Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 5:55 AM
Republicans are talking a lot at the convention this week about the enthusiasm gap - and a lot less about the gender gap.
For Ohio Public Radio, WKSU's M.L. Schultze reports from Tampa about how the GOP hopes to sway Ohio.
Ari Fleisher helped engineer George W. Bush's win in Ohio in 2004 with the help of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage that drove many conservative voters to the polls.
After he spoke at the Ohio delegation breakfast this morning , Fleisher suggested Mitt Romney will need no such boost to drive his voters.
Fleischer acknowledged that Romney's pick of Paul Ryan as his running mate didn't move the polls overall in Ohio. But they did make Republicans more passionate.
The enthusiasm gap is big talk here in Tampa..
While delegates were closeted in a large conference room during a tornado warning, Ohio Republican Party Executive Director Matt Borges talked about it at the top level.
Mitt Romney's Ohio State Director Scott Jennings talked about it at the technical level.
But it's usually left to the press to raise another gap…the gender gap. Polls show women favor President Obama by 10 or more percentage points. And much of the debate over the women's vote is tied to reproductive rights.
Republicans have supported the call to exempt Catholic churches, universities, hospitals and other employers from having insurance that includes birth control. The Republican platform includes a plank banning all abortions without exceptions for rape or incest. And that came on the heels of Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akins claim that women who are "legitimately raped" can't get pregnant.
In a press scrum after his speech, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman was asked about Akins and the platform. He says it's a side issue.
Janet Creighton is the former mayor of Canton who went to work in the Bush WhiteHouse before returning to Stark county. She indicated theirs room for debate even among Republicans.
Then Creighton, like the others, quickly turned back to the gap that's favoring Republicans.
The first national show of that enthusiasm comes with the formal opening of the convention after a one-day delay caused by Hurricane Isaac. And two Ohioans, Portman an dGov. John Kasich are among the headliners.