THE RACE: Obama, Romney blast replacement NFL refs

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2012 presidential race THE RACE: Obama, Romney blast replacement NFL refs

(AP Photo)

(AP) — President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are crisscrossing Ohio’s prime swing-state turf with opposing views on almost everything under the sun. But they seem to agree on throwing a penalty flag on a shared gripe:  those unpredictable replacement NFL referees.

And they’re sure to find bipartisan agreement from hordes of voters.

“NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs’ lockout is settled soon. -bo,” Obama tweeted.

Romney echoed the sentiment.  “I’d sure like to see some experienced referees with NFL experience come back,” he said.

Both were referring to the use of replacement referees by the National Football League during its lock-out of regular officials since June.

Frustration simmering throughout the league and among fans for weeks exploded when a mistake by a replacement official decided the outcome of a televised Monday night football game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks – in the Seahawks’ favor.

A last-second pile-up in the end zone was ruled a touchdown for the Seahawks, even though Packers players, their fans and much of the football-watching public saw a clear-cut interception by Green Bay.

Among the irate Packers fans was Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee. “I mean give me a break,” Ryan said while campaigning in Cincinnati. He called the ruling “really troubling” and cracked that “I half-think these refs work part-time for the Obama administration in the Budget Office.”

With polls showing an Obama edge in Ohio, both presidential candidates were busy there on Wednesday.

During a bus-tour stop in Westerville, Romney predicted that the $16 trillion national debt would swell to almost $20 trillion if Obama wins. It was Romney’s 10th visit to Ohio since clinching his party’s nomination in May. Obama, on his 13th visit this year, had events in Bowling Green and Kent.

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