Politics & Policy

Ohio Wednesday Evening Roundup

Gubernatorial Race

  • CNN explains how Ted Strickland just can’t quit Obama:

Count Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland among the Democrats who have decided to play the hand he has been dealt – meaning not running from the party label and the White House economic record and message.

In an interview Tuesday night, the embattled incumbent said there are hundreds of auto workers in his state whose jobs would “not exist today had it not been for the administration.”

“You know, I’m not going to be overly critical because I think what he has done has been of help to us,” Strickland said on the eve of President Obama’s latest visit to the state.

John Kasich is no fan of the Obama economic program, but says perhaps this time the president has an idea worth considering.

The former GOP congressman is running for Ohio governor now, and says he wants to study the proposal President Obama is set to unveil Thursday near Cleveland.

The president is to propose a new research and development tax credit, in an effort to spur hiring. But the GOP congressional leadership has all but ruled out cooperating on any major Obama economic initiatives before Election Day.

“Better late than never as far as I am concerned,” Kasich told CNN on Wednesday over coffee. “I need to see the details – these things are always in the details. … I’ve never been somebody who opposes an idea just because it happens to come from somebody in another party.”

Senatorial Race

Always remember where you are.Of course, that’s easier said than done for presidents with busy travel schedules — as President Obama found out today in Ohio when he sought to introduce U.S. Senate candidate Lee Fisher.

“The lieutenant governor and soon-to-be junior senator from the great state of Illinois — or Ohio … Lee Fisher is here,” Obama said. (At least he remembered the guy’s name.)

The president recovered by saying: “Yes, I used to hear that line all the time about the senator from Illinois. That would be me.”

Lagging in both fundraising and recent polls, the Democratic candidate for Ohio’s open U.S. Senate seat said Tuesday it will be a week-to-week decision on how much TV time he can buy up until the Nov. 2 general election.

Cash-strapped Lee Fisher, currently Ohio’s lieutenant governor, said fundraising has improved, but he won’t come close to matching the spending by former Republican congressman Rob Portman.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rob Portman told the Enquirer’s editorial board Wednesday morning that, if elected, he has no interest in helping the city of Cincinnati with its $128 million streetcar project.

“I don’t think it is a good expenditure right now,” said Portman, the former Republican congressman from Terrace Park. “These are difficult times.”

Nor, he said, is he interested in helping Ohio get federal money for the “3C” passenger rail plan which would link Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland, saying that the plans put forward by the state envision a rail system that would be out-0f-date before it was built.

House Races

  • The Hill reports that John Boccieri, of OH-16, sits meekly in the pews listening to Obama proclaim from on high:

Endangered Ohio Rep. John Boccieri (D) attended President Obama’s speech on the economy in Cleveland on Wednesday.

Before Wednesday, it was unclear whether or not the freshman lawmaker would appear at the event with the president. Boccieri represents a district southwest of Cleveland that was represented by longtime GOP Rep. Ralph Regula before his retirement in the 2008 cycle.

  • Politifact rather inanely parses Boccieri’s challenger’s claim that the frosh Democrat spent “a billion dollars an hour” during his initial days in office:

Republicans have been singing this campaign season about federal spending, hoping their charge that Democrats are spending too much money too fast strikes a chord with voters.

Jim Renacci, who is challenging incumbent John Boccieri in Ohio’s hotly contested 16th Congressional District, has joined the chorus. ”Boccieri voted to spend a billion dollars an hour, every hour, for his first 50 days in office,” Renacci’s campaign website says.[…]

The calender works, and the math works, theoretically. But there is a point about the math that needs to be clarified.

It is true that the total for those two bills is about $1.2 trillion. And that can be broken down to $1 billion an hour, every hour, for 50 days. And Congress voted to spend that total. 

But Congress did not vote to spend it by the hour, nor did it spend it within that 50 days.

But, Factcheck.org points out, five freshman Democrats have campaign ads saying they voted against TARP – even though they weren’t in Congress when the bill passed.   

* Mary Jo Kilroy says she “voted against the bank bailout.”   

* Kathy Dahlkemper says she voted “against a bailout that helped Wall Street.”   

* Frank Kratovil claims to have cast his vote in opposition to “the big bank bailout.”   

* Dina Titus’ ad maintains she “even voted against the bank bailout.”   

* Glenn Nye’s ad tells viewers he went “against his own party” and “voted against the Wall Street bailout.”

  • Steve Driehaus, meanwhile, tries to wiggle out of what eliminating the Bush Tax Cuts actually means, while Steve Chabot slaps him down:

“Let me be crystal clear: We are not raising taxes on the middle classes,” said Rep. Steve Driehaus, a Cincinnati Democrat. “I will not support raising taxes on the middle class.”

But his opponent in November’s election doesn’t see things that way.

“It’s clearly a mistake to be raising taxes, especially in these tough economic times,” said Republican Steve Chabot, who voted for the Bush tax cuts when he held the seat he seeks to reclaim.

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