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Eyeing Obama, Mitt Romney brings jobs message to Ohio

July 27, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli | Washington Bureau
  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks during a campaign stop in Los Angeles on July 20.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks during a campaign stop in Los… (Lucy Nicholson, Reuters )

Reporting from Washington   — Ohio just moved its presidential primary back from March until May. So what is Mitt Romney doing Wednesday in the Buckeye State?

The former Massachusetts governor is again off the traditional early state circuit of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, instead planting his flag in a state with 19 electoral votes that he'll see much more of next year if he becomes the Republican nominee.

To coincide with his trip, the Romney campaign released a new online video featuring Steve Cohen, an Ohio business owner who says President Obama is "not helping our company expand" and creating an environment not conducive to job creation.

Spliced in between Cohen's remarks are clips of then-candidate Barack Obama promising in 2007 to "take China to the mat" on trade and currency issues. Romney's message: Obama hasn't followed through in holding China accountable.

Romney will make that point in person at Cohen's company, Screen Machine in Pataskala, just outside of Columbus.

The video's clear target is Obama. But it's a message that could be just as powerful against the president's former ambassador to the Asian giant — Jon Huntsman, who just happens to also be seeking the GOP presidential nomination.

Romney's camp also announced that it had received the endorsement of Ohio's former governor and senator, George Voinovich, and nearly three dozen other state Republicans.

Romney won a straw poll of Ohio Republican activists at a party fundraising dinner on Friday. A Quinnipiac poll of Ohio voters released last week found Romney trailing Obama 45-41 in a hypothetical general election matchup, the best showing of any Republican candidate tested.

Democrats are also minding Romney. The Ohio Democratic Party chairman noted in a conference call that the plant Romney is visiting actually benefitted from a stimulus grant, and said Romney's record as governor coincided with a decline in manufacturing jobs in his state.

While the candidate is in Ohio, his wife, Ann, has events planned in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire on Wednesday and Thursday.

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