Less than 24 hours until Election Day and tensions are high in Ohio. Eighteen electoral votes are still up for grabs in the crucial swing state, but the race is extremely close there. Both candidates will be spending time campaigning in Ohio today in a final attempt to win those votes. No Republican has won the presidency without it.
Romney campaign surrogate Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), who played President Obama during debate prep with Mitt Romney, shares his take on the race in Ohio on "Early Start" this morning.
The latest CNN/ORC poll shows President Obama with a three-point lead within the margin of error in Ohio. CNN's Soledad O'Brien asks Sen. Portman whether he thinks Romney would have polled higher in Ohio had Portman been selected as running mate instead of Senator Paul Ryan.
“No,” he answers. “Paul’s got a terrific message…about how we can address these big challenges we face.” Portman feels the enthusiasm and momentum is on the side of the Romney campaign regardless of the polls. And he points out a stronger GOP grassroots campaign.
O’Brien also asks about Ohio’s unemployment rate, which is now at 7% and below the national average, and whether voters might feel Ohio is doing well economically under Obama. "Well 7% is not doing ok,” Portman says. “If you look at the Ohio numbers on the question that pollsters love to ask, are you going on the wrong track or the right direction, our wrong track numbers are about like the rest of the country. Last month we lost 12,800 jobs in Ohio. So we're glad our unemployment numbers are about a point below the national average. But we don't think it's good enough.”
A Jeep ad released by the Romney campaign, which ran in Toledo, Ohio implies that Jeep is moving production and jobs from the United States to China. Politifact deemed the ad false. The heads of GM and Fiat spoke out against the ad as well. O’Brien asks Senator Portman whether he thinks it was a bad move for the campaign.
“It is true that Jeep now makes all of their jeeps in the United States of America, and they actually export jeeps to China, into the Asian market,” Portman says. “It is true, I believe, unless something has changed, that Fiat is planning on beginning production in China, for Jeeps that will be sold in China.”
O’Brien interjects, “but not move from the United States to China.”
“But that’s not what the ad says,” Portman says. “The ad says that Jeep is going to begin production in China.”
“The bigger issue for me is who’s gonna be better for these companies going forward? Portman answers. “They’re looking for regulatory relief, because they want to be able to compete globally. They want tax reform very badly, along the lines of what Mitt Romney has proposed, not what the President has proposed.”