Last updated: September 06. 2013 2:12PM - 38 Views

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DAN SEWELL

Associated Press

CINCINNATI — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be in battleground Ohio twice over the next five days, as he and President Barack Obama make the state an early focus of their campaigns.

The presumptive nominee’s campaign has a closed fundraiser set for Wednesday night in Cincinnati. A six-state bus tour that launches Friday in New Hampshire will take him across Ohio on Sunday. He’ll be joined Sunday in Ohio by Sen. Rob Portman, a veteran congressman from the Cincinnati area who has been mentioned frequently in national speculation about Romney’s running mate. Portman will campaign for Romney on Friday in North Carolina, another swing state.

Campaign spokesman Christopher Maloney said Tuesday that the Ohio leg begins with a “Father’s Day pancake breakfast” in Brunswick in northeast Ohio. That’s followed by an outdoor rally in Newark in central Ohio and then a campaign stop at a Troy restaurant in western Ohio.

Romney’s campaign says the bus tour focuses on small towns, and the everyday concerns of their residents.

Ohioans have been getting a heavy dose of television commercials for both sides for weeks already, and they can expect to see repeated state visits by the candidates in the months ahead.

Democrat Obama will be back in Ohio on Thursday, at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. He officially kicked off his re-election campaign with a May 5 rally at Ohio State University in Columbus.

In 2008, Obama carried Ohio, expected to be pivotal this November. While Republican John McCain ran well in rural and suburban areas and small cities including those where Romney will campaign Sunday, Obama dominated the state’s big urban areas.

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