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Strickland: Ohio Democrats have a big job to do this fall

Last night, convention managers arranged for the key battleground state of Ohio to cast the ballots that officially gave Barack Obama the nomination, but former governor Ted Strickland said Thursday morning that Ohio Democrats have a more important job to do.

"It was Ohio that cast the votes to make President Obama the nominee of this party,'' Strickland told Ohio Democrats at their daily delegation breakfast in Charlotte. "But now we have a more important job - delivering to President Obama Ohio's electoral votes on Nov. 6."

Republican nominee Mitt Romney, Strickland said, "has no chance to win unless he wins Ohio. We have to prevent that from happening."

Strickland talked about the state he governed for four years before being defeted for re-election by Republican John Kasich in 2010.

"Ohio is so central,'' Strickland said. "People ask me to describe Ohio and I say, if you were to shrink America, you would have Ohio."

Ohio is  diverse economically, racially, ethnically; with a diverse economic base of traditional manufacturing and high-tech industries.

"Because we are diverse, we are the state that best represents America,'' Strickland said. "That is why we are so central to this race."

It will be a close contest in Ohio, Strickland said, "and whichever side is the most committed, the most focused is going to win."

Strickland said he left the convention hall early last night and watched President Clinton's speech and the roll call of states in bed at his hotel.

"I was just tired,'' Strickland told reporters later. "I am used to working on five hours of sleep. I have done that for many years. But going for several days with two or three hours of sleep is a little too much."

Howard Wilkinson is in his 50th year of covering politics on the local, state and national levels.