Romney must work hard to win Ohio

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan in Dayton, Ohio 25 September 2012 Mitt Romney is trailing Barack Obama in a recently released Ohio opinion poll

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's supporters, waiting in the drizzle at the airport in Dayton, Ohio, for the man they want to be America's next president, could make all the difference in this election.

Under the sign "We need a real recovery", four people clutch four big red letters. O-H-I-O. Some think this state will spell defeat or victory for Mr Romney.

He has to work hard - an opinion poll out today puts Mr Obama eight points ahead. It is one of eight key battleground states, and perhaps the most important.

A local reporter tells me that while there are other routes to victory for Mr Obama, Mr Romney cannot afford to lose this state. It is the conventional wisdom.

Political supporters put up with a lot to be a backdrop for a few brief shots on TV. They have been corralled here for hours.

In their plastic rain macs they try to keep their spirits up. One speaker tries a sing along "We love Mitt Romney". It fades after four goes not, I think, from any lack of enthusiasm for the candidate, more because the song itself is rather lame.

A woman has a little better luck spontaneously getting the crowd going, by shouting "Mitt!" and calling for the response "Romney!"

Eventually, the man himself makes a fairly dramatic arrival as his plane slides into view just yards from the stage.

Ground game

Dressed in a red windcheater, he arrives with Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan, who is still the much better speaker.

Mr Romney ran through a campaign speech that has evolved a fair bit since I last saw him in the flesh.

Romney supporters in Dayton, Ohio 25 September 2012 Grassroots participation could be crucial to a Romney victory in Ohio

There was a great deal more about China, from currency manipulation to intellectual property theft, a fair amount on the Middle East unrest, as well as more general comments on the economy.

But the surprise for many was when he said President Barack Obama had not put taxes up - that was a plan for the second term.

Some are going to make a lot of this, and it does go against the conventional Republican case, but no-one in the crowd noticed the gaffe, if that is what it was.

However, the Romney campaign quickly put out a statement saying that President Obama has put taxes up and Mr Romney was "clearly communicating" that he plans to put them up some more.

Some think that in this state it is all over. One article explains what it calls "Obama's stunning Ohio turnaround".

It is a commonplace that the candidate is not adored by Republicans, but this crowd seemed pretty enthusiastic to me.

They have to work hard over the next few weeks on what is known as the ground game. Big speeches by political superstars matter, and so does costly TV advertising.

But the people leaving the rally clutching Romney signs to put up in their gardens had heard advice on how to win this thing - talk to neighbours, make sure they vote, apply for a postal vote (it makes it easier to check up people have voted), think of something novel - one speaker said she had found a note on a petrol (gas) pump that morning noting how much the price had gone up since President Obama had come into office.

If it is all over, no-one has told the supporters here.

Mark Mardell, North America editor Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell North America editor

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US Presidential Election 2012

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  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Re " O-H-I-O" sign.

    Obama Hired In Oblivion?

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Obama is far from being the perfect president. That said, Romney is too much like the politicians he claims not to like. He will tell people whatever they want to hear, which is fine until it disagrees with what he says to the next group of people. It may work with individual deals in business, but it's hard to sell to a population.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Judging others as he does suggests a man so far out of touch with ordinary people he might as well be in another solar system. He's callous and indifferent. An elitist, arrogant spoiled rich kid who has no idea how hard ordinary people have to work. Not idea what it is to be one injury or illness away from financial ruin. As M Dowd might say, He claims to love America, but seems to hate Americans.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Romney doesn't deserve to win. It's not his fault he doesn't know what it is not to have enough food or go without heat. Doesn't know what it is to have a parent work 12 hour days while you work after school just to make ends meet. People who just pay payroll tax pay a higher percentage of their income than he does. What he doesn't know would fill volumes. Sadly he doesn't know that either.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    As a Brit Mark, don't you find it rather silly in American politics that everyone has to somehow pretend that they're lowering taxes all the time? Its the playground level name calling kind of discussion we expect there now. `Taxer! Tax and Spender! Its a TAX'. One of the many destructive and horrific trends started by that creep Reagan.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Strange how state media broadcaster bbc will run blogs on US elections and politics


    bbc will NOT run blogs on Scottish elections and politics?

    More bizzare when you consider Scottish people provide 10% of the bbc ruinning costs through taxes.

    HEY, but that's the uk for you all!

    C McK

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    President Obama's disappointing 1st term is not as much a reflection of his weaknesses as it is a testament to the dismal legacy from the previous administration and the determination of his foes. The sooner we figure this out, the better. Alas! We Yanks have been often accused of being resourceful, optimistic, enterprising, and generous, but rarely intelligent. And so the flailing continues.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Venezuela, etc sell their refined oil products at subsidised prices to their peoples. The commoners benefitted from the countries’ comparative advantage.
    USA, mother-producer of many financial contraptions, yet its lesser-well-off got no benefit. ‘Ripp-off’ is a more accurate.
    No to Obama!
    Whose only comparative advantage is saving both rich folks and companies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    8. CLN1197 You are ignoring the fact that the natural gas industry is setting up to export our gas as fast as they can for short term profit. Just how long to you think gas will be cheap? What are you going to drink once the frackers have ruined your well water?

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    The President isn't a failure at all. Although he was greatly overrated in the beginning by the media. I think he deserves another term, but not by much... The sycophant media in this country is what scares me. It's troubling to watch on TV and see evidenced here on the BBC web site.

    Obama has gotten a truly exceptional pass on many things, but overall he has done well with the hand he was dealt

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    I'm sure millions of Ohioans will be ecstatic to vote for somebody who was a pioneer in the movement to transfer all of the manufacturing sector jobs out of the country!

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    If these polls are predictably correct, then, I am afraid US Americans’ minds are deneutered.
    Failing to recognize current failures of Obama but insisting that there is still viability in his 2nd term.
    There were no good years in Obama’s 1st Term. Chucking out the failure-incumbent is the first necessity to anything else. A failure’s place is not on the podium again, but into oblivion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Frack gas and oil have completely changed the energy picture in the US.
    natural gas can provide power down to 5cts a kw in many areas.. Obama gets that.. as does Romney. Cheap energy gives the US a competitive advantage. It does not help with an uneducated population looking to work in high tech jobs. Romney is sunk. Ryan discredited. Math counts

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    And to clarify my comment (#6), the only way to decrease oil/gas prices is to decrease demand. Offshore drilling won't affect prices for several years (until the product can make it to market), and then only briefly (because those reserves are relatively tiny).

    If the U.S. is to have any future at all, it needs to get off of fossil fuels ASAP. Obama knows this; I don't think Romney does.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    "one speaker said she had found a note on a petrol (gas) pump that morning noting how much the price had gone up since President Obama had come into office."

    Wow... blaming gas prices on Obama. Apparently people from Ohio have never heard of peak oil or even how Republicans are even closer buddies with the oil companies than Democrats. At lease Obama is pushing for alternative energy sources.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    1. Kingsley O

    Non-union Honda is the largest employer in Ohio, something like 14,000 workers to GM's 10,000. Ford around half that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    People continue to underestimate Romney. Like Mr. Mardell, they have to first work through all the perceptions of him that have been crafted by the Obama team and the media, some real, some not.

    He is quite capable, which is why his numbers persist against an incumbent. He has grown on people, slowly but steadily.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Although I didn't hear his entire speech, I did read a transcript of Mr. Obama's message to the UN today. After reading it, it's difficult for me to believe US voters, including those in Ohio, would want to replace Mr. Obama with Mitt Romney. From my perspective President Obama has been a thoughtful, articulate and competent leader despite the very divisive environment

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    The most difficult task for Romney is to reassure the electorate that manufacturing jobs will return by issuing more drilling permits to the energy sector.
    Obama has failed to highlight any achievements except to save a couple of jobs in the auto industry.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    After his 47% comment, Romney has to work even harder to win Ohio.Obama's stimulus package Ohio averted teachers, policemen & layoff. The auto bail out has significantly improved Ohio's economy which is tied to the auto industry. To say Ohio is not better off, implies the current republican governor is doing a bad job.Michigan will not vote for Romney after he said Detroit should go bankrupt.


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