(CNN) – In the final two weeks before Election Day, the presidential race is coming down to just a few states–with Ohio as perhaps the most contested battleground.
For Mitt Romney, the Buckeye State may be even more crucial, as no Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio.
Watch CNN's coverage of Monday's third and final presidential debate starting at 7 p.m. ET on CNN TV, CNN.com and via CNN's apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. Web users can become video editors with our clip-and-share feature that allows them to share favorite debate moments on Facebook and Twitter. Join the discussion on our live blog, and get comprehensive coverage on our debates page. Need other reasons to watch the debate on CNN's platforms? Click here for our list.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
A number of newspapers in the state published their endorsements within the last week – two siding with President Obama and the other with Romney. The largest paper, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, rolled out support for Obama but with far less enthusiasm than in 2008.
The paper said Obama has fumbled and "often been his own worst enemy," but he has the potential to continue economic growth after leading "the nation back from the brink of depression."
The paper acknowledged the obstacles Obama inherited when he took office and said Obama's failings and lacking "vision for the many challenges that still confront America" in this campaign almost led the paper to endorse GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
"This litany of missed opportunities, as much as the grim economic statistics that have become America's unacceptable new normal, left us sorely tempted to endorse Gov. Romney this fall," the editorial board wrote. "Like President Obama, he is a man of public achievement and private honor. He was born to wealth and power, but used those advantages well."
On the other hand, Obama made the "unpopular but gutsy" decision to further bail out automakers Chrysler and General Motors, significant players in the Ohio economy. "Romney," the newspaper wrote, "urged the companies to file for traditional bankruptcy – at a time when private-sector credit was frozen even for healthy firms."
According to a Quinnipiac University/CBS News survey released Monday morning, 50% of likely voters in Ohio say they support the president, with 45% backing Romney. Obama's five point lead is right at the edge of the survey's sampling error. Throughout the fall and summer, polls in Ohio have shown a tight race, some with a slight advantage for Obama.
Ohio has 18 electoral votes. Both candidates and their campaigns have made frequent stops in both states in the weeks before Election Day. Vice President Joe Biden heads to the Buckeye State on Monday for two events and Obama campaigns there this week.
The Akron Beacon Journal of Ohio printed more supportive ink for Obama. In fact, the editorial sharply defended the president against critics.
"Disappointment burdens the president's pursuit of a second term. Yet he shouldn't be measured merely against his soaring words. What matters are his real accomplishments and the direction he proposes for the years ahead. On both those counts, he has succeeded far more than his critics contend," the paper read.
While the editorial board criticized the president for lacking "political skills" and failing to "address more directly the battered housing market," the board wrote that Obama has set solid measures in place.
"What is telling about a presidency is its tilt, its direction, spirit and priorities. Thus, to those who argue the president lacks a plan for a second term: Look at the foundation that has been set. He has used the levers of government to bolster the economy, investing in education, innovation and health care, understanding the essential role of the public sector in competitiveness," the paper wrote.
– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.
Romney, meanwhile, picked up an endorsement from the Columbus Dispatch on Sunday.
"After nearly four years of economic stagnation, massive unemployment, record-setting debt and government intrusions into the economy that have paralyzed the private sector, the United States needs a new direction," the Dispatch editorial said. "For this reason, The Dispatch urges voters to choose Republican Mitt Romney for president in the Nov. 6 election."
The Ohio paper's editorial proceeded to lay out the results of Obama's four years in the White House in bullet point form, ticking off a series of economic woes from unemployment to the poverty rate still plaguing the country.
The Dispatch, which endorsed 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain, said it "warned" readers last cycle of the dangers of an Obama presidency.
"Just as we warned four years ago, this master orator has pushed America toward a European-style social democracy," the Florida paper wrote. "We don't question Obama's motives. The president sincerely believes in the inviolable ability of the federal government to make all things right. But Americans should see that this top-down approach doesn't work."
"Romney, in contrast, would capitalize on individuals' ingenuity, not Washington directives."
The Dayton Daily News and the Toledo Blade, which both supported Obama in 2008, have yet to make their endorsements. The Cincinnati Enquirer has also not printed an endorsement. It backed McCain four years ago.
- CNN's Ashley Killough, Gregory Wallace and Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.
I see a lot more Romney signs , stickers and posters in Ohio then I do support for Obama, Most of the time when i see Obama's name in Ohio its on a sign saying you are fired.
A Cleveland paper, home of proud single mothers by the busload, ... endorses BO ....
Did you know that the major Salt Lake City newspaper endorsed Obama and NOT Romney last week?
Romneys patriotism is NOT with the USA, but with the Mormon Church. NO ONE in his family have served in the US military. When asked about their service all his boys would say is that they gave service to their cult errr their Church.
Thanks ohio for supporting Obama, we in California give him a 20% edge, no political tv, spots here, a lot here have already voted, just waiting for a Nov. 6th Democrat victory party
letting gm go into bankruptcy to then restructure and trim the fat would have in the long run,made the company more profitable, better run, and they would not have had tp payoff the govt which they still have not done and may not ever do....
mitt was right about gm....
ohionans, you are a good proud people...dont let this european style used car salesman change your country...it can still be stopped and you can be the ones to proudly stop it! he is a liar, a saleman, a slick talker, he is angry, has tried to pooint fingers and blame anyone but himself.....IS THAT WHAT YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN? BLAME OTHERS? rich v poor, black v white, illegal vs legal, men v women, catholic vs, atheist, pro choice v pro life, muslim v "intolerance(bogus argument)...
all he has done is to try to divide americans....is this REALLY WHAT YOU VOTED FOR IN 2008? NO!
COME ON!!!!!!!!! Throw this radical out of office.
ohio'ans, you are a good proud people...don't let this european style used car salesman change your country...it can still be stopped and you can be the ones to proudly stop it! he is a deceiver, a saleman, a slick talker, he is angry, has tried to point fingers and blame anyone but himself.....IS THAT WHAT YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN? BLAME OTHERS? rich v poor, black v white, illegal vs legal, men v women, catholic vs, atheist, pro choice v pro life, muslim v "intolerance(bogus argument)...
I am a Democrat, but Voting for Romney. Please help save our America as we once knew it. Obama has done nothing for us in 4 years and will not the next 4 years. If elected, you will see that this is true and deeply regret your decision to vote for him. He's a proven liar and a smooth talker, but talk will not get you a JOB JOB JOB. He can't even protect our people in Lybia, for God's sake. If something were to happen to Obama while in office, that means that idiot Biden would be the leader of our nation. Lord help us. Vote Romney 2012
Romney's son, is the new owner of a voting machine company in Ohio: HART intercivic, may be that is the little secret Romney was talking about recently on how he would win Ohio....I do hope that all electronic voting machines are checked for accuracy in all states, especially in Ohio....
What's a newspaper? Are they even relevant anymore?
Contrary to what you might have read here (eventually they'll fix it), The Columbus Dispatch is not an Ohio and Florida paper.
So when a newspaper "endorses" a candidate, doesn't that just mean that they have identified their bias? It seems to me that the absolute LAST thing a news organization (paper/network/etc) would want to do is endorse someone... Someone please explain this to me...
"DEMS ARE PANICKING..." over on fox.com. Babs Striesand urging all the F-ollywoood libs to dump a bunch of yoo* cash towards Obummer. F–k the libs! I'll never watch another movie and do mu best to avoid anything in the media that goes outside of the "who, what, where, and when" in mass media, anymore than let myself be duped by it to be out spending money on crap I don't need.
*yoo = put a "J" in place of the "y".
to the CNN moderators? nothing profane below...I expect you to post it. NO to censorship!
"European-style social democracy", eh? "European-style" ... the new mantra for the mouthbreathers.
Vote for Romney for better Economy
Who cares! People that allow newspapers, union thugs, or anyone else to tell them who to vote for should be permanently banned from voting.
America how patriotic is it and/or how much do they take the average American in consideration, when there were four years of GOP obstruction and partisanship. When there's three branches of government this should be to the average American unacceptable. When 16 Republicans, 2 known Presidential Candidates, 3 known House Reps, with 1 now a VP pick can vow to be partisan, uncooperative and making the then President elect a 1 term President reardless to his policies, how can that be acceptable. And yet through all the OPPOSITION, were are rebuilding the economy, we're no longer losing 800,000 jobs a month, housing markets are turning around. Republicans said during the mid-term elections, if they were to win they'll bring jobs, jobs, jobs, I ask where are they? Americans at the time put the car in R and it went in reverse as the President said it would.
With the exception of a litany of broken promises, failed policies, and meaningless catch phrases, what has Obama done for this country that really made things better? People point at the stimulus package but, when they do, they fail to mention those companies really created very few jobs for the hundres of billions of dollars they received. Health care still remains a serious problem and ObamaCare has forced companies to offer worse insurance plans for the same cost to their employees. Worst of all, he hasn't given us a clear plan for the next four years.
Romney is going to win – by a landslide. I can't wait to tune into MSNBC and CNN to watch all the hand wringing and astonishment that the all knowing, omnipotent and generous liberal press got it so wrong. And, to my fellow Americans who reside in the great state of California, it's time for you to reincorporate yourselves back into Mexico or your own country. I'll be damned if the IRS thinks it can tax me to bail out you clowns.
Hey Walleye, did you know that the major Chicago newspaper isn't endorsing Obama?
Obama fumbled many times, so let's re-elect him and hope for a different outcome? Brilliant, Cleveland Pain Dealer.
That's good Charlie that will definety break Hollywood if you don't show up, duh, let Fox News entertain you, haha!!
To the whiner who wrote: to the CNN moderators? nothing profane below...I expect you to post it. NO to censorship
Can you not read??? If GM took Mitt's advice...they would NOT been able to restructure because the private-sector credit was FROZEN even for healthy firms."
This Toledo, Ohio resident among others will NOT let this Cayman Island style used car salesman and his right-wing social engineering side-kick change our country back to Bush 2.0. It will be stopped!
The only divide I see is TEApublicans kicking out moderates, signing slavery pacts(Bachman), demeaning "blah-people" (Santorum), Republican Judge Cebull denigrating the mother of President Obama, rampant TEApublican embrace of birtherism, TEApublican voter suppression via rolling back days and hours to vote and posting intimidating billboards in minority communities, emailing monkey pictures and watermelon patches on the Whitehouse lawn, depicting the President as an african witchdoctor with a bone thru his nose, profiling hispanics, booing gay soldiers, promissing jobs but passing uterous bills, plotting against the President during his innauguration, insulting him during State of the Union address...we will remember on Nov. 6.
No Vulture Capitalist/Voucher 1040!
@Scott. And I trust you are not being biased and believe people who are told who to vote for by corporate PACs should also be permanently banned from voting, right? We would have a real low voter turnout if you had your way.
What kind of intellectually crippled idiot needs a newspaper to tell them how to vote? Anyone with half a brain already knows that morally bankrupt Romney would be an unmitigated disaster.