Ohio was crucial politically for Lincoln, too

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CINCINNATI (AP) — Long before Mitt Romney and Barack Obama wrestled over Ohio, it was also a crucial political battleground state for Abraham Lincoln.

Ohio produced successful Union generals led by Ulysses Grant and William Sherman, as well as Lincoln Cabinet secretaries Edwin Stanton and Salmon Chase.

But people in the northern state had mixed feelings about the Civil War and the reasons for fighting it. Union Gen. George McClellan clashed with Lincoln over war strategy and wound up running against him for president.

Ohio politician Clement Vallandigham (vuh-LAN'-dig-ham) spoke so forcefully against Lincoln that he was arrested and exiled to the South. When he subsequently lost an 1863 governor's race, Lincoln sent a message that "Ohio has saved the Nation."

The 16th president's political skills are depicted in the new movie "Lincoln."

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