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Entries in Ohio (98)

Wednesday
Aug152012

Returning to His Alma Mater, Paul Ryan Goes on Offense on Medicare

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images(OXFORD, Ohio) -- Paul Ryan had a second homecoming Wednesday, returning to his alma mater, Miami University, where he took on the issue of Medicare. The subject is one which Democrats are using to frighten senior voters in hopes to derail Mitt Romney’s campaign now that Ryan, the House budget chairman, has joined the ticket.

But Ryan is playing offense. Mentioning Medicare for the first time on the stump, he repeated a line of attack introduced earlier in the week by the Romney campaign.

“We want this debate, we need this debate and we will win this debate,” Ryan told a crowd of thousands on campus. “What I don’t think he’ll be telling people is that the president took $716 billion from the Medicare program."

“The president’s campaign says this raid of Medicare to pay for Obamacare, which leads to fewer services for current seniors, is an achievement,” Ryan said. “Do you think raiding Medicare to pay for Obamacare is an achievement? Well, neither do I.”

Ryan told a fired up college crowd that the Obama campaign is based on “anger and division.”

“This is one area where this election presents such a clear contrast,” Ryan said. “Gov. Romney and I will protect and strengthen Medicare for our future seniors and for our future seniors of tomorrow,” said Ryan, whose plan, which would go into affect in 10 years, would fundamentally change Medicare, replacing it with a voucher program.

But the plan won't affect current seniors on Medicare, a key detail Democrats are happy to delete.

It wasn’t all policy talk, though. Ryan revved up the crowd by saying both the school and the crowd “means a lot to us,” and he littered his speech with hometown food mentions.

“Skyline fiveway, turkey gobblers, cheese fries and skippers. Bagel and Deli is still here for sure right?” Ryan asked.

The candidate now stays very healthy, eating organic and subscribing to an intense fitness regime called P90X. He didn’t even stop for the array of fried food at the Iowa State Fair earlier this week, a tradition for politicians making their way through the fair.

Ryan has a history of heart disease in his family. His father died of a heart attack when Ryan was only 16 years old.

Two Ohio politicians were on hand for the event -- Gov. John Kasich and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, who reportedly was on Romney’s vice presidential short list. Despite being passed over, Portman introduced Ryan, praising him and even giving him his “lucky Buckeye,” which Ryan said Portman kept with him throughout his Senate race. Ryan called Portman a “close friend,” and called Ohio “so important,” adding that it, “could very well determine the future of our country for a long time.”

Ryan will campaign in the state again Thursday with a stop in North Canton, Ohio.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug142012

Debunked, 'Disgusting' Ad Tying Romney to Cancer Death Allegedly Airs ‘in Error’

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A controversial TV ad tying Mitt Romney to a woman’s cancer death aired Tuesday for the first time in Ohio, allegedly in error, according to the pro-Obama super PAC that produced it.

"Station error is all," explained Priorities USA Action senior strategist Bill Burton. "Kind of like when the Florida station accidentally aired Restore Our Future's anti-Gingrich ad in June."

The ethics and accuracy of the claims in the 30-second spot -- titled "Understands" -- have been the subject of intense debate since it first appeared online one week ago, with former President Clinton aide Lanny Davis calling it "disgusting."

His criticism wasn't alone. Republicans and some other Democrats say the group crossed a line in suggesting Romney’s role at Bain Capital contributed to a woman’s death. Fact-checkers debunked the ad's suggestion that the woman died after her husband's layoff from a Bain-owned factory or the allegation she lacked health insurance because of the move. 

The Obama campaign first said it wasn't familiar with the ad, but was forced to backpedal when fact-checkers found the ad's main speaker, Joe Soptic, in other pro-Obama ads. The administration has refused to disavow the ad, claiming no affiliation with the super PAC -- even though administration officials have fundraised for it and former White House staffers run its operations.

Burton has argued that criticism of the ad is overblown and that it fairly reflects the long-term consequences of bankruptcies and corporate buyouts by Romney’s Bain Capital -- despite the fact that the spot's allegations have been debunked.

With the outcry and debate, there has been much speculation about whether the ad would air at all. Priorities USA officials have been coy about the delay in the ad’s hitting the airwaves, insisting only that it has been, “shipped to television stations” and would air on demand.

The free attention garnered by the controversy alone seemed to be a desired effect of Priorities. The spot has had over 700,000 views online, and as of Friday, four of the top five states in which it's been viewed online include Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, a Priorities official said.

BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller first reported Tuesday night that the ad officially aired in Cleveland that morning, citing an, "ad buy tracking source."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Aug052012

Romney Says Obama Lawsuit Blocks Ohio Military Voters

(WASHINGTON) -- A new flap in the ongoing battle on voting equality began this week when Mitt Romney accused President Obama’s re-election committee of suing to restrict military voting rights in Ohio. And while Romney did not address the issue campaigning in Indiana Saturday, he called the lawsuit “an outrage” in a written statement

“The brave men and women of our military make tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend our freedoms, and we should do everything we can to protect their fundamental right to vote,” it reads. “I stand with the fifteen military groups that are defending the rights of military voters.”

Republicans say a lawsuit brought by Obama for America in July seeks to eliminate additional time for in-person early voting allotted to service members in the battleground state. Democrats, on the other hand, contend the presumptive GOP nominee is deliberately trying to distort the facts.

“Mitt Romney is falsely accusing the Obama campaign of trying to restrict military voting in Ohio,” a Friday statement said. “In fact, the opposite is true: The Obama campaign filed a lawsuit to make sure every Ohioan has early voting rights, including military members and their families.”

A series of laws passed in the past year by Ohio’s Republican state legislature and Gov. John Kasich have waived the last three days of in-person early voting before Election Day for all but members of the military. Civilians now have until Friday, Nov. 2, to cast those ballots and must arrive at the booth before 6 p.m.

Republicans faulted the extra time for civilians as too costly for local governments and prone to fraud and abuse. Meanwhile, service members were exempt from the restrictions, allowing them to vote at any time before polls close, an extra three days without restrictions.

As previously reported by ABC News, the Obama campaign sued the Buckeye State last month to block those laws from taking effect, restoring weekend voting as it was in 2008. Democrats say those last days before Nov. 6 give a crucial extra cushion for Americans who might not have had the opportunity to enter the voting booth in the days prior.  If the challenge is successful, they say, military voters would not see any difference in their rights.

The Obama campaign maintains the two-tiered privilege system violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. In most states, men and women in uniform are given extra time to mail in absentee ballots, given that they might be serving in posts far from their homes.

The stakes of Obama for America v. Husted are clear. Obama narrowly won Ohio with 51.4 percent of its electorate and its 18 electoral votes remain hotly contested this year. Additionally, 30 percent of Ohio’s turnout cast their ballots early in 2008, according to a non-partisan voter advocacy group. This includes 93,000 votes in those last three days before the election.

Neither campaign had responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug012012

Obama: Romney Wants to Raise Middle Class Taxes to Help 'People Like Him'

JIM WATSON/AFP/GettyImages(AKRON, Ohio) -- President Obama today pounced on a new report that found Mitt Romney’s economic plan would raise taxes on the majority of Americans and give tax breaks to the super wealthy, telling supporters in the battleground state of Ohio that his opponent wants them to pay more so that “people like him” can get a tax cut.

“If Governor Romney wants to keep his word and pay for this plan, then he'd have to cut tax breaks that middle-class families depend on to pay for your home -- the home mortgage deduction -- to pay for your health care -- the health care deduction -- to send your kids to college,” the president told a crowd of roughly 2,000 in Mansfield, Ohio.

“And here's the thing: He's not asking you to contribute more to pay down the deficit. He's not asking you to pay more to invest in our children's education or rebuild our roads or put more folks back to work. He's asking you to pay more so that people like him can get a big tax cut,” he said.

The study, by researchers at the Brookings Institution and the Tax Policy Center, found Romney’s economic plan would raise taxes on 95 percent of Americans by an average of $500 per year and grow the deficit, while millionaires would receive an average tax cut of $87,000 a year.

The report states “it is not mathematically possible to design a revenue-neutral plan that preserves current incentives for savings and investment and that does not result in a net tax cut for high-income taxpayers and a net tax increase for lower- and/or middle-income taxpayers.”

The president underscored that the study was conducted by an independent, nonpartisan organization. “You do not have to take my word for it,” he said as he described the findings. “This wasn't my staff. This wasn't something we did. Independent group ran the numbers.”

Conservatives, however, have noted that one of the authors of the report has ties to the Obama administration. Adam Looney was the senior economist for public finance and tax policy with the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2009 to 2010.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul312012

Obama Flying into Ohio Political Storm?

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages(MANSFIELD, Ohio) -- Air Force One will touch down in a swirl of defense controversy in Mansfield, Ohio, Wednesday as President Obama makes a third campaign trip in four weeks to the battleground state.

“If President Obama has his way, his Air Force One arrival would be one of the final flights into Mansfield-Lahm Airport,” claims Sen. Rob Portman, who is often a surrogate campaigner in Ohio for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The Mansfield News Journal has run a series of stories and editorials expressing local worries that the air mission of the 179th Airlift Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard will end if proposed Pentagon budget cuts close it down. The local paper quotes Vice Commander Col. Michael Howard as saying he will park the wing’s C-27J aircraft on the tarmac in full view of Air Force One to make a point to the visiting president. The 179th has four of the planes, two currently deployed in Afghanistan. The newspaper reports the Air National Guard in Mansfield employs more than 200 airmen and more than 550 part-time employees.

White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters he will check into the matter.

“There is not an inch of Ohio that the President does not love to visit, ” Carney told his daily White House briefing, describing the campaign stops President Obama will make in Mansfield and later Akron.

It is not just Ohio Republicans who are seeking to protect the Air National Guard mission. A Republican National Committee spokesman is circulating an email quoting Democratic Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, an Obama supporter, as calling the proposed cuts, "penny-wise but pound foolish" and pledging to save the program.

But the 179th Airlift Wing may be doomed. It was targeted for elimination once before during the 2005 base closings process.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul192012

Vice President Joe Biden Hits Mitt Romney, GOP on Outsourcing

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Speaking to a union in Columbus, Ohio, Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden accused Mitt Romney and Republicans of fostering a business environment that promotes outsourcing. He accused Romney of making his business experience the hallmark of his campaign and even credited him for creating jobs -- not at home, but overseas.

“He’s not running on his experience as governor, where he had a couple good ideas like health care and other things he did,” Biden told the Plumbers and Pipefitter Local Union. “He’s running as the chairman of the board and the founder of Bain."

“I honest to God think it’s totally appropriate to judge whether he was a job creator, and if he did create them, where did he create the jobs?” Biden added. “I have to admit, after really going into detail, that he did create jobs. But they were in Singapore, China, India. They weren’t in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania.”

Biden said those who are willing to generate incentives for companies to outsource jobs are guilty of promoting other countries and “betting on China.” He noted that he and the president aren’t “betting on anybody else. We’re betting on Ohio. We’re betting on the United States of America.”

The vice president’s remarks came shortly after Senate Republicans rejected a Democratic bill that would have eliminated tax breaks for businesses that ship jobs overseas.

“They prevented us from even being able to get a vote on that,” Biden said to boos from the crowd. “So it’s dead. It’s dead. They maintained a tax cut to take your company abroad and refused to give a tax cut to bring your [company] home.”

Biden shifted from criticizing Romney and the GOP for allegedly promoting outsourcing to harping on Romney for opposing the auto bailout. He expressed disbelief that people would consider voting for a candidate who maintained foreign bank accounts.

“Romney said the president is out of touch. Out of touch? A guy who has a Swiss bank account? A guy who has, apparently, millions of bucks invested in the Cayman Islands, and my guy is out of touch?” Biden asked. “Did you ever think you’d see a presidential race where you’re choosing between one guy who has millions of bucks in the Cayman Islands and a Swiss bank account and another guy who’s invested in America?”

The vice president spoke in Ohio as part of his “Made in Ohio Manufacturing Tour,” highlighting the Obama administration’s work to enhance the industry in the state. Calling the manufacturing industry in Ohio a “renaissance” that boosted the number of jobs created in the state, Biden lauded the advancements the industry has made as it helps the country inch closer to its goal of becoming the “leading manufacturer in the world.”

“Ohio’s coming back! America’s coming back! The middle class is coming back!” Biden said.

Romney’s campaign called the vice president’s speech “misleading” and classified it as an attempt to distract voters from closely examining what it called the president’s failed initiatives.

“Just weeks after admitting the truth about the president’s failed policies, Vice President Biden today tried to cover up for three years of broken promises by the administration and its failure to fix the economy and create jobs,” Ryan Williams, a spokesman for Romney, said in a statement. “No misleading campaign speech can hide the truth that President Obama’s policies have not helped the struggling middle class. While this administration puts their faith in government, Mitt Romney puts his faith in the American people and their entrepreneurial spirit.”

The Romney camp has also hit back at the outsourcing claims, saying if anybody is a "pioneer of outsourcing," it's President Obama, who the Romney campaign claims diverted hundreds of millions of taxpayer-funded stimulus dollars to companies like Fisker, which developed electric cars in Finland, and Chinese companies to create windmills and solar panels in China.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul172012

Obama Campaign Sues to Extend Ohio Early Voting

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- President Obama’s re-election campaign has filed suit in federal court to block a Republican-sponsored Ohio law that mandates that early, in-person voting end a full three days before Election Day this fall.

The lawsuit is the latest twist in an ongoing battle over early voting in the state between Obama allies and the Republican-controlled Ohio legislature and Gov. John Kasich.

Democrats say the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Nov. 6 are critical days to “bank votes” needed to win Ohio.  In 2008, 30 percent of the total vote came during early voting, including 93,000 votes during the last three days.

Republicans say the early vote process is too long, too costly for budget-strapped counties and too prone to fraud and abuse. They also insist trimming the voting period -- not eliminating it entirely -- does not upend the convenience of the current process.

Before the law, local election boards could decide at their own discretion whether or not to hold early, in-person voting during the last three days.

“The last three days of Early Vote are especially important to ensuring a free and fair election,” Obama’s Ohio campaign said in a statement. “We are moving forward in the fight to reinstate the last 3 days of Early Voting and ensure that all Ohio voters can make their voices heard this November.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul162012

Who is Rob Portman? The ‘Anti-Palin’ of VP Picks, ‘Confident Enough to Be Humble’

ABC News Correspondent Ann Compton with Rob Portman on July 16 (ABC News)(CINCINNATI) -- Ask Rob Portman, the soft-spoken Republican senator from Ohio, about the significance of Mitt Romney’s looming running-mate decision, and he insists the pick won’t change the arc of the 2012 general election.

“I don’t think that it’s that important,” Portman said in an exclusive interview with ABC News at his new offices on the 30th floor of a downtown Cincinnati skyscraper.

“People vote for the president, not the vice president,” he said.  “I think sometimes people that are in the veepstakes talk too much about this and certainly the media does…I don’t think that it’s that important.”

Still, Portman, 56, remains atop the short list for Romney’s vice presidential nod and has been a leading voice prosecuting the case against a second Obama term.

“It’s time to give the ball to someone else. [Obama] fumbled the ball; he’s failed in his economic policies,” Portman said. “Mitt Romney has got good ideas, he’s got the experience, he’s got the record and I think it’s time for us to give the ball to him and help get the economy moving again.”

A veteran of Republican presidential administrations and a small business owner, Portman is eyed as a counterweight to Romney with strong Washington instincts, solid economic chops and popular appeal across the electorally-important Buckeye State.

Some observers have called him the “anti-Palin” of potential VP picks, referring to Sen. John McCain’s colorful surprise choice in 2008, possessing a personality that may not sizzle but packing plenty of substance.

“Rob is confident enough to be humble,” said Jane Portman, the senator’s wife of more than 25 years, in what she said was her first joint interview of the 2012 campaign. “I like that about him, and I think the American people need to know that he’s not a show-off. He’s a doer, a go-getter. And that’s what I think the American people look for in a leader and I’m happy to be by his side.”

“I am who I am,” the senator interjected with a grin.

For now, Sen. Portman says he’s content as a loyal, leading surrogate for Romney, pitching Ohioans on the case for why they need to put a Republican back in the White House.

“My concern about Barack Obama is he ran a campaign in 2008 where he said we’re going to bring people together and solve big problems. And he specifically talked about the need to reach across the aisle and deal with issues like the economy, which was obviously the top issue in 2008. It has not happened. He has not succeeded in doing what he said he was going to do,” he said.

Mrs. Portman conceded she’s a bit of a “novice” in the media limelight but nonetheless an enthusiastic partner in the escalating presidential campaign -- even keeping an open mind about possibly joining the Romney ticket.

“It doesn’t scare me, I’m just not used to it,” she said about all the attention. “We live here in Ohio, we’ve kept our home here, our kids have been raised here. We like our life the way it is. It’s very easy and comfortable. We’re here with friends and family. We lead a pretty normal existence.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul062012

Obama Bus Rolls Across Ohio with Presidential Seal

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It’s been dubbed “Ground Force One” and now, it has the official insignia to match its partner in the air.

The jet-black armored motor coach ferrying President Obama from Air Force One in Toledo, across northern Ohio and into Pennsylvania, got an upgrade for its first trip of the 2012 campaign: a large colorful presidential seal emblazoned on its side.

The cosmetic addition since debuting on an official presidential trip through the Midwest in August is a prominent reminder of the bus’s owner (the federal government) and the authority of its top passenger (the president).

So who pays for the bus when it’s used for entirely political purposes?

The Obama campaign will reimburse taxpayers for fuel and operation costs of the bus according to an established formula, an administration official told ABC News.

Obama will travel roughly 270 miles from Toledo, Ohio, to Pittsburgh on Thursday and Friday, averaging six to nine miles per gallon on the drive, according to estimates online from several motor coach manufacturers.  The average price for a gallon of diesel fuel in Sandusky, Ohio, on Thursday was $3.49.

Bottom line: Driving is a lot cheaper than flying for the presidential entourage.  (Air Force One costs $180,000 per hour to operate.)

The U.S. Secret Service acquired two of the $1.1 million custom-built coaches last year as an upgrade to their vehicle fleet ahead of the 2012 campaign.  Officials say they are the most efficient way for the president to engage in retail politicking, particularly across rural areas.

One bus (presumably without a seal) will ferry Mitt Romney around the country once he becomes the nominee, officials said.  After the campaign, the buses will be used by the Secret Service to transport other federal protectees as needed.

While the inside of the bus has remained off limits to members of the press and cameras, two of Obama’s grassroots supporters got front row seats on a ride with the president on Thursday.

Jeff and Cheri Armes of New Bedford, Mass., won a campaign fundraising sweepstakes and the chance to accompany Obama from Toledo Express Airport to the Wolcott House Museum in Maumee, where he held his first rally.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul052012

Obama Highlights Family Background on Campaign Trail in Ohio

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(PARMA, Ohio) -- President Obama is highlighting his modest family background as he travels throughout Northern Ohio, sharing personal stories in an effort to better relate to the voters of this battleground state.

The president told supporters in the small town of Parma Thursday night that he promised in his last election to, “try to make sure that every single one of you had the same chances as my family had, because I saw myself in you.”

“I saw my hopes and dreams in you. And when I see your kids, I see my kids. And when I see your grandparents, I see my grandparents. And I have kept that promise,” he said to cheers from the crowd at the James Day Park.

Although his family is not with him on the trail, the president is discussing everyone from his grandfather, who “fought in Patton’s army” and was able to “study on the GI Bill,” to his grandmother, who helped raise him, to his wife’s father, “a blue-collar worker,” and her stay at home mother.

The president said he was inspired to get into politics because of his own family’s story. “My whole life and Michelle’s whole life was an example of this American Dream,” he said.

“Our family story was all about this basic idea in America that if you work hard, you can make it if you try here in this country,” he told supporters in Sandusky Thursday afternoon. “That basic bargain is what brought me to politics.”

Obama explained how he met the first lady, a “beautiful woman, who just because I was persistent, finally gave up and gave in and decided to marry me.”

He told how his wife’s father worked in a pumping station and her mother was a secretary and yet, “somehow she and her brother were able to get a great education.”

The president, who fiercely protects his children’s privacy, yet talks about them on the campaign trail mentioned his daughter’s Fourth of July birthday, explaining why his wife isn’t with him on the bus tour.

“Malia was having a sleepover with some of her friends, and Michelle thought, you can’t just have a house full of girls and no parental supervision. …But she says hi, the girls say hi, and Bo says hi.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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