News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

The presidential primary is in the spotlight, but there are developments in Ohio's races for the U.S. House as well:

OH-01 This race got a mention in a Wall Street Journal story about the effect of the mortgage crisis on congressional elections: "In Ohio, Democratic challenger Steve Driehaus is serving on a state task force on foreclosure even as he bids for a Republican-held seat. Not to be outdone, Rep. Steve Chabot, the incumbent, is working for legislation that would ease bankruptcy rules to help homeowners."

OH-02 - A few weeks ago the League of Conservation Voters took the unusual step of endorsing both Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) and Steve Black (D-Indian Hill) as well as GOP challenger State Rep. Tom Brinkman (R) on the ground that "any of the three challengers would be a dramatic improvement over the incumbent, U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), whose anti-environmental voting record in Congress has earned her an abysmal LCV lifetime score of 6 percent. *** The Wulsin campaign sent out a campaign update on Wednesday claiming that their "internal data" shows that "Black has not moved voters, and his campaign shows no signs of gaining momentum in the field," but reporting that Black is saying privately he intends to "destroy" Wulsin with negative attacks. The update also touts a lengthy list of endorsements including former governor Jack Gilligan, Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, and Cincinnati Council Members John Cranley, David Crowley, and Laketa Cole, as well as recent organizational endorsements from The Shawnee Labor Council and the National Organization for Women. *** Wulsin and Black will face off twice on Tuesday, February 19th, first at 7:00 p.m. at the Blue Ash Democrats' Candidate Forum at Blue Ash Golf Course Clubhouse, 4040 Cooper Road, and second at about 8:00 PM at the Hamilton County Democratic Forum at the 20th Century Theater, 3021 Madison Road.

OH-07 - Restaurant owner Dave Woolever (D-Soutsville) racked up his fifth labor union endorsement, this time from the Teamsters Local 413.

OH-10 - Cleveland public radio station WCPN will be talking to all the candidates in this race during the morning show "Sound of Ideas," and the audio will be available online. Listen to this morning's show with Rosemary Palmer (D-Cleveland) and Barbara Ferris (D-Cleveland) here. *** Joe Cimperman (D-Cleveland) couldn't resist getting in a dig when Sean Penn cancelled a big fundraising appearance for Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) last weekend: “This is not surprising. Dennis hasn’t been in northeast Ohio much for years. So here is one of Kucinich’s big supporters from Hollywood following the lead of Dennis, and avoiding northeast Ohio!” *** Openers reports that Kucinich has purchased more than $190,000 worth of time on local television stations. *** NE Ohio blogger Brian G. wonders if lightly-funded candidate Thomas O'Grady (D-North Olmsted) isn't a plant, intended to help split up the anti-Kucinich vote.

OH-13 - Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp) held a press conference yesterday to build support for H.R. 4926, the Josh Miller HEARTS Act, which would establish a federal grant program to ensure every elementary and secondary school in the United States can obtain automated external defibrillators (AEDs). At the event were Dr. Terry Gordon, an Akron cardiologist who helped push a program to bring AEDs into Ohio schools, and several parents of children who either died of cardiac arrest at schools where an AED was not available or who were saved by one. *** There is at least a little information about Sutton's three low-profile GOP opponents in this post on Openers. Frances Kalapodis "hopes to bring expertise she gained as a school teacher and principal in the Akron public schools to Washington," Frank Chestney "is an Eagle Scout, 'a Reagan Republican,' and owner of a fast-food restaurant in Parma Heights, and David Potter sells medical equipment.

OH-14 - Kyle notes at The Point that Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) will be meeting voters for coffee on Saturday, February 16th, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Arabica Coffee Shop at 3703 Darrow Road in Stow, Ohio. Meanwhile, incumbent Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Twp) was one of only 32 GOP members of the House who stayed around to vote "no" yesterday on the contempt resolution against former White House aides Joshua Bolten and Harriet Myers for refusal to comply with subpoenas issued by the Judiciary Committee, after the rest walked out. Just couldn't resist an opportunity to take a stand against accountability. I'm sure O'Neill will have some choice things to say about that.

OH-16 - The Akron Beacon Journal gave State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) a strong endorsement over city council member Mary Cirelli (D-Canton) yesterday, calling him "precise and persuasive" when advocating for "job retraining and the development of alternative energy sources." The paper endorsed State Sen, Kirk Schuring (R-North Canton) on the GOP side the day before.

OH-17 - Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) yesterday renewed his call for consideration of H.R. 2942, the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, which would declare currency manipulation by other countries an illegal trade subsidy and provide American manufacturers the opportunity to seek relief against countries that artificially regulate their currency, including China. This comes as new Commerce Department figures show a record $260 billion trade deficit with China, more than half of America's trade deficit in manufactured goods. Ryan says that our growing trade deficit with China and other countries is directly linked to the more than 3.4 million domestic manufacturing jobs that have been lost since 2001.

Bring It Bama

Oh My Stars! Much hand wringing found throughout Blogtopia (sctp) over the shocking revelation that (surprise) she's in it to win it.

It's WAR! Okay, Sully really isn't an official member of blogtopia, but MoveOn is rallying the shock troops.

Will she (gasp) go negative? Maybe just a little?

A revealing bit of soul searching comes from the Left Coast where Steve Soto is disappointed enough in Hillary's act to withdraw his endorsement and hop on the fence with me. (I'm sure they're heatbroken at Clinton headquarters. Now they'll have to court even more SuperDelegates instead of bloggers, like Dennis Kucinich.)

I don't really care how annoyed a progressive-to-the-bone blogger like Ezra is; and for the record Mr. Donatelli -- nobody in the Democratic Party gives a flying fig what you or any other card carrying member of CPAC thinks. This is the big leagues and it's "go" time. The time to make the Democratic Party more democratic was back in '04 in Boston. If you are unsatisfied with the current system, feel free to start one of your own.

Jane has a rundown of varied plans to put a stop to the "outrageous" slash and burn tactics the Clintonians have stooped to, like sending Chelsea on a date with a college Junior SuperDelegate. (Okay, it was breakfast, not really a date, and certainly not pimping -- unless she gave him her number.) Dude! ;-)

The Superdelegate Transparency Project by Chris Bowers caught my eye. It's just the sort of thing we should expect and admire from the dedicated online organizers who really think all those phone calls and letters have made a difference in other battles waged against undemocratic acts of our government -- like convincing the Senate to reject Telecom immunity, or protecting habeas corpus rights, outlawing torture, or to filibuster Alito and Roberts, and using Congressional oversight like a club and holding the administration accountable for the Attorney firings, the no-bid contracts, fixing New Orleans, ah ... Blackwater, and um ... SCHIP or ... uh, yeah... Rock on Chris. Good luck with that.

I know one thing, I hate it when I agree with this guy.

Hillary Clinton in Attack Mode

I did a rundown of Hillary Clinton's aggressive speech at the Lordstown GM plant yesterday based on reading a transcript of her remarks prepared in advance. This is a good lesson about the value of being at an event in person. For example, I was unaware at that time of Clinton's symbolic hoisting of a pair of boxing gloves, nominally a tribute to area sports hero Kelly Pavlik but really a set-piece for her pugilistic criticism of Obama, a visual image that comes close to the self-defeating goofiness of Michael Dukakis wearing hte tank corps helmet in 1988.

I also missed her tone and demeanor, until I watched a video clip from her speech on CNN here. It's really quite cringe-inducing. I had read the words in print, but in person one sees her expression of disgust, as if her allegation about the nuclear plant owners influencing Obama's actions was something rotten discovered in her tossed salad.

So, on paper, the speech seemed aggressive but effective. With the addition of picture and video, I'm left wondering why she is doing the attacking, and not some surrogate. Having Bill Clinton make the attacks in South Carolina backfired, granted, but isn't it smarter to have someone else do the dirty business on behalf of the candidate?

UPDATE: Okay, so now I have to back off a bit. My reaction posted above was influenced by watching just one part of the speech in isolation. Having now viewed a more representative video sampling created by the Plain Dealer and available at WLST, Clinton came off much better in other parts of the speech. And the holding up of the gloves is not so obviously a reference to duking it out with Obama, she links them instead to her being a "fighter" in the White House.

Reuters Story Calls Obama "Osama" Three Times

Here is a screen capture:

The original story, which was here, has been taken down.

This is inexcusable. Contact to the editor and complain.

UPDATE: Here is a diary and comment thread at DailyKos on this.

Obama Endorsements Starting to Roll In

These are really big:

* With a hat-tip to Eric at Plunderbund, the New York Times reports that civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), a superdelegate and early endorser of Hillary Clinton, will vote for Barack Obama in hopes of preventing a fight at the Democratic convention. "In recent days, there is a sense of movement and a sense of spirit," he said. "Something is happening in America and people are prepared and ready to make that great leap." [UPDATE: - Mark Halperin at Time regards this defection as a crippling blow: "The timing could not be worse for Clinton. And those in the party and the press who want to write off her chances would be able to make a big deal about such a move. If Lewis breaks away, take whatever you thought Clinton’s chances of winning the nomination before and divide that number by as much as two — those would be the odds of her winning now. UPDATE: As Bill Sloat points out, Lewis says that the Times' report of his conversion was "not accurate."]

* The United Food and Commercial Workers endorsed Obama today, and the Service Employees International Union is expected to follow suit tomorrow. The SEIU had previously backed John Edwards.

Not as high-profile but significant locally, the Plain Dealer reported this morning that former congressman Dennis Eckart (D), although closely allied with Clinton supporter Gov. Ted Strickland (D), is supporting Obama. "His support, energy, and crossover appeal has energized new voters that I haven't seen in 20 years," Eckart said.

An interesting angle on Ohio endorsements is the big city mayors. Mike Coleman (D) of Columbus is a long-standing Obama supporter, while Carty Finkbeiner (D) of Toledo and Don Plusqeullic (D) of Akron are on Clinton's list (although Pho reports that the latter took himself off and then got back on, and newly-elected Canton mayor Jamey Healy (D) denied being a Clinton supporter even though he appeared on the list). Jay Williams (I) of Youngstown supports Obama. But that leaves a lot of other mayors on the sidelines. Mark Mallory (D) of Cincinnati and Rhine McLin (D) of Dayton are deliberately staying out of it. Then there's Frank Jackson (D) of Cleveland.

Today the Plain Dealer reported that Jackson sent a 14-page memo to each campaign, outlining the $1.26 billion in federal spending that Jackson would like to see in each of the next five years to help out his city and it's county. The list includes block grants for community and economic development, infrastructure improvement (highways and sewers), and programs to improve education, safety, and health. The Obama campaign responded promptly with a two-page letter noting that a number of the requests are already covered in Obama's previously announced urban policy. No word yet on Clinton's response, but it is plain that Jackson's endorsement is one that must be earned by means of a serious commitment to address pressing urban needs. If that sounds familiar, it might be because Clinton supporter Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Cleveland), Jackson, and McLin all held out on endorsing Ted Strickland for governor in 2006 until he persuaded them that he was committed to implementing an urban policy favorable to the big Ohio cities.

Michelle Obama in Cincinnati Friday 2/15

02/15/2008 - 6:00pm
02/15/2008 - 7:00pm

Join Michelle Obama for a rally in Cincinnati on Friday, February 15th, at 6:00 p.m. at the MUSIC HALL BALLROOM, 1241 Elm Street.

Admission is free; doors open at 5:15 p.m.

Obama Radio Ad

Listen to the first radio ad for Obama in Ohio:


The 60-second spot titled “Passed.” Full script is after the flip.

Obama Responds to Clinton Attack in Youngstown Speech Today

Barack Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton slams Hillary Clinton over her attack on Obama in the speech she gave near Youngstown this morning:

“Barack Obama doesn’t need any lectures on special interests from the candidate who’s taken more money from Washington lobbyists than any Republican running for President. Hillary Clinton should tell the people of Ohio the truth -- she once bragged about helping to pass the nuclear bill she’s now criticizing Obama for, she came out with her plan for green jobs one month after Obama did, and she’s said she’d ‘go after’ people's wages if they couldn’t afford health insurance under her plan. Senator Clinton may have said that attacks and distortions are the ‘fun’ and ‘exciting’ part of the campaign, but they’re exactly what everyone else in America is tired of."

Supporting material after the break.

OH-18: Call Space (D) Today - Say "No" to Telecom Immunity

Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) is on the hot seat about keeping immunity for telecommunications companies out of the FISA bill on warrantless wiretapping. The Bush administration is terrified of what might come out as a result of those pending civil lawsuits against the big phone companies for going along with Bush's illegal warrantless surveillance. Killing the lawsuits has nothing to do with national security, yet Bush says he'll veto the FISA bill unless the immunity clause is included.

Call Space and tell him to stand up to the White House and protect the Constitution. Tell him to support the House version of the legislation, not the sell-out Senate version:

Phone: (202) 225-6265, Fax: (202) 225-3394

Clinton Speech in Youngstown Today

Reporter William Hershey has posted on the Dayton Daily News blog Ohio Politics the prepared text of Hillary Clinton's Ohio kickoff speech at the Lordstown GM plant near Youngstown today. I'll update with some excerpts and a reaction in a few minutes.

UPDATE: She opens by trying to connect to Ohioans by pointing out that she "grew up in the Midwest" (ha - Ohioans don't really relate to Illinois, and she isn't going to separate herself form Obama on this), praising Ohio as the birthplace of aviation (allowing her to immediately tie in the John Glenn endorsement), and the thing about Ohio arming the U.S. in the two world wars.

Then comes a long bit about hard times in Ohio, the American Dream being tested, empathy for things like this:

You try to fill your child’s prescription, and they tell you, Sorry, that’s no longer covered. After a while, you feel like a human ATM - with all the money going the wrong way.

So she says that's why she is here in Ohio, and gets in a dig at Obama on the "all style no substance" front:

When the bright lights are off and the speeches are over, who can you count on to listen to you, to stand up for you, to deliver solutions for you?

That's followed by trashing Bush for "blowing the bank" on tax breaks and no-bid contracts, and bemoaning our dependence on China for loans and steel (good line: Bush has "signed a subprime mortgage on America’s economy"), and she follows that by "announcing an agenda to reign in the special interests and save the American people at least $55 billion a year." (This appears to be a reaction of sorts to Obama's announcement of a $210 billion jobs initiative yesterday.)

The agenda involves:

* Ending tax breaks for oil companies,

FOX News McCain/Obama = DOOMSDAY

This is just a quick funny for you

This main graphic on is named "021208_doomsday6.jpg". It is a photo of McCain and Obama with the caption "McCain Obama Sweep Dreams"

Tell us how you really feel FOX!

UPDATE: You can't find it live anymore :-) But that is one heck of a "fair and balanced" naming convention they have going on there!

Ted Kennedy in NE Ohio Saturday 2/16

The Obama for America campaign has just announced that Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) will host events in Cleveland, Akron, and Youngstown on Saturday, February 16th, details to be announced. I will update when they are available.

UPDATE: Details on the Cleveland event, "Community Gathering with Senator Ted Kennedy":

Fairhill Center
12200 Fairhill Rd.
Cleveland, OH

Saturday, February 16, 2008
Doors Open: 10:15 a.m.

The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required, but an RSVP is encouraged:

Novak: GOP in "Dark Mood"

Taegen Goddard has an excerpt from the latest report from conservative pundit Bob Novak, who says that "amid the exciting windup" of the Democratic nomination process, "the reality is that 2008 shapes up as a very bad year for the GOP." Huge Democratic turnout and boisterous rallies have generated pronounced "pessimism and gloom" in the pro-GOP business community.

Adding to the "dark mood among Republicans," Novak says, is the possible departure of Hilary Clinton from the race:

[T]hey will not be able to bolster their morale by running against the detested Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.). Her unification of Republicans has been one of the few GOP assets going into the campaign. It will take time and effort to work up a passion against the likable Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) no matter how leftist he really is."

Readers have been debating the significance of this purported GOP preference for running against Clinton in the comment thread to an earlier post.

New Quinnipiac Ohio Poll Shows Clinton Leading Obama by 21 Points

On the heels of the SUSA poll two days ago that showed Clinton 17 points ahead, a new poll released by Quinnipiac University today shows Clinton leading Obama among likely primary voters in Ohio by 21 points:

55% Clinton
34% Obama

A Quinnipiac poll taken in early December showed Clinton with a 26 point lead (45% to 19%), so Obama has gained some ground since then.

In head-to-head matchups with McCain, both candidates are essentially tied: Clinton 43%/McCain 44%, Obama 40%/McCain 42%.

At this stage of the game, Clinton has a very big lead over Obama among women (56% to 30%) but also leads by 10 points among men (52% to 42%). Obama leads 64% to 17% among African American voters.

Pollster Peter Brown notes in the release that voters see the economy as a larger issue than Iraq, that the demographics in Ohio are very favorable to Clinton ("If Clinton can't win the primary [in Ohio], it is very difficult to see how she stops Obama"), and that Obama has shown the ability to close similarly large gaps in other states ("Clinton must fend off another last-minute Obama surge in the Buckeye State").

Obama Yard Signs In The Works

I just learned that the Obama campaign in Ohio is acquiring and distributing yard signs to local offices (which they are still in the process of opening). They hope that signs will be available at the local offices in about three or four days.

The campaign says that the best way to locate your local office is through the web site.

Yard signs are also available from the online Obama shop, but due to the huge demand they are currently on back order.

Redfern on MSNBC Today 2/14

Tune in to MSNBC at 10:15am and 2:30pm today to hear ODP Chair Chris Redfern talk about the upcoming Ohio primary and "the issues that matter most to Democratic voters," per a press release from the party. (This appearance was bumped from yesterday.)

Obama Canvassing & Phonebanking in Columbus 2/16

02/16/2008 - 9:00am
02/16/2008 - 6:00pm

The Obama for America campaign is having a kickoff canvassing and phonebanking event this Saturday, February 16th at the new Obama campaign office in Columbus. Starts at 9:00 a.m. and you can show up all day.

They are located on 193 E Rich St. (map). Telephone will be 614-224-8600 once they get their phone line installed.
They need volunteers, donations, food, office supplies, etc.

Obama Kickoff Canvass & Office Opening 2/16

02/16/2008 - 10:00am
02/16/2008 - 2:00pm

The Cleveland Kickoff Canvass happens Saturday morning at 10:00 in the new Obama for America office in Cleveland:

815 Superior Avenue East (corner of E. 9th)
Suite 100
Cleveland, OH 44114 (map)

Rally for Obama in Cleveland 2/15

02/15/2008 - 5:00pm
02/15/2008 - 6:00pm

There will be a large volunteer rally for the Obama for America campaign at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 15th, at the Antioch Baptist Church, East 89th Street and Cedar Avenue in Cleveland. Click here for a map.

Obama and Clinton on Obama's NAFTA Attack

My post yesterday with images of the NAFTA attack mailer sent out by Barack Obama's campaign was picked up by political reporter Scott Helman writing on the Boston Globe blog Political Intelligence. Helman asks of the mailer, is it "a fair shot or a cheap shot?" He notes that Hillary Clinton did not use the actual word "boon" in describing NAFTA -- that word was taken from a paraphrase published in Newsday.

Helman helpfully points to justification for the attack at Obama's campaign site, and a rebuttal at Clinton's site. Obama points out that Clinton referred to NAFTA as a "success" in her memoir, that a report on a speech she gave in Texas in 1996 quoted her as praising the "widespread benefits" it would bring to the region, and that reporters at Bloomberg News and the San Francisco Chronicle recently described her as having changed her position on trade (the latter called it a "flip-flop"). For her part, Clinton accuses Obama of consistently fabricating quotes, cites a National Journal report that called Obama the presidential candidate most likely to support further trade liberalization, points out two examples of Obama votes that appear to support trade liberalization, attacks his criticism that her call for a "time out" on trade deals is vague, and reasserts several proposals she has made for stricter trade policy.

ODP revamps website, changes platform

The Ohio Democratic Party website has a new look and feel. They have dropped the Blue Utopia system (based out of Seattle) in favor of the Kintera system (home offices in San Diego, CA, as I recall.) The last Ohio political website which used Kintera, that I recall was when Eric Fingerhut ran for the US. Senate.

These outfits provide a bundled mix of services such as template based web design, web hosting, CMS (content management system) and online contribution processing.

So what do you think of the new site so far?

Recently, ODP had been promoting Blue Utopia to candidates and had arranged for special discount rates for Ohio Democrats who went with them. For example, they host the Ohio House Democratic Caucus website. Before that, ODP had used and promoted the Orchid for Change system, which I really hated.

In other Ohio Democratic web developments, State Senator John Boccieri has rebuilt his website for OH-16 using DCS Online Communications out of D.C.

Michelle Obama in Ohio Friday 2/15

The Daily Briefing is reporting that Michelle Obama (AP photo at right) will campaign on Friday in Columbus and Cincinnati, details yet to be announced.

Clinton as GOP's Preferred Opponent

Howard Wilkinson of the Enquirer writes today (at some length) about the "worst-kept secret" of the Ohio primary, i.e., that Ohio Republicans want Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee, hoping that she'll unite their fractured party and energize their dispirited voters. The response in defense of Clinton comes from supporters Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper and Gov. Ted Stickland:

“Republicans have been throwing everything they can at Hillary Clinton for years now," Pepper said. “I don’t know what more they can say that is going to drive more people away from her. It’s all been said. You either like her or you don’t.”

But Obama, Pepper said, has yet to be a target of the Republican “attack machine.”

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, another high-profile Clinton supporter, agreed.

“There will be venom directed at whoever the Democratic candidate is," Strickland said. ”John Kerry, a war hero who was portrayed as someone who somehow didn’t bleed enough to earn his medals, I mean, give me a break.

Carville thinks Ohio could end it for Hillary

Today in Orlando, James Carville stated it could end very soon for Hillary..

On the chances of Hillary Clinton, the candidate he is advising:

"She’s behind. Make no mistake. If she lose either Texas or Ohio, this thing is done."

I think she has to do more than win. I think she'll have to dominate both to overcome Obamas' surge. If she get's a big win, perhaps, she can pull it off and regain momentum. If not, I think it is all over.

What do you think?

Chelsea Clinton at CSU and U of Akron Tomorrow 2/14

Per the Dayton Daily News blog Politics:

Chelsea Clinton will attend rallies at 10:45 a.m. at Cleveland State University on Thursday, Feb. 14, and at the University of Akron at 1:15 p.m. later that day.

Don't know where specifically, but you can probably just look for the media trucks, crowds, and banners.

UPDATE: DDN has better info on the CSU event, which will feature Bill as well as Chelsea:

Bill and Chelsea Clinton will be at the University Center Atrium tomorrow from 11am-12noon for a live question and answer session. A meet and greet is being sponsored by the CSU Student Government Assn.

Sponsored Post

The Views Expressed In Reader-Contributed Comments, Forums And Posts Are Not Necessarily Those Of OhioDaily Or Its Management.