Romney campaigns in all important Ohio

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U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is campaigning in all important swing state of Ohio Thursday, as President Barack Obama is visiting the state twice in three days.

Romney is compressing three rallies into one day in Ohio, first in Cincinnati in the morning, then in Worthington and Defiance in the afternoon. At the first stump in the morning, Romney compared his campaign's "big change path" to Obama's "status quo," saying the incumbent "doesn't have an answer for how to get our economy going."

With its 18 electoral college votes, Ohio is one of the most important toss-up race in the Nov. 6 election, and is one indispensable piece of the puzzle for both candidates to amass 270 electoral votes in order to win the election.

However, Ohio is considered more important for Romney, who is behind in almost every count of reliable electoral votes. Henry Olsen, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), said Thursday that Romney is "all over the map" in Ohio because " he has to," as new polls have shown Obama is holding on to his almost five-point lead in the state, despite Romney's gains after the debates.

"There is a path for Romney to win without Ohio, but it's a long and winding road," said Norman Ornstein of the AEI on Thursday at a Washington briefing.

The former Massachusetts governor is set to duel Obama for Ohio voters' attention as the president is making Cleveland, Ohio, the last stop in his two-day, six-state "America Forward!" campaign tour Thursday evening. After holding a rally later in the day, he will be back in the state with the popular former president Bill Clinton next week.

Obama, whose campaign is pursuing an early voting strategy in Ohio, also leads Romney in early voting numbers. A Time Magazine poll released Thursday showed Obama leads Romney two-to-one among respondents who say they have already voted.

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