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Top Ohio Republicans face down intraparty critics

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Conservative restlessness within their own party poses challenges to three Republican stars in the political battleground state of Ohio.

Gov. John Kasich has riled conservatives by embracing Medicaid expansion and some tax proposals, while House Speaker John Boehner s clashing with conservative groups over the federal budget. Sen. Rob Portman faces backlash from social conservatives over his about-face in favor of gay marriage.

Whether the trio can hold Republicans together has larger political implications, given Ohio's role as a swing state and the three men's own national profiles. Kasich and Portman have been floated as presidential-ticket contenders, while Boehner seeks to hang onto one of Washington's most powerful jobs.

Democrats say the trio's move to the middle is in rhetoric, not actions.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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