For some Republicans here, the gay marriage comments only reinforced long-held suspicions of, and opposition to, Obama. But more than that, this statement feels like another in-their-face reminder that the country is headed off-track in ways that have nothing to do with job numbers and debt statistics.

“This is the Bible Belt, and we still believe what the Bible says,” said Harty Wallingford, a civil engineer in Ohio’s Appalachian region. “They can change the Bible in the city, but we won’t change it here. We’re not like California. They’ve just gone crazy there.”…

In the end, though, these Democrats and Republicans in a swing county of a swing state found one more point of agreement. As glasses were drained and dinner plans made, they had a final chance to reflect on what they all thought would, in the end, make the difference on Election Day. To them. To Ohio. And, maybe even, to the nation.

They offered up a two-word response, and it had nothing to do with the news of the past week but rather the issue of the times.

Almost in unison they said: “The economy.”