Don Gonyea

Most of the election-year attention Ohio gets is focused on the heavily Democratic areas in the northeast around Cleveland, or in GOP strongholds in rural areas and in the south around Cincinnati.

But it's also worth keeping a close eye on the state's less-traveled southeastern border with Pennsylvania and West Virginia — the Ohio River Valley. It's a place where there is a lot of doubt about how much either candidate can help.

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Over the weekend, two very different approaches to campaigning by President Obama and Mitt Romney.

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OK. So the president is focused on young voters. At the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney and his supporters were focused on women. Their effort is driven by the big deficit that Romney has had among women in poll matchups with the president. And that's why the GOP convention featured one high-profile female speaker after another. Here's NPR's Don Gonyea.

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For the residents of Janesville, Wisconsin, Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate was a story of a local man becoming the biggest news in the country. But for the librarians of Janesville, it meant something else entirely, as NPR's Don Gonyea found out last week.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's decision not to release more of his past tax returns has fueled countless attacks and counterattacks.

The former Massachusetts governor has released his 2010 tax return and promises that his 2011 return is forthcoming. He says that's enough.

But that's not enough for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. The result is an increasingly ugly fight.

The 2010 elections were a coming of age for the Tea Party, with big gains in Congress and in statehouses. As 2012 approached, the movement was looking for similar success. Then came this year's GOP presidential primaries, with no surviving Tea Party favorite.

Polls showed public support for the movement falling off significantly after several nasty showdowns in Congress. But the Tea Party remains a force in many states. Its favored candidate for the U.S. Senate won big in Texas last week, sending the strongest signal yet that the movement will be a factor this fall.

Among the many contenders who could wind up becoming presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's running mate, there are some potential surprises — like former presidential candidate-turned TV and radio host Mike Huckabee.

Putting Huckabee on the GOP ticket could certainly liven up the presidential race. In addition to being a respected former governor of Arkansas, he's well known for his good-natured public persona. At a Huckabee campaign event, you might find him playing an electric bass with the old-time rock 'n' roll band Capitol Offense.

Some of the earliest and most vocal opponents of President Obama's health care law were members of the Tea Party. In fact, health care quickly became the issue fueling the rise of the movement.

Anger over the Affordable Care Act drove the Tea Party and Republicans to big gains in the 2010 elections, but since then the movement has seen its prominence and influence wane.

Now, Tea Party activists say the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the law will reignite that original passion in time for this fall's election.

Call For Repeal Continues

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Mitt Romney has wrapped up his most extensive campaign trip since becoming the all-but-official Republican nominee for president. Over the past five days, he visited six potential battleground states, touring each by bus. Along the way, he honed his attacks on President Obama, while also trying to show voters a more relaxed Mitt Romney than they've seen so far.

The tour, called Every Town Counts, stayed mostly in counties friendly to Republicans, ending with three stops in Michigan yesterday, the state where Romney was born.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney wrapped up a five-day, six-state tour in Michigan on Tuesday.

Each of the states he visited was won by President Obama in the 2008 election. Each is also shaping up as a potential battleground this year.

In Michigan, the state where Romney was born, he avoided big cities and stayed in places friendly to the GOP. As he traveled east to west across central Michigan by bus, there were some pockets of protesters, but mostly at a distance.

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Wisconsin's combative Governor Scott Walker has survived an attempt to remove him from office. Labor unions, angry over the Republican governor's successful push to strip them of most collective bargaining rights, had battled Scott Walker and hoped Wisconsin voters would oust him.

Immediately after President Obama announced his support this week for same-sex marriage, attention turned to politics. The outcome of this year's election will be determined by a handful of states — one of them is Iowa, where the politics of same-sex marriage are complicated.

Same-sex marriage is legal here, but three of the state Supreme Court justices upholding that 2009 decision were removed from office by voters a year later.

General-election battle lines are taking shape between President Obama and likely Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Romney is sticking with his long-standing attack on the president as someone not up to the huge job of turning around the economy.

But the Obama campaign has recently changed its message: Instead of portraying Romney as a flip-flopping, say-anything politician, it is now arguing that the former Massachusetts governor is a man with extreme positions far outside the American mainstream.

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President Obama toured the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington today joined by Holocaust survivor, author and Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel. Mr. Obama said the U.S. must never again allow such atrocities to take place.

As NPR's Don Gonyea reports, the president also announced new tools to punish countries that use technology to track and target their citizens.

At a Republican candidates' forum in Wisconsin before the state's primary earlier this month, a speaker who wasn't on the ballot had strong words for the GOP regarding its low standing among Hispanic voters.

"The way the party ... talks about immigration is going to impact the future course of this party and the future course of this nation," said former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the first Hispanic to hold the nation's highest law enforcement post.

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