March 20th, 2012
06:13 PM ET
Ohio is on a winning streak. Not only does it still have four teams left in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament but it has also elected the winning president in twelve consecutive elections. President Barack Obama knows just how important the Buckeye State is – he will be visiting it later this week – his nineteenth time since taking office.
"Ohio is a state that in some ways fits the averages very well and that means it's going to be a microcosm of the rest of the country," said political science professor Paul Beck at Ohio State University (OSU). "So they [Obama and Biden] are really going to spend a lot of time here."
Thursday, just hours before the intrastate battle between OSU and Cincinnati in Boston, President Obama will be on the Buckeyes campus in Columbus to deliver a speech on the administration's energy strategy. Mr. Obama likes the Buckeyes, he picked them to make it all the way to the Final Four. They are one of four Ohio teams still alive in the men’s basketball national championship. The others are Xavier, Cincinnati and Ohio University. According to the NCAA, it's the first time in tournament history that four teams from one state have made it to the Sweet 16.
This has the state's leader, Governor John Kasich, bursting with excitement. During a Cincinnati radio show on Monday, talk of basketball took the forefront, over taxes and oil exploration. "This is unbelievable.. I don’t care who gets there as long as one of us gets there," Kasich said giddily, referring to one of the Ohio teams possibly winning the championship. It may be hard for the republican governor to root for the other Ohio teams since he is a graduate of Ohio State but he claims he will be rooting for all of them.
The president and governor won't be alone in keeping an eye on Ohio. House Speaker John Boehner’s congressional district includes parts on Cincinnati, the home of Xavier University. "I’m thrilled that Ohio teams are doing so well in the NCAA tournament – especially my alma mater, Xavier. Go Musketeers!” Boehner said in a written statement.
Just last week, President Obama headed to Dayton, Ohio with British Prime Minister David Cameron to kick off the first day of the tournament. During a half time interview the president said he brought the prime minister to the game as a chance to see his very first basketball game but also "to see the great state of Ohio," adding "the heartland is what it's all about."
Voters in Ohio will have little control over whether a basketball championship trophy comes back to the state for the first time since 1962, but come November it certainly hopes to play a large role in deciding whether Obama gets to fill out another presidential basketball bracket.
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