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Ohio Democrats Set Agenda, Network In Charlotte

Last week, hundreds of Ohio Republicans made their way to Tampa for the party's annual convention. Starting today, about 113 Ohio Democrats get their turn in Charlotte. Their main goal, of course, is helping push President Obama into a second term.

Once you win Ohio and win Columbus, it's done.

That's Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, one of Ohio's super delegates, positions usually saved for former Presidents, Senators, and other party higher-ups. He's not scheduled to speak at the convention, but his advice for the President is simple. "He needs to get out the base vote, move some persuadable voters, and win Ohio." That's of course easier said than done in a swing state like Ohio. The latest Quinnipiac University poll gives Mr. Obama a 50 percent to 44 percent lead in Ohio. That leads shrinks slightly among men and expands among female voters. For the non-political insiders, conventions are often seen as unimportant, just pomp and circumstance for the parties. One of Ohio's DNC delegates at least partially agrees.

They certainly don't play the role they use to.

That's Ed Fitzgerald, the Cuyahoga County Executive who gave the Democratic response to Governor John Kasich's address at the RNC last week. He says conventions may not be as politically important as they once were, but they still serve a role. In Charlotte he wants to tout the county's new economic development plan, and do plenty of networking. "It's an opportunity to connect with people across the state and across the country and kind of compare notes about what's working, what's not working in the campaigns, and kind of get some common strategy down about when we come back to Ohio." One topic they'll almost certainly strategize on is health care, the party-splitting issue the President spearheaded in his first term by pushing Obama Care into office. It's nearly-universally popular among Democrats, but can be difficult to sell in a not-quite red or blue state like Ohio. Barbara Boyd is a state rep from Cleveland and among the Ohio delegates in North Carolina. She wants to thank the President for his work on health care. She has the conversation all planned out.

You promised health care. You delivered. You delivered on coming up with health care for everyone.

If she gets the President's ear, Boyd says she'll also urge him not to hide his economic record but to put it front and center, especially the auto industry bailout. "Chrysler was not supposed to make it, Ford was in trouble, and it was the President who brought them out of that dark cave." Ask her about Republicans who disagree on the President's economic accomplishments, and Boyd says "well that's just too bad for them." Unofficial ceremonies at the Democratic National Convention started Monday with caucusing sessions. Official proceedings start Tuesday. The only Ohioans scheduled to speak on the convention floor are Congressional candidate and former Ohio State University administrator Joyce Beatty, and former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.