Inside Pitch

Howard Wilkinson's political blog.

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Grammy Award winning singer John Legend is the headline draw for the opening of a new Obama-Biden campaign office in Over-the-Rhine early Thursday evening.

Legend, a native of Springfield, Ohio, is expected to be at the new office at 1130 Main Street at 6:30 p.m.

The politically-active Legend, who has won nine Grammy Awards, is the son of a worker at an auto manufacturing plant and is expected to talk to the crowd about President Obama's bailout of the auto industry, which the campaign argues saved thousands of jobs in Ohio.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman won't be the vice presidential candidate nominated at next week's Republican National Convention in Tampa, but he will be one of the opening acts Wednesday for the man who is to be number two on the GOP ticket, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.

Portman is scheduled to speak to the convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa Wednesday night, during prime time, and just after former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

Following Portman to the podium will be Columbus business owner Steve Cohen of Screen Machine Industries.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich - who has been no stranger to controversy in his year and a half in office - seems to be gaining popularity with voters, according to a new poll released this week.

Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina Democrat polling firm, released a poll of Ohio voters Wednesday showing that 41 percent approve of Kasich's job performance, while another 41 percent disapprove.

The two members of the Hamilton County board of commissioners who are up for re-election this year – Republican Greg Hartmann and Democrat Todd Portune – will have no major party opponents in the Nov. 6 election.

Leaders of both major political parties said giving the commissioners a free ride was not part of a deal. Four years ago, both Portune and Hartmann faced weak opponents who had little or no party backing.

The two political parties tried and failed to come up with county commission candidates by Monday’s 4 p.m. deadline.

Here’s a video of the author of the Washington Post’s “The Fix,” political writer Chris Cillizza on the upside and downside of picking Sen. Rob Portman as Mitt Romney’s running mate. On the plus side, Cillizza says the Terrace Park Republican’s strength “is his reliability….he could step in and do the job on day one.” His liability?

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