Ohio crucial for Romney to win the 2012 election

romney, ohio
Supporters cheer during a campaign rally of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan on September 25, 2012, at Dayton International Airport in Vandalia, Ohio.
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(CBS News) Mitt Romney is in the Buckeye State two days this week, and with good reason: No Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio.

"How in the world can people say they want four more years of President Obama? We can't afford four more years of President Obama," Romney said in a stump speech.

Romney has based his campaign on the economy, but in Ohio the economic picture has been improving. After hitting a high of 10.6 percent three years ago, unemployment has been at 7.2 percent for three straight months. The national average is 8.1 percent.

Outside Dayton, Romney also talked about how his plan to pursue new foreign trade agreements will help people in the state.

"The people in Ohio can sell products anywhere in the world and we can compete with anywhere in the world. I'm not afraid of trading with other nations. I understand when we trade and when other nations trade on a fair basis, we will compete, we will win, we'll raise wages here and we'll create jobs," Romney said.

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With the election possibly in the balance in Ohio, both sides are campaigning hard. Both candidates have been here 13 times this year. And they'll both here tomorrow.

They're also flooding the airwaves with television ads. They've spent more money here than in any other battleground state.

Since May, the president and the outside groups supporting his campaign have spent $47.9 million -- $40.6 million by the campaign and more than $7 million by outside groups.

That's more than Romney's team, which has spent $43 million on ads in Ohio -- $20.5 million by the campaign and more than $22 million by outside groups.

Another reason Ohio is so important is what it says about the other battleground states -- especially those leaning toward the president. It's a bellwether: If he can't pull off Ohio, it's hard to see the bluer battle grounds -- like Pennsylvania and Michigan -- breaking his way.

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    Jan Crawford is CBS News Chief Legal Correspondent.