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Ohio Now Do Or Die For Hillary

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Hillary Clinton isn't going to want to hear this, but Gene and Mary Jo Branstool are wavering.

It's already been a tough week for the junior senator from New York, what with the string of eight primary defeats, the resignation of her campaign manager and her husband's loss at the Grammys in the spoken-word book category--to none other than Barack Obama.

And now the Branstools.

The Branstools are Democratic royalty in Licking County, where they live on a farm in Utica, about 35 miles northeast of Columbus. That farm was the site of a campaign photo op in 1992, when the Clintons and the Gores visited after the Democratic National Convention.

Gene Branstool's ties to Bill Clinton run deep. He was the Ohio Democratic Party chairman during Clinton's first campaign for the White House and was an assistant secretary of agriculture in the Clinton administration.

But Branstool said this week that he and his wife are on the fence.

"Mary Jo and I have been hashing it over," he said. "I think people are looking for some new leadership."

Ohio has always been good to the Clinton family. It was the Ohio primary in June of 1992 that provided the clinching delegates for Bill's Democratic presidential nomination. The following month, the Democrats arranged the ceremonial delegate count so that it would be Ohio that officially put Clinton over the top at the party's national convention. Ohio went for the Clinton-Gore ticket in that year's general election against George Bush and again four years later over Bob Dole.

But the Clintons have never needed Ohio as badly as they do now.

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