In DEFIANCE, Ohio — For more than 50 years, the economic fate of this tiny town in northwest Ohio has been inextricably linked to the health of General Motors, its largest employer.
And so when two local lawyers put up a billboard in the cornfield across from Defiance’s GM plant with a picture of the GM logo above the word “alive” and a photo of Osama bin Laden above the word “dead,” you might have expected nods of approval.
Instead, in this deeply conservative corner of the state not far from the Indiana border, the billboard — and two others posted in town — have proved highly controversial.
That’s because Obama won Ohio four years ago in part by peeling off support in Republican-leaning parts of the state such as Defiance. Now, Romney is making a play to get those voters back, hoping that, here on the brightening side of the recession, the election is not all about the economy, and that juiced GOP turnout might swing a state that no Republican president has ever lost.