Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mitt Romney tells Republican National Convention crowd that 'Now is the time to restore the promise of America'

Written with Plain Dealer Washington Bureau Chief Stephen Koff

TAMPA, Fla. -- Casting the United States as a failing company and himself as a turnaround artist, Mitt Romney accepted the Republican presidential nomination here Thursday night by asking voters to hire him to repair a broken economy.

It's a metaphor familiar to anyone who has followed his pursuit of the White House.

But as he stood on stage at the Republican National Convention, Romney tailored his words to a prime-time television audience of millions, many tuning in to the race for the first time. He also played to a jubilant crowd of GOP activists who, after a steady diet of red meat all week, were hungry for even more bites at President Barack Obama.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Kasich takes stage at GOP convention, talks of progress in Ohio

TAMPA, Fla. -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich returned to the national stage Tuesday night, a dozen years after his last speech at a Republican National Convention.

And try as he might to downplay the political calculus, his remarks on economic revival in a battleground state might be more helpful to his future than to Mitt Romney's.

A year ago, who would have thought that Kasich, stymied by sub-40 percent approval ratings and locked in a losing battle with unions, would stand behind the podium here in prime time?

Even four months ago the prospect seemed ridiculous. After waiting until other challengers came and went,

Kasich offered a late endorsement of Romney, then quickly undercut the former Massachusetts governor's core argument of slow economic growth under President Barack Obama. At their first – and, until recently, only – joint appearance, Kasich talked gleefully of 80,000 open jobs in Ohio.

But there Kasich was Tuesday, playing the loyal soldier among a cavalry of other GOP governors who took the microphone to argue for Romney and against Obama.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel expresses skepticism about global warming in pre-convention interview

Written with Plain Dealer Washington Bureau Chief Stephen Koff

TAMPA, Fla. -- Josh Mandel, Ohio’s Republican U.S. Senate candidate and an outspoken critic of White House environmental policies, said Sunday that he doubts the presence of global warming.

The state treasurer thinks scientific research on the matter “is inconclusive and riddled with fraud.”

Mandel, who faces incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown this fall, made the comment during an interview with The Plain Dealer here on the eve of the GOP convention. Mandel, of Beachwood, also addressed Ohio delegates at a brunch.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Trade and Medicare dominate policy talk as Paul Ryan completes Ohio campaign swing

WARREN, Ohio -- Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's two-day tour of battleground Ohio ended Thursday with a couple of hot dogs and a few morsels of policy.

During a morning rally at Walsh University in North Canton, the Wisconsin congressman hammered President Barack Obama over trade relations with China, accusing his administration of taking too soft a stance on currency manipulation.

And during a lunchtime visit to the Original Hot Dog Shoppe, a popular eatery here in Trumbull County, Ryan responded to what has been a key point of contention as he and Mitt Romney slam Obama's record on Medicare.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and pending GOP presidential nominee, foreshadowed a recharged campaign of substantive issues last week by choosing the wonkish Ryan as his running mate. Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, is highly regarded among conservatives who have embraced his ideas for fiscal change.

Rhetoric remains in high supply. Both men stumped separately across Ohio this week, offering a new theme that portrays Obama as an angry, divisive leader. But for a few moments Thursday, meaty issues got their due. It's a start.

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Rob Portman's political profile remains high despite exclusion from national ticket: Analysis

Every word parsed. Every battleground state appearance analyzed. For months Rob Portman's every move came with the added heft of a vice presidential prospect.

As Mitt Romney's search for a running mate entered its final weeks, Ohio's junior senator couldn't even talk about yogurt without someone snickering about his "vanilla" image. Portman nevertheless was seen as, if not the most exciting pick, the safest.

But when the poking, prodding and prognosticating came to an end Saturday morning, it was U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan standing next to Romney at a campaign rally in Norfolk, Va. Portman was spending his weekend like he spends any other – riding his bicycle.

Back to normal for the Cincinnati-area Republican? Not a chance. Portman, 56, may have lost the so-called veepstakes, but thanks to nearly a year in the spotlight as a potential No. 2, his national profile is as high as it has ever been. And if the Romney-Ryan ticket loses to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in November, Portman won't have the taint of defeat on him should he decide in 2016 to take a run for No. 1.

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Monday, August 6, 2012

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney punctuate their Ohio campaigns with brackets

With Ohio a key prize in the race for the White House, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are punctuating their arguments here with gusto.

Their punctuation of choice? Brackets. Or bracketing, as it's known in political playbooks.

Obama and Romney both have refined the strategy, wherein one candidate attempts to stomp on another's message of the day with carefully coordinated publicity strikes. Neither can visit this crucial electoral battleground without facing an aggressive counterattack, often involving top surrogates stationed nearby. Weapons in this fight range from the dull and scripted conference call to the piercing honk of a Romney campaign bus prowling the streets near an Obama event.

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