College Republicans at Ohio State University greet Obama with reminder of his poor spelling

Annie Z. Yu Contributor
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President Barack Obama’s visit to Ohio State University on Tuesday was greeted with a half-page ad in the school’s student newspaper, The Lantern, making fun of the president for not being able to spell “Ohio.”

The photo was originally tweeted out by Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s Ohio communications director, Christopher Maloney, on Aug. 22 after Obama had stopped by an Ohio diner for lunch the previous day. The picture shows Obama with three students accidentally spelling out “Ohio” as O-I-H-O. It quickly went viral afterward.

The ad, paid for by the Ohio State University (OSU) College Republicans, is captioned “SINCE YOU’RE HERE, IT’S O-H-I-O. Go Bucks!”

Obama’s Tuesday visit to OSU, one of the largest universities in the U.S., was the fifth within the last two years.

“We wanted to make sure he was welcomed,” Niraj Antani, OSU College Republican’s communications director, told The Daily Caller. “Our ad was run in a humorous way and we had a little fun with it… I think that students found it funny and enjoyed it — even Democrats.”

The Republican ad was also a response to a full-page ad from the Ohio Democratic Party that ran in The Lantern on Friday. The ad quoted Romney saying he is a football fan of OSU’s long-time rival, University of Michigan.

“[The Democratic ad] was insincere,” Ohio Republican Party Communications Director Matthew Henderson told The Daily Caller. “They don’t play Michigan until late November. It’s premature and a little bit childish.”

Obama’s campaign rally coincided with the last day for Ohio residents to register to vote. Approximately 15,000 people attended — half the 30,000 who attended Obama’s Oct. 2010 OSU rally.

“It shows a lack of enthusiasm,” Antani told TheDC. “I [also] heard it was a highly non-student crowd, which was interesting.”

Henderson said the Ohio Republican Party was highly engaged with the OSU College Republicans through advice and promotion of the ad.

“Four years ago, it seemed like [there were] just the supporters for President Obama, but we’re seeing a huge turnaround on that,” Henderson told TheDC. “There’s a lot of energy and excitement on campus for Mitt Romney and for Republicans… it’s exciting to see the initiative and drive in these young folks.”

According to Henderson, last week’s Democratic ad frustrated many Republican students, who were then motivated to churn out their own ad in time for Obama’s visit.

Although Romney’s youngest son, Craig, visited OSU last Saturday to speak with the College Republicans, the presidential candidate himself has not yet visited.

Barbara Lewis, a lecturer of campaign politics at OSU, said she polled her class at the beginning of the semester and found that it was split evenly between Republicans and Democrats.

“That was kind of interesting,” Lewis said to TheDC. “I’m certain that those who favor president Obama were excited that he was going to be there.”

Lewis also said the Republican ad poking fun at Obama for misspelling “Ohio” was an effective way to grab a reader’s attention.

“Humor, when it’s used properly, certainly appeals to everybody,” Lewis told TheDC. “[The ad] especially get people’s attention, whereas other things might not.”

The OSU College Democrats could not be reached for comment.

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