The Obama for America campaign announced at a press conference today that 15 members of the Ohio General Assembly are supporting Barack Obama:
Sen. Capri Cafaro, Hubbard
Sen. Eric Kearney, Cincinnati
Sen. Tom Roberts, Dayton
Sen. Tom Sawyer, Akron
Sen. Shirley Smith, Cleveland
Rep. Jennifer Brady, Cleveland
Rep. Ted Celeste, Columbus
Rep. Mike Foley, Cleveland
Rep. Robert Hagan, Youngstown
Rep. Tracy Heard, Columbus
Rep. Tom Letson, Warren
Rep. Clayton Luckie, Dayton
Rep. Dan Stewart, Columbus
Rep. Tyrone Yates, Cincinnati
Rep. Sandra Williams, Cleveland
[UPDATE: Rep Vernon Sykes of Akron wasn't listed but is an Obama supporter.]
That essentially ties him with Hillary Clinton, who claimed 14 on the list of endorsements issued last week:
Sen. Ray Miller, Columbus - Senate Minority Leader
Sen. Lance Mason, Cleveland - Minority Whip
Sen. Dale Miller, Cleveland
Rep. Todd Book, McDermott - Ass't Minority Leader
Rep. Steve Dyer, Green
Rep. Eugene Miller, Cleveland
Rep. Barbara Boyd, Cleveland Heights
Rep. Michael DeBose, Cleveland
Rep. Tim DeGeeter, Parma
Rep. Jennifer Garrison, Marietta
Rep. Edna Brown, Toledo
Rep. Matt Szollosi, Oregon
Rep. Linda Bolon, East Palentine
Rep. Ron Gerberry, Austintown
There are 67 Democratic legislators in the two chambers combined, so these two lists represent fewer than half. Comparing the two lists is interesting along several dimensions.
Continued after the break.
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS), daughter of former Ohio Governor John J. Gilligan, will campaign for Barack Obama in Cincinnati on Wednesday. A Cincinnati native, Sebelius is currently serving her second term as Governor of Kansas, having been reelected by a wide margin in 2006.
Details after the break.
First up, Joe Cimperman: "Let's not be fooled again," he says. Kucinich is "a show horse, not a work horse." Says he'll work for jobs and development. Touts community service and city council record. Very sharp, forceful.
Barbara Anne Ferris: "We deserve better." Emphasizes local roots, lifetime of service. Peace corps. Has worked in Congress, understand budget process and can "bring federal dollars to the district." More gravitas
Mayor Thomas O'Grady: Nice anecdote about priest at his mayoral inauguration asking him to be blessed with anger, tears, and foolishness - all for laudable purposes. Says he's running because he was unable to do what is needed for his city as a mayor. Touts military experience; points out that he was born in the district. "I am a suburban mayor who is of Cleveland and for Cleveland."
UPDATE: Rosemary Palmer: Leads with death of son in Iraq three years ago. Talks about other problems, like foreclosure crisis. Expands qualification to background as teacher and journalist. She is hoarse today, but is speaking more smoothly and more convincingly than early in the campaign. "I am the candidate who will restore faith in the legislative process."
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: "Our area is at a point where we need to consolidate our strengths." Talks about efforts to save steel production and automotive industry in Cleveland. Stresses opposition to NAFTA (passed before he got to Congress). Trade agreements need to protect workers' rights. Job loss connected directly to trade agreements. Manufacturing base also hurt by health care; he is author of bill to fix health care. "It has been my leadership in Congress that has put health care front and center." Now that's a hell of a claim! Says he has led opposition to the war, emphasizes economic cost. Has a plan to get out of Iraq. "People know that I cannot be bought, and I cannot be bossed." He got louder and louder as he went.
This week's Cleveland edition of the African American-oriented newspaper Call & Post has a front page story on local endorsements in the presidential race (not available online). Here's the gist:
* 2 of 3 county commissioners (Tim Hagan and Peter Lawson Jones) support Obama, while the third (Jimmy Dimora) is neutral.
* Mayor Frank Jackson has not declared an endorsement.
* County prosecutor Bill Mason is "leaning Obama."
* Five of the ten African American members of Cleveland City Council have endorsed Obama (Fannie Lewis, Phyllis Cleveland, Nina Turner, Kevin Conwell, and Obama delegate Sabra Pierce Scott) while two support Clinton (Robert White and Roosevelt Coats) and three are neutral or not yet announced (Mamie Mitchell, Zack Reed, and Kenneth Johnson). One of the Obama supporters, Kevin Conwell, switched from Clinton after polling his constituents.
* Of the other eleven council members, the story mentions only that Dona Brady and Council President Martin Sweeney support Clinton.
That reference to Bill Mason bears watching, as reporter Kathy Wray Coleman notes:
[Some] question whether Mason intends to put his political machine up against that of popular Ohio Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the national chairperson of the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign.
UPDATE: While I'm on the topic of Cuyahoga County endorsements, here are the area state legislators claimed by the Clinton camp:
Lance Mason - State Senator - District 25, Minority Whip
Dale Miller - State Senator - District 23
Eugene Miller - State Representative - District 10
Barbara Boyd - State Representative - District 09
Michael DeBose - State Representative - District 12
It's two weeks until the big Ohio showdown. Democrats in Wisconsin and Hawai'i make their choices today. (Hillary Clinton is speaking here in Ohio tonight, so I guess she doesn't expect to pull out a win in the Dairy State, and that primary was considered more winnable for her than the Aloha State.) I know that the last week or two here in Ohio has seemed crazy, but it was as nothing compared to what the next fourteen days will bring.
Folks keep asking me, who do I think will win? I make no bones about it. Although I support Obama, I expect Clinton to get more votes in Ohio than he. But the question becomes, is that a win for her?
Not exactly. I expect Obama to cut sharply into her lead and make it a close race. Call it two or three percentage points. That means that the two candidates will basically share the delegates between them. What Clinton needs to pull ahead in the overall contest is a big win, and I don't see her getting that. I predict that Obama will remain the front runner on the day after OT Tuesday.
I like Clinton. I understand the passion of her supporters. I prefer Obama, but it is not becaause I'm convinced that Clinton would lose the general election or make a poor president. As I watch her and Obama campaign, it seems to me that the character of the contest is determined by two things. One is the fact that the two of them are closely aligned on the issues, at least as to the basics. Like evenly matched mud wrestlers, they are each struggling to find a grip, any grip, on their opponent ... no matter how slight or arguably unfair. Relatively small differences are magnified, turned into implausible negatives, like the specter of Clinton gobbling up paychecks to pay for unwanted health insurance coverage or Obama sitting down at his Oval Office desk next January and discovering that he has no actual ideas in his head.
Senator Barack Obama’s Ohio campaign will host a Lake County organizational meeting for supporters to learn how to get involved in the campaign’s get out the vote efforts leading up to the March 4th primary. Following the meeting, Obama staff, volunteers and supporters will gather to watch the results of the elections in Wisconsin and Hawaii.
Details after the break.
Clinton draws big crowds (I couldn't get into her rally in Lyndhurst last week, which drew 2,500), bascially everyone likely to attend such an event comes out for her. Obama draws huge crowds - inlcuding people who are NOT likely to attend such events. In Youngstown he drew a crowd of 6,000 and did not disappoint:
The following courtesy of the Youngstown Vindicator:
Actor Kal Penn, in the cast of the hit TV show House MD and star of the films The Namesake and Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, will campaign for Barack Obama at college events across Ohio on Wednesday, February 20th.
Details after the break.
Sen. Hillary Clinton will hold a rally at 8:30 p.m. at Chaney High School, 731 S. Hazelwood Avenue, Youngstown.
Doors open at 7:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public.
The Hillary Clinton campaign is sending campaign chairman and former DNC chief Terry "The Macker" McAuliffe into Ohio tomorrow. He will help open Clinton’s Dayton campaign office at 3854 Wilmington Pike at 6 p.m. (open to the public doors open at 5:30 p.m.), and he will be the featured speaker for the Bowling Green State University Democrats at 9 p.m. in Room 205, Olscamp Hall.
The incumbent and the lead challenger have commenced television broadsides as the stage is set for the debate tomorrow at noon at the Crowne Plaza in Cleveland, sponsored by the City Club of Cleveland. The debate will be broadcast on local channels Channels WKYC 3, WEWS 5, and WJW 8. The ads for Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) feature testimonials by citizens on the street, of which this version is typical:
Bush's mini-me is on the way out:
Pakistanis dealt a crushing defeat to President Pervez Musharraf in parliamentary elections on Monday, in what government and opposition politicians said was a firm rejection of his policies since 2001 and those of his close ally, the United States.
Some scattered violence, but no big massacre on election day:
Fears of vote rigging and violence have proved largely unfounded while international observers have so far endorsed the vote.
However, fears of bomb attacks have kept the turnout low.
The likely outcome appears to be a forced coalition of the Punjab-centered Pakistan Muslim League-N party of Nawaz Sharif and the pan-Pakistan populist party of the late Benazir Bhutto, now led by spouse Asif Ali Zardari and (nominally) son Bilawal Bhutto, which is probably the best that could have been hoped for:
In a fair verdict, the PPP-PML-N combine are widely expected to win a majority in 268 of the 272 national assembly seats that went to polls on Monday.
LisaRenee notes this story in the Toledo Blade, reporting that Mayor of Toledo Carty Finkbeiner has NOT endorsed in the presidential race, despite having been named in a list of 100 Ohio supporters issued by the Clinton campaign last week:
[Carty] said his appointment to a statewide leadership group in support of Mrs. Clinton "was a surprise to me."
"I have not officially endorsed anybody in the presidential race. I have talked to both the Clinton and Obama campaigns," Mr. Finkbeiner said.
Questions have also been raised about the authenticity of the endorsement by another mayor on the list, Jamey Healy of Canton.
Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) is an unusual candidate and he has a radio spot that conveys his uniqueness. Called "Out of the Ordinary," it emphasizes his devotion to helping others as exemplified by his second career in pediatric nursing and his Bronze Star from his military service in Vietnam. You can help him get this ad on the air by donating $25, or even sponsor an entire ad for about four times that much and pick where it plays!
Listen to the ad here.
Picking up seats held by Republicans is only one dimension to the Ohio Democratic Party's drive to take control of the Ohio House of Representatives. Another is holding onto seats that are targeted by the GOP, and that is just as important.
ORP Chair Bob Bennett has said that first-term State Rep. Jennifer Brady (D-Westlake) is his party's number one target in November. Brady won a very close race against former congressional candidate Ed Herman (R-Rocky River) in 2006, taking 50.95% of the vote. This suburban district has a Republican lean, and the former representative Sally Kilbane Conway (R-Rocky River) won with 61.74% of the vote in 2004. It is not a district to be taken for granted by any means.
Fortunately for the Democrats, Brady is a great candidate with strong community roots. She worked extremely hard in her first campaign and had the support of lots of volunteers, including folks associated with the West Side Democrats organization that Brady had helped to get going several years before. However, the ORP is going to throw a lot of money into the campaign of Brady's opponent, city council member Nan Baker (R-Westlake), so Brady needs a good campaign war chest to go with her other resources.
This is where all of us come in, and we can have a great time while helping out. Jennifer Brady is having a fish fry on Friday, March 7th, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the American Legion Post #738, at 19311 Lorain Road in Fairview Park. The cost is only $25 per person, or $40 for a couple and $5 per child. This is guaranteed to be a fun family-style party with great people, so come on out and help not only the cause of re-electing a great state representative but helping to hold onto a key seat and boost the Democrats' chances of taking charge of the House.
Last night the Obama for America campaign distributed an email announcing the endorsement of Ohio Treasurer Rich Cordray (D-Grove City). He is the first statewide officeholder to break from Gov. Strickland, so his endorsement is highly significant for that reason. However, I see it as having even more significance on another front.
The crux of Clinton's criticism of Obama is that he lacks substance, whether that is expressed by calling his campaign a "fairy tale" or "fluff" or even a "cult." Inherent in this line of attack is the notion that voters are being bamboozled.
The real significance of Cordray's endorsement is that he is a thinking person's politician. This endorsement comes with a pedigree of intellectual prowess.
Cordray was Order of the Coif and Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review at The University of Chicago Law School, and has a masters degree with honors in philosophy, politics & economics from Oxford University. He argued six cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, was Ohio's first Solicitor General, and taught for 15 years at Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University. His terms as Franklin County Treasurer and now as Ohio Treasurer have been marked by brilliant innovations and new programs. He was even a champion on Jeopardy.
In short, Cordray is not a person to be bedazzled by rhetoric or to make an endorsement based on mere emotion. If he supports Obama, it is a based on a rational appraisal of Obama's merits, and Cordray is not one to be fooled.
When Stark County Democrats choose a presidential candidate March 4, they can look to the past or to the future. They should look ahead — eight months ahead as well as four or eight years. ...
On many issues ... Obama and Hillary Clinton have similar if not identical views that contrast sharply with McCain's. But Obama, not Clinton, represents the stronger contrast to McCain's position on the foreign-policy issue that most concerns Americans. As senators, both Clinton and McCain voted for the resolution that President Bush used as authority to invade Iraq. Obama has said he opposed the war from the beginning, and he has a more specific plan for withdrawing U.S. troops than Clinton does. ...
... Voters have been exposed to the ideas of a wealth of smart, articulate candidates from both parties in dozens of debates. But no candidate of either party has brought the sense of excitement and hope to the process of choosing a president that Obama has. This isn't a frivolous or trivial matter. Obama's appeal to voters black and white, young and old, male and female, is a reassuring sign that ordinary citizens are saying they want politics and governance to look and sound and feel different than they have for too long. ...
Today County Commissioner Todd Bosley (D) became the first countywide elected official in the key electoral battleground of Stark County to publicly endorse Sen. Barack Obama.
Bosley won this seat in an important election in 2006, defeating incumbent Richard Regula (R) and thereby perhaps derailing that legislator's hopes of succeeding his father Rep. Ralph Regula (R) in the 16th Ohio Congressional District. As I wrote on my blog during the race, an important part of Bosley's campaign was Regula's resistance to upgrading the county's 911 emergency response system, thus threatening the safety of county residents.
From Bosley's press release:
After more than seven years of divisive politics and fierce partisanship, it is my belief that what America needs now is a leader that can heal old wounds and bring us together as one nation once again. A leader who is not content with continuing along with business as usual, but instead will work to bring transformational change to a system that leaves so many millions of our fellow countryman without a voice. I strongly believe that we have such a choice in 2008, and his name is Senator Barack Obama.
Meanwhile, also in Stark County, I hear that the newly elected Mayor of Canton William J. Healy II (D) has told a number of people that he personally supports Barack Obama, as do several members of his cabinet, but he is compelled to publicly support Hillary Clinton in order to maintain a good relationship with Gov. Ted Strickland (D), a major Clinton supporter.
Healy's name appeared on the list of 100 endorsers in Ohio released by the Clinton campaign last week. Pho noted on Wednesday that Healy wanted off that list, at least for the time being, based on this story in the Akron Beacon Journal (reporting that Healy said he would not be endorsing before the primary).
What I have now been told (at second hand) is that some time ago Healy received a surprise personal call from Hillary Clinton, during which he wished her well. That general language was taken as specific support and caused his name to appear on the endorsement list. Healy later got a call from the governor (apparently after his statement to the Beacon Journal was published) during which Healy stated that he wants Obama to win, but the inevitable end result of the call was a commitment by Healy to publicly support Clinton. Strickland provided major assistance to Healy with his mayoral election, and staying on the governor's good side is of major importance to both the new mayor and the fortunes of his city.
I'm not sure what heading to file this under, but the other night on MSNBC I heard former NAACP head and member of Congress Kweisi Mfume (D-MD) refer to Barack Obama as "Oback Barama." I thought it was just a slip of the tongue, but later in his comment he again misnamed him, this time as "Senator Barama."
A man who took the name Kweisi Mfume did that. And he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2006, while Obama was already in it. I'm just really surprised.
I don't mean to be too critical, really, it is not the easiest name for an English speaker, but ... wow. So I Googled "Oback Barama" to see if anyone else noticed, and got about 278 hits - none of them in reaction to what Mfume said on MSNBC. Some appear to be derogatory usage on right-wing sites, many appear to be mere confusion. (One is from Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Saturday Night Live about a year ago - apparently a satirical use of the misnomer, although that is not entirely clear.) Considering that a Google search of the correct name Barack Obama gets 4,620,000 hits, I shouldn't be shocked at 278 occurrences of the incorrect name, but it's hard to resist.
UPDATE: As long as I'm engaging in silliness about candidate names, I have to add this. Although many find Obama's name difficult, one friend of mine commented that it strikes her as melodious and pleasing to the ear. She compared it to Clinton's surname, which she said sounds like dropping a heavy metal object on a concrete floor.
I laughed, but try it out. CLIN-ton. Once you get that notion in your head it won't go away.
You are cordially invited to attend a fundraising reception for Bev Campbell Democrat for State Representative - HD20
912 S. High Street Columbus, OH 43215
Suggested contribution: $250
Please make checks payable to:
Friends of Bev Campbell
For Information: 614-208-3536
The Choice is Clear!
"Bev Campbell worked hard in 2006 as our Democratic candidate, coming within 368 votes of winning another House seat."
"She has earned our support and is the right Democrat to finish the job and win for us in 2008."
Bill Sloat gets credit for picking up this item on a blog at Newsday, also noted by Jill, in which the newspaper expresses regret about a chart published in 2006 that including the words "boon to the economy" in summarizing Clinton's position on NAFTA. The paper says it "should have been clearer" that this was not a quote from Clinton. However, the paper also says that the word "was our characterization of how we best understood her position on NAFTA, based on a review of past stories and her public statements," and "Clinton's campaign did not contact us to question the item after it appeared in print."
The Obama mailer never explicitly claims that Clinton used the word "boon" about NAFTA directly, but putting it in quotation marks clearly gives that impression. (That's how I took it.) I believe that I was the first person to put images of the mailer on the internet -- CNN and NBC both contacted me to request high-resolution images of the mailer, and the volume of file transfers out of my site that day and the day after was through the ceiling. (A blog at the Boston Globe cited me by name; The Politico and First Read linked to this blog as their source.)
I didn't question the authenticity of the apparent quote, but Modernesquire did in the comments. On the merits, I think that the issue of whether Clinton previously was supportive of NAFTA to some degree and has shifted her stance is a fair one to raise. However, the question of whether the apparent quotation was a fair tactic has the potential to swallow up the debate as to the merits of the claim. (For the record, Clinton has denounced the mailer in speeches as "containing falsehoods," a phrasing that could refer to being misquoted as well as the underlying contention that she supported NAFTA. However, the "Fact Hub" on her campaign site focuses on the substance of Obama's attack, not her use of the word "boon.") As I noted this morning in a comment at WLST, in a strange way this reminds me of an aspect of the Bush military service/Rathergate blow-up late in the 2004 presidential campaign.
Continued after the break.
Zach Manifold, executive director of the Franklin County Democratic Party will lead off this meeting. Attendees will hear from 3 candidates running in the primary for the 12th Congressional district: David Robinson, Aaron Dagres and Russ Goodwin, as well as John O'Grady, who is running for Franklin County Commissioner.
Details after the break.
From Geauga County Democratic stalwart Janet Carson:
As a Hillary delegate, I'm helping to organizing Geauga, Eastern Cuyahoga, and Lake Counties and our first meeting will be Sunday, February 17th, in Mentor. This is an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of Hillary's campaign and get connected with Hillary's representative for our area.
Details after the break.
Sen. Barack Obama arrives in Ohio on Presidents Day -there's got to be some good mojo in that, right?
Details after the flip.
The Obama campaign has announced that Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) will host a big rally in Columbus today. She is co-chair of the Obama for America campaign, is in her fifth term in Congress, and is Chief Deputy Democratic Whip. She opposed the Iraq war resolution and was a founding member of the Out-of-Iraq Caucus, and is also a leading advocate for women's issues in Congress. Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently appointed her to the House Select Committee on Intelligence. (Her spouse, Robert Creamer, is the author of "Listen to Your Mother STAND UP STRAIGHT: How Progressives Can Win" and gave an excellent presentation at RootsCamp in January.)
Event details after the break.