[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/11/art.strickland.gi.jpg caption ="Ted Strickland will join President Obama in northeast Ohio on Monday."]Washington (CNN) - Republicans pounced on Missouri Senate candidate Robin Carnahan this week when her campaign said she would be in Washington while President Obama was visiting her home state Wednesday pitching health care reform.
The GOP's claim: Carnahan is trying to keep her distance from the White House in what's shaping up to be a tough election year for Democrats. Democrats dismissed that charge and said it was a scheduling conflict.
But in Ohio, Gov. Ted Strickland is making sure his schedule is cleared for next week's visit by the president. Strickland, who is facing a tough challenge in his re-election bid from Republican John Kasich, will join Obama in northeast Ohio on Monday to promote his health care plan, a Strickland aide said.
The first-term Democrat, saddled with a difficult economy and a state jobless rate nearing 11 percent, led Kasich by five points in a mid-February poll by Quinnipiac University.
Strickland will get some political help from the administration on the same day as the president's visit. Vice President Biden is headlining a fundraiser for the governor on Monday night in Cleveland.
As for Carnahan, a White House spokesman told the press pool reporter Wednesday that they are looking at scheduling a future event with Carnahan. "Her people have asked if President Obama would please appear with her in a future event soon," White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said. "We are working on that now."