Rogers: A Safe Choice

During the question and answer period at the press conference, Nancy Hardin Rogers was asked when she last appeared in a courtroom. She said that it was early in her teaching career and couldn't give a precise answer, although it was clearly a long time ago. Asked about whether she planned to pursue the aggressive litigation agenda of her predecessor in areas such as the mortgage foreclosure mess, she said (oddly, perhaps) that she is a Democrat, but declined to directly answer the question and said that she would be meeting with senior staffers to review such matters.

As Rogers demonstrated during the press conference, she is a respectable and likable person, and was not unduly nonplussed by the situation and the attention. However, she doesn't come across as a forceful or aggressive personality. Her legal specialty is dispute resolution, and she comes across as a problem-solver and consensus-seeker rather than an inspirational leader. She has just finished serving as President of the American Association of Law Schools, a position that requires riding herd over distinguished and wilful personalities, and this may be a key qualification.

ODP Chair Chris Redfern has issued a statement calling Rogers "an exceptionally capable steward of the public trust," and Gov. Strickland's remarks at the press conference seemed designed to emphasize her maturity and professionalism as an antidote to the recent damage to the moral authority of the Attorney General's office. (Strickland mentioned that Rogers would participate to serve with Judge Algenon Marbley in a non-profit program to encourage youngsters from underserved communities to seek careers in the law.) Clearly Rogers' role is to attract no negative headlines or political attacks while working diligently behind the scenes to restore respectability. And to be absolutely clear from the outset that she does not intend to stay in the office for longer than the next few months.

Treasurer Rich Cordray (D-Grove City) still seems to be first on the list to run in the special election on the Democratic side. The Dispatch says that the Republicans are "still scrambling" but the contenders include former Sen. Mike DeWine, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien, Delaware County Prosecutor Dave Yost, Rep. Deborah Pryce, and State Sen. Tim Grendell.

BREAKING: Strickland Appoints Nancy Rogers as Interim AG

Gov. Ted Strickland (D) has appointed Nancy Hardin Rogers, who has served for seven years as Dean of the Mortiz College of Law at The Ohio State University, as interim Attorney General, saying that she has no interest in running for the office in the special election. She is expected to serve for six months and then return to the law faculty.

UPDATE: No waiting ... Attorney General Rogers is sworn in on the spot by U.S. District Court Judge Algenon Marbley.

Here is an excerpt from Rogers' bio at the Mortiz College of Law web site:

Professor Rogers became Dean in August 2001, after serving for two years as Vice Provost for Academic Administration for The Ohio State University. She is the Immediate Past President of the Association of American Law Schools.

Professor Rogers received her bachelor's degree with highest distinction from the University of Kansas in 1969 and her law degree from Yale Law School in 1972. After law school, she served as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Lambros in Cleveland and practiced law in the Glenville-area office of the Cleveland Legal Aid Society.

She began teaching at the Ohio State University College of Law in 1976. She served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the College from 1992 to 1997. In 1995 she was appointed to an endowed professorship, as the Joseph S. Platt-Porter Wright Morris & Arthur Professor of Law. In 1996, she received the College of Law Alumni Association's "Outstanding Professor Award." During the spring semester 2000, while on leave from Ohio State, she was Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. In 2001 she was named the Michael E. Moritz Chair in Alternative Dispute Resolution. ...

Dean Rogers had a gubernatorial appointment as one of Ohio's five commissioners on the National Conference of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws from 1998 to 2005, and was Reporter for the Conference's Uniform Mediation Law. She was a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools from 2001 to 2004, and 2006 to the present. She served on the planning committee for the ABA Seminar for New Law Deans from 2002 to 2007, chairing it for two years.

From 1993 to 2003, Dean Rogers served on the Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation, a Presidential appointment that requires confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Strickland emphasized Rogers' maturity, demeanor, values, and competence. He also said that he thought it was important to appoint someone who would devote their full attention to restoring the office to good working order, not divide their energy between that and running in the special election. Rogers said that she was just approached about the appointment on Friday and has not yet made any decisions about changes in the senior staff.

Top of the Morning

A quick roundup of Ohio news and opinion:

* The Lorain Morning Journal reports that City Council member Dennis Flores (D-Lorain) intends to keep his seat and "turn his personal life around" after being arrested for soliciting sex from a police decoy prostitute last Friday. Flores, who has pleaded not guilty, reportedly said "This happened for a reason. I was headed down the wrong path. God made this happen for a reason and now I'm heading in the right direction." The newspaper has published an editorial calling on Flores to resign, and Roman at the Lorain-based Word of Mouth Blog agrees.

* The Plain Dealer reports that an Ohio Senate committee has stripped the Hagan-Husted plan to "reform" Cuyahoga County government out of the pending capital improvements bill, with Senate President Bill Harris (R-Ashland) saying that the measure needs more study (and hearings, which it did not get). The newspaper also publishes a petulant editorial blasting the move. Meanwhile, Your Professor reports that sources say Strickland will use his line-item veto on the plan if it reaches his desk.

* The GOP-controlled legislature continues to sandbag Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D-Columbus), with a Ohio Senate committee blocking most of her requested changes in an election law bill. The committee refused to consider her request to allow central counting of paper ballots in the November election, requiring several counties to acquire precint-level counting machines for which the General Assembly apparently won't provide any funds, and refused her request to allow the use of machines that have been properly tested but not yet certified by the federal government.

* Delaware attorney Robert Owens, a Republican, has filed to run for Attorney General as an independent candidate. Paul at Bring Ohio Home wonders if there is even an official opening at this point, since Strickland has not named an interim AG.

* Ford may cut it's domestic salaried workforce by as much as 12% due to slumping sales and rising gas prices.

* The blog Blue Ohioan is back after a four week hiatus, with Anthony picking up the reins following the abrupt departure of Susan. Anthony's first post is a defense of his steadfast support for Hillary Clinton as long as she is in the race, arguing that she is the stronger candidate and better leader.

* The Dispatch editorial board objects to changing U.S. currency to aid the blind, as ordered by a federal appeals court, saying it is a matter of convenience rather than of discrimination and would be too expensive to implement.

* Not affecting Ohio directly (yet), the Asia Times reports that a highly-placed source says Bush plans to attack Iran within the next two months, and that Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) are aware of the plan and intend to publicly object to it.

* The Akron Beacon Journal has an editorial giving guarded approval to the concept of making state officeholders more accountable by expanding the authority of the Inspector General, as proposed by GOP leadership.

* Another sign of malaise among the Republican base of donors and activists? The Blade reports that William Crist, winner of the GOP primary for a Seneca County commissioner race, has dropped out because he made an attempt at fund-raising and had “not received the support required to run the type of campaign needed to be successful in November.”

* The Dayton Daily News reports that an Ohio Senate committee has approved GOP plans to keep the Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare facility in Dayton open for another six months, defying Gov. Strickland's intention to close it as part of his effort to plug a potential $733 million hole in the budget.

* The Enquirer reports today on a new study by the University of Cincinnati that links childhood exposure to lead paint to criminal behavior as adults.

Obama Reportedly "Banking" Superdelegates

Marc Armbinder reports that the Obama campaign has "as many as three dozen Democratic superdelegates [who have] privately pledged to announce their support for Obama on June 4 or 5," with the intention of using those new pledges to carry Obama over the top after the final state nominating contests just seven days from today.

I wonder if any of the uncommitted Ohio superdelegates are on that list? I published a post on Saturday calling on them to show leadership by stepping forward and making their intentions known. The seven uncommitted delegates are State Rep. and ODP Chair Chris Redfern, State Rep. and Ohio House Democratic Leader Joyce Beatty, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Rep. Charlie Wilson and Rep. Zack Space. If anyone is on the list of privately pledged Obama supporters I'd guess they would be Beatty and/or Kucinich, with Brown a close third.

The Bush-McCain Challenge

Tomorrow morning (5/28) in downtown Cleveland, MoveOn members will be making sure making people know that John McCain is just like George Bush.

They will be doing that by replicating the old Pepsi-Coke Challenge, only now it's a Bush-McCain Challenge. The MoveOn volunteers will ask folks on the street to guess whether a quote or position is Bush's or McCain's -- and a lot of people will be surprised to discover just how indistinguishable they are.

It sounds like fun. If you'd like to volunteer, sign up here.

News and Notes: General Assembly Races

Bulletins from the front lines:

OH House-19 - Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray (D-Grove City) is hosting a fund-raiser for Marian Harris (D-Columbus) tonight (5/27) from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Club 185, 185 E. Livingston Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215 - suggested donation is $50.00.

OH House-24 - State Rep. Ted Celeste (D-Grandview) will hold a District Dialogue on Housing Issues from 7:00 to 8:30p.m. on Thursday (5/29) at Ashburn Youth Center, 85 Clarendon Avenue in Columbus (west of I-70 and West Broad Street in the Hilltop).

OH House-28 - Challenger Connie Pillich (D-Montgomery) blasted the English-only bill in a press release issued last Friday, calling it pointless partisan grandstanding: "This bill wastes taxpayer dollars -- it has so many exceptions that it changes nothing. It is classic example of how our stagnant legislature continues to waste our money,” said Pillich. "This bill was designed purely to manufacture a wedge issue in a challenging political landscape. English is and will continue to be our official language, with or without this bill.”

OH House-31 - John Eby (R-Westwood), a two-time who City Council candidate mentioned as a possible opponent for Denise Driehaus (D-Price Hill), announced a few weeks ago that he will not run, in part because "he's friends with Driehaus and likes her."

OH House-57 - State Rep. Matt Lundy (D–Elyria) will hold a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, June 5th, at 7:00 p.m. at the Avon Lake Public Library, 32649 Electric Blvd. in Avon Lake. This “Lundy Listens” session, free and open to the public, will give Representative Lundy an opportunity to listen to the questions and concerns of his constituents as well as provide a brief progress report on his actions in the legislature over the past few months.

OH House-63 - Challenger Mark Schneider (D-Mentor) has his campaign site up. His "Meet Mark" page indicates that he has a B.B.A. from The University of Michigan and a J.D. from The Ohio State University College of Law and has been an assistant county prosecutor (now in the Major Trials Unit) since 2000. His endorsements include two out of three Lake County Commissioners and labor groups such as the North Shore AFL-CIO.

OH House-91 - State Rep. Dan Dodd (D-Hebron) will hold a town hall meeting from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. tomorrow (5/28) at the Junction City Library.

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

Items of interest:

OH-02 - Challenger Dr. Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) will confront Hamilton County GOP Chair Alex Triantafilou on Thursday at Raymond Walters College, 9555 Plainfield Road in Cincinnati, in a "discussion" about energy, the economy, and the Middle East.

OH-04 - Challenger Mike Carroll (D-Mansfield) has revamped his campaign website and invites everyone to visit and sign up. He will be holding a press conference today (5/27) at 3:00 p.m. on rising energy costs and energy policy, to be held outside a Valero Gas Station at on the corner of Allentown Rd. and Cole St. in Lima.

OH-09 - Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) is talking with the Camp Perry Military Reservation and James McKinney and David Fahrbach of the adjacent Lake Erie Business Park about bringing wind energy to the area. "To date our winds have exceeded the output of wind at Bowling Green, Ohio's only commercial wind installation," said McKinney. "So, we have a better source there, and we're hoping to integrate that into an opportunity whereby our clients, customers, and tenants can benefit from this wind source." *** Kaptur announced in a letter to colleagues a few days ago that the House Financial Services Committee will hold a field hearing about the foreclosure crisis in Cleveland on June 16th. Kaptur wrote that the hearing will "bring national attention to the barriers that homeowners and their advocates face when seeking loan modifications." [Callahan has more.]

OH-10 - A Canadian bookmaker puts the odds of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) becoming a vice presidential nominee at 16 to 1, somewhat better than the odds for Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) or former governer Mike Huckabee (R-AR).

OH-12 - Primary candidate Russ Goodwin (D-Columbus) has sent out an email message supporting his former rival David Robinson (D-Columbus), calling him a "great guy" whom Goodwin has "come to like and trust." *** Robinson will have his official campaign kick-off event from 5:30 to 8:00p.m. on June 5th at the Wedgewood Golf and Country Club, 9600 Wedgewood Boulevard in Powell.

OH-13 - Michael Carano of Progressive Democrats of America writes on ProgressOhio today about the resolution against the Stop Loss program introduced by Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp).

OH-14 - Challenger Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) won the Memorial Day contest put on by Election Inspection to select a Democratic veteran running for Congress to receive a publicity and fundraising boost. Help celebrate by making an ActBlue donation here.

OH-15 - Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus) posted this biographical ad on YouTube about three weeks ago:

OH-16 - The transcript of the Democratic Weekly Radio Address given by State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) was published in the Massillon Independent on Friday. *** Yesterday (5/26) Boccieri ran in the "Running to Remember" 5K Memorial Run & Family Fun Walk in downtown Canton, then rode with Vietnam Veterans in the Memorial Day parade over much the same route before giving remarks in a ceremony at the McKinley Monument.

Ohio News & Opinion Roundup

What's going on:

* The Blade opines that George Bush's trip to the Mideast "sadly epitomized the failure of his policies toward the region."

* An editorial in the Akron Beacon Journal points out that GOP-favored "health savings accounts" function well as tax havens for the wealthy and healthy but "offer little to no relief for American workers of moderate means who are uninsured and underinsured."

* The Enquirer reports on thousands of college graduates entering a troubled job market, and the Morning Journal asks whether the slumping economy will reduce the number of students entering college in the fall.

* Pho highlights three major national media stories over the weekend on the impact of the foreclosure crisis on Cleveland - one in Newsweek and two on public radio programs.

* The Dayton Daily News criticizes Sen. George Voinovich (R-Cleveland) for opposing the cap-and-trade approach to controlling harmful emissions that contribute to global warming.

* The Plain Dealer editorial board slams the Farm Bill over subsidies and giveaways, appearing to endorse the concept of a presidential line item veto to trim out such excesses.

* The Blade profiles the Dem's top targeted House races in Ohio and Michigan - OH-1, OH-15, OH-16, MI-7, and MI-9.

* Paul at Bring Ohio Home debunks the claim by Hillary Clinton that Bill didn't wrap up the 1992 nomination until "somewhere in the middle of June" ... more like April 8th.

* Jill reacts to a survey showing that more folks would like to sit down and drink a beer with Barack Obama (29%) than with Hillary Clinton (22%) or John McCain (20%).

* An informal poll by reporter Michael Sangiacomo of the Plain Dealer reveals that about half of Northeast Ohio lawmakers favors the casino proposal to appear on the November ballot.

Fox News "Hopes" Someone Murders Obama

Listen closely to this Fox News Commentary..

A few things to note:
1) Fox News repeatedly interchanges Barack Obama name and Osama Bin Ladins name, this is deliberate. The woman, in this video, actually pauses, afraid of tripping up under the pressure required to act likes she is making a mistake.

2)The fact that Fox News intentionally wants people to confuse the Illinois Sen and Presidential candidate with the terrorist Osama Bin Ladin (someone whose capture and death many Americans have fantasized about) and then, on public airwaves, openly wish for violence against the Senator - Are they trying to encourage someone to kill Obama? Are they openly inciting violence? Isn't that against the law - like yelling fire in a crowded theater?

At the very least, this is dangerous and irresponsible journalism. Laughing about murdering someone, an American Senator too, is a new low for Fox News.

Here are some other posts about this disgusting display of anti-americanism at Fox News:
Daily Kos and
Jeffery Feldman at Huffpost

If you'd like to complain here is the FCC's # 1-888-225-5322 (1-888-CALL FCC) Voice: toll-free.

UPDATE: Good job on registering complaints. Here is the apology (an awkward attempt to pass it off as attempted humor):

Memorial Day Donor Bomb - Bill O'Neill Wins! Please Donate.

Great news! (promoted from the forums by czawadzki)

UPDATE: New DailyKos Diary - Please recommend if you are able.

Thanks to an outpouring of support from blogs like this one, Bill O'Neill has won Election Inspection's Memorial Day Donor Bomb contest. Now here's the hard part - we need you all to do three things:

1. Donate to Bill O'Neill.
2. If you are on DailyKos, Recommend this diary - and I'll be posting another one in the morning.
3. Tell anyone you can about this effort, and provide links on online forums.

Steve LaTourette is scum - he cheated on his wife with his chief of staff, who became a lobbyist, who LaTourette then remarried after getting a divorce. So he's literally in bed with a lobbyist, and she suddenly got all sorts of new clients. For example, she represents the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, while he's the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime, a part of the Transportation and Infrastructure committee. This isn't why the GOP removed him as chair of the Ethics committee, of course - they simply didn't like his toothless admonishment (with no penalties) of Tom Delay. LaTourette quickly fell in line after that.

Bill O'Neill is a Vietnam veteran who received a Bronze Star - that's patriotism that no flag pin can match. He's also been a civil rights lawyer, a small businessman, and a union organizer - a man who understands the economic challenges faced by Ohioans who've felt the brunt of the Bush Economy. Today, he's a judge - a man of integrity who can be trusted to make sure that no man, even the President of the United States, is above the law.

Ohio Superdelegates: The Time to Show Leadership Is At Hand

There are now only seven days until the DNC rules committee takes up the issue of seating delegates from Florida and Michigan, and only ten days until the last state nomination contest. The time for the seven remaining Ohio superdelegates to show leadership by helping to bring the nominating process to close is finally and unquestionably upon us:

State Rep. Chris Redfern
(614) 221-6563

State Rep. Joyce Beatty
(614) 466-5343
Contact page

Sen. Sherrod Brown
Contact page

Rep. Marcy Kaptur
Contact page

Rep. Dennis Kucinich

Rep. Charlie Wilson

Rep. Zack Space

OH-14: Vote for Bill O'Neill in "Memorial Day Donor Bomb Poll"!

Here's a great chance for Ohio progressives to give a boost on Memorial Day weekend to the campaign of Vietnam veteran and Bronze Star-recipient Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell).

The blog Election Inspection is running a contest among five Democratic veterans running for Congress to select one that will receive a publicity and financial boost. Bill O'Neill, a terrific and deserving candidate, is the only contestant from Ohio. (The contest does not include candidates who are already on the DCCC "Red to Blue" list or who are already being supported by VoteVets, so John Boccieri in OH-16 is not on the list.) O'Neill also appears to be running ahead of the pack, so this is a contest that he can definitely win with your support.

To help Bill O'Neill just go to the contest diaries at Swing State Project AND DailyKos and vote in the polls. The votes will be counted on Sunday.

Thanks - and have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Sen. Brown Statement on Memorial Day

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) commended the service of Ohio's fallen heroes today as the Memorial Day weekend is about to begin:

On Memorial Day, we should take time to remember the courageous service of Ohio’s fallen military men and women. It’s important to show thanks to those who have literally put their lives on the line to protect us here at home. When we honor yesterday’s heroes and reflect on their passion for American freedom, it helps us to better appreciate the sacrifices of today’s men and women in uniform serving our country in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As a member of the Senate Veterans Committee, Sen. Brown is the voice in the U.S. Senate for Ohio's 1.1 million veterans. Since taking office he has worked to increase health and education benefits for veterans, including sponsoring the Veterans Education Tuition Support Act and advocating for additional research and services to combat the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.

“We must continue to improve the medical, educational, and transitional services for our heroes from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War while finding ways to care for the new generation of veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq,” Brown said in a statement. He also noted that the Veterans Emergency Care Fairness Act of 2007 passed the House of Representatives yesterday and is now set for a full Senate vote.

Vigeurie: McCain "Trying to Get Conservative Support On The Cheap"

The Libertarian Party has commenced their five-day national convention in Denver, which will culminate in the selection of a presidential candidate on Sunday (5/25). The leading contenders are former GOP member of the U.S. House Bob Barr (L-GA), former Democratic U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Mike Gravel (D-VA), Wayne Allyn Root (L), and Dr. Mary Ruwart (L).

Today Richard Viguerie, called "one of the creators of the modern conservative movement" by The Nation and "one of the conservatives of the century" by the The Washington Times, gave the keynote speech at the convention, entitled "Conservatives are off the GOP Reservation: Will they find a home in the Libertarian Party?"

Viguerie declared in his speech that John McCain is "trying to get conservative support on the cheap":

Senator McCain has had the Republican presidential nomination sewn up for over three months and has done nothing to convince conservatives to come off the sidelines and enthusiastically support him. ...

Republican leaders have treated conservatives with utter disrespect and, in turn, conservatives have lost all respect for Republican leaders. Millions of grassroots conservative activists and donors have left the Republican Party and taken with them their volunteer time, their checkbooks, and their votes.

As to the Liberarian Party, Viguerie said that it "has a historic opportunity to provide leadership for America."

The complete text of Viguerie's speech is here.

Will large numbers of disaffected conservatives cast protest votes for the Libertarian candidate this year?

OH-16: Boccieri (D) Gives Democratic Weekly Radio Address

Air Force Reserve pilot and Iraq veteran State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) has recorded the Democratic Party's weekly radio address to be broadcast tomorrow (5/24).

[To listen to the broadcast click here. The full text is after the flip.]

In the address Boccieri calls on George Bush and John McCain to rethink their opposition to the bill just passed by both chambers of Congress to expand the G.I. Bill for military service personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq. The expanded benefits would guarantee full college scholarships for those who serve three years, comparable to the benefit afforded to veterans of World War II.

"If our veterans want to go to college, they should be able to do so the minute their boots hit the ground," Boccieri said to the Akron Beacon Journal.

Ohio Democratic Party Reaches Out to Veterans and Military Families

The Ohio Democratic Party is taking affirmative steps to establish a base of support among military veterans and military families, a group that has historically skewed Republican.

Today the party announced that it has formed a Veterans and Family Members Caucus. The stated goals for the caucus are providing a political voice for veterans and military family members in Ohio, organizing and mobilizing veterans and military families across the state, and aggressively recruiting more veterans and military family members to run for political office.

The ODP has hired Bill Rausch, a former Army Captain, Iraq War veteran, and native of Marengo, Ohio, as its full-time director, becoming only the second state Democratic party in the nation to have a person in that role. Rausch was awarded The Bronze Star Medal for exceptionally meritorious service while assigned as the Operations and Assessments Officer for the Information Operations Task Force, Multi-National Force - Iraq. "Over the past decade I have been fortunate to be a part of so many great organizations, from the halls of West Point to the streets of Baghdad, and I am especially pleased to continue on that trend by joining the team at the Ohio Democratic Party," said Rausch.

Also today, Democratic elected officials confirmed their commitment to veterans by marking the establishment of the new Ohio Department of Veterans Services. Gov. Ted Strickland (D) signed the legislation today, accompanied by State Sen. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and Ohio Air National Guard and member of the Governor’s Transition Team for Veterans Services, and State Rep. Peter Ujvagi (D-Toledo), a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Veterans Affairs that recommended creation of the new cabinet-level department. The legislation was introduced by another Democrat, State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown), who is a U.S. Air Force Reserve pilot and Iraq veteran.

These efforts by Ohio Democrats to serve and reach out to veterans echo developments at the national level. Democrats led the charge on the new G.I. Bill, passed by overwhelming margins in both the House and Senate, which provides for full higher education benefits for 1.5 million American men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is widely supported by key veterans groups, including the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Ohio Democratic Party Chair Chris Redfern acknowledged the importance of veterans and military families as a political constituency in his remarks on establishing the Veterans and Family Members Caucus. "Veterans and military families will be a crucial swing vote in this election because the Republican rhetoric about 'supporting the troops' has not been supported by the actions of this president or his political party," said Redfern. "The historic, bipartisan G.I. Bill that recently passed both houses of Congress had the support of every single Ohio Democrat, but only one Ohio Republican. That is truly shameful." The only Republican member of Congress from Ohio to support the G.I. Bill was Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Twp), who faces a tough challenge from Vietnam Veteran and Bronze Star recipient Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell).

Obama Leads McCain by Nine Points in New SUSA Ohio Poll

The poll suggests that John Edwards is Obama's strongest VP choice in Ohio, a proposition to be taken with a grain of salt because it is apparently driven by Edwards' superior name recognition from his national campaigns.

Interesting how putting social conservative Mike Huckabee (R-AR) on the ticket raises McCain's stock more than the equally or even better-known Mitt Romney or Joe Lieberman.

UPDATE: Looking at the crosstabs, Obama leads McCain among men 45% to 42% and among women 50% to 37%. Obama leads in every age group except 65+, where McCain has the advantage 50% to 35%. Obama takes the 18-34 set by 59% to 33%.

Obama takes the white vote by 45% to 41% and the black vote by 76% to 17%. Ohio's relatively small Hispanic population goes big for McCain, 62% to 29%, a troubling result. McCain leads among independents 46% to 36%, but Obama leads among self-described moderates 57% to 28%.

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

Snap, crackle, and pop:

OH-01 - Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill) voted against the English-only bill, saying that it is "yet another unfunded mandate aimed at dividing Ohioans rather than uniting them." *** Driehaus gets credit in this Community Press story for coming up with the idea of using the settlement proceeds from a lawsuit over property flipping to fund community improvement micro-grants in the Price Hill area. "We've taken the negative and turned it into a positive," said Driehaus. "This settlement money will enable Price Hill residents to make a difference themselves, and that's ultimately what we are trying to achieve."" *** Meanwhile, here is the Americans United for Change ad against Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) over his anti-G.I. Bill vote:

OH-04 - The Champaign County Democrats call out Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) for wanting America to be a theocracy by supporting H.R. 598.

OH-10 - Here's a recap of the first day of the subcomittee hearing hosted by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) on the need to help cities deal with the effect of the mortgage foreclosure crisis. Kucinich opened the hearing by pointing out that neighborhoods (as opposed to mortgage lenders and to some extent borrowers) are the "largely unrecognized and totally blameless" victims of the disaster.

OH-13 - Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp) has been an active participant in questioning oil company executives at a hearing held by the House Committee on the Judiciary, grilling them on issues ranging from their secret meetings with Vice President Cheney in 2001 to their very small investments in alternative and renewable energy initiatives despite record profits. “In 2007, the oil industry recorded record profits of $155 billion, 75% of which was earned by the companies who are here today,” said Sutton. “It is the prerogative of the American people to know how these companies are possibly in need of the subsidies that the Administration has lavished upon them, while families across our country are suffering to make ends meet."

OH-16 - State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) got some good press in the Tribune Chronicle for the passage of his vets bill "just in time for Memorial Day." In addition to creating state-level protection for the jobs of National Guard and Reserve troops on deployment, the law creates an Ohio Department of Veterans Services that consolidates existing programs under its director.

OH-17 - Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) notes on his congressional blog that he was "surfing around a couple of well known blogs" and found a piece objecting to the failure of Congress to address the energy crisis, prompting him to respond:

I agree, we need to do more but at the same token you have to break ground on a construction site before you build the building. We’ve barely scratched the surface on what needs to be done to combat the rising cost of fuel, or our dependence on oil, but since taking Congress we have done ten times more than our counterparts. House Democrats have been leading the effort to help deliver gas price relief and encourage the use of renewable energy.

Ohio News & Opinion Roundup

A quick look at what's going on:

* The Akron Beacon Journal criticizes Strickland for ignoring the objections of the Fraternal Order of Police, the Buckeye State Sheriff's Association, and the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police to the gun lobby's bill to roll-back firearm regulations.

* The Ohio House passed the bill authorizing the Cuyahoga County Commission to put the Hagan-Husted county government reform plan on the November ballot, but it's probably moot because such authorization requires the vote of two commissioners and the other two (Peter Lawson Jones and Jimmy Dimora) have signaled that they won't approve it because it is directed at Cuyahoga County alone.

* Joseph at Plunderbund whacks away at the anti-immigrant English-only bill that passed yesterday.

* The Blade reports on an event in Toledo yesterday, one stop on a tour of swing states, at which military veterans and representatives of the SEIU slammed John McCain for taking the side of the Veterans Administration in disputes with veterans about health care services and benefits.

* Ted Strickland endorsed the idea of a joint Obama-Clinton as "unbeatable." I'm thinking he is too close to the Clinton camp to be making that statement without a green light, signaling that the VP slot is indeed what Clinton wants.

* Jill highlights a good list of ten compelling reasons for women to support Obama.

* Listen here to the radio ads that the DCCC is running this weekend, attacking Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) and Rep. John Boehner (West Chester) for voting against supporting our troops with education benefits like WWII vets got.

* Paul points out the hypocrisy of Angry Old Guy slamming Obama as one "who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform" while embracing a certain frat boy whose family connections got him a cushy Texas Air National Guard gig so he could avoid serving in Vietnam.

Service members and the new G.I. Bill

As we head into Memorial Day...

My wife's oldest is active duty Navy (E-6.) He LOVES the new GI Bill.

And it has made a HUGE impression on him that it is a Democrat and veteran (Webb) who authored this legislation. That impression has been STRONGLY re-enforced by the the fact that the GOP has officially fought the bill and that the Shrub plans to veto it.

Basically what the Republicans are doing, is to turn an entire generation of young people into lifelong Democrats. More and more of them are beginning to see that the GOP will waste billions on defense contractors and their K Street lobbyists, but will fight to their last breath to deny benefits to service people.

And this Fall, there is going to be a price to pay. We'll flip three or four U.S. House seats right here in Ohio. Just imagine how this will play for a candidate like Maj. John Boccieri?

Across the Nation, maybe TWENTY seats? I used to think that was tinfoil hat material, but now, I could see it.

So you say ya wanna "support the troops?" Well then:


OH House-28: Pillich Memorial Day Message - "We Must Do More"

Air Force veteran Connie Pillich (D-Montgomery), who fell just 1,592 votes short of beating State Rep. Jim Raussen (R-Springdale) in 2006 and is off to a fast start in this year's rematch, wrote in a n op-ed piece in the Community Press that veterans need more than parades and flag-waving:

When deployed for long periods of time, [National Guard personnel] leave behind the remnants of their civilian lives. Abandoned leases, child support issues, job security - these things haunt our guard members and their families for a long time.

... We need laws that help these volunteers. We need to allow any military member to be able to terminate a lease upon receipt of military deployment orders. We need to assist the families left behind by ensuring child support is properly handled.

We need a veterans hiring preference for state jobs so our veterans have an edge up when returning to the work force. We need to extend low-cost health insurance for those veterans abandoned by the VA medical system. We need to penalize employers who fail to keep a job open for their deployed employee.

Finally, we must stop letting bills that benefit our veterans and their families languish in committee ... Partisan political behavior is the single greatest insult to the many men and women who volunteer to put it all on the line to protect us.

We need to honor our vets every day, not just on specified weekends. ... By honoring and improving the lives of vets every day, we give them the most sincere "Thank you."

Pillich will be marching in the Blue Ash Memorial Day Parade with OH-02 candidate Dr. Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) on Monday (5/26) and invites supporters to join her. (Line up is at 9:30 a.m. on Reed Hartman Highway at Malsbary; campaign tee shirts will be provided.) This year she will have a special Veterans contingent in the parade -- all veterans and their friends and family members are invited wear their military medals and commemorative ribbons as they walk.

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

Second installment today, because too much is never enough:

OH-02 - Challenger Dr. Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) made a strong statement the other day about Rep. "Mean Jean" Schmidt (R-Loveland) supporting warrantless wiretaps and wanting to provide retroactive immunity to the telecoms that donate to Schmidt's campaign, as quoted by blogger Howie Klein on Huffington Post:

"The Bush Administration has run roughshod over the Constitution and now they expect the American people to pay for it by granting retroactive immunity to big corporations that illegally violated their customers' privacy. Congress cannot not let itself be bullied into giving away the civil liberties that belong to every American, and I promise that as a congresswoman I will never put the interests of corporations before the rights of the people."

Dr. Wulsin will make appearances on Sunday (5/25) at 3:30 p.m. at the Aberdeen parade and at 6:30 p.m. at Taste of Cincy (meet at 5th and Vine), and will march with OH House-28 candidate Connie Pillich (D-Montgomery) on Monday (5/26) in the Blue Ash Memorial Day Parade (line up is at 9:30 a.m. on Reed Hartman Highway at Malsbary).

OH-12 - Challenger David Robinson (D-Columbus) will be at "4th Friday Westerville" tomorrow night (5/23) from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at on East College Avenue and will march in two parades over the weekend, the Utica Ice Cream Festival Parade starting 11:00 a.m. on Saturday (5/24) at Church and Jefferson Streets and the Powell Parade starting at 10:00 a.m. on Monday (5/26). *** You can also meet the candidate at a house party next Saturday (5/31) in Columbus, $25 suggested donation, email rdoersam-at-robison2008-dot-com for details. *** Emily Kreider, the Democratic candidate who ran an inspiring race for the 3rd Ohio Senate District seat in 2006, has send out an email thanking her supporters and urging them to continue to work for better representation in government by volunteering for Robinson.

OH-14 - Challenger Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) has made a swift recovery from his heart bypass surgery two months ago. With clearance from his doctors, he is registering for the 32nd Annual Blossom Time Run, a 5.25-mile race preceding the Blossom Time Parade this Sunday (5/25) at 2:00 p.m. in Chagrin Falls. “My goal is just to finish before they take down the timer,” O’Neill joked. “I’m just so happy that I’m healthy and ready to continue this O’Neill family tradition – run the race, then march with the veterans in the parade.” He also points out that his experience is a reminder of the critical importance of health insurance and preventive care:

“As a nurse I see every day how our system needs serious reforms. Thanks to my health coverage, I pursued preventive care and, without it, I’m not sure I would have had the check-up or the surgery that may have saved my life. We need to take a long, hard look at our system and ask, ‘Why doesn’t everyone deserve this access to affordable care?’”

OH-16 - Today the Ohio Senate approved Am. Sub. S.B. 289, which incorporates legislation by State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) to protect the jobs of National Guard and Reserve troops while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan under state law. Such protection exists under federal law but the cost and delays involved in federal litigation make it hard for veterans to enforce their rights. “Often veterans walk away from the fight,” Senator Boccieri said. “What veteran can afford to fight for years for their job in federal courts while needing to put bread on their family’s table? Enactment of this bill will provide one more layer of protection for our Ohio soldiers while they are protecting us."

OH-17 - This is the most information I have found anywhere about longshot contender Duane Grassell (R), so just for the record:

"Grassell is a self-described life-long student of the Constitution. The purpose of his candidacy is to vote against unconstitutional bills that previous Congresses have passed. Grassell is a high school math teacher who has been teaching since 1979. He taught 12 years in Youngstown on the eastern end of the 17th district, and he taught 12 years in Akron on the western end of the district. He has been married to his wife Ruth for eight years and they have a seven year old daughter."

OH-18 - Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) will give the Keynote Speech at the Chillicothe Memorial Day Service at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday (5/25) at Veterans Park on Yoctangee Blvd. (behind the YMCA) and will march in the Coshocton County Memorial Day Parade begins at 10:00 a.m. on Monday (5/26) at Main and 8th Street, followed by a ceremony at the Coshocton County Court House.

Fun Electoral Map Tool

I just tumbled across this excellent site that allows you to create your own hypothetical electoral vote map by clicking on the various states. For example, suppose you notice today's SUSA poll showing Obama ahead of McCain in Virginia by 7 points, and you wonder what the EV map would look like if Obama carried all the Kerry states except New Hampshire and also picked up Virginia and blue-trending Colorado. Click a few states and you get:

Obama wins with 270 electoral votes, without Ohio.

How cool is that?

H/t to Steven R for this diary on DailyKos.

Expanded G.I. Bill Passes Despite Voinovich "NO" Vote

The Webb-Hagel measure to strengthen the G.I. Bill for troops who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan passed 75-22 in the form of an amendment to H.R. 2642, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2008, which George Bush has promised to veto if it contains the G.I. Bill provision and other domestic spending measures. Sen. George Voinovich (R-Cleveland) was among the minority who refused to support our troops.

Quinnipiac Poll Shows McCain Slightly Ahead of Obama in Ohio

A poll released today by Quinnipiac University shows Barack Obama trailing John McCain by four points, while CLinton leads McCain by seven (numbers in parens are from May 1st and April 2nd):

40% (42%, 43%) Obama
44% (43%, 42%) McCain

48% (48%, 48%) Clinton
41% (38%, 39%) McCain

The margin of error is 2.8%.

Other numbers in the poll show a political climate that is not unfavorable to Obama. Approval for George Bush is at a dismal 26%, Obama's favorability rating (44%-38%) is about the same as McCain's (43%-36%), and 86% say they would be "entirely comfortable" or "somewhat comfortable" with an African-American president while only 59% would be "entirely comfortable" or "somewhat comfortable" with a president who is 72 at the start of his term. 56% say that the Rev. Wright controversy does not affect their likelihood of voting for Obama, while 40% say otherwise.

A bump in Obama's numbers is to be expected when the nominating process is resolved, so this poll should be interpreted as showing a close race that is likely to get closer.

N.B. - A Rasmussen Poll on Tuesday showed Obama and McCain statistically tied in Ohio (44% Obama, 45% McCain), and a SurveyUSA poll will be out shortly.

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