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Kasich gets 'headliner' role at GOP convention

COLUMBUS -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich will take the podium in a featured speaking role at the Republican National Convention late this month.

The second-year governor was among the initial list of "headliners" announced by the Republican National Committee on Monday. The list includes John McCain, 2008 presidential nominee and Arizona senator, Mike Huckabee, Fox commentator and former Arkansas governor, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

"It's humbling that Governor Kasich's job-creating leadership will be recognized by our fellow Republicans as he joins them to nominate Governor Mitt Romney," said Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett. "As Republican National Committee Chairman [Reince] Priebus said, leaders like Governor Kasich who will be addressing the nation are some of our party's brightest stars, who have governed and led effectively and admirably in their respective roles."

Democrats, meanwhile, mocked the choice. "We're thrilled Republicans are bringing the wildly unpopular John Kasich out of hiding and giving him a national spotlight to highlight his devastating policies for the working class," said Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Jerid Kurtz.

"From his unfair, mean-spirited Senate Bill 5 that alienated police officers, firefighters, and Reagan Democrats, to his decision not to release his own tax returns in 2010, or his signature threat to run those that oppose him over with a bus, Kasich has a lot of brow-raising ideas to share with a national audience that will make for must-see TV."

The convention is to be held Aug. 27-30 in Tampa. The Democratic convention is to be the next week in Charlotte.

Meanwhile, Mr. Romney plans to return to battleground Ohio next week as he wraps up a four-day tour of swing states that is to start Saturday in Virginia and continue on to North Carolina and Florida. Details have not been finalized, but the Ohio leg of the trip is expected to focus on several communities in the eastern and southern areas of the state.

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