Portman Optimistic About Romney in Ohio

Coral Davenport

While Ohio remains a key element of President Obama’s reelection strategy, his consistent lead in polls there fueled in part by his role in the rescue of the auto industry, the state’s Republican Senator says Mitt Romney can still take Ohio.

“People don’t feel like Ohio’s doing well,” said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, on CNN’s State of the Union. “We’re on a wrong-track, just like the rest of the economy.”

In fact, Ohio’s unemployment rate is 7 percent, lower than the national rate of 7.9 percent. But Portman said that rate doesn't account for the large numbers of unemployed people who have stopped searching for jobs. “Things aren't going well here – look at the empty storefronts,” he said.

Portman said it’s still possible for Romney to win Ohio on Tuesday. “At this point, Ohio’s very very close, but I like the position we’re in. The momentum is on our side,” he said. Asked by CNN’s Candy Crowley if Romney could win the general election if he doesn't win Ohio, Portman said, “Probably – but I wouldn't want to risk it.”

No Republican has won the White House without Ohio.

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