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Portman: Obama Will Come Out "Swinging" In Next Debate

TAPPER: And this morning, Washington Post reporter Dan Balz called you, quote, "the Romney campaign's most valuable player" for your multiple roles as Ohio point man and Obama stand-in. I'm assuming you're anticipating that President Obama will have a little bit more pep in his step in Tuesday's debate. How do you prepare for that?

PORTMAN: Well, I think you're right. I think President Obama is going to come out swinging. I think he's going to have to compensate for a poor first debate, and I think that'll be consistent with what they've been doing this whole campaign, Jake, which is running a highly negative ad campaign. They've spent hundreds of millions of dollars around the country, including a lot in Ohio, mischaracterizing Governor Romney's positions and misrepresenting him. And I think you'll see that again at the debate on Tuesday night.


TAPPER: We only have one more minute left, so I'm going to turn to Ohio. Let's look at the latest poll from after the first debate. It shows President Obama in the lead in Ohio still, 51 percent to Romney's 45 percent. That's from after the first presidential debate.

Does Governor Romney have a path to the presidency without Ohio? I know you're going to say that he's going to win Ohio, but can he win the presidency without it?

PORTMAN: Look, he can probably win the presidency without Ohio, but I wouldn't want to take the risk. No Republican has. And we're doing great in Ohio. If you look at the average of all the polls, it's about dead-even in Ohio right now. And importantly, the momentum's on our side. It's been terrific.

I've been to a half-dozen rallies in Ohio in the last week alone. I've never seen this kind of energy and enthusiasm on the ground. We've already made three times more phone calls through our volunteers this year than 2008. We've knocked on 25 times more doors than we did in all of 2008. So something's going on, on the ground in Ohio. It's turning our way. And I think that's why you're going to see the president continue to attack, not focus on the substance of the issues that people care about, but instead continue to get attacked because things are not going their way right now.

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