Clinton Campaign Invites Supporters to Attend Debate Watch Parties

The campaign of Hillary Clinton has sent out a message inviting supporters to attend a local debate watch party tonight. Click this link to find a party in your area.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson Endorses Obama

Jeff just called from the Michelle Obama rally in Cleveland. He reported that Cleveland City Mayor, Frank Jackson came onto the stage and endorsed Sen. Barack Obama. Big news.

Jeff will be back in a short while to post photos and audio clips.

UPDATE (by Jeff): Just recently Jackson revealed that he had sent a 14-page wish list of federal support for urban programs to each of the presidential campaigns and said that their responses would influence his decision on endorsing. Today, just before Michelle Obama spoke at a rally at Cleveland State University, he announced his decision. Here is what he said in the first portion of his remarks:

I have a couple of purposes today. One of which is to announce my endorsement of Barack Obama. [wild cheering and applause]

You know, Senator Obama is committed to working people. And he understands and he watches how they struggle and sacrifice every day to make ends meet as their costs go up.

Senator Obama is committed to urban centers. And he understands that to redevelop the urban centers of America will serve as an engine for business investment, and for job creation so that people can support their families. And he'll help Cleveland.

Senator Obama understands the devastation of foreclosures based on predatory lending, and the devastating effect that this has had on the lives of individuals and communities. And he is willing and able to assist those who become victimized.

Jackson becomes the third big city mayor in Ohio to endorse Obama after Mike Coleman of Columbus and Democratic-leaning independent Jay Williams of Youngstown. (Mark Mallory of Cincinnati and Rhine McLin of Dayton are so far neutral.) His endorsement is especially important to the Obama campaign because Cleveland dominates vote-rich Cuyahoga County, the state's largest, and because his stature as an African American elected leader is eclipsed in this area only by Clinton supporter Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Cleveland).

Ohio ACORN Hiring Canvassers To Help Obama

An announcement from Ohio ACORN political director Mari Engelhardt:

GOTV for Obama! Ohio ACORN is doing a Get Out The Vote project with the OBAMA Campaign. Ohio ACORN is hiring canvassers to go door to door encouraging voters to vote for Barack Obama.

ACORN is hiring in Cleveland (216)431-3905, Columbus (614)425-9491, Cincinnati (513)221-1737, for Dayton (call Cincinnati), and for Toledo call Cleveland. Or email and your inquiry will be routed to the appropriate person in each of these cities. Intake and training will be held daily at local ACORN offices. Canvass begins on Wednesday Feb. 27th and will work through election day. Please, only persons wishing to work all or most of these days (Saturday and Sunday included) should inquire.

Please do not contact the Obama campaign directly regarding this post as they are not the organization doing the hiring and it will only distract their staff and volunteers from the other important work they are doing on behalf of Senator Obama.

Labor Group "Change to Win" To Endorse Obama

Change to Win, a group of seven unions that broke away from the AFL/CIO, has officially decided to back Barack Obama, according to chairperson Anna Burger as reported by Chris Cillizza on The Fix:

"Change to Win is excited to announce the endorsement of Barack Obama for President. We are the unions that organize and mobilize working people and believe that we can make a huge difference on the ground in the upcoming primaries. Change To Win is the new labor movement, the labor movement of the 21st century and we are excited about our ability to make a difference."

Four of the group's members had already announced support for Obama (Service Employees International Union, UNITE Here, Teamsters and the United Food and Commercial Workers), but today's announcement means that at least one of the other members has come around (Laborers International Union, United Brotherhood of Carpenters, and the United Farm Workers). The UFW had previously announced support for Clinton.

The GOP Nominee

The GOP nominee is old - over 70 - but he's an authentic war hero with a long record of service in the U.S. Senate, and he's also the veteran of an unsuccessful presidential campaign eight years before. He was the early front-runner in a crowded field but faced serious criticism from the right and lost an important early primary to a conservative ideologue from the south. He has a reputation for having a sharp temper. He was divorced and remarried. He is looking forward to running against a Democrat he regards as deeply flawed.

And his name is ... Bob Dole.

Seriously, after watching John McCain's speech on Tuesday night I'm really struck by the comparison. On paper, McCain has the personal story and credentials to command respect and convey an air of authority. Dole has his paralyzed arm, McCain was a naval aviator imprisoned in Vietnam, both should project gravitas. But when you see them campaigning, they just can't carry it off. McCain seemed to smile or grimace at inappropriate times and his delivery is flat and uninspiring.

Streak Continues - Obama Wins "Americans Abroad Primary"

Make it 11-0:

Barack Obama won the Democrats Abroad global primary in results announced Thursday, giving him 11 straight victories in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Illinois senator won the primary in which Democrats living in other countries voted by Internet, mail and in person, according to results released by the Democrats Abroad, an organization sanctioned by the national party.

Obama won about 65% of the vote from over 20,000 Democrats in 194 countries. Seven pledged delegates are controlled by the group, but due to their bizarre system for allocation the two candidates may end up splitting them equally.

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

Transmissions from the trenches:

OH-01: Fund-Raiser for Driehaus - Vice Mayor David and Sherri Crowley will host a fund-raiser for State Rep. Steve Driehaus on Thursday, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 28th, at Crowley's Irish Bar, 958 Pavilion St. in the Mt Adams neighborhood of Cincinnati. Suggested contributions start at $25.

OH-02: Mallory Endorses Wulsin - Mayor of Cincinnati Mark Mallory endorsed Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) over Steve Black (D-Indian Hill) in the Democratic primary yesterday: “Dr. Wulsin is exactly the person we need,” said Mallory. “She is a proven leader and hard worker who is dedicated to serving the needs of families in the second district.”

OH-07: Endorsements for Neuhardt - Yesterday I spoke to Mike Gardner, the former Greene County Democratic Chair and current president of the Greene County Democrats Club who won 47% of the vote in his race for county commissioner in 2006. He said that although Greene County is a long-time Republican area, there are signs of change as the Democratic party has become much stronger, and gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell won the county by only a hundred votes in 2006. He has sent out a letter endorsing congressional candidate Sharen Neuhardt. He said that he respects all of the candidates, and regards several of them as serious contenders (he mentioned William Conner and Dave Woolever as well as Neuhardt), but said that "campaigning is not an intellectual exercise" but a combination of sales, marketing, PR, shoe leather, and fund-raising. Gardner said that he is friends with Conner but sees him as thinking that running for Congress is an intellectual exercise, while Neuhardt has the wherewithal to conduct a more effective campaign. Neuhardt also got the nod today from blogger Joe R of Fundamental Truths, who notes that she is the daughter of a police officer and the granddaughter of a fireman, a graduate of Georgetown Law School and a successful and accomplished attorney, and "has experience working with community and business leaders and will be willing and able to work not only with her fellow democrats in congress but also to cross the aisle to actually get something done."

OH-10: Kucinich and Challenger on WCPN - Challenger Joe Cimperman (D-Cleveland) and Rep. Dennis Kucinich are on the show "Sounds of Ideas" on WCPN right now (9:00 to 10:00 a.m. on 2/21), and the audio will be posted on the web site sometime later today.

OH-16: Boccieri Campaign Events - State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) will meet with supporters and volunteers on Saturday 2/23 at the Golden Lodge (USW hall at 1234 Harrison Ave. SW) to thank them for their work for change, and from 10 a.m. to 6p.m. volunteers will be canvassing and phoning Democratic Primary Voters and delivering yard signs. Coffee and donuts will be provided; please RSVP to or 330-754-0534. Boccieri also needs supporters to sign up now for his 100-hour Get Out The Vote program February 29 through March 4.

OH-18: Space to Host Veteran-Owned Business Seminar Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) will host a seminar in New Philadelphia on April 4th to provide an introduction to the government procurement process focusing on the preferences given to businesses that are owned at least 51% by Veterans and Service Disabled Veterans. “There are a number of opportunities out there for veteran-owned businesses, and we need to do everything possible to ensure that the folks in my district are taking advantage of those opportunities,” Space said in a press release. “These businesses are a vital part of our community, and they should fight for the resources to which they are entitled.”

New York State Farmer and Rural Developer on Small Town Tour for Clinton

Reaching out to rural Democratic voters, the Clinton campaign has announced that Mark Nicholson, an apple and strawberry farmer from Geneva in upstate New York, and Lee Beaulac of the Rural Opportunities Inc., which provides programs and services to rural and low-income residents in several states, will visit rural towns in central Ohio today and tomorrow touting Clinton's "positive impact on New York agriculture and record of creating jobs in small communities." Called the “Travelers for Hillary” tour, it will stop in Delaware, Marion, Mansfield, Bucyrus, and Upper Sandusky today (2/21) and Findlay, Lima, Wapakoneta, Sidney, Bellefontaine, and Marysville tomorrow (2/22).

"Hillary has a proven record of creating programs that help farmers and rural communities," said Nicholson in the press release. "During her time in the Senate, she has made it a priority to fully understand agriculture issues in New York. She has fought hard to maintain programs in resource conservation, economic development and agriculture that are vital to the environmental and economic health of family farms. She knows the importance of the agriculture industry in maintaining a strong economy, and the key role that small towns and rural communities play in American life."

"Hillary is committed to expanding opportunities for rural communities and small towns in America," added Beaulac. "From her creation of rural trading cooperatives, to her Farm-to-Fork initiative, to her support for broadband in all rural areas, and her efforts to keep VA facilities open, Hillary is dedicated to helping small towns and rural communities thrive."

Obama in Cleveland Saturday 2/23

02/23/2008 - 8:30pm
02/23/2008 - 9:30pm

Barack Obama will hold a “KEEPING AMERICA’S PROMISE” rally at 8:30 p.m. this Saturday evening, February 23rd, at the Cleveland Convention Center.
Details after the flip.

Obama "Keeping America's Promise" Bus Tour Starts in Akron Saturday

The Obama campaign announced this morning that he will travel across the state Saturday through Monday on a "Keeping America's Promise" bus tour. The tour will start in Akron and continue with events in Cleveland, Toledo, Cincinnati, and Dayton. The campaign says that Obama will highlight his plans to make health care affordable and accessible for all Americans, to bring good-paying jobs back to Ohio, and to put the American Dream back in reach for working families.
Details (to the extent they have been set) after the flip!

If They Want Our Votes They Must Address Our Issues

These presidential candidates that want Ohioans' votes a week from next Tuesday need to first understand and commit to addressing the issues Ohio faces. That's why all of the campaigns have been requested to send their national policy advisors to the Fighting Foreclosure and Abandonment Forum that will be held in Cleveland the morning after next Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate (details on the ODB events calendar). See Callahan and Jill for more.

Video - Actor Kal Penn Campaigning for Obama at CSU 2/20

About 250 students gathered for a rally at the University Center at Cleveland State University this afternoon, featuring actor Kal Penn of House and 24 fame, also the star of the brilliant film adaptation of a Jhumpa Lahiri novel, The Namesake, and the critically-acclaimed Harry and Kumar Go To White Castle. Penn was joined by singer and actor Eric Balfour, who starred in the 2003 remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and has appeared in TV shows including 24, The West Wing, The O.C., Six Feet Under, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Here is a video clip of the speech by Kal Penn:

Bill Clinton in Bowling Green and Lima on Sunday 2/24

So says Jessica Wehrman of the Dayton Daily News. Details if and when I get them.

Obama Lays Down Massive TV Campaign

Going for the kill, the Obama campaign is shelling out twice as much money for TV advertising in Ohio as the Clinton campaign:

While no dollar amounts were released for Obama's ad buy, Bob Clegg, a long-time media specialist at Midwest Communications and Media in Columbus, described it somewhere between "very large and huge" on a statewide basis.

Obama's ad campaign is viewed as crucial in a state where Clinton's lead may be well into double digits.

Clegg said Obama's campaign even purchased airtime for three separate ads in the Cincinnati market, usually not a priority for Democrats because it is a Republican stronghold and much of the advertising is "wasted" because the market includes portions of Indiana and Kentucky.

Hillary Clinton's ad purchases, including a new one that began yesterday, are probably half of Obama's total thus far, he said.

Where's all the money coming from? The Obama campaign previously annonced that he had raised $32 million in January, but recently adjusted the figure to $36 million, leading reporter Jim Kuhnhenn to desribe him as "the financial juggernaut in the presidential race."

Frances Strickland Joins Clinton for Six-Stop Tour

The Clinton campaign has announced a two-day “All Voices Count” tour starting tomorrow (2/21) at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. Ohio First Lady Frances Strickland will be joined by Congresswoman Diane Watson, Reverend Marcia Dyson, and Hillary’s childhood friend, Betsy Ebeling to meet with Ohio voters and share Hillary’s 35 year record of standing up for children and working families. Following the event in Columbus, the tour will make stops in Zanesville, New Philadelphia and Youngstown, and Emmy-winning actress Christine Lahti will team up with the women of the “All Voices Count” tour for a debate watch party in Youngstown tomorrow night.
Details after the flip.

Obama Yard Signs Available

The Obama campaign says come and get 'em.

This is the link to find the nearest local campaign office and sign up to get a yard sign.

Arshinkoff Off Summit County Board of Elections

Newsman Eric Mansfield reports on his blog that Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has notified Summit County GOP Chair Alex Arshinkoff that he is out as of the end of his term on February 29th:

"Regrettably, I have reason to believe that, if appointed, you will not be a competent member of the Summit County Board of Elections. I therefore shall not reappoint you to that board for the new term beginning March 1, 2008."

Not being "competent" apparently has to do with the political battle between Arshinkoff and State Sen. Kevin Couhglin (R-Cuyahoga Falls), since Brunner has told the Akron Beacon Journal that it is about partisan activity on Arshinkoff's part at the board:

''A lot of it had to do with the environment created at the board,'' Brunner said in a phone interview.

''There is credible evidence that there's inappropriate partisan activity'' going on at the board, she said.

Coughlin jumped on the news to denounce his foe (as reported in the Plain Dealer):

"I think that it validates what we've been saying, that Alex Arshinkoff is not a leader that Republicans can be proud of," said Coughlin, of Cuyahoga Falls. "He has abused his power. He has abused his position. He has abused employees at the board to strengthen his grip on the local party apparatus."

Arshinkoff is likely to challenge Brunner's action in court.

I'm really, really looking forward to hearing what Akron bloggers like Redhorse, Pho, and Kyle & Co. have to say about this.

Markos Moulitsas: Clinton Campaign "Effectively Dead"

So he says. Probably an overstatement, but her campaign is clearly in trouble. It is hard to imagine what could happen that would propel her past Obama at this point. A huge gaffe at the debate next week? A massive case of buyer's remorse?

In any event, Kos also suggests that it will be helpful to Democrats in Ohio if she doesn't drop out just yet, and he has a good point:

Now I know people will be calling for her to quit the race, but I hope she rides it out through Ohio and Texas. I think Ohio needs a good dose of infrastructure building, and this primary will help make that happen.

Add to that, we need the race to continue for the next two weeks in order to get the candidates to address our particular issues, such as the Great Lakes Water Compact and help for municipalities dealing with fallout from the mortgage foreclosure mess.

Was it just yesterday morning that I predicted that Ohio would be close but Clinton would win? A lot can change in 36 hours. Wisconsin wasn't close, Hawai'i was a total blowout, and Clinton seems determined to go negative in ways that will probably only hurt her. (Including playing the terrorism fear card - "Not ready to be commander in chief" - give me a break!) So, it's beginning to look like it may be another case of me making an incorrect prediction. (I also thought that Robin Weirauch would make a race out of the 5th Congressional District, and that Barabara Sykes would be our State Auditor today.) This time, though, I won't mind being wrong one bit.

Kal Penn & Nick Cannon at College Campuses for Obama Tomorrow 2/21

Actors Nick Cannon and Kal Penn will headline a Students for Barack Obama College Tour Thursday, visiting college and university campuses across the state. Penn appears in the FOX medical drama House and had a recurring role in 24. He starred in The Namesake and is probably best known for his breakout role in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. This spring he will be a visiting professor of Asian American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Cannon starred in the MTV comedy show Wild ‘n Out. He started performing at the age of eight in a hip hop duo that opened for the likes of Will Smith, and at 16 moved to Hollywood to perform in comedy clubs.
Event details after the flip.

Clinton to Return for Rally in Toledo Friday 2/22

02/22/2008 - 9:00pm
02/22/2008 - 10:00pm

On Friday, February 22, Hillary Clinton will return to the Buckeye State and hold a "Solutions for America" rally in Toledo.
Details after the break.

Bill O'Reilly Talks of Lynching Michelle Obama (Update)


Diarist RichM on DailyKos follows this story and makes some great points including:

I am outraged. If the Hillary supporters can get all worked up over the term 'pimp' with respect to Chelsea and get Shuster suspended, and Imus can get fired for saying 'nappy-headed ho', then what the fuck is O'Reilly still doing on the airwaves threatening to form a lynching party? Ugly fucking racist.

Pro-Clinton 527 Group takes aim at Obama in Ohio

I bet you could see this coming.

...a group of Democratic politicos have set up a new independent 527 organization called the American Leadership Project (ALP) with the express purpose of helping Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, beat Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, in Ohio...The group is targeting through TV ads, mail, and phone communications white women under 50 in the Ohio area -- specifically Cleveland, Columbus, Youngstown, Charleston (WV), Wheeling- Steubenville, Zanesville, and Parkersburg (WV).

The ads will not mention Obama specifically but will repeat the "there is more to this than great speeches" frame that Clinton has been pushing.

Interestingly, it sounds to me like they are still in the process of raising money for these ads. Hopefully, people will not want to take part in this. I think, this strategy is probably going to hurt whomever the Democratic Candidate is in the fall more than help Hillary now. But, Hillary backing down is just wishful thinking. And of course, these ads are most likely softballs compared to what McCain will produce later in the season. Lets see how Obama keeps ahead of this stuff. So far, i think he has been performing exceptionally.

Also, if you look at the people behind the ALP, they are all consultants who will see financial gains if Clinton is the nominee. That is a little depressing huh? It seems that, It isn't their heart endorsing Clinton, it is their pocketbook. It is just business. Wasn't it this kind of consultant class attitude that contributed to the Kerry lose?

Vernon and Barbara Sykes Support Obama

The name of State Rep. Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) didn't appear on the list distributed by the Obama campaign yesterday of Ohio state legislators who are supporters, but a reader alerted me to this portion of a story in the Akron Beacon Journal three days ago:

[Akron Councilman Michael] Williams named the politicians and judges who had come out Saturday for Obama, which included state Rep. Vernon Sykes, D-Akron, and his wife, Barbara Sykes, a former state representative and former chairwoman of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.

Vernon Sykes said before the rally that Obama's campaign feels new and exciting.

"A lot of the old school is with the Clintons, but beyond that, we have a plethora of elected officials and precinct committee persons — a groundswell," he said.

Barbara Sykes, who was Bill Clinton's political director in Ohio in 1992, said Obama is the candidate she's been looking for who can unite the country.

Vernon Sykes is a long-time state representative, and spouse and former state representative Barbara Sykes was head of the Ohio Black Legislative Caucus as well as a statewide candidate in 2006 when she ran for State Auditor.

Michelle Obama in Cleveland Tomorrow 2/21

02/21/2008 - 11:30am
02/21/2008 - 12:30pm

As promised, details on the appearance by Michelle Obama in Cleveland on Thursday, 2/21 are after the flip.

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

A few quick bulletins from the battlefields:

OH-02: DDN Endorses Wulsin and Brinkman - In the Dayton Daily News today:

As if to show his own toughness, Mr. Black is running a negative campaign against Dr. Wulsin, saying she's been investigated on a medical ethics issue, that she has not released the names of all her donors (the law does not require that for small donors), that she wants more trade with the likes of Armenia (yes, Armenia), and more.

The attacks don't wash. At a certain stage, the claim that the Democrats need a tougher candidate devolves into the claim that Congress needs yet another lawyer, another few-holds-barred warrior. ...

Dr. Wulsin would bring unusual experiences, sensibilities and ability to Washington. In a primary race in which the Democrats do not differ profoundly on the issues, she is the right choice.

They also choose State Rep. Tom Brinkman (R) over Rep. "Mean Jean" Schmidt (R), writing that the "2nd District and Ohio need to be represented by somebody whose reputation is not connected to such bush-league mistakes" as speaking favorably of nuclear waste, plagiarism, claiming endorsements she doesn't have, attacking Murtha as a coward, etc.

OH-07: Clark County "Approval" Interviews Tonight - The Clark County Democratic party doesn't do endorsements, it does "approvals," which can be extended to more than one candidate. Converted Libertarian Jack Null (D-Fairborn) reportedly disdained the procedure, saying that "this is not Soviet Russia" (?) and the only approval he needs is the signatures on his nominating petitions. *** Bill Conner (D-Beavercreek) has criticized Sharen Neuhardt (D-Yellow Springs) for raising money from lawyers and business people, and for saying favorable things about (and reportedly voting for) popular retiring Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Springfield), arguing that these indicate she is not a real Democrat. Neuhardt responds that she is a true-blue Democrat but is a person who can "work across the aisle." *** Former state legislator Ron Hood (R-Ashville) is said to be "winning the sign war" in Greene County. State Sen. Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek) and Dan Harkins (R-Sprinfield) have each sent out mailings. On the Democratic side, Neuhardt is in the process of sending out a series of demographically targeted mailings and has phonebanking underway.

OH-13: Sutton's AED Drive Covered in USA Today - The effort by Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp) to get automated external defibrillators into schools gets national media exposure.

OH-16: Boccieri Attends Funeral of Steel Worker - State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) attended a memorial service this morning honoring Verna Benning, 51, of Carrollton, at the United Steel Workers of America Union Hall. Mrs. Benning, a union member, died of injuries after being struck by a straddle truck at the Timken Gambrinus steel mill on Saturday, January 12, 2008. Senator Boccieri presented the Benning family with a flag flown over the Ohio Statehouse in her honor.

OH-17: Ryan-Heart-Strickland Jobs Plan - Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) is inspired by Gov. Ted Strickland's proposal to stimulate the economy and create jobs by issuing $1.7 billion in bonds for infrastructure and energy initiatives:

Ryan says the plan is good economic medicine - particularly for the struggling northeast Ohio region - and buys into Strickland's contention that it can create some 80,000 jobs. He made it clear that he wants his region to receive many of those benefits, too.

“I am 100 percent behind this plan and should it end up as a ballot initiative, I will actively campaign for it," Ryan said. "I look forward to working with the governor on the Building Ohio Jobs package and ensuring that northeast Ohio is positioned to capitalize on the program’s benefits."

OH-18: Strickland and Space Announce Medical Center Funding - Gov. Ted Strickland (D) and Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) visited Adena Regional Medical Center yesteday to announce that the State of Ohio has decided to use state and federal dollars to expand training operations there. The money will be be used to purchase training equipment and to supply grant funding for the training of up to 80 students per year to attain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing through the PACCAR Medical Education Center. The program will offer first access to dislocated workers for this training.

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