Ohio could very well be the state where what's expected to be a very close presidential race gets decided.
And every indication is that the economy will be the issue that drives the majority of voters to either President Obama or Mitt Romney.
Which explains why on Thursday both the Democratic president and the all-but-official Republican nominee were, again, in Ohio to argue why he and not his opponent should be president starting January 20, 2013.
For decades, when you slid into a booth at a diner or a local coffee shop, the waitress probably arrived with a standard-issue, off-white mug. More than likely that mug came from the Ohio River town of East Liverpool, which calls itself "The Pottery Capital of the Nation."
A lot of that city's pottery business is long gone. Now, one of the few remaining pottery factories in the battered town is pinning its survival on a major corporation.
To step inside American Mug and Stein in East Liverpool is to step into another era.
Outdoor dining spaces are filled on a warm spring day on E. 4th Street in downtown Cleveland. Like many former industrial towns, downtown Cleveland has seen a revival in the last few years to become an urban hotspot.
Almost 11 years ago, Phil Alexander opened his company, BrandMuscle, in the affluent Cleveland suburb of Beachwood.
The company sells marketing software to corporate clients worldwide, and its offices have a lean, energetic vibe, with 20-somethings tossing around ideas in multiscreened meeting rooms or a comfortable coffee bar.
The American Dream is a crucial thread in this country's tapestry, woven through politics, music and culture.
Though the phrase has different meanings to different people, it suggests an underlying belief that hard work pays off and that the next generation will have a better life than the previous generation.
But three years after the worst recession in almost a century, the American Dream now feels in jeopardy to many.
The town of Lorain, Ohio, used to embody this dream. It was a place where you could get a good job, raise a family and comfortably retire.
"That's just crazy," Cincinnati Reds fan Caleb Lloyd said Monday night after he ended up snagging two home runs balls — from consecutive batters — during the Reds' 4-1 win over the visiting Atlanta Braves.