Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan kicked off a two-day bus tour across Ohio to try to convince the Buckeye State's crucial undecided voters to propel the GOP ticket all the way to the White House on November 6.
"As Ohio goes, so goes America," is Ryan's war cry 10 days to Election Day during a sprint in which wife Janna is joining the young congressman from Wisconsin with the intention to appeal to undecided white female voters — who pollsters believe will make a difference one way or another in the coveted and competitive state.
However, a looming perfect storm could be forming for Obama and the Democrats in Ohio. For all of the Romney surge brouhaha, the president still holds a small but consistent lead in the Buckeye State. Team Obama hopes the president's razor thin lead, combined with the state's relatively better shape in economic matters (unemployment in Ohio is below the national average and the manufacturing sector has been revitalized thanks to the auto bailout), could help the president carry the coveted prize.
And, though no Republican has won the presidency without carrying Ohio in over four decades, Romney operatives are starting to tout potential scenarios under which the former governor could become the next president of the United States even if he loses the Buckeye State to Obama.
One of these potential paths includes the Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's state of Wisconsin where polls remain close and Republicans count with an impressive ground game that helped Governor Scott Walker retain his job after a spirited recall election.
North Carolina and Indiana are other states where the GOP sees an opening on November 6. They count with the 179 Electoral College votes John McCain won in 2008, plus Indiana and North Carolina's combined 25 votes (which would bring Romney to 204 votes).
Team Romney then points to Florida, a state they are confident they'll carry (29 Electoral College votes) as well as Virginia, where the Romney camp says it's ahead by 4 or 5 points according to internal polling. This, plus Colorado, where the campaign insists is also competitive, would bring Romney closer to the magic number at 255 electoral votes.
However, Romney would need to carry Pennsylvania (20), Iowa (6), Minnesota (16) and Nevada (9). These states tough still competitive would be harder path to go through than just winning Ohio. Nonetheless, team Romney insists that these states are within the GOP reach as the president currently polls below 50% in most of these — a pretty weak position, they say, for any incumbent.