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Robert Alphonso "Bob" Taft II (born January 8, 1942) is an American Republican politician. He was elected to two terms of office as the Governor of the U.S. state of Ohio between 1999-2007. After leaving office, Taft started working for the University of Dayton beginning August 15, 2007.
Although Taft was born in Boston, Massachusetts, he was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he attended the Cincinnati Country Day School through the ninth grade and graduated from The Taft School. He attended Yale University, graduating in 1963. From 1963 to 1965, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching in the African nation of Tanzania. He then attended Princeton University, receiving a master of arts degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1967. In 1976 he received a Juris Doctor from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
Taft was elected as a Republican to the Ohio House of Representatives from 1976 to 1981, and then was Hamilton County commissioner from 1981 to 1990. He ran for Lieutenant Governor of Ohio on the ticket with Jim Rhodes in 1986, but was unsuccessful. In 1990, he was elected as the Ohio Secretary of State, defeating incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown. He was re-elected in 1994, defeating Democratic candidate Dan Brady.
Taft was elected Governor of Ohio in 1998, defeating Democrat Lee Fisher 50-45 percent, and was reelected in 2002, defeating Democrat Tim Hagan 58-38 percent. Then in 1999, Taft issued a gubernatorial executive order mandating four hours of ethics training for members of his cabinet, assistant cabinet directors, and senior staff every two years.
In the wake of convictions for the ethics violations (see criminal conviction section below), Governor Taft's approval rating bottomed out at 6.5%, according to a late November 2005 poll by Zogby, giving him quite possibly the lowest polled approval rating ever by a United States politician. A SurveyUSA poll that same month gave Taft a rating of 18%. A late-2005 article in Time Magazine named him as one of the three worst governors in the country.
In February 2006 Taft vetoed legislation passed by both houses of the Ohio General Assembly removing the 'Plain Sight' provision from the state's concealed carry law. The bill would have also kept the Cleveland Plain Dealer from publishing the names and home addresses of licensees. Nevertheless, this provision passed into law when the General Assembly overrode his veto, the first veto override in Ohio in over thirty years.
Taft was criticized during his tenure for permitting state spending and state taxes to rise.  Critics also link Taft to the lagging Ohio economy in the early 21st Century. 
Governor Taft presided over reintroduction of use of the Capital punishment in Ohio. During his term 24 people were put to death by lethal injection, which made Ohio a first state outside the South by number of preformed executions. Taft, however, granted one commutation.
Due to term limits for the Ohio governorship, Taft was ineligible to run for a third term. According to the Washington Post, Taft was the most unpopular Governor in Ohio's history. Taft's unpopularity contributed to major Democratic gains in the 2006 election, including the defeat of Republican Ken Blackwell by Democrat Ted Strickland in the race to replace Taft as Governor.