Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), a surrogate for Mitt Romney, claimed on Sunday that the Republican presidential nominee could win the White House without carrying Ohio in November -- even though no GOP candidate had ever won without the "Buckeye State."

During an interview on ABC News, senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper observed that President Barack Obama continued to have a comfortable lead of 6 points in Ohio, even after his poor performance in the first presidential debate.

"He can probably win the presidency without Ohio, but I wouldn't want to take the risk," Portman insisted. "No Republican has. And we're doing great in Ohio. If you look at the average of all the polls, it's about dead even in Ohio right now. And importantly, the momentum is on our side."

"It's turning our way. I think that's why you're going to see the president continue to attack, not focus on the substances of the issues that people care about, but instead continue the attack because things are not going their way right now."

Listen to this ABC's This Week, recorded Oct. 14, 2012.