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Analysis: Three states stand out in 2012 p

Published: Monday, May 21, 2012 11:33 a.m. CDT

WASHINGTON (MCT) — The presidential candidates have just placed their opening bets, and three states stand out as keys to the 2012 election: Ohio, Virginia and, perhaps surprisingly, Iowa.

Romney’s first TV ad of the general election campaign debuting Friday, will air in four states, including Ohio, Virginia and Iowa. (Notably, it repeats his pledge to “end Obamacare,” the law based on his Massachusetts model). The Romney campaign wouldn’t confirm the scope of the buy but didn’t wave off an attempt to confirm James Hohmann’s report in Politico, which listed that trio of states, plus North Carolina. President Barack Obama included Ohio, Virginia and Iowa in his most recent buy, as well.

It is practically impossible for Romney to capture the presidency without carrying Ohio and Virginia. Obama took both in 2008, and if he wins either again, he’ll almost surely be re-elected.

Of greater interest in the Romney buy, however, were the other states he’s hitting.

One is Iowa, an opportunity state for the Republican challenger. In addition to taking four larger states away from Obama (Ohio, Virginia, Florida and North Carolina), he also needs to carry at least one more smaller, Obama ‘08 state. The former governor made a campaign stop this week in Iowa, which went narrowly Republican in the 2004 presidential election, then swung to Obama in 2008. Thanks in part to a rebound in the farm sector, the state’s economy is humming, with an unemployment rate, at 5.1 percent, among the lowest in the nation. But Republicans made big strides in the 2010 election, recapturing the governor and gaining ground in the Legislature, and Romney clearly sees an opening.

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(c)2012 Tribune Co.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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