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Obama-Romney Race May Hinge on 2 Ohio Counties

By Erin McPike - October 26, 2012

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“A steady upward trajectory among key voting blocs indicates a close race, but one that is unmistakably moving in Mitt Romney’s direction,” read the memo from political director Rich Beeson and Ohio director Scott Jennings.

Of course, to coax the numbers in Romney’s direction, the candidate and running mate Paul Ryan are spending a large chunk of their time in the state. After the standard-bearer wrapped up the Cincinnati event Thursday morning, he spoke to 3,000 supporters at Worthington Industries outside of Columbus and then traveled northwest to the state’s border with Indiana, appearing before 12,000 supporters at Defiance High School.

The Republican nominee is making a quick detour to Iowa on Friday morning to give a speech on the economy, but he’ll return to Ohio in the afternoon for an evening rally in Canton, where Ryan will join him.

Ryan will tour the state this weekend, making eight stops in some smaller towns that, with one exception, are far from the state’s big cities: He’ll go south from Canton to New Philadelphia, then will wind his way farther south and west to Zanesville, Circleville and Yellow Springs, ending up Saturday evening in Dayton. Then he’ll head north to Celina, Findlay and Marion, which puts him in a rural region due west of where he began Friday night.

Vice President Biden took a similar, three-day tour of the state’s smaller towns last week, but if there’s anything that unnerves the Obama camp about Ohio, it’s the constant visits by both Romney and Ryan, which the president doesn’t have the time to replicate.

He will, however, be back in the state on Monday, when President Clinton will join him for a rally in Youngstown, the heart of car country. 

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Erin McPike is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at emcpike@realclearpolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPike.

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