Politics Extra
Enquirer reporters give the scoop on what your politicians are doing

Jessica Brown,
Hamilton County reporter

Jon Craig,
Enquirer statehouse bureau

Jane Prendergast,
Cincinnati City Hall reporter

Malia Rulon,
Enquirer Washington bureau

Carl Weiser,
Blog editor

Howard Wilkinson,
politics reporter

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Compassionate conservative

Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis Jr. believes having his deputies patrol Over-the-Rhine is a rousing success.

In addition to having 19 deputies patrolling the troubled Cincinnati neighborhhod, Leis has prisoners sweeping up and cleaning up the neighborhood, wearing their orange and white jail uniforms.

The first day the clean-up began, the temperature was in the mid-90s and very steamy. The deputy assigned to watch the eight inmates cleaning up that day worked up such a sweat that he lost 10 pounds that day, Leis spokesman Steve Barnett said.

Today, there are 10 inmates sweeping up, clearing brush and beautifying them.

Leis gave them a special treat.

"Big Boys, fries and cokes," the Sheriff said.

"Tar baby" speaker to help Heimlich

What is it with Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich and his connection to public figures involved in racial controversies?

First, former U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett was scheduled to make an October appearance at the University of Cincinnati and at an event hosted by Heimlich.

That was cancelled, though, because at the time Bennett was embroiled in a controversy last fall after a caller to Bennett’s radio show mentioned tax revenue was lost because of abortions. During that call, Bennett referred to a book that argues that the aborting of black fetuses was a reason the crime rate declined in recent decades.

Bennett rescheduled his UC appearance but that, too, was cancelled and he never appeared.

Now, Craig Lindner - son of local financier Carl Lindner - is hosting a fundraiser for Heimlich featuring Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (right) – who apologized for making “tar baby” comments last week.

Romney, a Republican considering a 2008 presidential run, was at an Iowa fundraiser last month when he referred to the troubled highway tunnel system in his home state as a “tar baby.”

Blacks complained, suggesting the reference was a derogatory term for blacks.

Romney said he meant the term to refer to the sticky mess the highway tunnel had become after part of its ceiling collapsed and killed a commuter.

Lindner is hosting the Sept. 7 fundraiser in his Indian Hill home.

The last campaign finance report in April noted Heimlich had raised about $400,000 at that time in his race against Democratic challenger David Pepper.

The 2004 recount continues.....

Their effort has not been publicized, but a small group of volunteer skeptics continues to investigate 2004 ballot irregularities in Clermont, Warren, Miami, Cuyahoga and several other Ohio counties. State law allows original ballots and other recount details to be destroyed next month.

For updates on their efforts to preserve a record of the presidential vote, go to this Internet web site: http://www.savetheballots.org/

McCain coming to Ohio

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., just announced that he'll be spending the congressional recess month of August campaigning in Iowa, Louisiana, Virginia, South Carolina and Ohio.

Details of his travels will be posted on his Web site: http://www.straighttalkamerica.com/.

Ohioans will be getting three days with the veteran and former presidential candidate. He'll be here campaigning for Sen. Mike DeWine, a Cedarville Republican, from Sunday, Aug. 20, to the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 22. DeWine faces Rep. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat.

DeWine's campaign said the travel schedule for those three days is still being worked out, but that the two senators would be doing some fundraisers and campaign events together in various cities across the state.

However, considering all the grief DeWine got from Ohio conservatives for his participation in the bipartisan Gang of 14 (pictured above), which brokered a deal to bar a judicial filibuster except in extreme circumstances, it's unclear how much help another Republican member of that gang will bring his campaign...

No matter. We'll let you know if McCain will be headed to Cincinnati.

Hackett tangles with Colbert

Some excerpts from Paul Hackett's appearance last night on The Colbert Report:

- - -

Stephen Colbert: "You're a fancy pants lawyer who goes over, serves in Iraq, sees some combat, comes back and decides to run in a special election in Ohio for Congress on a platform against the president and his war policy - Where do you get off? Just because you been there fighting in the war..."

Hackett: "I must have been shellshocked."

Colbert: "Well, were you?"

Hackett: "Let's make something clear: The American military has accomplished everything that our military can accomplish. We're not going to spread democracy on the business end of an M-16 being held by a 23-year-old Marine."

- - -

Colbert: "I support our troops and I want to know why you don't - because that would mean you don't support yourslf."

- - -

Hackett: "Do you really believe we're going to spread democracy with the business end of an M-16?"

Colbert: "I believe we started democracy with a musket. Did we not?"

- - -

Colbert: "Who would you rather be in a foxhole with, sir, Nancy Pelosi or John McCain?"

Hackett: "Bill Reynolds."

Colbert (looking befuddled): "You can't answer a simple analogy?"

Hackett: "Not a one. I mean, first of all, John McCain? He flew an airplane! My God, what the hell does he know about a foxhole?"

Colbert (starts talking, then pauses): "... That's interesting. Senator, if you'd like to come on my show and refute that point, I'd be happy to have you."

- - -

Anyone have a link to a Web video of last night's show? Also, we want to know how you think the show went. Post your review here.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Jailhouse Politics

After a majority of Cincinnati city council voted to send the idea of building a $6 million temporary jail back to the Law and Public Safety Committee Wednesday, council member Leslie Ghiz unloaded on her colleague John Cranley.

Ghiz, along with council member Jeff Berding, has floated the idea of building eight temporary jail structures as a way to eliminate the early release of prisoners. She was offended that five of her fellow council members declined to back her up with a vote that would have instructed acting city manager Dave Rager to begin negotiating with county officials the parameters of the jail proposal.

The county, through Sheriff Simon Leis and Prosecutor Joe Deters, has repeatedly said building the temporary jail structures is a bad idea and one they won't support.

While Ghiz was angry at all five council members who voted to send her idea back to committee, she was especially upset at Cranley's vote, which she said was politically motivated.

Cranley is running for Congress against Republican Steve Chabot.

"John is making a political decision to put this off until after the election is over," Ghiz said of Cranley. "He doesn't want to have to deal with the sheriff. His congressional race is far more important to him than the city.

"He did it for political reasons, and it makes me want to vomit."

Cranley explained his vote in Wednesday's council meeting, saying it makes no sense to instruct Rager to negotiate with a group of people who don't want to talk about a temporary jail. Cranley said the better approach is for elected officials from both governments to talk about it in an attempt to convince county officials that the idea is a good one.

Cranley said he supports the temporary jail.

"I don’t question her motivations," Cranley said of Ghiz. "I think she really wants to get this done. We just have a disagreement over how to get it done. But if the shriff isn't convinced, this will never get accomplished.

You can’t ask the administration to solve a political problem. This can only be solved by the city's elected officials reaching out to the county's elected officials, and figuring out a compromise. If we stopped criticizing each other, we’ll go a lot further."

Laura Bush headed to Ohio after all

No, the Rep. Steve Chabot campaign didn't reschedule her that quickly. Chabot had planned to host Laura Bush at a campaign fundraiser in Cincinnati tomorrow. Due to a funeral for a local soldier killed in Iraq happening at the same time, he has postponed the event.

Meanwhile, Sen. Mike DeWine is preparing to welcome the first lady to his campaign fundraiser later this month. DeWine's campaign told us Laura Bush would be hosting a luncheon for the senator on Wed., Aug. 16, at the NCR Country Club in Kettering, a suburb of Dayton.

Cost to attend is the same as it was to be for Chabot's event: $1,000 a plate; $2,100 for a private reception where you get to take a photo with the first lady.

Chabot faces Democrat John Cranley; DeWine faces Democratic Rep. Sherrod Brown.

The money race

Dueling press releases on fundraising from Ted Strickland and Ken Blackwell.

Read 'em yourselves:

Strickland Raises $2.5 Million in June and July

Raises $8.8 Million in Fifteen Months; Reports $5.1 Million Total Funds Available

Columbus, Ohio - The Strickland for Governor campaign today announced it has raised more than $8.8 million since entering the race in May 2005 and reported $5.1 million total funds available as of the end of July's filing deadline.

At a daily average contribution rate of nearly $50,000 for the period, Strickland raised $2.5 million in June and July.

The campaign established its initial record-breaking pace when it went from zero to $1 million in the bank during the first 80 days of Strickland's candidacy.

"I am truly humbled by the support I've received from every corner of this great state," Strickland said. "Ohioans are ready for change in Columbus, and together we're going to turnaround Ohio."

The campaign has received contributions from a total of 14,304 contributors.Strickland continued to garner broad support from across the state, and has now received contributions from all 88 of Ohio's counties. The counties with the largest amount of contributions during the latest period were Franklin County at more than $840,000 and Cuyahoga County at more than $540,000.

BLACKWELL SETS RECORD, RAISES OVER $2 MILLION IN JUNE & JULYPresidential Fundraiser Yields a Record $1.5 Million

COLUMBUS - Gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell today shattered campaign fundraising records by reporting more than two million dollars raised in June and July.

Blackwell raised $415,111 in June and $1.6 million in July and reported $3.3 million in total funds available.

"Ohioans are responding to Ken Blackwell’s bold vision and proven leadership," said Blackwell campaign chair Lara Mastin. "Ken Blackwell's anti-tax, job-creating message is inspiring Ohioans and they have responded with overwhelming support."

Blackwell also set an open seat fundraising event record of $1.5 million raised yesterday in Cleveland with President Bush. The previous record of $690,000 was held by Gov. Bob Taft for a May 1998 Cincinnati event. Contributions from the Cleveland event received after July 31 will be reported in the August campaign finance filing.

The event was the most successful Northeast Ohio fundraiser to date for a state candidate.
Blackwell praised Cleveland business leaders and event hosts Ed Crawford and Mal Mixon. “The Cuyahoga County Republican Party has been reborn through the hard work and leadership of Ed Crawford and Mal Mixon,” said Blackwell.

During the reporting period, Blackwell received a total of 3,979 contributions from 3,881 individuals.

Sheriff to speak

Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis Jr. wants the public to know his views on “jail overcrowding” – but he won’t discuss them until the Friday morning press conference.

Leis’ office issued a press release this morning announcing the 10 a.m. press conference. It notes the Sheriff will talk about jail overcrowding and “other matters currently impacting our community.”

But when The Enquirer called the Sheriff’s Office to ask about specifics of the press conference, Leis spokesman Steve Barnett said he wouldn’t talk about it.

He also said Leis was out of the office and unavailable for comment.Leis has been insisting that Hamilton County needs a new 1,800-bed jail to prevent early releases and overcrowding.

There are four public hearings set between Aug. 7-Aug. 24 to discuss how to fund the $225 million a new jail could cost.

Are tax returns relevant?

The spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party criticized the news media today for wasting time over issues like why Ken Blackwell refuses to release his tax returns

State GOP spokesman John McClelland said Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland "has yet to produce one single idea. . . I could care less what Ted Strickland or Ken Blackwell's tax return says. It's not relevant to how they can lead the state. Ken Blackwell has released everything that he's required to release.''

Tuesday, Strickland released income-tax returns for the past five years. Blackwell became the first gubernatorial nominee since 1982 to refuse to release his returns. He makes $105,185-a-year as secretary of state and his latest annual financial-disclosure statement shows he owned 126 stocks worth at least $1,000 apiece last year.

McClelland said the Nov. 7 election is going to be won or lost on who has the better ideas.

But Strickland's spokesman, Jess Goode, said Ohioans have a right to know how much money their next governor earns and "exactly how much he stands to gain if Mr. Blackwell's own misguided tax schemes are implemented. What is it that Ken Blackwell doesn't want Ohio voters to know?"

From 1999 to March 1, 2006, Strickland returned $44,423.21 of his personal income and health benefits to the U.S. Treasury. Strickland's returns show he and his wife, Frances, reported an adjusted gross income of $152,998 in 2005, mostly from Strickland's congressional salary of $150,488. Strickland paid $21,431 -- or 14 percent of his income -- in taxes.

Since his election to Congress in 1992, Strickland and wife have refused to accept the health insurance benefits provided to congressmen as part of their benefits package.

Wednesday night, Blackwell's campaign raised a reported $1.5 million at a Cleveland-area fund-raising party featuring President Bush. Bush routinely releases his tax returns to the public, by the way.

More campaign ads coming your way

The Hill, an insider newspaper in Washington, is reporting today that Democrats have reserved $51.5 million in TV advertising space this month to target Republicans in 32 congressional districts - including Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana.

Here are the ad buys in our region:

Rep. Steve Chabot in Ohio: four weeks at $721,000
Rep. Mike Sodrel in Indiana: six weeks at $1.3 million
Rep. Geoff Davis in Northern Kentucky: six weeks at $2.74 million

Read the entire article here.

Cincinnati loves Laura Bush

In anticipation of Laura Bush's visit to Cincinnati tomorrow for a Rep. Steve Chabot fundraiser, we decided to see just what you all think of the first lady. And, what you all think of her husband. So we took a poll.

Her visit, however, has just been postponed due to a funeral being held at the same time.

In the meanwtime, here are the results of the poll. We asked 500 people in Greater Cincinnati yesterday:

1. "Do you approve or disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as President?"

41% Approve
56% Disapprove
3% Not Sure

Margin of error +/- 4.4 %
See chart here.

2. "Do you approve or disapprove of the job Laura Bush is doing as First Lady?"

64% Approve
28% Disapprove
8% Not Sure

Margin of error +/- 4.3 %
See chart here.

Poll results from SurveyUSA.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cranley had planned to note locale for fundraiser

Updated, 10:38 p.m.:

From the Cranley campaign: "In honor and respect to Corporal Roos and his family, tomorrow's press conference is canceled."

John Cranley, the Democrat challenging Rep. Steve Chabot, had planned to play up the locale for the Laura Bush fundraiser at a press conference Thursday.

His release:


Chabot has refused to ask President Bush the questions the people of the 1st district have about Bush’s lead-up and handling of the Iraq War.

(Cincinnati – OH-1) Four years ago, in October of 2002, President Bush used the 1st congressional district as a launchpad for waging war with Iraq and warned the world that Iraq was a nuclear threat to the United States of America.

Since that time, Steve Chabot has refused to ask the Bush Administration the many questions the people of the 1st district have about Bush’s lead-up and handling of the Iraq War.Ignoring the questions of the people of the 1st district, Chabot has instead chosen to ask President Bush for campaign cash. Friday morning Chabot will have a Bush fundraiser at the Cincinnati Museum Center where Bush launched his PR campaign for war with Iraq.
Congressional candidate John Cranley is running to restore accountability to Ohio’s First Congressional District. Cranley believes that the Congress must exercise its constitutional duty to provide checks and balances on the executive branch, especially to protect and defend the livelihood of the United States of America.

Chabot's statement on the fundraiser

Congressman Chabot Announces Postponement of
First Lady Event

Cincinnati – Congressman Steve Chabot announced today that he has postponed a scheduled event with First Lady Laura Bush out of respect to the family of Marine Cpl. Timothy Roos. Congressman Chabot was previously scheduled to host a brunch with Mrs. Bush at 10:00 a.m. on Friday at the Cincinnati Museum Center. The decision to postpone the event was made after learning that the Mass of Christian Burial for Cpl. Roos was also scheduled for Friday morning.

"I truly believe that our hearts and prayers should be with Timothy Roos and his family during this difficult time," said Chabot. "I did not want our event with the First Lady to distract in any way from the tribute to Corporal Roos and his heroic service to our country."

Chabot said that the event with First Lady Laura Bush would be re-scheduled for a later date.

Chabot cancels Laura Bush fundraiser

Enquirer Washington Bureau reporter Malia Rulon has just learned:

Two days before Rep. Steve Chabot was to welcome Laura Bush to Cincinnati for a campaign fundraiser, the Westwood Republican announced late Wednesday that he’s postponing the event.

Chabot, who’s up for re-election this November against Democrat John Cranley, said he learned earlier on Wednesday that the funeral for Marine Cpl. Timothy Roos of Delhi Township, who was killed July 27 during an enemy attack in Ramadi, Iraq, would be held at the same time on Friday as his breakfast fundraiser with the first lady.

“I decided to postpone it out of respect for the family,” Chabot said. “I didn’t want our event with the first lady to distract in any way from the tribute to Corporal Roos and his service to our country.”

Visitation for Roos will be held Thursday evening at Vitt, Stermer & Anderson Funeral Home; mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Dominic's Church, both in Delhi.
Chabot said he plans to attend the funeral on Friday and that the event at Union Terminal with the first lady would be rescheduled.

Roos, who was 21, leaves his wife, Sara, and their 2-week-old daughter, Annaliese.

Hackett preps for Colbert!

Forget my five minutes on C-SPAN this morning, check out Indian Hill lawyer, Iraq war veteran, former Senate candidate Paul Hackett on The Colbert Report (pronounced Co-berr Re-porr) this Thursday at 11:30 p.m!

For the un-initiated, The Colbert Report is Comedy Central's answer to the Bill O'Reilly-style talk shows. It features The Daily Show alumnus Stephen Colbert, who plays a conservative pundit enamored with anything to do with Bush or America or the Republican Party.

From time to time, he interviews members of Congress for his "Better Know A District" segment. To date, no lawmaker from the Cincinnati area has appeared on his show. Hackett, who lost out on being included in that segment when he was defeated in Ohio's 2nd District by Rep. Jean Schmidt exactly a year ago today, is the first Greater Cincinnati pol - or wannabe pol - to make the show.

Earlier today, a clued-in blog poster alerted us to this Hackett appearance, so we called Hackett up to see if he was ready for the fast-talking comedian, who lately has honed in on his talent for making anyone - everyone? - look like an utter fool.

"I've been training for this my whole life. Bring it on!" Hackett said, explaining that he's actually been watching the show nearly daily since he was booked to appear.

He's also already been on both The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (see the March 14 video here) and HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher (Read excerpts from the Aug. 19, 2005, show here).

But is he really ready for Colbert?

"He's good. I don't think I've seen anybody as quick on their feet. He just counterattacks immediately. It should be fun," Hackett said, adding that as part of his preparation, he made a list of the top 10 controversial comments he's ever made: gay marriage - check; "chicken hawk" - check. You get the idea.

"I'm not taking the challenge lightly," Hackett said. "But it'll be fun. What the hell? It's not like I'm running for anything anymore."

NOW OUR CHALLENGE TO YOU: Tell us how you think Hackett does on the show. For all those night owls out there and die-hard Colbert fans, you know who you are, we're looking for your opinion or comments after the show airs. You can post it here in the comment section.

For those who miss the show Thursday night, it also airs Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. And you can usually get clips from his Web site or YouTube.com.

In Hackett's words: "Bring it on!"

No criminals at City Hall

For a few minutes Wednesday afternoon, it sounded like Cincinnati's crime problem had really hit home: police radio traffic reported a possible hold-up at City Hall, in the treasurer's office.

But, upon further investigation by Enquirer police reporter Quan Truong, it turned out to be a false alarm.

City police said they rushed out shortly after 3:30 p.m. But the two hold-up alarms that went off were confirmed as a technical issue. Police were still on scene to fix the false alarm.

By coincidence, city council was meeting at that time - albeit at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Sherrod Brown's new best friend

After months of spitting nails at each other, Democratic Senate candidate Sherrod Brown and his erstwhile rival, Paul Hackett, kissed and made up at an impromptu rally last month on the banks of the Ohio River.

Next week, the two will have their second date.

The ubiquitous Hackett, who seems to get more ink and air time than most candidates who are actually running for something, will join Brown next week in Cincinnati for an event focused on veterans' benefits and the war in Iraq.

Chaperoning the event will be former senator Max Cleland, the quadriplegic Vietnam veteran who toured southern Ohio last summer touting Hackett's 2nd Congressional District campaign.

Trolling for dollars in Ohio

Today, while the Cincinnati Republican candidate for governor, Ken Blackwell, rakes in campaign cash from rich northeast Ohio Republicans with the help of President Bush in a Cleveland version of Indian Hill, Democrat Ted Strickland is planning some August trips to Cincinnati to shake the money tree.

Republicans raising money in Cleveland. Democrats raising money in Cincinnati. Maybe there really is some kind of polar shift going on in Ohio politics.

On Aug. 11, the Hamilton County Democratic Party will host a $150 per ticket fundraising reception for Strickland at the Westin hotel downtown, followed by a Hamilton County Democratic Forum rally at the Freedom Center.

Bigger than that, though, are the two fundraising events Strickland and his wife Frances will do here on Aug. 22 - a reception at the Bell Event Centre in Pendleton where tickets will go for $250 and $500 each, followed by a dinner event in Indian Hill, where tickets are $1,000 person or $5,000 and $10,000 per couple. No word on the difference is between $5,000 and $10,000 levels. Maybe you get to take home the leftovers.

Both of the Aug. 22 events are being organized by Barbara Gould, the interior designer and Democratic activist who has lately been giving Stan Chesley a run for his money as chief Democratic cash-producer in these parts.

Grading Ghiz

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters, who on Monday sent a letter to Cincinnati City Council members saying "Thanks but no thanks" for their offer of building a temporary jail, said he admires council members Leslie Ghiz and Jeff Berding for taking on the issue.

"I will give Leslie credit," Deters said. "She and Jeff are the first people at City Hall to care about this issue. She gets an 'A' for effort but a C-minus for the idea."

Ghiz and Berding will try to get their idea passed at a city council today, in spite of the county's cool reception to the idea. If passed, the motion would instruct city administratiors to begin negotiating with the county on the idea.

How much do you want to pay?

Hamilton County residents will have two more chances to give their opinion on suggestions of increasing the sales tax to pay for a new jail.

Public hearings will be 9:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 21 and Thursday, Aug. 24 – both at the County Administration Building, 138 E. Court St., Downtown – to consider a suggestion to raise Hamilton County’s 6.5 percent sales tax by a half-cent.

That suggestion, put forth by Commissioner Todd Portune (left with deputy county administrator Ron Roberts), would take four years to pay off a $225 million jail – saving more than $180 million in financing costs when compared to a proposal to increase the sales tax by a quarter-cent for 20 years.

Those meetings are in addition to the two already scheduled to listen to public input on a quarter-cent sales tax increase.

That quarter-cent proposal – put forth by Commissioner Phil Heimlich, Sheriff Simon Leis Jr. and financier Carl Lindner Jr. – already is the subject of two public hearings. The first is at the Sycamore Township Building, 8540 Kenwood Road. The second is at the Westwood First Presbyterian Church, 3011 Harrison Ave. Both are at 6:30 p.m.

Commissioners face an Aug. 24 deadline to place any proposed sales tax increases on the fall ballot.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Anyone else notice this?

JULY 31 – AUGUST 4, 2006

Friday, August 4, 2006

10:00 a.m. MRS. BUSH delivers remarks at a Steve Chabot for Congress Breakfast.
Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal
Cincinnati, OH



Sunday, July 30, 2006 - Friday, August 4, 2006

Wednesday, August 2
5:50 pm THE PRESIDENT attends an Ohioans for Blackwell Reception
Private Residence
Kirtland Hills, Ohio

(Thanks to Enquirer reporter Howard Wilkinson for pointing this out.)

Enquirer's Malia Rulon on C-Span Wednesday

Enquirer Washington Bureau reporter Malia Rulon will be on C-Span's Washington Journal Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.

She'll talk, via phone, about the congressional race between Rep. Steve Chabot and John Cranley. They're fighting to represent Ohio's first congressional district, which includes Cincinnati's western neighborhoods, western Hamilton County, and southwest Butler County.

Don't tune in too late - she's only on for about five minutes.

How much?

At Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory's weekly press conference Tuesday, the mayor -- as usual -- ran down the list of activities he took part in during the past week.

The one highlight was Mallory and Cincinnati lawyer Stan Chesley joining efforts to raise money so several of the city's public swimming pools can stay open until the weekend of Aug. 18.

"We raised $165 million," the mayor said, to stunned silence of the four reporters present.

How much?

"One-hundred sixty-five million," the mayor repeated, to a burst of laughter.

"What? What'd I say?" Mallory asked. "Oh, I mean $165,000. At least I didn't misunderestimate it."

Key To Funkytown

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory gave the key to the city last week to funkmaster general Bootsy Collins at last weekend's Macy's Music Festival in downtown Cincinnati.

"That key opens the door to any house where funk is occuring," the mayor said today. "Or any house that needs more funk...which is every house."

House Speaker Husted on...

Ohio House Speaker Jon A. Husted today called on cities and property rights advocates to work together in redefining eminent domain laws in Ohio. During a news briefing with Statehouse reporters, the Dayton-area Republican reacted to last week's state Supreme Court ruling that cities cannot take private property soleley for the purpose of economic development.

Husted said Ohio needs a common standard defining what constitutes "blight" when deciding what structures can be torn down for development projects. "We should not let that standard be done community by community. We should make efforts either statutorily or constitutionally to pursue a workable solution.''

Husted said he recently consulted the co-chair of a legislative task force studying the issue -- state Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Green Township.

"I know that the cities are concerned about any changes to the Constitution that they might deem to be infringing on their rights as it relates to home rule. . . But I would urge them to work (with legislators) on some middle ground,'' Husted said.

Such middle ground should respect concerns of private property rights advocates and the needs of the cities, he said. "This is one of those issues, that in the absence of a reasonable approach, could open itself up to a ballot initiative that goes further than what the cities would be willing to live."

On other topics, Husted said:

-- In this year's campaigns, Democrats are adopting an old strategy to tell voters how awful the world is and blame it on Republicans. "They want to preach doom and gloom and that the sky is falling. That has failed them time after time."

-- The candidates for governor should detail their top five or so ideas for improving Ohio. "I think Ken Blackwell is the kind of guy that can get things done. . . I don't know what Ted Strickland's ideas are."

-- "If you're an incumbent, you should be concerned. . . I know this is an anti-incumbent year."

-- He favors speeding up a five-year, 21 percent income tax cut before offering other new tax breaks such as reducing capital gains taxes.

-- He favors increasing the state's minimum wage, in line with any federal increases, but not by amending the state Constitution.

-- When he meets with Ohioans, they say they want legislators to finish the work they've begun on tax reform, reducing taxes and attracting new jobs to the state.

Happy Breastfeeding Awareness month

Who knew? State Sen. Patricia Clancy, for one:


COLUMBUS—State Senator Patricia Clancy (R-Colerain Township) today introduced a Senate Resolution that recognizes Governor Taft’s designation of August, 2006 as Breastfeeding Awareness Month in Ohio.

Studies have shown that breastfeeding has significant health benefits for both infants and mothers who are nursing. In fact, according to the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, “breastfeeding provides protection against acute infectious diseases including ear infections, respiratory infections, pneumonia, bowel infections and meningitis.” Evidence also exists that a mother’s milk can help protect against “autoimmune disease, obesity and certain cancers” and work to improve cognitive function. In addition, the Academy notes that breastfeeding can reduce a mother’s “risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer, Type II diabetes and osteoporosis.

“Breastfeeding not only carries tremendous health benefits for a mother and her infant, it is key ingredient to a child’s overall growth and development. Unfortunately, a stigma exists in today’s society that has worked to discourage mother’s from breastfeeding,” said Clancy. “This resolution is designed to raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding, urge community support and promote the health of mothers and children across the state.”

Last year, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 41, legislation sponsored by Sen. Clancy that says a mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any place where the public is welcome. The law became effective in September 2005.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Which candidate is seeking Castro's endorsement?

We got another letter today from Sean Swain, the guy who is running for Ohio governor from his Toledo prison cell.

The self-proclaimed "insurgent candidate" says he's seeking endorsements from Cuban president Fidel Castro, as well as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

Also, Swain apparently has something against grocers. In his letter, he urged Gov. Bob Taft to recall Ohio National Guard troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. If Taft refuses, Swain said, it proves he is "a coward, a lackey of the grocer's machine."

Open Thread

Find out how much money area candidates have raised in the last three months - and how Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning raises all his cash - on today's Inside Washington column here.

Comment on the column - and anything you want - on today's Open Thread.

It's official

Earlier this month, we reported on Politics Extra that President Bush would be headed to Ohio for a Ken Blackwell for governor fundraiser in Kirkland Hills, Ohio.

Typically, the White House keeps the president's schedule tightly under wraps, only confirming travel plans a week ahead of time.

Over the weekend, the White House made the Blackwell event official:


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

July 28, 2006
This Information Subject To Change

Sunday, July 30, 2006 Friday, August 4, 2006

Wednesday, August 2

5:50 pm THE PRESIDENT attends an Ohioans for Blackwell Reception
Private Residence Kirtland Hills, Ohio

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