Election 2008

Ohio Visits Pay Off For Barack Obama

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In 2004, Ohio went President Bush's way. This year, the Buckeye State went in the win column for Democrat Barack Obama. Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland tells Steve Inskeep that one reason Obama carried the state is that he visited it many times.


On his way to winning yesterday, Barack Obama captured the state that decided the election back in 2004. John Kerry lost Ohio four years before Obama won it. So this morning we'll talk about what changed. Part of the reason may be that Obama visited again and again. He also had high-profile supporters in Ohio like the new Democratic governor, Ted Strickland. The governor told us that another reason was where the Democrats went for votes. They focused on rural areas like the areas Strickland knows best.

Governor TED STRICKLAND (Democrat, Ohio): I campaigned in southern Ohio over the last few weeks. Got in an RV and went from community to community, holding rallies in barns and out in the middle of fields. And I think it made a difference. Right after the primary was over and Senator Clinton had withdrawn from any further contention, I went to Chicago and I sat down with the Obama campaign. And I said there are two ways to run statewide in Ohio. You can use the John Kerry approach or you can use the Ted Strickland approach. And I said that...

INSKEEP: But what - just so I understand. Was the John Kerry approach focusing on the big cities and major suburbs where there were a lot of Democratic votes? And you're saying the Strickland approach is to go into small towns where you might not even get a majority, but at least you get some votes and build up some total across the state.

Governor STRICKLAND: You're absolutely correct. John Kerry did better in our larger cities than he even expected to do. But he did very poorly in the smaller towns. And we know that Barack Obama wouldn't win all of those smaller counties. But our goal was for him to get 40 percent instead of 27 percent. And the cumulative effect of that effort, I think, made a major difference.

INSKEEP: That's Ohio's Democratic Governor Ted Strickland who spoke with us earlier this morning.

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