.
"I would say this spring, there was still a lot of burnout on politics, but once we saw the Republican primaries and saw how far right they went... for a lot of us, that was a catalyst for running a robust campaign. Policy-wise we have a lot of different constituencies. Each group has different priorities. Every person has different issues that motivate them. There are some women who are adamant on reproductive issues. There are some seniors who are motivated by keeping Medicare and Social Security. There are just so many different people (supporting the President), for so many different reasons. We have people helping who aren't even democrats."
As of Monday, the Pennsylvania Department of State reports 13,994 republican, 11,109 democrat and 4,012 voters who are registered with another party or as an independent. The two campaigns do face very different landscapes in Republican-leaning Warren County.
"One thing that's been extremely motivating in this area is the unmitigated hatred of the President," Eggleston noted. "For instance the America versus Obama signs. Those have been, unwittingly, the best motivation we've had. We've had people come in and say, 'I'm not sure what all your positions are, but I'm sick of seeing those signs everyday.' This isn't my first campaign and I've never seen this type of disrespect for the office of the President.
"We've put out somewhere around 700 signs. I'd say more than half of them have been stolen or destroyed. I know to them (thieves/vandals) it's just a sign, but to the person who bought it and put it in their yard that's their political expression."
In true dichotomous fashion, hostility for one party can translate into support for the other.
"As a local Republican party, we are extremely grateful for the support we have received from the local community," Bauer said. "We have seen an outpouring of help like we have never seen before."
Bauer took time to stress the importance of races further down the ballot.
"People often overlook the state level elections," Bauer said. "We have some very qualified candidates for these positions. Attorney general, auditor general, these really aren't partisan positions. They're positions that really are about being qualified."
Meanwhile, Eggleston is looking toward future growth for the democratic party in Warren County.
"One thing about this community, because we're a minority, there's a real sense of pride in what we've accomplished." Eggleston said. "I think, when all's said and done, we're very proud of how this campaign has gone.
"We're a growing constituency in the area and I think, in the future, we'll be able to be really competitive. You know, the last time around, we only lost by like 1,100 votes. Clinton won the county twice. People don't realize the potential for a Democratic surge here.
I will give the Warren GOP credit. They put up a lot of signs. But they're relying on traditional campaign methods."
Eggleston had some thoughts on what could happen post-election as well.
"I felt that Romney wasn't a completely terrible candidate. I don't think he would completely destroy the country," Eggleston noted. "What's going to happen is, once they get elected, they're going to have to work things out or they're going to drive the country off a cliff. I think the reason I'm doing this is because Obama is the only objective voice in Washington right now. I think he really wants to find a way to work things out."