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September 21, 2017

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Romney, Ryan make major push for Ohio

VANDALIA, Ohio -- Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan bounded on stage to the sound of Thin Lizzy's "The Boys are Back in Town" Tuesday as the Republican White House hopefuls made a major push in the key battleground state of Ohio.

It was their first appearance together since Sept. 1 and a short-lived reunion as the self-proclaimed "comeback team" stepped up the pace of their campaign with just six weeks to go before the Nov. 6 election.

After two days in Ohio, Ryan was set to campaign in Colorado Wednesday while Romney — fresh off an appearance in New York — had events scheduled near Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo.

Hundreds of supporters braved a drizzle of rain outside an airplane hangar near Dayton Tuesday as Romney and Ryan vowed to get the economy moving again and put the nation back to work.

Ryan, who went to college in Ohio, led the crowd in a football chant "OH — Ohio" and joked that his lucky Buckeye ring was going to help the Republicans win this Midwestern state.

"The other reason we're going to win Ohio is we are going to give you our fellow citizens a clear choice," he told the cheering crowd.

"Our choice is, do we stay on the same path we're on, the path (President Barack) Obama put us on: a nation in debt and decline or do we reclaim those founding principles that made us so great in the first place and get this country back on the right track."

Romney, sounding a bit hoarse, castigated Obama for pursuing "a vision of government that's entirely foreign to anything this nation has ever known.

"If this president persists on the road of making it harder and harder for small businesses to thrive he's going to slowly but surely weaken our economy and turn us into Greece, and we must not let it happen," Romney said.

"I'm going to restore that principle of free enterprise."

But despite the welcoming crowd, they face an uphill battle in the Buckeye State. Analysts warn that there are few paths to victory for Romney if he isn't able to capture Ohio's 18 electoral votes.

"If the president wins Ohio it will make it almost impossible for Romney to win the White House," said Mack Mariani, a political science professor at Xavier University in Cincinnati.

A Washington Post poll published Wednesday showed Obama ahead by eight points in Ohio and he also holds a 4.6 point advantage in a RealClearPolitics average of recent polls.

No Republican has ever won the White House without taking Ohio and the last Democrat to do so was John F. Kennedy in 1960.

Romney's senior advisors insisted Tuesday they were not discouraged by the public opinion polls and said campaign leaders think Romney can capture a significant share of the state's independent voters and also win over some Obama supporters.

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