Romney likes 'to fire people' -- Jan. 9: Romney's comment that he "likes being able to fire people" brought immediate attacks from his rivals. The candidate later said it was one moment that makes him "try and be a little more careful in what I say."
War on women -- January-March: A federal mandate requiring religious institutions to offer contraception insurance coverage to employees sparks a "war on women" fight between Democrats and Republicans.
Etch A Sketch -- March 21: A senior Romney aide caused quite a row when he said that the fall campaign is "like Etch A Sketch. You can shake it up and we start all over again." The statement would haunt the Romney camp for the rest of the campaign.
Presumptive nominee -- April 10: Romney became the presumptive nominee after his closest rival, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, suspended his campaign.
DREAM Act-lite -- June 15: In an election-year policy change, the Obama administration announced it will stop deporting young illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children if they meet certain requirements.
Obamacare upheld -- June 28: The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the Affordable Care Act, Obama's signature health care reform legislation and a law that cost both he and congressional Democrats tremendous political capital.
Romney's overseas trip -- July: Despite his earlier pledge to watch what he says, Romney made gaffes in questioning London's ability to host the Olympics to angering Palestinians by suggesting Israel's culture played a role in its economic success.
'You didn't build that' -- July 13: When Obama told a crowd in Virginia "if you've got a business, you didn't build that; somebody else made that happen," the comment set off a chorus of cries from conservatives and Republican-leaning business owners
Biggest lead -- Aug. 8: Just weeks before the Democratic and Republican national conventions and following Romney's verbal slip-ups abroad, Obama opened up his widest lead against the GOP presidential hopeful in the CNN Poll of Polls, 49%-43%.
Picking Paul Ryan -- Aug. 11: Romney gave his campaign a boost and thrilled conservatives when he chose Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as running mate. The 42-year-old congressional budget hawk is the first member of Generation X named to a ticket.
Eastwood's empty chair -- Aug. 30: Actor and director Clint Eastwood's baffling monologue to an empty chair at the Republican National Convention caused no short amount of head scratching, late night talk show jokes and social buzz.
Bill Clinton's speech -- Sept. 5: Former president Bill Clinton's energetic speech at the Democratic National Convention thrilled party faithful and, in many ways, upstaged Obama own more subdued address.
Benghazi attacks -- Sept. 11: When U.S. Ambassadorto Libya Chris Stevens and three others were killed in Benghazi, the subsequent fallout led to an administration apology and was fuel during the presidential debates.
The 47% -- Sept. 17, 2012: A recording made during a May private fundraiser included Romney refering to the government-assistance dependent "47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what." He immediately dropped in the polls
Obama's debate disaster -- Oct. 3, 2012: Obama blew it in the first presidential debate by failing to actively engage Romney on key points and looking down, as if he was bored or annoyed. His lethargic debate performance was widley criticized.
Romney's comeback -- Oct. 9: Following Obama's disastrous first debate performance, Romney leapt ahead of Obama in the CNN Poll of Polls for the first time in the campaign, 48%-47%, signaling a tightening of the race.
'Binders full of women' -- Oct. 16: In the second debate, Romney's comments about using "binders full of women" while Massachusetts governor to help diversify his cabinet led to Internet quips and criticism. Obama gave a livelier performance.
'Bayonets and horses' -- Oct. 22: In the third presidential debate, an energized Obama proved once again that he was full of sharp tongued-snark when he lashed Romney by explaining the military uses fewer "bayonets and horses."
Voting early -- Oct. 25: Obama became the first presidential candidate to vote early, and his stop at a polling center in Chicago reflected his campaign's strategy to get suppoters to cast ballots ahead of Nov. 6.
Superstorm Sandy -- Oct. 29: Sandy slammed into the East Coast killing more than 100 people, leaving millions without power and devastating homes. Both candidates halted campaigning and tread carefully in the days that followed.
America votes -- Nov. 6: After billion of dollars, thousands of ads and years of campaigning, America finally gets its chance to decide.