Hamilton County reporter
Enquirer statehouse bureau
Cincinnati City Hall reporter
Enquirer Washington bureau
Fourth governor's debate becomes game of chicken
Our Statehouse intern, Annie Hall
, filed this report on the possibility of another live gubernatorial debate in Columbus:
The fourth televised debate between gubernatorial candidates is on, maybe
Saturday, Carlo LoParo
, Republican candidate Ken Blackwell’s
spokesman, said the debate will be held at the studio of WBNS-TV in Columbus on Monday Oct. 16 and the sponsors are The Dispatch Company and Nationwide Insurance.Keith Dailey
, Strickland’s spokesman, would neither confirm or deny the plans. Dailey said that all information about the debate is to be announced jointly.
Watchers of the gubernatorial campaigns had grown accustomed to the fact that there was not going to be a fourth debate in Columbus, after debates in Youngstown, Cleveland and Cincinnati.
Up until Saturday, no sponsors, moderators or the location had been agreed upon.
Meanwhile, in Washington…
At the same mid-day hour that While White House spokesman Tony Snow
was mingling with Rep. Jean Schmidt
supporters in Cincinnati, Schmidt’s predecessor in the 2nd Congressional District, Rob Portman
, who is now White House budget director, was doing his part to help congressional elections from Washington.
Seated at the head of a large conference room table in the Old Executive Office building next door to the White House, Portman told a packed room of reporters that all the recent economic gains – falling gas prices, deficit reduction, job creation – would be in jeopardy should Democrats take control of one or both chambers of Congress.
“The election coming up will have consequences,” Portman said. “Republicans have pursued a pro-growth agenda, that includes tax relief, spending restraint, and there will be a different agenda should Democrats take the majorities.”
“The Democratic leadership in the House, in particular, has made it clear that they do not support the tax relief that has generated significant growth,” he added.
Asked about the current congressional page scandal surrounding Rep. Mark Foley
, R-Fla., Portman said: “One of my colleagues called me this week and said, ‘Boy I bet you’re glad you’re not back in Congress.’ I couldn’t disagree.”
But on whether the scandal would overshadow the economic gains he was touting, Portman said, “We’ll see. I don’t know.”
He then added that it appears that the scandal was dying down and he expects the “kitchen table issues” that most Americans care about – jobs, stocks, gas prices – will in the end still be more important to voters at the ballot boxes.
“In some of the key states and some of the key districts even within these states, the economy remains the No. 1 issue,” he said.
Republican Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich
chatted on Cincinnati.com for an hour today.
Here's the link:http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061006/NEWS01/310060022
Snow stymied by Brent Spence Bridge
From Howard Wilkinson, reporting from Downtown Cincinnati:Rep. Jean Schmidt’s
noon-time fundraising event at the Millenum Hotel got off to a slow start when her featured guest, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow
, got stuck in traffic on the Cut-in-the-Hill while coming from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
Schmidt jumped up on the podium, grabbed the microphone and told her guests (who were enjoying their salads) that Snow would be here shortly.
“This just shows how important it is to get the Brent Spence Bridge project done,” Schmidt said.
Snow just arrived.
Former astronaut to campaign for Cranley
Well, he’s also a former U.S. senator: John Glenn
He’ll be in Cincinnati for a John Cranle
y for Congress fundraiser on Oct. 26. That’s just two days after former President Bill Clinton
headlines an event for Cranley, a Democrat trying to unseat Republican Rep. Steve Chabot
Looks like the party really is bringing in the big guns for Cranley’s campaign.
Not to be outdone, however, Chabot has already hosted fundraisers with Vice President Dick Cheney
and White House strategist Karl Rove
. He also is hosting first lady Laura Bush
at a luncheon fundraiser next Wednesday.
What this all means? Lots of money will be on hand for TV ads from both campaigns as we get closer to the Nov. 7 election.
Clyburn headed to Cincinnati Friday
And, no, it's not for a campaign event. House Democratic Caucus
Chairman James Clyburn
, D-S.C., will make a major address on the economy at noon on Friday at the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce.
A spokeswoman for the caucus says the event is not political and it’s not related to the John Cranley
for Congress campaign. Besides, Cranley already hosted Clyburn for a campaign event last August.
Cranley is running against Rep. Steve Chabot
, R-Westwood, in the 1st District.
Instead, Clyburn's speech is a part of a national effort by House Democrats to highlight their "New Direction" agenda to promote economic security, opportunity, and prosperity for America’s families by making speeches about the agenda throughout the country.
This week, 10 House Democratic leaders are delivering speeches in cities throughout the country – Chicago, Phoenix, Boston, Hartford, Conn., to name a few – to outline Democrats’ commitment to restoring economic security for hard-working Americans.
Maybe it's a coincidence that the speech comes just one month before the Nov. 7 elections?
Apparently to Rep. Jean Schmidt
, the president’s press secretary is just “Tony.”
Schmidt, a Miami Township Republican, was one of three local campaigns to shoot out news releases today advertising a Friday event with presidential spokesman Tony Snow
, a Cincinnati native.
For Schmidt, Snow will attend a luncheon fundraiser at The Millennium Hotel at noon.
"It is an honor to have Tony visit his hometown of Cincinnati" Schmidt in her release. "This will be an exciting opportunity for people to hear directly from Tony."
It won’t be a very long lunch. Snow is due to visit with Rep. Steve Chabot
’s campaign volunteers at 1:30 p.m.
Snow then will attend a 7 p.m. campaign event with Kentucky Rep. Geoff Davis
at the Cincinnati Airport Marriott in Hebron.
Tickets for Schmidt’s event are $200 per person. Anyone interested in attending the event should contact the Schmidt campaign at 513-791-JEAN (5326). But don’t ask for the finance department. We hear she’s a little short staffed right now.
Pepper chat transcript
chatted online for an hour Wednesday using Cincinnati.com. Here is the link to the transcript:http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061004/NEWS01/310040019/-1/back01
The inside view of the debate
Business reporter Cliff Peale, the Enquirer's panelist at last night's governor debate, offers his own inside view on his blog.
Check it out here
Two days after unleashing a tirade of profanity, Chris Finney
called everyone at the event -- even the two reporters there -- today to apologize.
"From the bottom of my heart, I apologize for my use of profanity," Finney said this morning.
Finney also talked this morning to David Pepper
Pepper, a Democrat challenging incumbent Republican Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich
, held an outdoor Tuesday press conference to announce his 10 simple rules for improving government. One was to be transparent, especially when appointing friends and business partners to boards.
Finney -- who has a real estate business with Heimlich and was appointed by Heimlich to the volunteer Tax Levy Review Committee that monitors property taxes for special purposes like services to the children and elderly -- took exception, believing Finney was taking a personal shot at Finney, a Cincinnati lawyer.
Finney attended the Tuesday press conference and, when Pepper got to the transparency issue, Finney loudly and vulgarly attacked Pepper.
Finney, also a Heimlich political supporter, accused Pepper of "smearing my name."
He then verbally attacked Pepper, telling him and his spokeswoman to "kiss my a--" and calling Pepper -- son of former Procter & Gamble chairman John Pepper
-- "a rich f------- ---hole."
Finney began making telephone calls this morning.
"He gave a nice apology," Pepper said today. "I appreciate and accept his apology."
More importantly, to Pepper, Finney also apologized to Pepper's spokeswoman, Bridget Doherty, who Finney also told to kiss his behind.
"We'll get back to the campaign," Finney said.
Finney wouldn't discuss why he yelled and cursed at the Tuesday press conference, saying that discussion would detract from the sincerity of his apology.
"It is a full and unconditional apology. This is weighing on my heart a great deal," Finney said.
Blackwell gets a lick in early
Among the commercials in the minutes leading up to the debate was 30-second spot from the Blackwell campaign accusing Strickland of wanting to take religion out of public life. Blackwell's spokesman, Carlo LoParo,
was in the media room outside the Corbett Theater when the ad run, and was quite pleased with the ad's placement.
Report from the scene of the debate
Lori Kurtzman reports:
Outside the Patricia Corbett theater, the chickens are there. And a marching band.
But there are no Strickland supporters in the area reserved for supporters and protesters. The Blackwell area, on the other hand, has "a ton of people."
They're wearing construction hard hats, and yellow T-shirts reading, "Ken Blackwell has concrete solutions for Ohio."
Live from the UC campus, Strickland-Blackwell
Politics rarely intrudes in this part of the UC campus, where College Conservatory of Music students lug oboes across the green and the sweet strains of violins drift out of the classroom.
Tonight, though, it will be a cacophony of a different kind.
In less than half an hour, Republican Ken Blackwell
and Democrat Ted Strickland
will square off in their third, and perhaps final, debate before the Nov. 7 Ohio gubernatorial election.
These events always attract partisans of both sides by the busload - supporters who don't have tickets for the debate inside the Patricia Corbett Theater but who nonetheless want to show up and help the cause.
An hour before the debate, the Blackwell folks were clearly winning in the street theater department, with fans of independent candidate Bill Peirce
running a distant second.
Former Cincinnati councilman Charlie Winburn,
Blackwell's Hamilton County coordinator, had about 50 Blackwell supporters - mostly college students - clad in yellow t-shirts and plastic hardhats, standing along Corry Avenue leading up to CCM, alternately booing and cheering passing cars, depending on which candidate's bumper sticker they were sporting.
At 6 p.m., Strickland's supporters were nowhere to be seen.
Progressive group questions Blackwell bus tour
"It’s a bus very different from post-Birmingham," Brian Rothenberg
, executive editor of ProgressOhio.org, a new online political group, said today in reaction to Secretary of State Ken Blackwell's
plan to take a bus tour with Larry Pratt
"Mr. Pratt, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, has a history of associations with racist and anti-Semitic organizations," Rothenberg said in a press statement. "So much so that even the right-wing Pat Buchanan
asked him off of his campaign leadership after these associations became known."UPDATE:
Carlo LoParo, Blackwell's campaign spokesman, reacted: "Those charges that Rothenberg leveled on Pratt are inaccurate. Gun Owners have already addressed them several years ago and debunked all of those false claims.
"Mr. Pratt has been a friend and supporter of Secretary Blackwell for quite some time. Gun Owners of America has endorsed the Blackwell campaign," LoParo said. "And we're happy and proud to have their support."
Even so, the Southern Poverty Law Center continues to post this biography of Pratt, at http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?pid=365
"Eight Lanes Out"Larry Pratt
, a gun rights absolutist whose Gun Owners of America (GOA) has been described as 'eight lanes to the right' of the National Rifle Association, may well be the person who brought the concept of citizen militias to the radical right.
"In 1990, Pratt wrote a book, Armed People Victorious, based on his study of 'citizen defense patrols' used in Guatemala and the Philippines against Communist rebels — patrols that came to be known as death squads for their murderous brutality.
"Picturing these groups in rosy terms, Pratt advocated similar militias in the United States — an idea that finally caught on when he was invited for a meeting of 160 extremists, including many famous white supremacists, in 1992.
"It was at that meeting, hosted in Colorado by white supremacist minister Pete Peters,
that the contours of the militia movement were laid out.
"Pratt, whose GOA has grown since its 1975 founding to some 150,000 members today, hit the headlines in a big way when his associations with Peters and other professional racists were revealed, convincing arch-conservative Pat Buchanan
to eject him as a national co-chair of Buchanan’s 1996 presidential campaign.
"The same year, it emerged that Pratt was a contributing editor to a periodical of the anti-Semitic United Sovereigns of America, and that his GOA had donated money to a white supremacist attorney’s group.
"Pratt is today close to the extremist Constitution Party and its radical theology."
Rothenberg added: "We call on Ken Blackwell
to ride the right bus, right in front. Rosa Parks
fought for his right to ride proudly in the front of the bus, but not with the likes of Larry Pratt
ProgressOhio.org calls itself the state's largest progressive state-based online organization whose mission "is to promote progressive solutions, correct right-wing misinformation, and hold public leaders accountable."
Up in Loveland...
You can’t rain out a bunch of Republicans who want to eat, drink and talk politics.
The Greater Loveland Republican Club is bringing the keg and hamburgers to Symmes Park on Monday, 5-7:30 p.m. The party replaces the one weather canceled Aug. 28. Organizers aren’t sure which high-profile party members will attend, other than Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters
and Loveland Mayor Rob Weisgerber
, but they’re hoping for more.
"The word on the street is that the Republicans are kind of tired out, having trouble getting the batteries revved up for this election," said Dave Kothman
, president of the club. "So we’re going to fire people up four weeks before the election and get ready for the last push.
"Just come, eat, drink and be merry. And be Republican."
More from the debate
Life’s rough when you’re running for the governor of Ohio without the words “Republican” or “Democrat” attached to your name. At today’s afternoon debate between Green Party candidate Bob Fitrakis
and Independent Party candidate Bill Peirce,
you’d find little of the hoopla you’ll likely see at tonight’s Blackwell-Strickland debate.
The audience inside the tiny studio of the Media Bridges building at 1100 Race St. numbered about 20. The podiums were draped with wrinkled black tableclothes. The red lights on the cameras – the ones that indicate where a speaker should look – were broken.
Fitrakis and Peirce, though, debated as though this were the Big Event.
Here were some of the things they talked about:
Bringing jobs to the state:
Peirce: Cut back on government regulation, eliminate corporate welfare.
Fitrakis: Legalize hemp, retool the prison system.
Fitrakis: Make community college more affordable, move college programs into public high schools.
Peirce: Give students tuition vouchers and crack down on the “decorative graduate programs” that produce well-educated students who can’t find jobs.
Fitrakis: Believes in the First Amendment. Said individual churches, not the state, should decide who can get married.
Peirce: Same. Any two people ought to be able to sign one contract with the state, he said.
Peirce: Life begins at conception, and the government has an obligation to protect that life. Said this set him apart from half of those in the Libertarian Party.
Fitrakis: Said Roe v. Wade is a good law, a good compromise. Also thinks no woman should be economically forced to have an abortion.
Whether they’d pull out of the election if their presence was hurting their preferred major candidate/helping the other guy.
Peirce: Nope. “I see very little difference between the two major party candidates.”
Fitrakis: Nobody throws an election to anybody. Fitrakis list of preferred candidates begins with himself as first, Peirce as second, write-in candidate James Lundeen as third, Strickland as fourth and Blackwell as ninth.
Then there were the final pitches. Why should you vote for them?
Peirce: "I know what the existing situation is and what can be done.” He wants to make Ohio “the freest state in the nation.”
Fitrakis: “In part because social change has never come from the two-party status quo … Historically, when people want change, when you want to send the people in office a message, you don’t do it by endorsing the least corrupt of the status quo.”
Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich
is disappointed his friend and supporter loudly cursed Heimlich's political opponent, but said today that opponent -- David Pepper
-- was as much to blame as Finney.
"It was immature on both their parts," Heimlich said of supporter Chris Finney
and Pepper, the Democrat hoping to unseat the incumbent Republican.
"It was wrong for Pepper to start this fight, to pick on somebody who wasn't campaigning."
Finney, believing his name and reputation were being smeared by Pepper, attended a Tuesday Pepper press conference and cussed out Pepper and his campaigned spokeswoman.
Finney told each to "kiss my a--" and called Pepper "a rich f------ ---hole."
Pepper scoffed at Heimlich's response, calling it "obviously absurd."
Pepper was trying to say how he believed government should be transparent and that appointing a business party to a volunteer government committee -- like Heimlich did with Finney -- was wrong.
"I don't think it's immature to bring it up. It's basic government," Pepper said.
Meanwhile, a local activist, Carrie Davis
, also e-mailed the Enquirer to note that Finney's actions were the result of an investigation by the St. Bernard police.
What Davis didn't say -- but St. Bernard Police Chief Steve Moeller
did -- is the police knew about the incident only because Davis called St. Bernard police at 2:50 a.m. today, almost 16 hours after the incident, to report it as a disorderly conduct.
Moeller said his officers couldn't site someone for disorderly conduct unless it happened in thier sight and no evidence other than Davis' allegations.
More from the debate
A few minutes in, and we're already talking hemp. When asked how to bring more jobs to the state of Ohio, Peirce suggested cutting back on governmental regulations and taxes and eliminating corporate welfare.
Fitrakis (who's getting the majority of the applause from this 20-some-person audience) said he'd like to repeal the state's law banishing hemp from our economy. "You can't get high off hemp," he said, calling it a "miracle product."
Third party candidates set to debate
A much smaller gubernatorial debate is just about to start at the corner of Race Street and Central Parkway between Green Party candidate Bob Fitrakis and Independent Party candidate Bill Peirce, candidates who didn’t get an invite to tonight’s big event. Things are running a little late here. Peirce just walked in the door.
One piece of exciting news, though: We’re told the chickens
, Ken and Ted, will be back outside tonight’s debate. We're also told they plan to avoid getting arrested this time.
He wasn'tin the room and his name was never mentioned, but Chris Finney
was a big part of today's Hamilton County Commission meeting.Commissioner Todd Portune
asked aloud why some of those named to boards and commissions appointed by Hamilton County commissioners haven't filled out a required form listing jobs and other personal information aimed at preventing any conflict of interest for the appointee -- and embarrassment for the appointers, the commissioners.
Portune, a Democrat, believes that form is important because the appointees often serve on boards -- mostly advisory -- that recommend policy changes or the spending hundreds of millions of your tax dollars.
"You mean like the TLRC?" Republican Commissioner Phil Heimlich
The TLRC, or Tax Levy Review Committee, monitors the spending of property taxes voted for specific purposes like services for children, the elderly and the poor.
The head of the TLRC is Finney, one of Heimlich's friends and political supporters -- and the man who unleashed an expletive-laced tirade Tuesday at David Pepper, the Democrat trying to unseat Heimlich in the Nov. 7 election.
Portune insisted he was targeting no individual or specific commissioner-appointed board in making the suggestion, but believed those already appointed who haven't filled out the form should be notified that they have to.
Heimlich didn't seem convinced.
Heimlich wondered aloud if Portune -- who has endorsed Pepper -- wasn't on "a fishing expedition to learn more" about current board members, perhaps even Finney.
Finney has been criticized for sitting as head of the TLRC which recommends to commissioners at what level special levies should be placed on the ballot. That means, to some extent, Finney and all TLRC members, can help determine property tax rates. Because he and Heimlich own a real estate venture -- or rather, their wives legally own it -- conspiracy theorists believe Finney is trying to lower his taxes.
Finney counters that he, as head of the TLRC, receives the same tax benefit as any other Hamilton County property owner if the TLRC recommends a lowering of taxes that commissioners and voters ultimately approve.
Finney is irate that despite his hundreds of hours or volunteer service to the board and public, he is criticized for his business, political and personal relationships with Heimlich.
That was one of the reasons Finney showed up at a Tuesday Pepper press conference, accusing Pepper of smearing his name and then calling Pepper "a rich f------- ---hole" and told Pepper and a female Pepper campaign worker to "kiss my a--."
Gun-toting Blackwell heading to Strickland Country
Early Thursday morning, after tonight's Ken Blackwell-Ted Strickland
debate at the University of Cincinnati is but a pleasant memory, Blackwell will board a bus in Cincinnati for a three-day tour of southern and southeast Ohio, smack dab in the heart of Strickland's present and former congressional districts.
Joining him on the 13-stop tour will be Larry Pratt,
president of Gun Owners of America. Apparently, Pratt and Blackwell will be toting rifles, as the three-day trip ends Saturday afternoon with a "Cowboy Shoot" at the Tusco Rifle Club on Midvale Mine Road in Dennison, a little town in Tuscarawas County.
For the unarmed among you, a "cowboy shoot" is a shooting contest where the contestants compete with single-action pistols, pistol-calibre rifles or double-barrel shotguns. The targets are usually big metal plates.
No actual cowboys will be shot.
It's probably about time Blackwell got down to this part of the world, trailing badly in the polls and running out of clock. the area of southern and eastern Ohio he'll cover in the three-day trip is the least densely populated area of the state, but it is one that has been essential for Republican candidates running for statewide office since the days of former governor Jim Rhodes - whose home county of Jackson will get a visit from Blackwell Friday.
Given the fact that Strickland has persauded those conservative voters to elect him in six of the last seven congressional elections, Blackwell certainly needs to have some face time there, cowboy shoot or no cowboy shoot.
Pepper: Heimlich is root of revolving door
television ad doesn't even mention David Pepper.
The 30-second ad for Pepper -- a Democrat challenging incumbent Republican Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich
-- features Heimlich's photo and what the commercial notes is Heimlich's blame for the lack of jail space in Hamilton County and the resulting early release of thousands of prisoners.
The only time Pepper appears in the ad is his photo and name on the trailer at the very end.
Here's the ad.
(Warning: It is a large file and will take some time on a dial-up connection.)
Mallory: I don't get no respect.
Anyone who has spent more than a few minutes with Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory
knows he's a funny guy -- maybe not Rodney Dangerfield funny, but still funny.
The mayor is well-known for dead-panning reporters asking serious questions, and for telling audiances to lighten up during formal speaking engagements, like a couple weeks ago at the 100th Police Recruit class graduation.
But just like Dangerfield, Mallory didn't get no respect when he tried his hand at stand-up comedy.
Mallory wasn't laughing about it Tuesday at his weekly press conference when a reporter asked about a stand-up comedy class the mayor enrolled in, then promplty dropped out of.
The reason he dropped out: A television station found out about the class and posted it on their website.
"It was supposed to be a surprise for my mother," Mallory said of the six-week course that culminated with a nightclub performance. "I had asked the other people in the class to respect my privacy. The next day I got a call from (a television station) asking about the class. So I just decided: forget it.
"It's a lost opportunity."
Mallory said he probably won't re-enroll because his schedule is too busy. "But one thing I do believe, this city needs some levity," Mallory said. "We need to laugh."
Finney to Pepper: Kiss my (expletive)
At an outdoor press conference today, David Pepper
tried to describe his 10 rules to improve government as he seeks to become a Hamilton County Commissioner.
Pepper, though, was interrupted by two moving trains, dozens of passing tractor-trailers -- and a profanity-laced tirade from Cincinnati attorney Christopher Finney
, a business partner and friend of Pepper’s opponent, incumbent Republican Commissioner Phil Heimlich
Upon arrival, Pepper saw that Finney also was there. Pepper walked up to Finney, said hello and extended his hand. Finney rejected the offered handshake.
Pepper then started the press conference and was discussing how he believes total transparency and disclosure is vital in government, when Finney shouted “You’re trying to smear my name because you’re a rich f------- ---hole.
“Kiss my a--. Right here,” Finney said, patting his behind.
Finney was upset that Pepper mentioned Finney by name in his “10 Simple Rules to Clean Up Hamilton County Government,” suggesting neither Finney nor Heimlich had properly disclosed their business relationship even after Finney was appointed to head the Tax Levy Review Committee. That volunteer committee is charged with monitoring property taxes that fund special services such as health care for the poor.
Pepper’s point was that his rules are “Civics 101” and commonsense for good government, not personal attacks.
Pepper wants relationships like that of Finney and Heimlich – they own a real estate business together – openly disclosed.
“There’s frankly more suspicion about it” when it isn’t disclosed, Pepper said.
What Pepper really wants, Finney countered, is to leave unfair impressions about a man who has given hundreds of volunteer hours to the government and worked hard to build a law practice with 25 employees and a $1 million annual payroll.
“He makes these allegations but he has no proof of it,” Finney said.
Then he turned to Pepper and added, “You’re throwing around allegations of violations of the law willy nilly.”
Pepper asked Finney to behave while Bridget Doherty
, Pepper’s campaign spokeswoman, told Finney he was acting “infantile.” Finney then told her she also could place her lips on his behind.
Finney noted the irony of the location of Pepper’s press conference – across the street from the old Ivorydale plant in St. Bernard, where Proctor & Gamble used to make Ivory soap.
Pepper, a Democrat, is the son of former P&G chairman John Pepper
“We’re standing here in front of the former Procter & Gamble where David Pepper’s father made tens of millions of dollars and his family is worth more than $100 million. I work and invest for my living and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars directly and indirectly in taxes,” Finney said.
“I don’t need that from a trust fund, spoiled brat like David Pepper who has never had to work for a living. For some (expletive) who has never worked for a living to do that shows his immaturity and disqualification for county commissioner.”
Pepper, a lawyer with a downtown firm, notes his father didn’t take charge of P&G until Pepper was away at college.
"The effort to intimidate was there," Pepper said of Finney's confrontation. "That actually was more dramatic than some of the worst instances at City Hall. (But) the trains were more of a distraction."
When asked later about Finney’s actions, Pepper said: “I don’t care.”
In addition to Pepper and Finney, the others at today’s press conference were six Pepper campaign workers, a radio reporter and an Enquirer reporter.
Read Pepper's plan
Princeton High School grad and presidential press secretary, will show up in Cincinnati Friday for a $200-a-plate fundraising lunch for Rep. Jean Schmidt
at a downtown hotel.
It is almost unheard of for a presidential press secretary to become so directly involved in political campaigns. Generally, they have stayed away from the campaign side and stuck to policy. Eyebrows were raised among the White House press corps when it was announced that Snow would hit the rubber-chicken circuit for GOP House candidates.
But Snow is not the typical presidential press secretary, plucked from obscurity to become the official spokesman for the most powerful man in the world. Snow, as a former Fox News host, was a celebrity in his own right; and it didn't take long for the Republican party leadership to figure out that they had a guy in Snow who could sell tickets.
Snow, for his part, has said that while he will tour the country telling the story of the Bush administration in his campaign fundraising appearances, he will leave the Democrat-bashing to others.
Bush on Blackwell
You may have already bought State of Denial, the new book by Bob Woodward
on the Bush White House and the Iraq war, but chances are you haven't gotten to page 347 yet.
You might want to flip ahead.
There, Woodward describes election night 2004 in the White House, with a cigar-chomping Bush nervously waiting the results with Karl Rove
, his political guru.
They were waiting for a statement from Ken Blackwell,
Ohio's secretary of state, declaring the Ohio election over and Bush the winner.
According to Woodward, the president was a little hot under the collar and let loose:
"I am the president of the United States,'' Woodward quotes Bush as saying, "waiting on a secretary of state who is a nut.''
Many Ohio Democrats have thought so all along, but it is sort of jaring to see it coming out of the mouth of a Republican president.
Blackwell's gubernatorial campaign was shrugging off the quote Monday.
"It must have been a pretty tense time at the White House,'' said Blackwell campaign spokesman Carlo LoParo
. "I don't know what the president said or even if he said it.''
During that campaign, LoParo said, the Bush/Cheney campaign was not very pleased with Blackwell, especially after he ruled independent Ralph Nader
off the Ohio ballot, which was thought to be a big boon to John Kerry.
LoParo pointed out that Bush, even though he may have called Blackwell a "nut," thought enough of him to come to Ohio in August and raise $1.5 million for Blackwell's gubernatorial campaign.