Dan Damon is the anchor of BBC World Update and is visiting the state this week to take a closer look at Ohio's role for the upcoming election. He joins Emily McCord in the studio to discuss why the world watches the state, whether Ohioans are responding more to the economic messages of President Obama or Republican challenger Mitt Romney, and what Ohio Republicans are saying about the current state of Mitt Romney's campaign.
Welcome to PoliticsOhio I'm Emily McCord.
McCord: Another big week on the campaign trail this week President Obama stopped in Cincinnati and next week Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, and his running mate Paul Ryan will visit the state.
BBC reporter and the anchor for the BBC World Update, Dan Damon, has been in Ohio this week covering the news and he is with us today. Thanks for being here.
Damon: Emily it's great to talk to you.
M: So certainly a lot of the nation looks to Ohio as the election approaches, but can you tell me how carefully does the international community look to the state?
D: Those who are interested in American politics and there are a lot of people, my professor when I was doing my political science degree said "that everybody on the world should have a vote in the U.S. election because what the U.S. does affects everybody in the world" and certainly we know that the election counts and we know that there are some states you have to watch and I think most people who do a take an interest would know that Ohio really is pretty high at the top of that list.
M: There are two sort of narratives when we are talking about the election going on, particularly talking about the economy right now and it kind of depends on what party you subscribe to. If you are Republican its that Obama isn't getting the job done to set our economy straight the Democrats are saying hey we inherited this and we are better off than we were four years ago. When you are talking to folks in Ohio this week what message is resounding most?
D: I, certainly found that the idea that the Obama Administration had failed on the economy wasn't the common currency that I kind of expected and I think that has changed even in the week that I've been here and the opinion polls show that don't they Emily? That people are beginning to say they trust President Obama a bit more than Mitt Romney on the economy. Now what opinion polls tell you about the real opinions before people actually get inside and they pull the lever or make their mark I don't really know, but certainly the idea that President Obama had spent all the money and there had been no good to come of it I think that really seems to have lost a lot of its power in the past few days. Course the debates are coming and Mitt Romney does have a history as a successful businessman and he may be able to pull that round.
M: You did also talk to Republicans this week and Mitt Romney has had a tough week on the campaign trail most recently because of that fundraising video where he seemingly dismissed 47 percent of the country. How do Republicans feel about the state of the Republican campaign right now?
D: I went to Cuyahoga County to one of the victory centers that they call them there, of course talking to me a reporter, they are going to be optimistic they are going to say they are going to win one guy said its going to be a landslide, and then he paused and said but that might be wishful thinking. On the 47 percent, of course a lot of the people at the phone bank that I went to see their in the 47 percent they're either retired or they're getting support of all different kinds from the Federal or the State government. I think what Mitt Romney said was clearly misspoken And you can tell that by the number of Republicans around the country who have been kind of distancing themselves at a rapid pace but on the other had I think he did the right thing by not just saying "oh sorry". I think that the point he is trying to make, which is one that is being made in the political climate in Europe as well, is that there are too many people who are dependent on hand outs; no you couldn't dismiss them you shouldn't dismiss them and I think that was the mistake. You know they're not doing it because they just want to sit around watching daytime TV. so whether Mitt Romney, by "doubling down" as you say on those comments can get that message across I'm not sure. I don't see him relating to people and you see him working a crowd it just doesn’t' feel right. When I saw President Obama working a crown in Cincinnati you just know he is connecting, that they are really there with him. But the point needs to be made, a sensible and grownup debate has to be had about how many people are actually reliant on money which I think everybody probably agrees that the country can't afford all that.
M: Just shifting gears here for a moment. Do you get the impression that foreign policy is important to Ohioans as an election issue?
D: It is in terms of trade. I learned that from one of the people I spoke to this week. Of course there are a great number of military families around Ohio and they know the sharp end of foreign policy and the issue of America abroad and its' reputation, the sercuty of its personnel, the people who are out there trying to create change and the world would be, I would say, a worse place if it wasn't for the Americans who are willing to go out and work on aid programs to work as diplomats. In terms of the big issues at this time America is pulling back from its defense commitments in the Middle East in Afghanistan and that's certainly going to change the economics inside this country and the level of change, the pace of change, in the Middle East at the moment nobody really knows where that is going. So I've had some of those conversations, but of course as you know Emily its the economy, its jobs, and its the character of the candidates that's what really counts when the vote comes on the 6th of November.
M: I've been speaking with Dan Damon from the BBC, thank you so much for joining me today.
D: Pleasure, Emily