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Strickland Again Absent From Obama Event

For the second straight week, Gov. Ted Strickland (D) was nowhere to be found as President Obama came to Ohio. Today, the president was meeting with auto workers at a GM plant in Warren, giving a pep-talk on the economy.

"As long as I have the privilege of being your president, I'm going to keep fighting for a future that is brighter for this community, and brighter for Ohio, and brighter for the United States of America," Obama said, after highlighting the impact of the Recovery Act.

Last week, Obama was in Cincinnati, giving a fiery speech on health care to a crowd full of union workers. Strickland wasn't there, either. So, with a potentially tough race ahead and Obama's numbers down in the Buckeye State, is the governor keeping his distance? Not so, his office said.

An execution is scheduled in Ohio today, and Strickland's policy "is to remain in his office and available" to prison officials until the execution has occurred. "Had his schedule permitted, the governor definitely would have been with President Obama today," Strickland press secretary Amanda Wurst tells RCP.

As for the Cincinnati event, Strickland chose to go ahead with previously-scheduled personal time that Labor Day weekend, coming at the end of a grueling budget process.

"The governor appreciates that President Obama is highlighting the work being done at the state and federal level to pull Ohio's working families out of the recession that started one year ago today with the collapse of Lehman Brothers," Wurst said.

The specific reference to Lehman Brothers is no accident; state Democrats are calling attention to ties that Strickland's likely opponent, John Kasich, had with the former investment giant.