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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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Schmidt in the lead, Schmidt says

Rep. Jean Schmidt's campaign released the results of a new voter survey today and guess what? The poll results show that she's winning! We're not really surprised because we would not expect her campaign to release a survey that found she was NOT winning.

Still, the findings are quite interesting. According to the survey, Schmidt begins the General Election campaign with an 18-point lead over her challenger, Democrat Victoria Wulsin.

According to Schmidt's campaign, voters have more negative views than positive ones about Wulsin after the primary election. The Schmidt campaign suggests that the attacks from Democrat Steve Black, who lost to Wulsin in the primary election, may play a big role in her high negatives.

Black had accused Wulsin of ethics violations related to human testing experiments.

Wulsin has said she never did anything improper and that she opposed testing done by the Heimlich Institute and was later fired from the instutite for her opposition to the testing.

“Jean Schmidt is more popular now than ever with voters in stark contrast to Ms. Wulsin’s free fall. We begin the campaign with an 18 point lead in stark contrast to the political environment in 2006,” said Bruce Pfaff, Schmidt's campaign spokesman.

The survey shows that Wulsin has a net negative rating in every county except rural Pike. Cincinnati TV stations that caried Black's negative ads about the human testing experiments were not viewed in Pike County, so it's possible that the negative ads worked.

Said Pfaff: “It is now quite clear why the Democratic National Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced last week they had removed Wulsin from a list of candidates they plan to support. No doubt the DCCC has seen the same numbers and realizes that further support of Wulsin is a futile endeavor. She is the physician but I think it is fair to say that her third campaign for congress is in critical condition.”

To be accurate: The DCCC did not remove Wulsin from it's Red to Blue program list, they just did not include her on the initial 2008 list, although they said she could be added later.

Meanwhile, U.S. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer was in town today on Wulsin's behalf for a private fundraiser. And he says he's "dedicated to helping Vic win."

“I support Dr. Wulsin in her bid for Congress because of her background and leadership in public service," he said in a statement.

More Hoyer: "Dr. Wulsin is committed to serving the families of Southern Ohio and addressing the issues that matter most - solving our healthcare crisis, bringing our soldiers home from Iraq, and working with other members of Congress to invest in creating good jobs. I am dedicated to helping Vic win this November because we need her skills and experience in Washington.”

Strickland tours former brownfield site, touts job plan

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, touting his $1.7 jobs package, toured two Cincinnati area job-creating projects he believes should be a model for the rest of the state.

Strickland first went to the still-under-construction Linden Pointe at the Lateral site in Norwood, a 15-acre former brownfield site that is being turned into an office-retail complex that the developers say will ultimately create about 2,500 jobs. Later, he went to Melink Corporation in Miflord, a manufacturer oif energy-efficient kitchen ventilation systems.

After touring the first building built at Linden Pointe - a four-story office complex - with construction managers and several area state legislators, Strickland said it was a good example of how a private investors and state and local governments can team up to create jobs.

"They've taken a brownfield, cleaned up the mess and turned it into something that will create jobs,'' Strickland said. "The community wins because it takes a toxic area that was a problem and turns it into something that puts people to work and generates tax revenue."

The Enquirer talked to the governor about a few other subjects before he left Norwood for Milford, including:


Republicans on the state controlling board blocked Strickland's plan to invest $18 million in keno games, a video lottery, around the state as a way of generating revenue.

Strickland pulled his request after the controlling board balked, saying it want more information and public hearings on the proposal. Thursday, Strickland said he is willing to give them time, even though it means it is unlikely that he will get the keno games in operation by July 1 as he had planned.

"War has not been declared,'' the governor said. But, he said, if the Republicans on the controlling board reject his keno proposal, "I will suggest to them that they have an obligation to find some other way of helping up deal with a signifcant budget shortfall." Strickland has told legislators the state is facing a budget deficit of at least $733 million by the end of June 2009.

Obama's pastor:

Strickland - a United Methodist minister and supporter of Hillary Clinton - called the flap over incendiary remarks by Barack Obama's pastor "really unfortunate."

"I obviously don't know (the Rev. Jeremiah Wright); and I want to accept what people who do know him say - that those remarks are not a reflection of the man as a whole or of his lifetime of work."

The governor said he does not blame Obama for what his pastor said.

"I'm not sure it is a good idea to hold someone responsible for statements made by someone else," Strickland said.

Hamilton County GOP: Driehaus pick "desperate"

UPDATE, 3 pm:

Steve Driehaus responds:

"There's a large diversity of opinion within Republicans and Democrats. I would hope that Alex Triantafilou doesn't believe that because not everyone shares the same views that we shouldn't work with House leadership."

If Triantafilou is suggesting that Rep. Steve Chabot, for example, shouldn't talk to GOP leaders who don't share his views, "obviously Alex doesn't understand the legislative process."

"The key to being an effective legislator is to reach out to people of differing opinons and bring people together," Driehaus said. That's something, he said, the GOP doesn't understand.

"It's that type of divisive attitude that keeps things from getting done," he said. "That's why we haven't had solutions on immigration," for example. It's why, he said, he's running against Chabot.

This was sent out by new Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Alex Triantafilou:

Driehaus Mortgages Values for Campaign Cash
Steny Hoyer in Cincinnati to Milk Liberal Supporters

Tomorrow morning, Steve Driehaus, a Democrat running for Ohio’s First Congressional District seat, will welcome Majority Leader, and Nancy Pelosi’s right hand man, Steny Hoyer to Cincinnati. Why would Driehaus bring one of the most liberal members of Congress to the Queen City? The answer is simple. Money.

In a desperate move, Driehaus quietly reached out to Hoyer hoping the voters in the First District wouldn’t notice. Think again. Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Driehaus Mortgages Values for Campaign Cash

Steny Hoyer in Cincinnati to Milk Liberal Supporters

Tomorrow morning, Steve Driehaus, a Democrat running for Ohio’s First Congressional District seat, will welcome Majority Leader, and Nancy Pelosi’s right hand man, Steny Hoyer to Cincinnati. Why would Driehaus bring one of the most liberal members of Congress to the Queen City? The answer is simple. Money.

In a desperate move, Driehaus quietly reached out to Hoyer hoping the voters in the First District wouldn’t notice. Think again. Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Alex Triantafilou noted, “While Hoyer’s liberal views may be right at home in Washington, they are at odds with the values of those in Ohio’s First District. It makes you wonder where Driehaus actually stands on these issues and what he’ll owe Hoyer and Pelosi in the future for all their support.”

Chairman Triantafilou asked the following:

· Does Driehaus endorse Hoyer’s extreme views on abortion? Driehaus claims to be pro-life, but bringing in a man who National Right to Life gave a 0% for his abysmal record on life issues reeks of hypocrisy.

· Hoyer recently voted to create 100,000 new Section 8 vouchers that would cost taxpayers billions. Is supporting these the kind of back-scratching favors Hoyer will demand of a Congressman Driehaus?

· Perhaps most disturbingly, Leader Hoyer and Speaker Pelosi adjourned Congress for a two week recess without extending a law that enables our intelligence and law enforcement community to monitor terrorist phone calls overseas. Will Driehaus also support taking a break at the expense of national security?

“Mr. Hoyer should be back in Washington demanding the immediate consideration of the bipartisan FISA legislation that would keep Americans safe rather than helping second tier Congressional candidates troll for fundraising dollars,” Triantafilou said.

With these facts on the table, Steve Driehaus has a lot of explaining to do. Where does he stand on these issues? Is he aware of Hoyer’s liberal voting record? If elected to Congress, is there a limit to what he will owe Hoyer? These are important questions. And they deserve to be answered.

Voinovich: We need to raise taxes

Gongwer News Service, which covers all things Columbus, filed this report:

U.S. Sen. George Voinovich said Wednesday an increase in federal taxes is necessary in order to deal with an array of serious fiscal and infrastructure challenges that face the nation.

Voinovich (R-Cleveland) delivered his assessment during an appearance before a regional planning forum in Columbus.

"We're in a global marketplace, right? Why are things so expensive today? Why is steel so expensive?" the former governor said.

"How can America survive when half the kids in the urban districts are dropping out of school? How can America survive if we're just letting our rivers and bridges and roads go to pot, and not dealing with some of the ... things that need to be taken care of?" Sen. Voinovich said. "I don't know where the price of gas is going to go."

The state's senior senator said Americans should understand that the nation could not continue doing things the way they have been done in the past.

"We're going to have to raise more money in this country. Did you hear me? We're going to have to increase taxes in order to do the job," Sen. Voinovich said. "Anyone that tells you that's not the case isn't being truthful with you. They're not being intellectually honest with you."

That Gongwer report prompted Ohio's Democratic party today to issue this statement:

COLUMBUS - In a dramatic slap in the face to John McCain, Ohio's top Republican has called for higher federal taxes, stating that "we're going to have to increase taxes" and "anyone that tells you that's not the case isn't being truthful with you." Voinovich's remarks at yesterday's Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission forum have exposed Senator McCain's dramatic "read my lips" tax pledge for what it is, an outright lie.

"We're going to have to raise more money in this country. Did you hear me? We're going to have to increase taxes in order to do the job," Sen. Voinovich said. "Anyone that tells you that's not the case isn't being truthful with you. They're not being intellectually honest with you. [Gongwer News Service, 3/19/2008]

Senator McCain took the tax pledge in February, vowing "no new taxes" under any circumstances in a slew of high-profile television interviews.

John McCain's 'maverick' image has been dismantled by months of publicly pandering to the far right and reversing himself on critical issues ranging from taxes to illegal immigration.

"Ohio's top Republican is calling John McCain a liar when it comes to taxes, and why shouldn't he?" said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern. "After all, McCain plans to spend 100 years in Iraq, and just the first five years have cost America more than $2 trillion."

Hey, where did everybody go?

Hamilton County lost 5,000 people in one year, according to new census estimates. That's more than any year this decade.

Jessica Brown has the story here

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

From Mallory's Weekly Press Briefing.....

Here's some of what Mayor Mark Mallory had to say Wednesday at his weekly meeting with reporters:

1. He's having meetings with officials to organize the Student Recovery Teams he mentioned in his State of the City speech. He hopes to announce them in April. These are the teams he said would help schools, specific students and their parents.

2. He's also in the process of putting together the census Complete Count Committee, which will work on getting residents to understand the importance of an accurate census and how they can help make the next one so. But the group will take a different approach - they'll be working on ways to account for all the more than 378,000 people the private study by Social Compact said live here, rather than just counting as many people as possible. (That number's a lot higher than the 332,000 estimated by the Census last year as living in Cincinnati)

He's planning to put on the committee people connected with difficult-to-count groups, like homeless people, college students and lower-income folks.

"This is our opportunity to get this number right," he said.

3. I meant the current rain when I asked about whether his office had taken any complaints about the weather, but he answered about the snowfall two two weeks ago and turned it into an opportunity to praise cleanup efforts. He praised City Manager Milton Dohoney's summer planning session last year as the reason the city was more prepared and cleaned up quickly after the large amount of snow. He also attributed it to Dohoney's plan to use any city truck and any city employee who's a licensed truck driver to help with snow removal, rather than just the usual snow-removal people. "That's what got it done," he said.

As for the fact that Dohoney now says he needs more than $2 million extra dollars to cover this year's snow removal so far, the mayor said: "An operation like that costs."

4. As for the county's idea that the city pay $250,000 toward the county's costs for housing inmates jailed on city charges, he said if his memory serves, running jails is a county function. "It's an interesting concept," he said of the city chipping in. "But no."

Crowley: Don't Forget About The War

Cincinnati Vice Mayor David Crowley, who successfully got City Council last year to approve a resolution against President Bush's troop surge in Iraq, reminded his colleagues during council tonight that this is the fifth anniversary of the war.

It's "continuing to cost us human life," he said, and contributing to the United States' current economic downturn.

"It's already been moved off the front pages...But it continues to be a killer of our young men and women."

Strickland gives up Spitzer cash

The Associated Press reports:

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Gov. Ted Strickland is giving $10,000 in campaign cash from disgraced former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer to a food bank.

Spitzer resigned last week after revelations that he was caught up in a high-priced prostitution scandal. He gave Strickland the contribution for the Ohio governor’s 2006 campaign.

It was the biggest of the out-of-state political contributions Spitzer handed out across the country since 2004 to Democratic candidates and causes.

Strickland donated the money to the Tri-County Food Pantry, which serves Washington, Noble and Monroe counties in southeast Ohio.

Newt's the draw at six-figure Chabot fundraiser

A visit from his old boss, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, put another $120,000 in Steve Chabot's already impressive re-election fund Wednesday.

Gingrich, author of the 1994 "Contract With America" that helped wrest control of the House from the Democrats that year, was the featured speaker at a $100-per-plate fundraising luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Downtown.

The event, which was closed to the press, included a $1,000-per-ticket private reception and photo session with the former House speaker.

Gingrich left without talking to the media, but Chabot enthused about the event, which he said raised about $120,000 for his campaign to win an eighth two-year term in the 1st Congressional District.

"It was great; people were more fired up than ever,'' said Chabot, who will face Democrat Steve Driehaus in the fall.

Chabot was one of the freshmen congressmen elected in 1994 who shifted control of the House and made Gingrich speaker.

The haul from Wednesday's event will be added to the slightly more than $1 million in campaign cash Chabot's campaign reported to the Federal Elections Commission last month. Driehaus reported having about $430,000 in the bank as of mid-February.

After the luncheon, Chabot said he is not concerned about once again being targeted for defeat by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

"The DCCC has always tried to find some reason to go after me, but it never works," Chabot said.

The night before Gingrich arrived in Cincinnati for the Chabot fundraiser, Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern e-mailed a statement criticizing Chabot for not following through on one key provision of the "Contract With America" he signed in 1994 - one which would limited House members to six consecutive two-year terms.

"Congressman Chabot has grown so fond of rubber-stamping the failed policies of George Bush that he's decided to try and remain in Washington indefinitely,'' Redfern said.

Damon Lynch Jr. on Obama's pastor

Howard Wilkinson reports:

Some of those in Cincinnati who know the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the recently retired pastor of Barack Obama's Chicago church, say those offended by video clips of his preaching misunderstand both the man and his message.

And, they say, it is wrong to blame Obama for what his pastor had to say about America.

"When you stand in a pulpit in front of a thousand people every Sunday, as I do and as Rev. Wright does, you are going to say things that many in the pews will not agree with,'' said the Rev. Damon Lynch Jr., pastor for 38 years at the New Jerusalem Baptist Church in Hartwell.
Read the full story here

Iraq war - five years

We'll post statements as we get them, with most recent on top.

From Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky:

“The brave men and women who answer the noble call to defend our nation and the spouses, children and parents who support them are our nation’s most valuable treasures. Thousands of troops from Fort Campbell and the Kentucky National Guard are in Iraq right now. Many are on their third tour of duty. This week as we look back on our five years in Iraq, I hope that all Americans will take some time to remember the great sacrifices these soldiers have made in the name of our freedom.

“Our troops are succeeding in their mission under the new strategy being implemented by General David Petraeus. It is imperative that we continue to support our commanders on the ground and ensure that our soldiers have the resources they need to finish the job and return home as soon as possible.”

From Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio:

“Today President Bush held true to form, claiming we are safer when Osama bin Laden remains free, claiming progress when the Iraqi government has failed to meet most of the benchmarks set out, and claiming we are better off when nearly 4,000 troops have lost their lives and the financial strain is wearing our economy thin.

“Five years later, 130,000 of our military remain in harm’s way. Five years later, Ohio has lost 165 men and women, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, teachers and firefighters. Five years later, there still is no exit strategy. We continue to spend billions of dollars every week on the war – diverting money away from efforts to fight terrorism around the globe, choking off funds for important infrastructure and domestic programs.

“The president is recycling old rhetoric to defend his open-ended invasion. As his administration’s tenure comes to an end, the president should be focused on ending the war rather than on salvaging his legacy.”

House GOP leader Rep. John Boehner, R-West Chester:

“In the five years that have passed since the start of this conflict, our men and women in uniform have heroically ousted a terrorist dictator, freed a nation, and planted the seeds for political reconciliation that will pave the way for the first democracy in a part of the world that needs it most. Today, after countless obstacles to our success over the past five years, Iraq’s fledgling democracy is at long last taking important steps toward the ultimate goal of self-rule. Elections have been held, police and military forces have been trained, legislatures have been assembled, and infrastructure has been built. And most importantly, American troops are beginning to return home after victory, not defeat.

“While our nation rightfully thanks each and every serviceman and woman who returns home from Iraq, it will be our children and grandchildren – and their children and grandchildren – who truly will owe them a debt of gratitude. Their selflessness and courage in the face of a ruthless and soul-less enemy not only has brought increasing security and stability to a breeding ground for terrorists seeking to destroy us, but it has laid the groundwork for a safer and more peaceful world for generations to come. While more work is left ahead of us, the progress made under General Petraeus’ plan gives our troops and their Iraqi security forces counterparts the momentum they need to overcome not only the terrorist enemy they face in Iraq – but also the naysayers at home who claimed victory was never possible.”

Here's U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's:

“Last week, congressional leaders from both parties stood together in the Capitol Rotunda to pay tribute to the service of our troops. Though we will continue to engage in a spirited debate on the future of our national security, we can do so in a manner which honors the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country. We can rise above political fights and focus on continued security in the Middle East, instead of what will happen in November. And we can spend less time telling the troops their mission is unwinnable, and more time focused on providing them with the funding they need to succeed in their mission.

“On this fifth anniversary of U.S. military service in Iraq, we must provide our armed forces everything they need so that they can return to their families in success.”

Here's John McCain's

"Today in Iraq, America and our allies stand on the precipice of winning a major victory against radical Islamic extremism. The security gains over the past year have been dramatic and undeniable. Al Qaeda and Shia extremists -- with support from external powers such as Iran -- are on the run but not defeated. Tough fighting remains ahead, especially in places like Mosul. Important political gains have also been made, but far more must be done in coming months to cement the gains made in huge cost in American blood and treasure.

"Americans should be proud that they led the way in removing a vicious, predatory dictator and opening the possibility of a free and stable Iraq. Americans should be proud that once we implemented the surge and new counterinsurgency strategy, a dire situation has been dramatically improved. And, Americans know that the consequences of failure would leave our nation less secure for generations to come."

John McCain's campaign today further re-released a web feature on http://www.johnmccain.com/ that chronicles the Senator's leadership on Iraq and in the larger fight against Islamic extremists. The page, entitled "Fighting Islamic Extremists: Progress in Iraq," features a four year timeline of John McCain's unrelenting call for a new strategy for victory in Iraq -- the strategy currently winning on the ground.

Here's Victoria Wulsin's:

“Five years after the war in Iraq began, there is still no end in sight. The men and women of our armed forces have done everything we have asked, serving honorably and bravely; but our leaders have failed them, failed us and failed the Iraqi people.

We have lost 3,990 American soldiers in a war that now costs us $12 billion each month. The Bush Administration set 18 benchmarks for the Iraqi government before the surge, but only 3 have been met.

The price of oil has tripled since March, 2003 and still the President and his allies refuse to change course.The time is now to devote the same level of diplomatic and political effort that our troops have given on the battlefield and in security operations. And here at home, it’s time to reunite the hundreds of thousands of families affected by this war, ensure that our veterans get the care they deserve, and invest in our economy and our future.”

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Courageous or 'reckless'?

Depending on your knowledge about, comfort level or point of view on touch-screen voting machines, Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (not unlike her predecessor Ken Blackwell of Cincinnati) has become a magnet for praise -- as well as scorn -- as the state's top election officer.

The latest example is today's announcement that Brunner has been selected for the prestigious John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in Boston on May 12.

The Ohio Republican Party quickly responded with its own take on Brunner's award. GOP spokesman John McClelland sent out a news statement titled: "Brunner's Special Brand of Courage: 'Fostering a culture of intimidation regardless of the consequences'" (See full text below.)

Brunner, a Democrat, will get the award along with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen for challenging the reliability of touch-screen voting systems. In December, Brunner recommended that 57 Ohio counties -- including Adams, Butler and Highland -- replace their touch-screen voting machines purchased after the 2004 presidential election with optical scan machines which use paper ballots. Brunner released a study that found touch-screen machines susceptible to hacking, memory card problems and other technical failures. Her critics object to the disruption and cost of replacement -- estimated as high as $64 million -- and questioned the necessity of Brunner’s proposals.

This year's award winners were announced earlier today by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. Brunner and Bowen will be presented the award for "political courage" by Caroline Kennedy and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy at a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. (You may recall Robert F. Kennedy Jr. authored a 2006 article titled: "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?" for Rolling Stone magazine here.)

"As we prepare to cast our ballots for the next President of the United States, our confidence in the integrity and reliability of the voting process has never been more important," Caroline Kennedy, president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, said in a news statement. "Secretaries of State Debra Bowen and Jennifer Brunner have each demonstrated exceptional leadership in working to ensure that voting systems provide a full and accurate count of the vote. Our democracy depends on voter trust. Debra Bowen and Jennifer Brunner’s efforts to earn that trust have made them true profiles in courage."

The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award is presented annually to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences. The award is named for President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, which recounts the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers, incurring the wrath of constituents or powerful interest groups, by taking principled stands for unpopular positions. The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation created the Profile in Courage Award™ in 1989.

For more information about the Profile in Courage Award and all the past recipients, visit http://www.jfklibrary.org/

John McClelland's Republican Party statement read: "Jennifer Brunner has indeed shown a willingness to act regardless of the consequences, recklessly promoting a radical agenda and consistently hewing to her own personal version of the truth. It takes courage to pursue a colossal waste of tax dollars for a new voting system based entirely on personal whims and hypothetical evidence. It takes courage to punish your critics and threaten dissenters while presenting yourself as nonpartisan. It takes courage to surround yourself with advisors from the tin foil hat wing of the Democrat Party, yet claim to approach election reform with an open mind."


Jail report released

The Vera Institute of Justice issued its findings today from a study on Hamilton County's jail population. The study analyzed bookings in 2002 and 2006 and compared the two years.
County officials hope this information will help it figure out how to deal with the jail overcrowding problem.

Here is the power point presentation (given to the Criminal Justice Commission Tuesday)

Here is the full report.

GOP not keen on Keno

Looks like the proposed Keno lottery game is running into trouble in Columbus.

Here's the latest

Hoyer to stump for Wulsin

UPDATE: Ann Herzner, Wulsin's campaign spokeswoman, says Hoyer will be here on Thursday morning for a "private reception. The event is closed to the press."

Meanwhile, from the Wulsin campaign:

Hoyer In Town for Wulsin

House Majority Leader Visits To Support Campaign Against Schmidt

Cincinnati – On Thursday, March 20th, United States House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer will visit Cincinnati and appear as the guest of honor at a fundraiser in support of Congressional candidate Dr. Victoria Wulsin.

Hoyer, who represents the 5th District in Maryland, is in his second year as Majority Leader after serving two terms as the Democratic Whip.

Wulsin finished the March primary strong, winning by a wider margin and with over 14,000 more votes than her opponent, Jean Schmidt. Wulsin is preparing for a rematch against Schmidt this fall as she picks up national support and attention from Congressman Hoyer.

“I am honored to have the support of the Majority Leader,” said Wulsin. “He believes in my efforts to bring change to Washington. With his help, we can work together with other members of Congress to address our nation’s most difficult issues: our struggling economy, rising gas prices, affordable healthcare and ending the war in Iraq.”

Gingrich shakes the money tree for Chabot

Steve Chabot is not exactly hurting for campaign cash, but there is always more to rake in. So the 1st District congressman is having his old boss, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, in for a fundraiser Wednesday.

Gingrich, of course, led the revolution that swept the Republicans into the majority in the 1994 congressional election; and Chabot was one of the GOP pick-ups that year - he took the 1st District seat from one-term Democrat David Mann.

The fun starts at 11:30 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency downtown with a $1,000-per-ticket private reception, followed by a $100-a-plate reception.

It will, no doubt, further swell the campaign account of Chabot, who, once again, will be targeted for defeat by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as he tries for an eighth term. Chabot had just a tad over $1 million in his campaign fund as of Feb. 13 - more than twice as much as his Democratic opponent, State Rep. Steve Driehaus, who reported $430,000 in the bank as of mid-February.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Cincinnati: Better Than Expected, Money-wise

City Manager Milton Dohoney's latest budget update is out. He says that as of the end of February, the city's financial picture was better than forecast. Staff figured on taking in $61.1 million the first two months of 2008, but took in $62.7 instead.

One of the variances was in income taxes, up $458,000 over the expected amounts. The biggest difference: $1.2 million in property taxes. But Dohoney's memo points out the reason is mostly timing, that the county auditor's office advances municipalities their amounts.

An interesting note: the city's up $95,000 over projected admission taxes, which Dohoney attributes to an increase in collections from stage plays in the city.

Click here to read the fine print.

Voting documentary showing March 26

Here's the press release:

UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections A Film by David Earnhardt

Esquire Theatre
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - 7:00 PM
Co-hosted by: Democracy for Cincinnati and Hamilton County Young Democrats
Post Film Q&A
with filmmaker David Earnhardt & author and journalist Bob Fitrakis

UNCOUNTED is an explosive documentary that shows how the election fraud that changed the outcome of the 2004 election led to even greater fraud in 2006 - and now looms as an unbridled threat to the outcome of the 2008 election. This controversial film examines in factual, logical, and yet startling terms how easy it is to change election outcomes and undermine election integrity across the U.S.
UNCOUNTED is a wakeup call to all Americans. As we approach the decisive election of 2008, UNCOUNTED will change how you feel about the way votes are counted in America.

"...powerful and persuasive..."
Howard Zinn, Author, "A People's History of the United States"

"Very powerful. Clear and succinct.... Urgent viewing if you care about democracy."
Robert Koehler, Syndicated Columnist, Tribune Media Services

Please forward this invitation to others who may be interested in seeing the Cincinnati premiere of UNCOUNTED.

For more information about the film, visit:

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Warren County 2004, revisited

Jon Craig reports in Sunday's Enquirer:

It’s one of the lingering mysteries of the 2004 presidential election.

In a key county in Southwest Ohio – amid vague references to “homeland security” – officials locked everyone else out of the board of elections as they counted punch-card ballots. President Bush emerged with more than 72 percent of the votes in Warren County, helping him narrowly win Ohio – and a second term.

Secrecy surrounding the count galvanized bloggers, anti-Bush activists and conspiracy theorists from around the globe. To this day, the lockdown is cited as evidence of an election stolen from Sen. John Kerry and the Democrats.

Now with another presidential election coming, The Enquirer, through public-records requests and interviews, can unravel the story of what happened on the night of Nov. 2, 2004 – and how officials tried to spin the event afterwards.

Read the full story here

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