May 6th, 2012
11:35 AM ET
11 years ago

Strickland, Davis weigh in on crucial battleground states

(CNN) - With Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama focusing on Ohio and Virginia in recent days, two former leaders from those battleground states added their input Sunday on who will carry the states this fall.

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, said the outcome will be close in November. But he argued that in the end, the president will take the Buckeye State.

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"This is going to be a close election, but I think the president is pretty well positioned," Strickland said on CNN's "State of the Union."

In an interview with CNN's Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, he pointed to the auto bailout, a move he called a "big deal for Ohio."

Obama highlighted the auto industry's recovery in his first official kick-off rally in Ohio on Saturday, indicating his team plans to make that a major touchpoint in his campaign.

"When some wanted to let Detroit go bankrupt, we made a bet on American workers, on the ingenuity of American companies," Obama said. "And today, our auto industry is back on top of the world."

His comment was an apparent jab at Romney, who penned an op-ed in 2008 arguing Detroit should go through managed bankruptcy in order to bounce back.

A recent poll shows the two candidate statistically tied in Ohio, with 44% of voters backing Obama and 42% supporting Romney, according to a Quinnipiac survey taken between April 25 and May 1.

Strickland on Sunday also weighed on rumors that Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio may be tapped as Romney's running mate to help boost the candidate's popularity in the state.

"I think it may help marginally, but I don't think it would guarantee that Mr. Romney would carry Ohio," Strickland said, adding he doesn't think Portman "has the kind of standing throughout Ohio" to secure a win for Romney.

The president also held a campaign rally Saturday in Virginia, another key swing state this fall. But former U.S. Rep. Tom Davis, a Republican, said he doesn't expect Obama to fare as well as he did in 2008, when he won the Commonwealth for Democrats for the first time since 1964.

Davis argued Obama brought out more African American voters and college-age students last cycle that ever before, but added the president lacks the "same level of enthusiasm" among voters this time around.

Describing it as a "genuine battleground" state, Davis pointed to Northern Virginia, one of the most affluent parts of the country, as a key region for Romney.

"When you start putting a bulls-eye on people making over $200,000, $250,000 a year, that's where they live," Davis said, referring to Obama's proposals to raise tax rates for wealthier individuals. "And I think it's going to be some problems for the president moving down the line."

According to a recent Washington Post poll, however, the president has a seven percentage point advantage over Romney, with 51% of Virginia voters supporting Obama over Romney’s 44%. The survey was conducted between April 28 and May 2.

But Davis said he expects Romney, who campaigned in the state this last week, will gain ground in the state by November.

"I think Governor Romney is the right person at the right time," he said. "I think these primaries have been a good training ground for him. But he's hitting his stride now."

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Ohio • President Obama • Ted Strickland • Tom Davis • TV-State of the Union • Virginia
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    “I think Governor Romney is the right person at the right time,” he said. “I think these primaries have been a good training ground for him. But he's hitting his stride now.”

    What stride? The man is incapable of making a decision and sticking to it. At this point in his campaign, he's done nothing but chase Barack Obama from one venue to another. Romney's out of breath and out of his league, and he knows it.

    May 6, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. Jrae1

    With all the focus at the top – I am concerned about getting a super-majority for congress and what is happening in our state houses. Obama's hands will be tied for another 4 years if we can't get a cooperative congress.

    May 6, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. You heard it worst on CNN

    Training ground? The GOP race is not over yet. maybe CNN should be covering the Navada state convention this weekend instead of pandering the idea Romney has somehow magically stepped past the entire voting process.

    May 6, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. Tired of republican lies

    After watching the President's rally compared to Robmey's rallys...all I can say is the President has/does it better...The lackluster events Robmey has there is no doubt who will win. Obama/Biden 2012!

    May 6, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Heads up people, the only thing that "trickles down" is water, stop letting these Republicans make a fool of you unless you are in the 1% that continues to get richer, stop helping them get richer. Take the "le" out of trickle and what's left is "trick" and that's exactly what the Republicans have done, tricked the American people.

    May 6, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |

    After the teabaggers take Lugar down,they will join the Ron Paulbots to march into Tampa and take Mitt McCain down. Obama/Biden 2012!

    May 6, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. Get Real

    Strickland was a joke as Gov. of OH, why anyone would listen to him is irrelevant. Kinda funny that if the economies are improving due to the auto industry, both states have R Governors. I love how the media spins that one that the R's have ruined the economy when they are who are governing those states.

    May 6, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    For all the bumbling and stumbling Mitt's been doing lately, it's hard to believe he's actually had this planned out for the past 5 or so years now.

    Hard to believe that any world leader would ever consider anything he tried to negotiate with them seriously. Heck, dude can't even get his message across to Americans, regardless of political affiliation. Doesn't bode well on the world scene, does it?

    May 6, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  9. king

    Obama has set up these big corporations to the most successful in history, just because of the repubs mantra that states, government don't create jobs, only the private sector does. Then why art they crating jobs repubs? Oh I guest the rich don't have to worry, they got the repubs to somehow twist it around and say its Obama fault. Obama is doing what he needs to do, and that fearing a way for the rich to make money, "which they are over making", yet they are not doing what they suppose to do, because they know they've got the repubs to twist it around and blame obama, unfortunately the raping of the American people will go on.

    May 6, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  10. Fair is Fair

    "I am concerned about getting a super-majority for congress and what is happening in our state houses. Obama's hands will be tied for another 4 years if we can't get a cooperative congress."
    Imagine that. The founders, in their wisdom, felt it extremely important for a balance of power be possible in order for tyranny to be avoided. Who'd have thunk?

    May 6, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. Irma in North Carolina

    I cannot undertand why the american people are so dumb to believe the crap that Mitt is puting out there. Lets hope and pray they all wake up before it is to late for the country.

    May 6, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  12. Flipper Rmoney Failure Ahead

    "Training ground"?!? Rmoney "trained" to duck issues and then change positions when that didn't work. Rmoney "trained" to suck up to the radical rightwingers rather than call out the vile Rush Dumbos and Ted Nugents of the world. Rmoney "trained" to outspend his opponents 5-1 and to use that advantage to run ads full of lies and smears. In short, Rmoney "trained" like an unattractive person hanging out at the bar at closing time, waiting to get picked up by someone desperate after most of the others singles have left.

    May 6, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. Mike in Texas

    I have not seen anything from Romney that would show he would be a good leader. He hasn't talked about his record in Bain or even more so, his record as governor of Massachusetts. He criticizes but offers no solutions.(sorry saying you will do the opposite of everything Obama did is not a solution). He cannot stand up to the far right extremists like Rush, Ted and evangelical conservative leaders.

    He only ran for governor so he could have that on his resume when he ran for President. He won't reveal earlier tax returns, he keeps money in off shore accounts, he won't tell people where his spending cuts will come from to offset his tax cuts and military spending.

    He follows around the President like a lost puppy or even more like a deranged stalker.

    The sad thing is you have people who vote for Romney because 1) They hate Obama and would never vote for him, 2)They are impatient with the pace of the economic recovery and will vote for Romney because of this impatience, not because Romney is better.

    Face it most of Romney votes will come from people aren't voting for him because they like him but because they don't like Obama.

    May 6, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    During his four years as the Govenor Mass., he moved the state from 37th to 47th in new job creation! Additionally, his state unemployment rate was 4.8%, while the rest of the US had a 4.4% unemployment rate. This is what the Republicans are offering as their best choice! Keep in mind, that the financial crises is not just in America, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden on and on. The reason apparently is due to the banking industry! It is a thread that connects to this failure around the world. It's not a Obama! America, following the path of the Democratic leadership in the US is in an upward route to recovery, while the UK, who went the way that the Republicans would have us do are going south, with their bare bones budgets. Finally, it the state goverments laying off workers around the United States that are causing the unemployment to be difficult to manage. Most of all the states that have a high unemployment rate are run by the Republican Party. Think about that.

    May 6, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. Jeetu

    I think Gov Romney is the wrong person at this time and he has no idea as to how fix the economy or to keep the leadership role of USA in the world. He just knows how to be a friend of the richest at the cost of the middle and poor class about whom he has already said he does not care.

    Make sure he stays out of the WH in November and his republicans are out of the House and the Senate.

    May 6, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |