ZANESVILLE, Ohio - Kicking off the first of a two-day bus tour across the Buckeye State, GOP vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan delivered a very blunt message Saturday to voters in this critical battleground.
"As Ohio goes, so goes America," Ryan declared during a rally in Zanesville. "I think you know that."
Both campaigns seem to know that. Just look at the history, and follow the money.
Ohio has accurately picked the president for the last twelve elections - the longest streak in the country. And while last candidate to lose Ohio and still win the presidency was JFK in 1960, no Republican has ever won without carrying the state.
Then there's the cash. Team Obama, Romney and outside groups have spent more than $141 million on TV ads in Ohio. More than any other state except Florida, where there are simply more markets to cover.
The payoff is the 18 electoral votes here and a much clearer path to victory for whichever side can bank it.
Yet with 10-days to go until the election, the Buckeye State is still up for grabs. According to the latest Fox News poll, President Obama is ahead of Governor Romney here by just 3 points -- 46-43. That's within the margin of error.
For the Romney-Ryan ticket, it's now crucial to win over voters who cast their ballots for Obama last time around.
That's something Ryan made abundantly clear while delivering his closing argument here in Zanesville.
"We're asking for your vote, we're asking for your help, we're asking for you to go find those people that you know and every single one of you know somebody who voted for Obama in '08 because they thought that hope and change sounded good, but now know that it's not happening," he said. "It's not real, hope and change has become anger, distraction, divide and conquer. We're not gonna fall for that."