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."
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.
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!
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.
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:
So says Jessica Wehrman of the Dayton Daily News. Details if and when I get them.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
As promised, details on the appearance by Michelle Obama in Cleveland on Thursday, 2/21 are after the flip.
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.
Just in from the Obama campaign: Alyssa Lenhoff-Dann, local school board member and wife of Attorney General Marc Dann, will appear with Alfre Woodard in Youngstown today and announce her endorsement of Barack Obama today at the opening of the Obama for America Youngstown office. The event will be at 12:45 p.m. at 25 Federal Plaza West in Youngstown.
Zogby released a national poll this morning showing that Obama has surged into a huge 14 point national lead over Hillary Clinton:
The pollster reports that Obama is cutting into demographic categories that were Clinton's strength:
Obama not only wins big among younger voters, but has also made significant inroads and now leads Clinton among those likely voters ages 50 to 64 - the heart of the Baby Boomers - by a stunning 57% to 29% margin. This is a group of which Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, are members. Clinton had shown strength in that age demographic group in earlier surveys. ...
[Obama] having erased Clinton's advantage among female voters, the two are deadlocked at 44%. Among men, Obama leads by a 61% to 32% margin.
Obama's advantage spans most of the ideological spectrum - he leads by 23 points among progressives at the far left end of the political scale; by 16 points among mainline liberals; and by eight points among moderates. Only among the small percentage of likely Democratic voters who consider themselves conservatives does Clinton hold a lead over Obama - leading him by 14 points.
The same poll finds that Obama leads McCain in a head-to-head match-up, while Clinton trails him:
Obama's superior performance against McCain comes from strong support by voters under age 65, among women and independents. Also, among African Americans, Obama leads McCain 80% to 3% with 18% undecided, but Clinton wins just 58% support among African Americans against McCain, who wins 18% backing.
I'm on a conference call with Bill Burton, spokesman for Obama for America, and he just said that even they didn't expect the huge 17 point win in Wisconsin. He also called the victory in the Hawai'i caucuses, where Obama got 76% of the vote, "overwhelming."
The Obama campaign calculates that their lead in pledged delegate increased from 141 to 159 as a result of yestedary's contests. Looking ahead to Ohio, if the result here is within 5% the winner will only pick up about 3 net delegates. Burton says Clinton would need to win both Ohio and Texas by huge margins - like 20% - to cut significantly into Obama's lead in pledged delegates. Under the worst case scenario, Obama's camp expects to still be leading by about 150 pledged delegates after OT Tuesday, regardless of whether Clinton ekes out a win in Ohio and/or Texas. She would have to win over 75% of the remaining delegates after that just to pull even. Burton urges the reporters on the call to press the Clinton campaign to explain, state by state and CD by CD, exactly where they think they will come up with the pledged delegates to win.
Burton says that the Clinton camp keeps calling this an even race, and that is "lunacy."
Exit polling in Wisconsin revealed that voters preferred Obama on national security, the economy, and beating the Republican nominee in November. This makes Clinton's new charge that Obama is not ready to be commander-in-chief or president on day one, or to take on McCain, ring hollow. Burton says it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a huge difference between how Obama and Clinton will perform in November against John McCain. Obama attracts independents, Clinton does not.
Burton pointed out that Clinton's campaign took a sharply negative turn over the weekend, with negative TV ads, mail pieces, and robocalls, and this was "thoroughly rejected" by the voters.
It has been a long time since Obama has had the luxury of spending a substantial amount of time on the ground in a single state, and Burton says that he is looking forward to a real spirited contest in Ohio over the next fourteen days.
"On the first day of early voting for the March 4 Texas Primary, students at Prairie View A&M University marched 7.3 miles from the school's Student Center to the Waller County courthouse in Hempstead -- the closest early voting location to the campus."
I imagine the weather will halt most Ohioans from marching outdoors. Still, I hope we see this kind of passion and a big turnout.
If you can, go vote now.
Any registered voter may vote early in person by going to his local county Board of Elections office after absentee ballots are available, usually 35 days before Election Day, and request, receive, and vote his absentee ballot at the office. The last day for in person absentee voting is the day before the election.
For a directory of Boards of Elections, please see:
Even against the background of record turnout elsewhere, this astounds me, because Wisconsin has been evenly divided between Rs and Ds for a while:
Total Democratic vote in Wisconsin: 1,110,702
Total Republican vote in Wisconsin: 409,078
Gore and Kerry won Wisconsin very narrowly. This huge discrepancy is very significant. The independents swarmed to Obama, and that is a very good sign.
In case you missed it. Feel the excitement, in two parts:
Emmy and Golden Globe winner Alfre Woodard will appear at Obama events in Warren, Youngstown and Canton today, about which I don't have any details yet. Tomorrow she will headline the grand opening of Barack Obama’s Mansfield office and hold a Women for Obama event in Wooster.
Woodard is in the cast of the hit ABC show “Desperate Housewives” and won Emmys for her work in “The Practice," “Miss Evers’ Boys,” "L.A. Law," and "St. Elsewhere." She was nominated for an Oscar for her role in “Cross Creek.”
Event details for Thursday after the break.