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, October 27, 2006

Snow stumps in Indiana

Maureen Groppe of Gannett News Service reports:

After campaign help by the president and his wife, the vice president and his wife, and former first lady Barbara Bush, U.S. Rep. Mike Sodrel was running out of top GOP officials to visit his southeastern Indiana district.

Enter White House spokesman Tony Snow.

The Cincinnati native took the unusual approach for a presidential press secretary in hitting the fundraising circuit for candidates this year. He’s scheduled to appear at a luncheon for Sodrel in Jeffersonville Monday.

Snow said in an interview that his appearance doesn’t blur the line between politics and news because "I’ve been careful not to be doing tooth-loosening attacks on Democrats but instead positive advocacy for the president."

In southwestern Indiana, meanwhile, GOP Rep. John Hostettler told the Courier & Press in Evansville that he’s turned down offers of help from the Bush administration primarily because of differences over the Iraq war. Hostettler was one of six House Republicans to vote against the 2002 resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq and is reminding voters of that in his advertising.

"There’s some Republicans who clearly disagree with the president," Snow said. Republicans, he added, "don’t kick people out of the party for disagreeing, as opposed to Joe Lieberman who was basically run out of the Democratic Party in Connecticut."

Asked if Bush is still as popular in southern Indiana as he was in 2004 when Bush carried Hostettler’s district with 56 percent and Sodrel’s with 59 percent, Snow said he doesn’t know.

"I’m not doing comparative polls," Snow said. "What I do know is that you’ve got a strong president. People are now starting to draw contrasts between the Democratic Party that decided ... not to have any alternatives this year. Basically they’re sitting around, complaining about the president. The president is being aggressive about tackling the hard issues. I think there’s a difference between a dynamic conservative Republican president fully engaged on keeping American safe and also building greater strength for the economy and a Democratic Party that’s decided to sit on the sidelines and jeers."

In addition to helping Sodrel, Snow said he would also be doing an event for Rep. Chris Chocola before the Nov. 7 election.

Cranley outraised Chabot

The latest campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show Democrats in BOTH Cincinnati congressional districts raised more cash this month.

Victoria Wulsin of Indian Hill outraised Rep. Jean Schmidt of Miami Township in the 2nd District while John Cranley of Price Hill outraised Rep. Steve Chabot of Westwood in the 1st District. The latest reports cover Oct. 1-18.

Both Democrats, however, are still behind in the amount of cash in the bank.

Maybe personal appeals LIKE THIS ONE from Cranley will help change that?

And now, here are the breakouts on the 1st Congressional District race:

Rep. Steve Chabot (R):
Money Raised 10/1-18: $406,554
Money Spent 10/1-18: $574,837
Money in the bank: $565,201

CLICK HERE to read Chabot’s full report.

John Cranley (D):
Money Raised 10/1-18: $408,409
Money Spent 10/1-18: $249,861
Money in the bank: $277,575

CLICK HERE to read Cranley’s full report.

Wulsin responds

Democrat Victoria Wulsin responded today to the two letters she's received from Rep. Jean Schmidt over her latest campaign ad.

Schmidt, a Miami Township Republican, had accused Wulsin of breaking House rules by using footage of Schmidt's "cowards cut and run" speech and asked her to take down the ad. Wulsin, an Indian Hill doctor, said that while House rules don't apply to someone who is not a member of the House, she pledges that if she were elected, she would never run from her public comments.

"I will speak respectfully and forcefully on behalf of my constituents and would be honored whenever anyone chooses to replay my floor speeches," Wulsin said. "Jean's fear of her own footage should be a serious concern for Ohioans who want to be represented by someone who makes them proud."

Wulsin also took issue with Schmidt's accusation that Wulsin was unwilling to discuss the issues, reminding Schmidt that she had challenged her to seven debates - one in each county in the 2nd District - and Schmidt only agreed to one 22-minute debate.

More from Wulsin's release:
Unable to point to a single accomplishment during her year in office, Schmidt's first campaign advertisement was a cartoonish assault on Wulsin that did not mention the incumbent.

On a related note, in a press release issued yesterday, the Schmidt campaign wrote that "Dr. Vicky either doesn't realize that she's broken a promise, or is intentionally misleading voters."

In fact, on April 27 of this year, the Ohio Elections Commission voted 7-0 to reprimand Jean Schmidt for "reckless disregard of the truth." Ahem.

Another boost for Wulsin

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced today that Democrat Victoria Wulsin has been added to the Red to Blue fundraising program.

Democrats John Cranley, who is challenging Rep. Steve Chabot in the 1st District, and Ken Lucas, who is running against Rep. Geoff Davis in Northern Kentucky, are already in the 40-candidate program.

According to a release from DCCC, this distinction is intended to provide “top Democratic campaigns across the country an extra financial boost and strategic support.”

“The program highlights top Democratic campaigns and offers them financial, communications and strategic support,” the release continued.

More from the release:

“Dr. Victoria Wulsin is a candidate for change who, unlike Jean Schmidt, will put Ohio families first in Washington,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Co-Chair of the DCCC Red to Blue program. “During her short time in Washington, Jean Schmidt has managed not only to embarrass her district but has voted in lockstep with President Bush and the GOP’s failed agenda. Dr. Wulsin will provide the leadership and new direction Ohio families deserve in their Member of Congress.”

In 2004, the Red to Blue program raised nearly $7.5 million for twenty seven campaigns across the country with an average of more than $250,000 per
campaign. Red to Blue was also responsible for solidifying the structure of dozens of campaigns and making a real difference for Democrats across America.

About Red to Blue
The Red to Blue program is designed to provide financial and structural aid to the strongest Democratic candidates across the country. The program will introduce Democratic supporters to new, competitive campaigns in order to help expand the fundraising base for these campaigns.

The Red to Blue Program is co-chaired by two Democratic Members of Congress who will help the Red to Blue candidates in their campaigns. Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) will provide assistance on many aspects of campaigning.

Wulsin AGAIN outraises Schmidt

The latest campaign finance reports, which cover Oct. 1-18, just came out. And for the second time in a row... Democrat Victoria Wulsin raised more money than Rep. Jean Schmidt.

In a release (e-mailed to reporters at 10:44 p.m. last night!) the Wulsin campaign touted the fundraising gap as "evidence of Schmidt's weak support and Wulsin's momentum."

More from the release: "The fundraising advantage will allow Wulsin to increase her media buy for You Deserve Better, the television advertisement that has knocked Schmidt on her heels and sent her campaign into a minor frenzy."

CLICK HERE to watch that ad.

CLICK HERE and HERE and HERE to read our past blog posts on Schmidt's "minor frenzy" over the ad.

But what Wulsin's release fails to mention, however, is that Wulsin outspent Schmidt nearly 3-1 during those two and a half weeks. That means Wulsin's final amount in the bank, as of Oct. 18, is about $86,000 less than Schmidt's bank account.

And now, here are the breakouts on the 2nd Congressional District race:

Rep. Jean Schmidt (R):
Money Raised 10/1-18: $131,834
Money Spent 10/1-18: $87,962
Money in the bank: $268,229

CLICK HERE to read Schmidt's full report.

Victoria Wulsin (D):
Money Raised 10/1-18: $170,885
Money Spent 10/1-18: $256,228
Money in the bank: $182,161

CLICK HERE to read Wulsin's full report.

Heimlich fundraiser

If you want to show financial support for Phil Heimlich's re-election bid, you can do so by having a $100 breakfast at the Kenwood Country Club.

Here's the invitation.

Hearing on O'Reilly ad set

From Reporter Sharon Coolidge:

A three-member panel of the Ohio Supreme Court's Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline found probable cause Monday in a disciplinary complaint against attorney Jim O'Reilly, who is running for the 1st District Court of Appeals.

The full hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Read the board's probable cause findings from Monday here.

The complaint, filed by Cincinnati attorney Steve Goodin on behalf of O'Reilly's opponent, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Dinkelacker, alleges misconduct by O'Reilly. The complaint says O'Reilly's television advertisement is false.

The complaint now goes before another three-member panel of the board for an evidentiary hearing. If misconduct is found, the Ohio Supreme Court could impose sanctions ranging from requiring O'Reilly to pull the ad, to fines or even sanctions on O'Reilly's law license.

The finding comes after a member of the Ohio Elections Commission called O'Reilly's attack ad misleading. But the four-member commission found no probable cause that the ads are false.

O'Reilly's ad says Dinkelacker jailed an alleged rape victim, made an error that allowed Larry Flynt to go free and continue to sell pornography in Hamilton County and prosecuted the only death penalty case commuted by Gov. Bob Taft.

Goodin argued that all three claims are false and misleading, a violation of judicial canons that forbid a judicial candidate from running a television ad that is false, or if true, that would be deceiving or misleading.

The Cranley chat

Is here

By the numbers...

Yesterday, Democrat Victoria Wulsin's "You Deserve Better" ad showing Rep. Jean Schmidt's "cowards cut and run" speech on the House floor had just a couple thousand hits on YouTube.com.

At last check, the tally has jumped to 52,133 and growing...

Learn and Earn places bet on Judge Jones

Judge Nathaniel R. Jones, retired from the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, delivers the message for backers of Issue 3, the state constitutional amendment that would allow slots at locations in Cleveland and six Ohio horse tracks.

Jones, a Democrat appointed to the bench by President Jimmy Carter, has rarely taken a public role in political campaigns over the years, because of his position. But, since his retirement, he's been much more visible - particularly last year, when David Pepper, his former law clerk, was running for Cincinnati mayor.

The ad Jones cut for Issue 3 is playing in every media market in the state, including Cincinnati, his professional home, and Youngstown, where he grew up and where the federal building is named after him.

Here's the ad. Click play when it appears.

Crime Stoppers hate politicians?


Both candidates for the Hamilton County Commission -- Republican incumbent Phil Heimlich and Democrat challenger David Pepper -- gave fiery speeches at Thursday's CrimeStoppers awards breakfast.

And it enraged CrimeStoppers leaders.

Below is part of an e-mail sent to the Enquirer Thursday by Larry J. Arszman, a board member of the Greater Cincinnati Crime Stoppers, shortly after the Enquirer story about the speeches went online.

"I attended the meeting this morning you wrote about in your article, and as an Executive Board member of the Cincinnati CrimeStoppers, I was appalled and disgusted by the lack of respect by our politicians for our organization and what we stand for. Since returning to my office I have receive over a dozen e-mails from attendees who were also offended and appalled with their "performance."

"Their attendance [Pepper & Heimlich] was supposed to be a time for them to show how they support Crime Stoppers, how they can and/or would do things to further the Crime Stopper program. Instead it turned into a mud slinging political debate... totally inappropriate for this forum. Pepper's assistant was even going table to table passing out political handouts slamming Heimlich during Pepper's speech. Totally inappropriate.

"Our organization has done more to prevent crime and get criminals off the street than either one of these candidates (even if you put them together) yet neither gave our organization the earned respect. We have had prominent political officials in the past and they have provided perspective on how the political arena, law enforcement, business and the private citizen work together to address the crime issue and that Crime Stoppers is an excellent vehicle to accomplish these goals. Both candidates totally missed this important point."

Asked what his agency expected from politicians invited to speak together at the same event 10 days before Election Day in a hotly contested race, Arszman replied:

"I ABSOLUTELY agree with you 100%... I was NOT in favor of having them speak at the breakfast but I was told that they were given parameters like our previous political speakers (as I mentioned in my earlier e-mail) so I believed they had integrity and would abide by our request. I know for a fact that while Pepper was talking one of our board members went to Heimlich and asked him to please stick to the agreed parameters. He did not. I now know they have no integrity.

"I am almost certain (from feedback in my e-mail) that we will not have political folks at future recognitions events. It detracts from the purpose of the event and sends the wrong message to our members.

"Thank you for taking the time to respond. I sincerely appreciate your time and candor.

Warm regards,

Larry Arszman"


This was posted as a comment:

A letter distributed today:

October 27, 2006

Larry ArszmanCrimeStoppers

Dear Larry:

I greatly appreciate your willingness to talk to me about yesterday's forum.

I just left a similar message for Mike Snowden. I would like to apologize to you and other board members and CrimeStoppers supporters for bringing too much of the politics of this obviously heated County Commission race into your wonderful event yesterday.

There clearly was a miscommunication about the purpose of our speaking. Although not in a debate format, I obviously believed that this was a forum where the audience expected and wanted to hear the two commission candidates make their case for election.

I also believed you wanted to hear our views on crime and safety. Having been informed that Mr. Heimlich had called in advance in order to be placed second on the agenda--and had been granted that request--I assumed he was under the same understanding. And indeed, his speech was the same speech he has given at our recent debates, except slightly longer.

Knowing he had been granted the privilege of going second, I indeed pre-rebutted much of what I knew he would say about myself and my record.I hope this helps explain my thinking as I came to the breakfast.

It's clear now that many or most attendees and Board Members did not expect (or want) a political debate. I can only say I'm sorry that we undermined the broader purpose of the breakfast by engaging in the kind of debate that is somewhat typical (unfortunately) with only 10 days left in an election.I deeply appreciate the hard work of CrimeStoppers, the board, and the organization. It has clearly, as you said, done much to solve and prevent crime.

I have the deepest respect for what you do. If I am granted the privilege of returning to a future event, a) I will not need to speak at all, and b) if ever asked to speak, I pledge it will not be about myself or politics, but about the great work CrimeStoppers does.Again, my apologies. Please call me anytime to discuss further.

Sincerely,David Pepper

cc: Members of the Board, CrimeStoppers

AND THIS UPDATE, also posted as a comment...

David,Thank you for your letter (above).

This will go a long way in "building bridges" with the folks who attended the breakfast and the Crime stopper membership. You are right, there was a definite misunderstanding in the communication.

As I promised you Friday during our phone conversation, if you wrote something to Crimestoppers, I was do my best to make sure all board members and anyone who attended that I was able to reach, would get your message.

I have begun that process and hopefully everyone who was there should have your letter by Monday.Thank you again for your letter and I sincerely wish you luck in your endeavors.

Sincerely,Larry J. Arszman CPP CFE

Executive Board MemberCincinnati-Tri-State ChapterCrime Stoppers.

Heimlich can count

Phil Heimlich's calculator must be smokin' today.

First, he filled out the campaign finance reports filed Thursday. Adding up all of the campaign donations must have taken some time because Heimlich set an all-time high for a Hamilton County commission race by raising over $1 million.

Then, Heimlich called the Enquirer to complain about the online story written about the speeches he and Democrat challenger David Pepper gave at the CrimeStoppers breakfast.

"You gave (Pepper) 170 words (in the story) and you only gave me 124," Heimlich protested.

Yep, complaining about 46 words. There must be an election soon.

David Pepper calls The Enquirer this morning -- perhaps tongue-in-cheek? -- to complain that the 17-word quote attributed to Heimlich campaign worker Rob Seddon was longer than Pepper's one-word quote. Election Day is Nov. 7.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Just in case you somehow missed the now infamous Schmidt speech...

Watch it HERE.

Schmidt fires AGAIN at Wulsin ad

For the second time in two days, Rep. Jean Schmidt criticized Democrat Victoria Wulsin for airing a campaign ad that shows a red, white and blue-clad Schmidt shouting that “cowards cut and run, Marines never do” on the House floor.

Yesterday, Schmidt accused Wulsin of breaking House rules by using the broadcast of House proceedings in a political ad. But when it was pointed out that Wulsin is not a member of the House, and thus, not subject to its rules, Schmidt switched strategies.

Her latest release – e-mailed to reporters at 6:13 p.m. – pulls out the stops. Not only does Schmidt accuse Wulsin of being a “liberal” and of breaking a campaign pledge not to use the House floor “for political gain,” but she threatens action.

“I was disappointed to see that you decided to flout the rules under which you are so desperate to serve,” Schmidt wrote in her second letter to Wulsin.

“I would like to give you the opportunity to withdraw the advertisement until it conforms to the rules surrounding political advertisements before I take this matter to the next level and file a complaint with the Speaker of the House,” the letter said.

Wulsin campaign spokesman Ady Barkan responded: “Please don't do it! That would be a disaster because the only thing worse than this letter would be to have this story in the press for another four days. REALLY. We do NOT want people to watch this ad and so we would hope Schmidt would STOP drawing attention to it!”


“They are being ridiculous,” Barkan said. “If they want to file a complaint, then we’d be happy to defend Vic.”

Unfortunately for Schmidt, the House is on recess, and thus unable to pursue an ethics complaint, until after the Nov. 7 election.

Btw, if you want to watch that ad, click HERE.

A few things to note: Schmidt blasts Wulsin in her letter for “personal attacks, name calling, and blatant cheap shots” even though Schmidt’s first campaign ad in this year’s general election could also be characterized as a personal attack. Also, in her second letter, Schmidt identifies herself as a “Member of Congress.” Maybe she thinks Wulsin doesn’t know who she’s dealing with? And, finally, we have to ask, why are all these Schmidt releases coming out SO LATE IN THE DAY?!?! Yesterday's release came in at 5:11 p.m.

Keep scrolling for text of the latest Schmidt release along with the latest Schmidt letter.


For Immediate Release
October 26, 2006

Wulsin Breaks Campaign Promise

Cincinnati, OH-- With only 12 days to go before Election Day, liberal democrat Victoria Wulsin has already broken a campaign pledge to the residents of Southwestern Ohio while at the same time, violating House Rules.

On multiple occasions, Wulsin promised the people of Ohio’s Second Congressional District that she would never use the floor of the House of Representatives for political gain. Recently, she tossed that promise right out the window by airing a campaign advertisement that uses footage of Floor Proceedings of the House of Representatives to disparage Congresswoman Schmidt. Using footage of House Proceedings for campaign advertisements is a violation of House Rules.

“Dr. Vicky either doesn’t realize that she’s broken a promise, or is intentionally misleading voters,” said Matt Perin, Schmidt Campaign Manager. “She’s broken one, how can anybody trust that she’s going to keep any of her other promises or not blatantly violate House Rules again?”

Wulsin claims that since she’s not a Member of the House of Representatives, the rules do not apply to her. “It’s disturbing that Dr. Vicky refuses to abide by the rules of the body she wishes to join,” said Perin.

“Since she is seeking public office, Ms. Wulsin ought to know that it is dangerous when political figures decide for themselves which rules and laws they will honor. After all, democracy hinges on all of us living under the same set of rules,” said Perin.

Today, Congresswoman Schmidt sent a second letter to Ms. Wulsin reminding her that her campaign’s advertisement is in violation of House Rules.

Attachment: Letter to Wulsin 2


Dear Victoria:

I’m sure that you’re aware of the letter I sent you yesterday, October 25, 2006, regarding the current television advertisement that is being run by your campaign. In that letter, I alerted you that the use of footage from official proceedings of the House of Representatives is forbidden in political ads. I was disappointed to see that you decided to flout the rules under which you are so desperate to serve.

I have not personally heard from you or your campaign regarding this matter. I would like to give you the opportunity to withdraw the advertisement until it conforms to the rules surrounding political advertisements before I take this matter to the next level and file a complaint with the Speaker of the House.

I am saddened by these recent developments and your unwillingness to make this campaign about issues rather than personal attacks, name calling, and blatant cheap shots.

I await your action. Please keep in mind that it is a dangerous thing when political figures decide for themselves which rules and laws they will honor. After all, democracy hinges on all of us living under the same set of rules.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.


Jean Schmidt
Member of Congress

Heimlich, Pepper campaign finance reports

Here are the campaign finance reports filed today by incumbent Republican Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich and his challnger, David Pepper, a Democrat.

The reports note money raised and spent through Oct. 18.

Tell us what you think about the reports, the amounts raised and the names of those who gave.

Heimlich's report is here.

Pepper's report is here.

The Gov candidates on their money

Strickland Continues Record Fundraising Pace; Has Raised $15.4M Total, $1.7M In 18 Days

Columbus, Ohio – The Strickland for Governor campaign today announced it has raised a total of $15.45 million in 18 months. The campaign raised more than $1.7 million during the last 18-day filing period.

Strickland for Governor reported $9.3 million in expenditures and nearly $1.8 million in cash on hand as of the October 18th filing deadline. The campaign reported an average daily contribution rate of $94,791 for the period.

“The overwhelming support we’ve received is a testament to Ohioans’ hunger for new leadership,” Strickland said.

The campaign has received contributions from a total of 23,967 contributors.
Strickland continued to garner broad support from across the state. The counties with the largest amount of contributions during the latest period were Franklin County and Cuyahoga County, which together accounted for more than $928,000

Blackwell Raises $5.5 million Since June

COLUMBUS – Gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell today reported raising nearly $5.5 million and spending $6.4 million since June 3. Blackwell has received more than $12 million in contributions since the campaign began.

“Our supporters have responded positively to Ken Blackwell’s strong leadership and bold plans to improve education and health care, cut taxes and change the way government operates in Columbus,” said Blackwell campaign chair Lara Mastin. “Ken Blackwell offers a positive change of direction from Gov. Bob Taft’s economic policies while our opponent represents more of the same.”

“We head into the campaign’s final days with ample resources to communicate Ken Blackwell’s message of job creation and economic prosperity,” added Mastin. “Voters will respond by electing Ken Blackwell Ohio’s next governor.”

Blackwell has received 33,393 contributions from 20,737 individual contributors.

Schmidt's "Dear Victoria" letter

THIS POST seems to be getting a lot of attention. See below for the full release from Rep. Jean Schmidt's campapign that started the story. Keep scrolling down to read Schmidt's cease and desist letter to Victoria Wulsin over the ad. Don't hold your breath for a Wulsin response.


For Immediate Release
October 25, 2006

Wulsin Breaks House Rules

Cincinnati, OH-- Thirteen days before the election, Victoria Wulsin has already disgraced herself with her recently released television advertisement. In this ad, Wulsin falsely attacks Congresswoman Jean Schmidt accusing her of voting against veterans’ benefits and cutting Homeland Security funding.

In the advertisement, Wulsin uses footage of House Proceedings for political purposes, which is a direct violation of House Rule V 2 (c) 1 though 3. The House Committee on Official Standards and Conduct would on notice of a complaint, begin an immediate investigation and suggest a punishment for such violation.

“Wulsin is setting a new land speed record for corruption,” said Matt Perin, Schmidt Campaign Manager. “Ms. Wulsin has violated House Rules in a new record time-13 days before an election. She should be ashamed of this pathetic display. Her continued violation will land her in serious trouble with the House Ethics Committee.”

In addition, Wulsin cites votes to defend her claims against Congresswoman Schmidt. Wulsin’s interpretation of the votes are flat out embarrassing. Most of the votes cited are procedural votes that have no impact on the spending levels of anything. Wulsin cites a Budget Resolution, either not knowingly or intentionally misleading voters. Budget Resolutions are not appropriations, no money is ever spent in a budget resolution.

“I’m embarrassed for her,” continued Perin. “What she makes up about Congresswoman Schmidt’s voting record is almost as crazy as her policy positions. Clearly Ms. Wulsin campaign is being run by a bunch of amateurs and now she’s stooped to just making things up.”

Today, Congresswoman Schmidt sent a letter to Victoria Wulsin alerting Wulsin of her violation of House Rules and explaining what the votes Wulsin cites actually mean.


Attached: Letter to Victoria Wulsin, House Rules Copy, Votes Cited


Dear Victoria:

Throughout the campaign it has become very clear that your understanding of the Congress, the particulars of legislation, and the rules under which we operate are unfamiliar to you. The current advertisement being run by your campaign is flat out wrong on every vote you cite. The correct information is attached for your edification.

More important, the use of proceedings from the floor of the House of Representatives in political ads is forbidden. Hopefully, being made aware of the rules, you will choose to abide by them and withdraw the advertisement until it can be made to conform to the genuine facts and to the rules surrounding political advertising. When my campaign ran a television ad critical of your position on gay marriage, we quoted your words, verbatim. Further, we indicated that if anyone could find a single error of fact, we would withdraw the ad. Surely, you can agree this is the standard under which all of us ought to operate. Candidates cannot be allowed to simply make up the facts, or to create products, that violate the law.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Jean Schmidt

Big bucks raised to push levies

Today is the deadline for campaign finance reports to be filed for candidates and issues on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Take a look at the reports for the Children's Services levy and the Health and Hospitalization levy to provide health care to the needy and let us know if you see anything interesting.

The biggest thing that jumps out is the $300,000 the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati gave to the health levy. The Health Alliance owns University Hospital, the beneficiary of the largest part of that levy that generates $55 million per now but, if adopted, will be cut to generate about $45 million per year.

Commissioner endorsements

Ten days from the election, candidates for Hamilton County Commission are rolling out their endorsements.

Phil Heimlich, the incumbent Republican, drew endorsement from many elected Republican officials.

David Pepper, the challenging Democrat, drew endorsements from Democrats, Charterites and Republicans – including sitting Republican Cincinnati Council Member Leslie Ghiz.

The following lists of endorsements were provided by each respective campaign.

Heimlich endorsements
Fraternal Order of Police
County Sheriff Simon Leis
County Prosecutor Joe Deters
Family First PAC
Greater Cincinnati Right to Life
Buckeye Firearms Association
Citizens for Community Values Action PAC
Greater Cincinnati Homebuilders Assoc.
Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes
Congressman Steve Chabot
County Engineer Bill Brayshaw
County Treasurer Rob Goering
County Recorder Rebecca Groppe
County Clerk of Courts Greg Hartmann
County Commissioner Pat DeWine
State Senator Bob Schuler
State Senator Patty Clancy
State Representative Jim Raussen
State Representative Tom Brinkman, Jr.
State Representative Lou Blessing
State Representative Bill Seitz
State Representative Michelle Schneider
Sycamore Township Trustee Tom Weidman
Sycamore Township Trustee Cliff Bishop
Sycamore Township Trustee Dick Kent
Sycamore Township Fiscal Officer Rob Porter
Green Township Trustee Chuck Mitchell
Symmes Township Trustee Kathy Wagner
Symmes Township Trustee Eric Minamyer
Springfield Township Trustee Tom Bryan
Columbia Township Trustee Marty Powers
Anderson Township Trustee Russ Jackson
Anderson Township Trustee Peggy Reis
Anderson Township Fiscal Officer Ken Dietz
Colerain Township Trustee Jeff Ritter
Colerain Township Trustee Keith Corman
Colerain Township Trustee Bernie Fiedelday
Sharonville Mayor Virgil Lovitt
Blue Ash Mayor Rick Bryan
Cincinnati City Councilmember Chris Monzel
Sycamore Township Republican Club
Northeast Women’s Republican Club

Pepper endorsements
John Dowlin, former County Commissioner and former Mayor, Sharonville
Todd Portune, County Commissioner
Arn Bortz, former Mayor, Cincinnati
Dan Brooks, Mayor, North College Hill
Jim Brown, Mayor, Lockland
Susan Farley, former Mayor, Woodlawn
Dan Gieringer, Mayor, Harrison
Sam Keller, Mayor, Cheviot
Charlie Luken, former Mayor, Cincinnati
Mark Mallory, Mayor, Cincinnati
David Mann, former Mayor, Cincinnati
Earl Schmidt, former Mayor, Reading
John Smith, Mayor, Silverton
Bobbie Sterne, former Mayor, Cincinnati
Dwight Tillery, former Mayor, Cincinnati
Hubert Brown, Whitewater Township
Chris Dole, Crosby Township
Steve Langenkamp, Columbia Township
Jerry Luebbers, Delhi Township
Gwen McFarlin, Springfield Township
Joe Wolterman, former Colerain Township
Catherine Barrett, State Representative
Melanie Bates, Cincinnati School Board
Chris Bortz, Council Member, Cincinnati
Carol Bullock-Carpenter, President, Reading City Council
Laketa Cole, Council Member, Cincinnati
Minette Cooper, former Vice mayor, Cincinnati
Steve Driehaus, State Representative
Shelia Cottle, City of Forest Park
David Crowley, Council Member, Cincinnati
Doug Evans, Council Member, Newtown
Leslie Ghiz, Council Member, Cincinnati
Jack Gilligan, former Ohio Governor, Cincinnati School Board
Diana Herbe, City of Forest Park
Eric Kearney, State Senator
Brigid Kelly, Council Member, Norwood
Joel McGuire, Council Member, Harrison
Stefan Olson, Council Member, Terrace Park
Steph Stoller, Council Member, Blue Ash
Tyrone Yates, State Representative
Also Endorsed by:
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The Hamilton County Democratic Party
The Cincinnati Post
Miami Group of the Sierra Club
The Cincinnati Fire Fighters/Local 48
Equality Cincinnati
The Cincinnati Charter Committee
Women’s Political Caucus
The Cincinnati AFL-CIO
Carpenter’s Local Union #126
Cincinnati Federation of Teachers
The Greater Cincinnati Building Trades

Open call for endorsements

It never hurts, really, to have too many endorsements. At least that's the theory behind Sherrod Brown's latest campaign strategy.

The Brown campaign announced in a release today that it's opening the floodgates so that everyone in Ohio can personally endorse Brown for the U.S. Senate. The Lorain Democrat is challenging Republican Sen. Mike DeWine of Cedarville in the Nov. 7 election.

That's right. You don't have to be a newspaper or a union or even a well-known politician. Starting today, ANYONE can record their own endorsement of Brown by using a computer mic or calling one of two phone numbers (what, no 513 area code?!)

To listen to 10 endorsements that have already been recorded, including Dan from Cincinnati and Nancy from Loveland, click HERE.

Is The Daily Show coming to Cincinnati?

The show's road crew has already been to Chillicothe! Read the story here.

The popular political satire show will be broadcast from Ohio State University all next week.

If anyone has a Cincinnati sighting of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, let us know!

Mills, Brown area's best cops

Two Clermont County detectives have been named Police Officers of the Year.

Clermont County Union Township Detectives Mike Mills and Jeff Brown received the honor at today's CrimeStoppers awards ceremony.

The duo set up an Internet-based system that is used by police agencies around southwest Ohio to share intelligence information.

It is credited with helping solve over 670 cases since it started in 2004.

Boehner launches GOP communication effort

In an effort to keep his job following the Nov. 7 election, House Majority Leader John Boehner announced Wednesday that he’s launching a strategic communications effort to boost Republicans in key races across the country.

The West Chester Republican has run a political action committee -- The Freedom Project -- since 1995 that raises campaign money and doles it out to GOP candidates.

His new effort -- The Majority Project -- will use PAC funds to fund a massive effort by Boehner to get the GOP message out in the final weeks before the election.

Read Boehner's letter about his new project HERE.

All three members of Boehner’s official communications team -- Kevin Smith, Kevin Madden and Don Seymour -- have taken a leave of absence from their day jobs with Boehner on Capitol Hill to volunteer for the project.

Madden said the trio will essentially work as a rapid response team "reaching out to regional and national media to set the record straight" or rebut Democratic claims in targeted races.

The project features a Web site -- http://www.freedomproject.org -- that will include Web videos. Additionally, they’ll be "aggressively booking Boehner on conservative talk shows, cable news networks and broadcast networks" all across the country, he said.

Boehner represents the 8th Congressional District, which includes most of Butler County.

Schmidt misfires at Wulsin for 'cowards' ad

Rep. Jean Schmidt blasted Democrat Victoria Wulsin on Wednesday for allegedly breaking a U.S. House rule that prohibits using the broadcast of House floor proceedings in campaign ads.

"Her continued violation will land her in serious trouble with the House Ethics Committee," Schmidt's spokesman Matt Perin said in a release, referring to the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, which the release mistakenly referred to elsewhere as the "House Committee on Official Standards and Conduct."

Besides those errors, there's just one more tiny problem: Wulsin, who is challenging Schmidt in the 2nd District, is not a member of the House. Not yet anyway.

Wulsin's new ad shows a red, white and blue-clad Schmidt telling Democratic Rep. John Murtha, a decorated retired Marine from Pennsylvania, that "cowards cut and run, Marines never do."

Schmidt, a Miami Township Republican, was booed after her Nov. 18, 2005, speech. It's against House rules to refer to another lawmaker by name or to disparage them on the House floor.

"The only person in this race who has broken House rules is Jean Schmidt," Wulsin spokesman Ady Barkan said. "If she didn't want people to see this ad, then she shouldn't have given that speech."

UPDATE: Read Schmidt's release and "Dear Victoria" letter HERE.

Sheriff blasts judges -- again

Sheriff Simon Leis Jr. is criticizing Hamilton County judges -- again -- who don't utilize a jail program that lets inmates out early if they work at the jail.

Leis renewed his criticism with a press release today, just 10 days before voters will decide if Hamilton County's sales tax should be increased a quarter-cent to pay for a new jail and property tax rollback.

Streicher a momma's boy?

After he left this morning’s CrimeStoppers awards breakfast early, Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher had a story told on him.

Channel 12 reporter Deb Dixon was speaking during the awards ceremony – where CrimeStoppers named the Cincinnati Police Department the law enforcement agency of the year-- and talked about all of the support the program has received through the years from area police.

Then she mentioned Streicher and noted he’d told her he was one of 15 police chiefs from across the country invited to the White House to discuss crime issues.

After he told her that, Dixon said, the chief had an urgent task.

“He said, ‘I gotta go. I’ve got to tell my mom’ “ about the invitation, Dixon told the audience.

“Don’t tell him I said that,” Dixon added.

The last time Streicher went to Washington, D.C, he created a controversy when he returned to Cincinnati by saying in a Sept. 6 press conference that Cincinnati was “one of the safest cities in the country.”

That statement didn’t correspond with federal statistics that show the Queen City with the 15th highest homicide rate per capita and the 34th most incidents of violent crime on a list of the 254 largest cities.

Serious crimes rates in Cincinnati have decreased for three straight years but still are higher than in 1999 and 2000 before the 2001 race riots.

Pepper: Fly me away? Leis: Take a hike

At this morning's CrimeStopper's annual breakfast, Democrat Hamilton County Commission candidate David Pepper casually asked Sheriff Simon Leis Jr. (pictured) for a free helicopter ride.

"I asked him which football game he was going to drop me off at," Pepper said this morning with a sly grin.

Pepper was referring to a Wednesday Enquirer blog item that revealed his opponent, Republican incumbent Commissioner Phil Heimlich, rode in the Sheriff's publicly funded helicopter to deliver a game ball at a Sept. 15 Northwest High football game.

Heimlich said the event had nothing to do with politics or his re-election bid. Rather, he said, he was invited on the helicopter by executives from Rumpke Consolidated Cos. who were delivering a ceremonial key to the new Northwest High weight room that Rumpke donated $165,000 to build.

A Sheriff's spokesman said Leis was unaware Heimlich was on the helicopter.

At the CrimeStoppers breakfast, Leis told Pepper that he "had over a hundred calls" complaining about Heimlich being on the helicopter.

Leis' spokesman said it cost taxpayers nothing for the helicopter flight because it was done during a regular shift.

Mike Allen lives

When the Cincinnati Police Department was named law enforcement agency of the year at today's CrimeStoppers awards ceremony, the presenter was a former CPD officer and prosecutor -- Mike Allen.

Allen presented the award to Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher.

Allen now is a private attorney. Before that, he was the elected Hamilton County Prosecutor who decided not to seek re-election after a sexual harassment suit was filed against him by former assistant prosecutor Rebecca Collins -- who has since legally changed her name to R. Laney Collins in hopes of escaping her sensational past.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The pool report on the veep's trip


October 25, 2006

Flight from Andrews to Cincinnati Muncipal Airport-Lunken Field, wheels up 10:05, landed 11:21.

Along a 12 minute motorcade from the airport to the Phoenix, a banquet hall in downtown Cincinnati, many people came out to wave, a few isolated protestors stood a block from the hall booing Mr. Cheney's entrance and holding signs saying "Bring the troops home" and "Impeach Bush."

The VP went in through tent on side entrance without greeting any supporters. He gave a 25 minute speech to the Cincinnati USA Chamber of Commerce, which the VP's office said is the fifth largest in the nation, representing Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.

He spoke about the gains in the economy and pressed for making the Bush tax cuts permanent, but spent most of his remarks on the war on terror.

He echoed the president's remarks earlier in the day, saying that the White House would be "flexible" in fighting the war in Iraq, but that it would not back down or live by "artificial timelines set by politicians in Washington, DC." He did not make any explicit mention of the campaign for the midterms, but argued that the administration's policies had prevented more terror attacks on the nation in the five years since 9/11.

He argued for making the president's tax cuts permanent, saying they had caused a "surge in economic activity," with more than $3 trillion in new wealth into the stock market, more than 6.6 million new jobs created since August 2003, and unemployment, at 4.6 percent, at a rate lower than the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. He said the administration had cut the federal deficit, with tax receipts up $520 billion in the last two fiscal years, which he called the largest two-year increase in history. If the tax cuts do not become permanent, he warned, the child tax credit would be cut in half, from $1,000 to $500, small businesses' expensing would shrink from $100,000 to $25,000, and the tax rate on capital gains would go up as high as 20 percent, and the maximum rate on dividends approach 40 percent.
He added that the administration had a responsibility to hold the line on spending, "and on that score we have more to do." He argued that in order to do so, Congress should give the president a line-item veto "to stop wasteful spending."

VP segued from talking about responsibility to deal with the increasing cost of entitlements to say that the biggest responsibility of the federal government is to protect the nation from terror.
He warned that Al Qaeda was determined "to obtain chemical, biological, and even nuclear weapons, to destroy Israel, to intimidate all Western countries, and to cause mass deaths in the United States." In Iraq, he said, Al Qaeda operatives want to "breed chaos, bring down a newly elected government, and gain a foothold for terror, and the oil wealth to finance it."
The increasing violence in Baghdad, he said, is because coalition and Iraqi forces have been conducting "more focused operations" in the most violent areas, and because terrorists want to influence public opinion in the US.

On Iraq:
"We'll be flexible. We'll do all we can to adapt to conditions on the ground. We'll make every change that is necessary to do the job, to finish the job, and to bring the troops home with the honor they've earned. When it comes to our own troop levels, President Bush will make that call, and he'll do it based on what the commanders say is needed for victory. He'll make the decision that best serves the national interest, without regard to poll numbers, armchair generals, or artificial timelines set by politicians in Washington, DC."

He praised the new detainee treatment legislation, which the president signed last week, and argued in favor of the terrorist surveillance program, saying it was "a flat out falsehood" to call it a domestic surveillance or eavesdropping program. He said the information gained from interrogations and surveillance of terrorists has "helped to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the American people." He noted that there have been attacks in many foreign countries since 9/11 but none in the United States. "No one can guarantee that we won't be hit again. But to have come this far without another attack is no accident. A lot of things can go wrong in a war. Yet candor also permits us to recognize that many things have gone right."

"I want you to know that we're not going to let down our guard. The president is serious about the threat and serious about his duty to protect the country. He will not relent in the effort to track the enemies of the United States with every legitimate tool at his command." He concluded that "the war on terror is a test of our strength, a test of our capabilities, a test of our character."

Air Force one took off Cincinnati at 12:49 pm and landed Andrews 1:48

Kate Zernike, The New York Times

Wanted: GOP's anti-Cranley 'Taser' ad

A still photo of the National Republican Congressional Committee's "Taser" ad.

When they know that they're about to release an over-hyped stinker of a movie -- say, Snakes on a Plane -- movie studios will refuse to screen it to movie critics. If they can get it to opening weekend before the critics get ahold of it, they surmise, they can often recover their investment before word gets out and the movie tanks at the box office.

That's what the National Republican Congressional Committee is doing with its latest horror flick, which features a 7-year-old girl getting zapped, Frankenstein-style, with electricity.

"TASERS! 7-YEAR-OLDS! 50,000 VOLTS!" the ad's graphics exclaim.

The ad is referring to a non-binding resolution last year, sponsored by Charterite Councilman Christopher Smitherman, what would have asked the Cincinnati Police Department to change its policy on the use of the stun guns on children under 11. Democratic Councilman John Cranley, who is opposing Republican Steve Chabot in the 1st District congressional race, voted against the resolution and in support of the police policy.

That's remarkable because most of the attacks on Cranley have been that he's "turned his back" on police. And it puts national Republicans on the same side as Smitherman -- a councilman one prominent Republican officeholder famously called "a smart-mouthed little punk" -- and against the Cincinnati Police.

The ad also alleges that Cranley took money from campaign contributors with business before City Council, but the supporting fine print flies by so quickly it's difficult to know what the GOP's talking about.

The NRCC is the only campaign running ads in Cincinnati -- local or national -- that has refused to release its ads to the Enquirer. (Sometimes, campaigns will even make their opponent's ads available so they can be fact-checked.) NRCC spokesman Ed Patsu cited "policy."

If you have a digital copy of the ad for an upcoming "Ad Watch" feature, please e-mail gkorte@enquirer.com.

UPDATE (Thursday, 9:37 a.m.): The Cranley campaign has graciously provided a copy of the ad. Look for a fact check in the Enquirer in the coming days.

Heimlich and football go together?

Reported by Enquirer reporters Kimball Perry and Denise Smith Amos

Phil Heimlich apparently has developed a serious interest in high school football this election season.

In addition to asking popular Colerain High football coach Kerry Coombs to speak at a fundraiser, Heimlich also was in a Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office helicopter – paid for and operated with public money -- that was part of the Sept. 15 Northwest High game.

Earlier this week, the campaign to re-elect Heimlich to his Hamilton County Commission seat sent out a notice that Coombs would be speaking at a Thursday fundraiser.

Coombs, an assistant principal at Colerain High in the Northwest Local School District, “never made the connection” between the campaign even and his role at the public school.

“I’m not doing it as an employee. I’m just doing it as a citizen. I’m just going to the thing. I’m not aware of what the invitation says,” Coombs said.

“(Heimlich) asked me if I would say a few words. I don’t think I’m the featured speaker. I’m not affiliated with the school while I’m there in any way, shape or form. I know Phil personally. He’s done different things for the team.

“It’s just kind of sudden. He called Saturday and left a voice mail on my cell phone asking if I would mind saying a few words. I don’t know any of the details. I wasn’t going as anything but a guy who supports Phil. I’ve got a sign in my front yard.”

Coombs isn’t being paid for the appearance – and isn’t in trouble.

Northwest Schools Superintendent Rick Glatfelter wrote in an e-mail response to the Enquirer:

“Mr. Coombs, as a public employee, has the right to engage in political activities outside the workplace. He may not represent the school district, or imply that he represents the district. The publicity for such an event may not reference the district, the school or Mr. Coombs affiliation and/or position within the district.

I have received information from the organizers of the event in question that Mr. Coombs had no input or knowledge about the publicity that would be used. I have also received an apology from one of the organizers.

I am satisfied that Mr. Coombs has not violated any policy or law in this case, and is properly exercising his rights as a citizen outside of the workplace. “

Then came word that Heimlich popped out of a Hamilton County Sheriff’s office helicopter before the start of a Northwest High game.

Heimlich insists the event wasn’t politically related and is purely innocent.

Sheriff Simon Leis Jr. agreed to allow executives from Rumpke Consolidated Services to use a Sheriff's helicopter to arrive at the game -- where they presented a ceremonial key to the new Northwest High weight room to which Rumpke donated $165,000 to build.

Rumpke, Heimlich said, invited many elected officials – including all three county commissioners – to join them for the presentation. Heimlich was the only one to go.

The Sheriff’s office often donates the helicopter time for charity and other public service events.

“Unbeknownst to the Sheriff,” Heimlich was on the helicopter, invited by the Rumpke executives, said Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Barnett.

The ride – like the others allowed to charity and public service events – cost taxpayers nothing, Barnett said, because it was done during a normal helicopter patrol.

“There was no mention of politics whatsoever. There was no mention of campaigns whatsoever,” Heimlich said Wednesday.

Heimlich was tickled he also delivered the game ball after the helicopter landed.

“That was one ball I didn’t fumble,” Heimlich joked.

Sales tax shuffle

Kimball Perry reports

When officials first announced they were going to place on the fall ballot a proposed quarter-cent sales tax increase to pay for a jail, the issue was publicly supported by powerful names.

Now, two of those powerful names – Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich and financier Carl Lindner Jr. – have been replaced by other big names – Prosecutor Joe Deters and Coroner O’dell Owens.

The join Sheriff Simon Leis Jr., the only of the original, to form the co-chairs for the proposed sales tax increase.

Why the changes?

“We wanted to keep it separate from the Heimlich campaign,” Deters, a Republican, said Tuesday.

Heimlich is a Republican incumbent seeking re-election. He’s also the one who pushed for a 10-year sales tax increase to pay for a new $230 million jail and $30 million property tax rollback.
Deters agreed to accept the co-chair status for the issue – Issue 12 on the Nov. 7 ballot – only if it was “separate and apart” from the Heimlich re-election campaign.

“I wanted bi-partisan support,” Deters said.

That’s one reason why Owens, a Democrat, was added.

Another is that Owens is a huge proponent of providing social services – drug- and alcohol rehabilitation, education – behind bars and creating a criminal justice commission to oversee those services and ensure they are provided.

“I wouldn’t be here if this was just another jail. No way,” Owens said of his support for the issue.
The proposal calls for adding 800 additional beds – giving Hamilton County about 3,000 – while centralizing those social services in one building and eliminating three of the county’s four jails.

Another might be that Owens is black.

A decade ago when a half-cent sales tax increase was proposed to pay for, among other items, a jail expansion, the Baptist Ministers Conference, a group of about 100 mostly black churches, spoke out against it helping defeat it.

“I think there is in our polling a racial component to it,” Deters said of the issue’s chance of passing.

The Rev. James Pankey, head of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Greater Cincinnati, wouldn’t discuss Issue 12, saying the Conference is holding a 10 a.m. Tuesday Press Conference at Temple Baptist College – Reading Road and Whitier intersection – to discuss how it stands on Issue 12.

Deters added, though, that once they are educated about the new jail and its social services programs, “blacks move very strongly in favor of the issue, more strongly than the white community.”

In an atmosphere Deters said was so “anti-government” that he expects the election to be painful for many Republicans and issues seeking public money, the proposed sales tax increase will be boosted by “more than $300,000” spent advertising it.

A big chunk of that money came from Lindner and his supporters, Deters said.

“And there’s no guarantee it’s going to pass,” Deters said.

Politics makes strange bedfellows

Now that got your attention, didn't it?

The Ohio Republican Party sent this photo out today in a news release criticizing Rep. Sherrod Brown for enlisting the help of comedian and Air America talk show host Al Franken. Franken plans to rally Democratic supporters tonight during a conference call to various house parties in Brown's U.S. Senate race against Republican Sen. Mike DeWine. Franken stumped for Brown earlier this month in Akron.

Ohio GOP spokesman John McClelland said, "It is not surprising that Sherrod Brown is enlisting the help of a Hollywood liberal, who like him, is so far out of the mainstream of Ohio values. What is troubling is that Brown would solicit support from someone who compared conservatives to Nazis 'who should drink poison and die,'" quoting a book by Bernard Goldberg.

UPDATE: Andy Barr, director of Al Franken's Midwest Values Political Action Committee, said, "The picture is a fake. . . Both the photograph and the quote are particularly hacky works of pure fiction. No wonder Sherrod's up by so much" in recent public-opinion polls.

Barr said Goldberg's book, "110 People Who Are Screwing Up America" is completely made up. "It's a work of fiction."

To underscore his point, Barr emailed this chapter from Goldberg's book:
"AL FRANKEN SAYS HE'S A SATIRIST, by which he means he can say nasty things about anyone he wants and then claim it's all in good fun.

"Small world. I'm a satirist, too.

"Not long ago, I sat down with Al Franken for a one-on-one interview about his life and career. We spoke, appropriately enough, in his radio studio in New York City, where he hosts the Al Franken Show on Air America, which is a liberal talk radio network that is carried in several cities.

"GOLDBERG: Hi, Al, and thanks for letting me come in and have this chat with you today.
FRANKEN: You're a liar.
GOLDBERG: What do you mean I'm a liar?
FRANKEN: I never said you were a liar, you liar. You're telling lies about me lying about you lying. That's a lie.
GOLDBERG: Okay. But before we actually begin, I need to apologize.
FRANKEN: For what?
GOLDBERG: For listing you all the way down at number thirty-seven. When I started this project, before you went on the air here at Air America, I had you in the top five of all the people who are screwing up America. But I'm afraid that after the presidential election, when it became clear that lefties like you probably hurt Kerry more than they helped him, and that you were becoming more and more irrelevant politically, I had to drop you all the way down to thirty-seven, and if we did this interview next week, you might be number seventy-three.
FRANKEN: You're a big fat idiot.
GOLDBERG: Excuse me?
GOLDBERG: Al. Someone once said that liberals have forgotten how to be liberal, meaning they're no longer open-minded. They think the other side is not just wrong, but morally repugnant. Any thoughts?
FRANKEN: Yes, I think you're a big fat idiot.
FRAN KEN: No I didn't.
GOLDBERG: Let's move on. You've had quite a career: Saturday Night Live, movies, politics, and now your own radio show. What motivates you?
FRANKEN: Well, Bernie, as I'm sure you know, I'm good enough, smart enough, and, doggone it, people like me. That's what motivates me. Knowing how good enough and smart enough I am. And I think, if you send off positive vibes, as I do, people will like you, which is why they like me. I also have lots of self-esteem, which is good. And most of all, I'm not negative.
GOLDBERG: What do you think of conservatives?
FRANKEN : I think they're all a bunch of motherf * * * ing, Nazi, ass * * * * * who should drink poison and die.
GOLDBERG: How does angry talk like that, which we hear a lot from liberals these days, jibe with your insistence that you're not negative? I don't get it.
FRANKEN: That's because you didn't go to Harvard and I did. Harvard is where smart people go to college. I went there.
GOLDBERG: That leads me to my next question, Al.
FRANKEN: Liar, liar pants on fire!
GOLDBERG: Right. So here's what I'm wondering: You went to Harvard; Frank Rich, the New York Times columnist, went to Harvard; Michael Kinsley, now of the L.A. Times, went to Harvard. You're all very smart, but you're all very nasty, also. Why are so many Harvard media guys so mean-spirited?
FRANKEN: Come on, Bernie, you really need to ask that question? Just look at the three of us. We're proof that evolution is only a theory. I mean Frank and I are always goofing on Kinsley—behind his back, of course. The guy makes Richard Simmons look like Sylvester Stallone. He's always nitpicking because somebody used a semicolon instead of a comma. This guy is a loooooser. So is Frank, but don't tell him I told you.
GOLDBERG: That's quite revealing, Al. Anything else?
FRANKEN: Yes. I'm going to tell you a secret, Bernie, because I like you. WE ALL HATE OURSELVES -- Frank Rich, Michael Kinsley, and me. We're self-loathing nerds who can't do much except make fun of other people. Why do you think I call people "liars"? Because it makes me feel better about—ME! Bernie, I'm so SICK.
GOLDBERG: I've never heard you open up like this, Al. Do you really think that you're sick?
FRANKEN: Who said that?
GOLDBERG: You did. You just told me exactly that.
FRANKEN: Have I called you a liar yet today, because if I haven't, I'm about to start.
GOLDBERG: Why are you wearing a tinfoil hat?
FRANKEN: No comment.
GOLDBERG: Okay, Al. Thanks very much for your time. By the way, do you know why you're number thirty-seven on the list of people who are screwing up America?
FRANKEN: No, actually, I don't.
GOLDBERG: Well, you know who Casey Stengel was?
FRANKEN: Sure, that baseball man, right?
GOLDBERG: Right, Al, that baseball man. He was the manager of the New York Yankees. Well, Casey walked into spring training camp one year and told all of his players to line up in alphabetical order ... according to height. He wasn't trying to be funny. Casey spoke gibberish ... gobbledygook .. . total nonsense. Just like you, Al. And Casey's uniform number was ... thirty-seven! That's why I gave you that number.
FRANKEN: Do you like my hat? It's made out of tinfoil, you know
GOLDBERG: Thanks again, Al.

New poll: Brown pulling ahead

A new round of Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg polls shows Rep. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from northern Ohio, leading Republican Sen. Mike DeWine of Cedarville 47% to 39%.

Read the L.A. Times story HERE.

Read the Bloomberg story HERE.

The polls also show Republican Sen. Jim Talent leading Democrat Claire McCaskill 48% to 45% in Missouri; Republican Bob Corker leading Democratic Rep. Harold Ford 49% to 44% in Tennessee; Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez leading Republican Tom Kean 45% to 41% in New Jersey; and Democrat Jim Webb leading Republican Sen. George Allen 47% to 44% in Virginia.

Calling out the big guns: Mr. Right Stuff

When the going gets tough, Democrats running for statewide office in Ohio always have an ace in the hole.

That ace is John H. Glenn Jr.

Glenn is a lengendary figure in Ohio politics, elected to to four terms in the U.S. Senate in the '70s, '80s and early '90s.

Glenn's appeal, of course, transcends politics; the last few generations of schoolchildren in Ohio have been introduced to him as an authentic America hero, the Mercury astronaut who, in 1962, became the first American to orbit the earth. Roads, highways, schools all over Ohio are named after the man; his childhood home in New Concord is an historic site, toured by busloads of school kids.

So it is little wonder that Sherrod Brown, the Democrat who wants to up-end incumbent Sen. Mike DeWine, called on Glenn to cut a 30-second TV spot for his campaign - no bells and whistles, no attacks on DeWine, just Glenn talking to the camera about his "good friend" Sherrod Brown.

It comes at a time when Brown, ahead in most polls, is being hammered in a barrage of attack ads from the DeWine campaign and the Republican National Committee.

Glenn - who is the headliner at a John Cranley fundraiser in Cincinnati Thursday - may be especially motivated to do whatever he can to elect Brown.

In 1992, then-lieutenant governor DeWine was the Republican party candidate's for Glenn's senate seat. DeWine, in the heat of the campaign, suggested that, if Sen. Glenn had his way, "the Berlin Wa'' would still be standing and the former Soviet Republicans still would be enslaved."

Glenn, who fought communists as a fighter pilot in the Korean war, smacked DeWine down for that crack, as did the voters of Ohio a few weeks later.

Moral of story: Don't mess with John Glenn. He may come back to haunt you.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Clinton running late

Howard Wilkinson reports from the John Cranley fundraiser...

It's 3:19 p.m. and former President Clinton isn't there yet.

Clinton Hearts Starbucks

President Clinton stopped at a Starbucks in Columbia Tusculum after his speech to fill up on a grande decaf Verona - black, no sugar or cream - according to barista David Lyman.

"Everyone was kind of, 'Oh my God it’s Bill Clinton," he said. "They stopped one lane of traffic on Columbia. He did a little bit of handshaking, stood outside. Very civilized."

He stopped in around 2:30 p.m. and lingered for about 20 minutes, Lyman said, taking pictures behind the counter with the baristas.

"I know he shouldn't be there without an apron, but..."

Oddly, the Enquirer also received a reported sighting of Clinton at a Rookwood Common Starbucks. Which means either the report is wrong or Clinton really, really likes Starbucks.

Urban legend

We've had enough real voting problems in Ohio without making new ones up.

Several Enquirer reporters have received dozens of emails inquiring about this one, that has been repeated as fact all over the Internet:
"ACTION ALERT: Blackwell purged Ohio Voter Rolls Oct 1st.- Vote Early"
by KStreetProjector, posted on Daily Kos on Oct. 18 at http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/10/18/85915/109

First of all, Ohio's 88 county Boards of Elections are the government entities that purge rolls of inactive voters -- people who have died, moved or not voted during two federal election cycles (at least four years) -- not the Ohio Secretary of State.

Second, notices to inactive registered voters are mailed by county boards -- not the state -- and are typically sent out in odd election years.

"If you look at the blog, it's discussing something someone overheard at a lunch at a restaurant in Washington, D.C.," said James Lee, spokesman for Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. "It's just ridiculous."

That being said, if anyone thinks their voter registration was wrongly purged, please let us know.

Dink's new ad

From Enquirer Reporter Sharon Coolidge:

Patrick Dinkelacker, currently a Hamilton County Common Pleas Court judge running for a vacant judgeship on the 1st District Court of Appeals, has a new television ad out.

Here is the ad.

Monday, October 23, 2006

O'Reilly ad gets more scrutiny

Sharon Coolidge reports:

A three-member panel of the Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline found probable cause Monday in a disciplinary complaint against Attorney Jim O’Reilly, who is running for the 1st District Court of Appeals.

The complaint, filed by Cincinnati attorney Steve Goodin on behalf of O’Reilly’s opponent, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Dinkelacker, alleges misconduct by O’Reilly. Specifically, the complaint says O’Reilly’s television advertisement is false.

The complaint will now go before another three member panel of the board for an evidentiary hearing. If misconduct is found, the Ohio Supreme Court could impose sanctions ranging from requiring O’Reilly to pull the ad, to fines or even sanctions on O’Reilly’s law license.

“I am not worried,” O’Reilly said. “I know when we get to the hearing stage, just as with the Ohio Elections Commission, there will be a positive outcome.”

The finding comes after a member of the Ohio Elections Commission calling O’Reilly’s attack ad misleading. But the four-member commission found no probable cause that the ads are false.
O’Reilly’s ad says Dinkelacker jailed an alleged rape victim, made an error that allowed Larry Flynt to go free and continue selling pornography in Hamilton County and prosecuted the only death penalty case commuted by Gov. Bob Taft.

Goodin argued that all three claims are false and misleading, a violation of judicial canons that forbid a judicial candidate from running a television ad that is false, or if true, that would be deceiving or misleading.

“It’s factual that Judge Dinkelacker was involved in these cases, but it is extremely misleading to say the cases were overturned because of his actions,” Goodin said.

An Enquirer analysis of O’Reilly’s ad shows:

It’s dubious that Dinkelacker’s handling of the case allowed Flynt to continue to sell pornography. There’s no guarantee Flynt would have been convicted in 1999 - and it was the prosecutor who initially agreed to the deal.

Dinkelacker did jail a woman who alleged she was raped in 2003, after she failed to appear in court. But she later admitted she lied about parts of her story - testifying that she agreed to have sex with the defendant for $20. The man she accused was acquitted.

Taft granted clemency to Jerome Campbell, a man Dinkelacker helped put on death row. But the decision, made when he was an assistant prosecutor, had more to do with the DNA than the prosecution.

Heimlich: Hut Two, Hut Three, Vote for me

Perhaps hoping to capitalize on the success of Colerain High's football team, Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich is hosting a Thursday night campaign function featuring popular Colerain football coach Kerry Coombs (left).

The event is from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Pebble Creek Golf Course Clubhouse, 9799 Prechtel Road, in Colerain Township. Heimlich, a Republican, is trying to hold on to his office, facing Democrat challenger David Pepper.

Coombs' Cardinals won the 2004 Ohio Division I football championship, the school's first state football title.

While he may not be active in politics, Coombs' relatives are.

Coombs' is the brother-in-law of assistant Hamilton County prosecutor Rick Gibson and son-in-law to Gibson's father, Harold Gibson, a retired bailiff for Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman.

Heimlich has known Coombs for years, Heimlich said, even speaking to the football team before games this year and in the past.

Perhaps juiciest of all, though, for Heimlich: His nemesis on the three-member board of commissioners is Democrat Todd Portune -- a proud graduate of Colerain High, who often attends Cardinals' football games.

Rick Gibson also is very familiar with Pepper.

Gibson was the assistant prosecutor who helped send to prison the two men convicted of kidnapping and robbing Pepper in a 2002 incident.

Michael Watkins and Mike Gray each were convicted of those and other charges stemming from a 2002 crime spree.

It included using a gun -- it later proved to be a BB gun -- to rob or try to rob two others as well as Pepper.

They confronted Pepper outside of his Mount Adams home in an Oct. 17, 2002, incident. They took $75 from Pepper's wallet and forced him to drive around with them as they used his ATM card to withdraw an additional $400.

Each was sentenced to eight years in prison by now-deceased Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Kraft.

What's REALLY in that chili?

If you want to get a fix of Hamilton County Republican officeholders, law enforcement, officials or chili, head to Price Hill Chili for a Wednesday night event.

If you show up at 7 p.m., you'll likely see west side Congressman Steve Chabot, Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich, Prosecutor Joe Deters and Sheriff Simon Leis Jr. -- all elected Republican office holders.

You also likely will see Keith Fangman, (right) an officer with the Cincinnati Police Department who also is vice president of the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police.

Fangman will be at the event to show the FOP support for a countywide proposal on the Nov. 7 ballot that would increase Hamilton County's sales tax by a quarter-cent to pay for a new $230 million jail and $30 million property tax rollback.

The event, at 4920 Glenway Ave., is to support:

* Heimlich's bid for re-election against Democrat challenger David Pepper;
* Chabot's bid for re-election against Democrat challenger John Cranley, and;
* Issue 12, the proposed sales tax increase.

Clinton shows up, big bucks follow

The Democratic party's fundraiser-in-chief, former President William Jefferson Clinton, will show up in downtown Cincinnati mid-afternoon Tuesday to make the dollars rain down on 1st District congressional candidate John Cranley.

The 42nd president is in Columbus today, but scoots down I-71 tomorrow for a fundraising luncheon at the Millenium hotel; and all reports indicate that area Democrats are knocking each other over to get a chance to see their hero in action.

It's an expensive affair, with a quite complicated pecking order:

Those who raise $10,000 for the Cranley campaign get to be "co-chairs" of the event, which means they get in not only for the general luncheon but a VIP reception, and can have their pictures taken with Clinton.

A couple coughing up $4,200 gets to be "co-hosts,'' get to go to the reception and get one photograph with Clinton.

What is the difference between being a "co-chair" and a "co-host"? Apparently, $5,800.

A $1,000 contribution gets you into "priority seating,'' which presumably means up close; $500 buys you "preferred seating" and $250 buys you a ticket to "general seating," which probably means you are real close to the kitchen.

Cranley's opponent, Steve Chabot, has had his own fundraising visits from White House denizens, including Vice President Dick Cheney and First Lady Laura Bush. Today, Chabot pals around with another fellow with an office in the White House, budget director Rob Portman, Chabot's former colleague from the congressional district next door.

It must be a slow day at the White House, because Portman will be spending late Monday afternoon campaigning door-to-door with Chabot on the west side.

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