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House Speaker Paul Ryan campaigns for Rob Portman in Washington Twp.

House Speaker Paul Ryan campaigned in the Dayton area with U.S. Sen. Rob Portman Friday as the incumbent Republican senator leads his Democratic opponent by double digits in the latest polls.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke to campaign volunteers for incumbent Republican Sen. Rob Portman in a stop in Washington Twp. Friday. Video produced by Barrie Barber.

Appearing before dozens of campaign volunteers in a crowded office in Washington Twp., Ryan said Portman was the “gold standard” in the Senate. U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, campaigned with Ryan and Portman on the stump Friday. Portman, who is running for a second term, faces former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland in the Nov. 8 election.

“It’s not unusual that Paul Ryan would be here in Ohio, because as you know he went to Miami University,” Portman told supporters. “He developed a certain love for Ohio. And that’s a good thing because when he was the vice presidential candidate (in 2012) he practically lived in Ohio.”

Ryan, whose congressional district is in Wisconsin, said Portman “led the charge” in the Senate to address the epidemic of opioid abuse and the problem of human trafficking. 

“Our country has got real problems,” Ryan said. “ … Every generation in this country confronts its problems so the next generation is better off. And if we don’t do that soon, we’re going to lose this beautiful thing we call the American idea. You know, the condition of your birth, it doesn’t determine the outcome of your life.”

Asked if Ryan would campaign with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in Ohio, the House speaker responded he would appear at a campaign event Saturday in Wisconsin with Trump.

Strickland’s campaign Friday attacked Portman and Ryan on the issue of retirement security for seniors.

“The only Washington politician who has done more to jeopardize retirement security for seniors than Speaker Ryan is Senator Portman — so it’s fitting that they are campaigning together on their shared message of prioritizing the rich and the powerful at the expense of Ohio’s working families,” spokesman David Bergstein said in a statement. “It’s bad enough that Senator Portman backed Ryan’s plan to end the Medicare guarantee, but Portman also tried to raise the retirement age and proposed slashing millions of dollars from Medicare in order to give handouts to his rich and powerful friends.”

Among other criticisms, the spokesman chided Portman for his support for Trump.

Portman campaign spokeswoman Michawn Rich said in a statement Strickland “has the worst record of any candidate in America” advocating for seniors.

As governor, Rich said, “Strickland ignored the protest of advocates for the elderly and passed a budget that made drastic cuts to seniors who rely on Social Security.”

In two polls released this week, Portman led Strickland by as much as 17 points.

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