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From the 2/8/07 Dispatch:



Ohioans make picks for president

Two still-unofficial candidates get nod from 2 Republicans

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Jonathan Riskind



WASHINGTON -- It's almost a year before the first presidential primary, but two Republican lawmakers from Ohio have picked their candidates.


Rep. Steven C. LaTourette, of Concord Township near Cleveland, is throwing his support to Republican Sen. John McCain, of Arizona, the McCain campaign announced yesterday.


Meanwhile, Rep. Ralph Regula, of Navarre, was on a list of people Tuesday who announced their support for Mitt Romney, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts.


It's so early in the 2008 presidential race that McCain hasn't even officially announced his candidacy.


Neither has Romney, though he plans to make his candidacy official next week, his campaign says.


LaTourette, for one, seems unfazed by the officially tentative status of McCain's campaign.


"Senator John McCain is a leader in the Republican Party who is respected for his candor and resolve," LaTourette said in the McCain release.


In addition, LaTourette told The Dispatch through his press secretary that McCain has earned some chits with Ohio politicians for his performance on the midterm campaign trail last year.


"In a horrible year for Republicans in Ohio, Senator McCain was relentless in supporting our candidates," La-Tourette said.


Regula said yesterday that his support for Romney is based on the former governor's record of accomplishments, including his performance leading up to the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics in the wake of Sept. 11 and the ethics scandal that enveloped many international Olympics officials.


Romney "has a proven record of effective management and strong leadership, which I believe are essential qualities of a good president," Regula said through his press secretary.


On the Democratic side, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, of Cleveland, is backing Sen. Hillary Clinton, of New York.


And, of course, long shot Democratic candidate Dennis J. Kucinich, a House member from Cleveland, presumably is for himself.






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From the 2/20/07 PD:



Obama to appear at local rally, fund-raiser next week

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mark Naymik

Plain Dealer Politics Writer


Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama will campaign in Cleveland Monday as part of a fund-raising trip through Ohio.


The Illinois senator will start in Cincinnati at a $500-to-$2,300 breakfast, where only those forking over the top dollar will get a photo. Obama then heads to Columbus for a similarly priced luncheon before picking up more contributions at an evening reception at The Club at Key Center in downtown Cleveland.


Obama's only public event of the day is a 6 p.m. rally at Cuyahoga Community College's Eastern Campus in Highland Hills.


Obama campaigned here last fall for Ohio's top Democrats, before he announced his presidential bid. He is the first major presidential candidate to hold a rally here. It's not clear which elected officials - most of whom are trying to appear neutral through the Democratic primary - will appear with him.


Obama's campaign didn't return a call about the event.


"Of course we are neutral in the primary, but we do welcome him to Ohio," Randy Borntrager, a spokesman for the party, said in a statement. "He has certainly made a splash and I expect other candidates to make similar appearances in Ohio as time goes on."


Obama's campaign is trying to make a big impression, which is why it has tapped people like Ken Dowell to help drive up attendance at the rally. A local grass-roots organizer, Dowell is well connected, especially to Cleveland's black leaders, and worked on Gov. Ted Strickland's campaign.


Subodh Chandra, a former Cleveland law director and one-time Democratic candidate for attorney general, is helping sponsor the Cleveland fund-raiser.


To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

mnaymik@plaind.com, 216-999-4849




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From the 2/21/07 Dispatch:



DeWine to 'work Ohio' for McCain

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Jack Torry



WASHINGTON -- Sen. John McCain of Arizona has named former Sen. Mike DeWine to lead his Republican presidential primary campaign in Ohio.


DeWine, an Ohio Republican who supported McCain in 2000 when he challenged President Bush for the Republican presidential nomination, has been a friend of McCain?s since the two were elected to the House of Representatives in 1982.


"I think, in the dangerous world we live in, this is the candidate who clearly stands out with his knowledge and experience in foreign affairs," DeWine said yesterday. "There are other good candidates and other good people, but no one comes close to the experience John has in foreign affairs."


DeWine said that after his loss in November to Democrat Sherrod Brown he approached McCain and said, "I'll do anything you want me to do" to help McCain win the presidency. McCain's reply: "Work Ohio."


When McCain appeared in southwestern Ohio last week, DeWine arranged for him to meet potential supporters. As a twice-elected U.S. senator and former congressman, DeWine has deep contacts in the state.


Since the election, DeWine has been teaching part-time at Cedarville University and Miami University in southwestern Ohio.






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From the 2/25/07 Sandusky Register:



Are we ready for Obama?

By CHAUNCEY ALCORN | Sunday February 25 2007, 1:49am


SANDUSKY In 1948, Harry Truman was president and black people were sitting at the back of the bus.


The reality of a black president was nothing more than a vision -- a dream in the minds of an oppressed and downtrodden race.


In 1963, Martin Luther King dreamed of a day when a man would be judged “not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.”


Now more than 40 years later, King’s dream could be realized in the form of American’s first black president, should Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois., be elected.


“I think America is ready,” said Sandusky City Commissioner Brett Fuqua. “There are always going to be those handful of people who are going to be on that, but I think the country cares more about what the candidate has to offer and not so much what his or her skin color is.”


Fuqua bases his opinion on his own success as a black political figure.


“During the time I was running up to this point, I don’t feel like I got any support because of my color. People liked what I had to say and gave me a chance. It had nothing to do with if I’m black, white or anything else like that.”


Ever since Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, there have been whispers of him running for president.


In recent months, it’s gotten louder.


A best-selling book in 2006; his charisma; and features on major television networks have been a part of the noise.


When Obama announced his bid for president in February, everyone heard.


He wanted to be president.


“I think his chances are good,” said former Sandusky City Commissioner Leroy Sizemore, who also is black. “There’s a 50/50 chance he could win. He’ll probably have a few problems with the media, and Hilary (Clinton) will be a big factor, too.”


Obama’s biological father is a black man from Kenya; his mother is a white woman from Kansas.


His bi-racial heritage, coupled with his Indonesian Islamic upbringing, would seem to work against him as a candidate, according to Benjamin Muego, a political science professor at BGSU Firelands.


But in many national polls he is second in line for the Democratic nomination behind Clinton.


As only the third black senator elected by popular vote, Obama has achieved what few blacks have been able to accomplish.


The first black to run for president was Democrat Shirley Chisholm in 1972. Chisholm was the first black woman to be elected to Congress, winning her seat in 1968.


“She didn’t have the money to put into it, but she ran a good campaign for what she was trying to do,” said black Sandusky community activist Clarence Seavers. “She wanted to make an impression on the populous. She was a viable candidate.”


Chisholm tried to reflect her campaign slogan and be a “catalyst for change.” Chisholm said in media reports that she was at least able to get women and minorities to be more fairly represented at the party conventions.


Jesse Jackson took another step forward with his presidential runs in 1984 and 1988, obtaining far more delegates than Chisholm in winning 450 in 1984 and 1,200 in 1988. With slogans like, “keep hope alive,” and “I am somebody,” Jackson managed to rally support from his largely black base.


“The black community rallied more around Jesse than Shirley,” Seavers said. “He was more popular and he knew the ropes a little better. He knew more about how to get to black people, how to deal with them.”


Social conservative Alan Keyes entered the Republican primary race in 1996 and 2000. Carol Moseley Braun, the first black woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992, put in her bid for the Democratic nomination in 2004, along with civil rights activist Al Sharpton.


But Obama is making waves his predecessors didn’t. Polls indicate he is ahead of John Edwards; Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.; and former Vice President Al Gore.


He’s even received endorsements from some prominent political figures, including former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.


Hollywood moguls such as David Geffen and Oprah Winfrey have endorsed and helped fund Obama’s campaign as well.


Muego said Obama wears his political weaknesses on his sleeve ��” being black, having an Islamic heritage and admittedly experimenting with drugs as a teenager.


So how do his presidential opponents handle him?


“With kid gloves,” Muego said. “They have to be very careful. Whoever criticizes (Obama) from this point, they will be scrutinized.”


Biden found that out when he tried to compliment Obama. He called him “articulate and clean.”


“If they try to demonize Obama, go after relatives, and so forth, it could actually boomerang,” Muego said. “They might find an African American to lessen the controversy of an attack. If it’s coming from a black person it wouldn’t be as incendiary.”


But many prominent black political figures are not rushing to support Obama.


Key players such as Charles Rangel, a Democratic congressman from New York, have already endorsed Sen. Clinton for the nomination and some have even gone so far to say that if Obama wins the nomination, the Democrats will lose seats in Congress and the Senate.


But members of the Obama campaign passionately refute that argument.


“He’s proud of his African American roots,” said Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the Obama 2008 campaign. “He got his start in politics in Chicago’s poor neighborhoods. He’s helped pass a law (in Illinois) against racial profiling and has a long record of fighting for civil rights. I think his message is that how you look, the color of your skin shouldn’t limit you in your success.”


She said the assertion that Obama can’t win because America won’t vote for a black man is false.


“The size of the crowds we’ve had from South Carolina to California to New Hampshire clearly disprove that theory,” Psaki said. “People are excited about his candidacy. Our challenge in this campaign is channeling that energy.”


Some cite Obama’s inexperience in Washington as a weakness for his presidential viability.


“I like this guy,” said Republican Erie County Commissioner Nancy McKeen. “I think he’s charming, articulate, and he can get along with Republicans and Democrats. But I don’t think he’s got enough experience to be president.”


But some see that as his greatest strength.


He’s only a first-term senator, a point he trumpets in his campaign speeches. He asserts his relative inexperience to Washington politics might be refreshing.


“There are people in this race who’ve been in Washington politics for 10-20 years,” Psaki said. “Senator Obama has been in Washington long enough to know things need to change.”


It may be America’s desperation for change that leads them to overlook Obama’s skin color in 2008, she said.


“I think America is past the point where color will be a barrier as long as the candidate has a vision for America and Ohio that will change some of President Bush’s misguided priorities and principles,” said Randy Borntrager, a spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party.


According to a poll cited by the Ohio Democratic Party, Obama ranks a distant second behind Hilary Clinton among voters in the Buckeye State. Borntrager said there are key elements for Obama if he is to win Ohio in 2008.


“He has to listen to Ohioans,” Borntrager said. “He has to understand what Ohio has gone through, the economic toll. He has to understand what Ohioans care about: job development, providing adequate health care and education reform.”


“We’re about as ready as we’ll ever be,” Sizemore said. “The progress has been made over the years. A lot of the racial issues are gone yet I realize a lot of them are still here. But this is as good a time as any.”


Sen. Obama will make his first Ohio appearance since announcing his candidacy Monday in Cleveland at the Cuyahoga Community College Eastern Campus. Doors open to the public at 6 p.m.


Blacks in office over the years:

1870: During Reconstruction, Hiram Revels from Mississippi became the first black senator while Joseph Rainey from South Carolina became the first black man in to the U.S. House of Representatives.


1966: Edward William Brooks III of Massachusetts became the first black man elected (by popular vote) to the U.S. Senate.


1968: Shirley Chisholm of New York became the first black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1972, she became the first black person to run for U.S. president.


1984 and 1988: Jesse Jackson ran for president, receiving the most delegates of any black candidate to date.


1992: Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois became the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate. She later ran for president in the 2004 election.


2004: Barack Obama of Illinois became only the third black person to win a U.S Senate seat.


Ohio Democratic Presidential Poll

Al Gore 6 percent

John Kerry 6 percent

Joe Biden 2 percent

John Edwards 11 percent

Barack Obama 13 percent

Bill Richardson 1 percent

Hilary Rodham Clinton 38 percent

Wesley Clark 1 percent

Dennis Kucinich 2 percent

Someone else 1 percent

Won’t vote 1 percent

N/A 17 percent


Polling data was taken in January by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute




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Link contains a photo.  From the 2/27/07 Dispatch:




Obama finds friends in Ohio stops

Columbus mayor says he, senator ‘click’

By Joe Hallett and Mark Niquette

The Columbus Dispatch

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


HIGHLAND HILLS, Ohio — Ready or not, Ohio's 2008 presidential campaign began last night with a chant reminiscent of one oft heard in Ohio Stadium.


"O," roared the crowd on one side of the gymnasium at Cuyahoga Community College.


"Bama," the other side screamed back.


And so it went before the star of Obama-mania stepped onto the stage to cheers from 1,500 people, some of them already dyed-in-the-wool supporters of Barack Obama, the Democratic senator from Illinois, others curious to take his measure.


"In November 2008, we expect to win Ohio," Obama proclaimed boldly, figuratively sweeping aside Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and the rest of the Democratic presidential field almost a year before the first primary-election vote is cast.


Obama, son of a Kenyan father and Kansan mother, was the first presidential candidate to campaign this year in Ohio, where the 2004 election was decided and where the parties' eventual nominees are bound to be ubiquitous in 2008.


But it remains to be seen whether Ohio will be a force in the nominating process. As many as 20 other states, including such giants as California and Florida, might have voted by the time Ohio holds its primary on March 4, 2008.


"It's likely that the nominee will be determined by the time it gets to Ohio, but Ohio ends up playing such a critical role in the general election that I think all candidates are well served to begin campaigning here now," Obama told reporters yesterday during a brief news conference after a fundraiser at 1 Miranova Place in Columbus.


The big crowd in this Cleveland suburb continued a series of well-attended and enthusiastic events, starting with the launching of Obama's campaign nearly three weeks ago before 17,000 people outside the Illinois Capitol in Springfield.


Before sweeping up I-71, Obama started the day with a fundraiser in Cincinnati, where 1,000 crammed a downtown hotel ballroom, donating an estimated $500,000 to his campaign.


At noon, he was greeted by 130 people who donated an estimated $100,000 at the Miranova home of Republican attorney Larry James and his wife, Donna. Before the fundraiser, Obama met privately for the third time in the past several months with Mayor Michael B. Coleman, who said he plans to endorse one of the Democratic candidates before next year's spate of primaries.


Although Coleman said he had not decided whom to endorse, he spoke highly of Obama.


"What I see in him is a new generation of leadership," Coleman said. "He's an inspirational leader as well as an intellectually superior person. He and I have just clicked."


In his speech here, Obama, 45, was cheered when he proclaimed that he had opposed the Iraq war from the start and he reiterated his call for a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops by March 31, 2008.


Although Obama was not in the Senate in 2002 when Congress authorized the Iraq invasion, his early opposition to the war is viewed as a potential advantage in Democratic primaries against Clinton and Edwards, both of whom voted for it and now have their own plans for a phased return of American troops.


"Whether you were for the war then or against the war now, we can agree that it is time to give the Iraqis back their country," Obama said.


In the Columbus news conference, Obama declined to say much about Clinton, saying he's focusing more on his own message and "not worrying about any particular candidate at this point."


A Quinnipiac University Poll in January showed Clinton beating Obama in Ohio by 25 percentage points, 38-13, with Edwards getting 11 percent.


"She's leading in the polls in Ohio and that's because she has a plan to end the war in Iraq and the experience and toughness to do it," Isaac Baker, Clinton campaign spokesman, said yesterday.


Although it was Obama's night in the vote-rich 19-county northeastern Ohio region, which accounted for 40 percent of the state's 2004 presidential vote, not everybody at the rally was ready to commit to him.


Connie Allen, 58, a nursing assistant who drove from Pittsburgh to hear Obama, said she likes what she heard but still might support Clinton.


"What appeals to me about him is that he's a mediator, he's not an instigator like the president we have now," Allen said. "It's between him and Hillary; whichever one is nominated I'm going to support."


But Monete Morris, 25, a Cleveland city worker, said she thinks Obama is destined to be in the White House and, "in a perfect world," the 2008 Democratic ticket would be Obama-Clinton, or vice versa.


"I feel like I'm part of history just being in the same room with him tonight," Morris said. "I feel like he's America's next president."






Link contains photos.  From the 2/27/07 Enquirer:



Obama keeps donors coming

Downtown breakfast raises up to $500,000



Even the event's organizer, state Sen. Eric Kearney, said he was astounded by the success of Monday's Barack Obama fundraiser at the Westin Hotel downtown, which might have raised as much as $500,000 for the Illinois Democrat's presidential campaign.


About 1,000 Obama supporters - including a handful of Republicans - crammed the main ballroom at the Westin. Dozens had to stand through the breakfast, lining the walls.


It was an unusually large fundraising event for Cincinnati, which spoke to the star power Obama carries. Former President Clinton drew 600 to a downtown hotel in October when he appeared at a fundraiser for John Cranley's congressional campaign.


No reporters or cameras were allowed inside. An impromptu news conference promised by a campaign aide failed to materialize.


Obama's security detail, concerned about moving him through a crowd of hundreds of supporters to where the media was camped out, whisked him out a side door.


The cheapest ticket was $100, but those who paid $1,000 or more got to spend about half an hour in a private room with Obama before the main breakfast.


Those who donated $2,300 - the maximum contribution allowed for the presidential primary cycle - had their picture taken with the candidate.





Asked afterward how much was raised, Kearney - whose wife, Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, was a Harvard Law School classmate of Obama - said that while the checks were still being counted, the event raised at least $350,000 and perhaps as much as $500,000.


"It was unbelievable," Kearney said. "The people just kept coming."


What was most impressive was "how diverse a crowd it was - whites, blacks, Latinos, Asian folks, rich and poor," Kearney said. "It shows the broad appeal Barack has."


A considerable number of people bought "walk-up" tickets to the 8 a.m. breakfast.


As of Sunday night, about 750 tickets had been sold. In the end, at least 1,000 people paid to see and hear Obama, a first-term senator whose campaign has created much of the early buzz on the 2008 presidential campaign trail.


At the reception for large donors was one of Cincinnati's highest-profile supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose campaign has been trading barbs with Obama's campaign over the past week.


Class-action lawyer Stan Chesley, who has raised millions for Bill Clinton and for Hillary Clinton's campaigns, said he was there because he has "enormous respect" for Obama.


"Of course, I am supporting Hillary; but, mainly I want to see the best Democrats run for president. Senator Obama is very impressive."


The crowd inside the main breakfast event ranged from enthusiastic supporters of the Illinois senator to Democrats who have yet to make up their minds.


Myrtis Grace, of Bond Hill, a retired teacher, said Obama has "reignited my interest in politics."


"I worked for (John F.) Kennedy and for Bill Clinton, but I haven't been involved lately," Grace said. "But Senator Obama is inspiring. He's so passionate."


Cincinnati Councilwoman Laketa Cole, a Democrat, said she has yet to make up her mind about which presidential candidate to support, but came away impressed.


"I want to hear Hillary; I want to hear all of them," Cole said. "But he made a great speech, talking about bringing the country together, healing the divisions. I like that."





Harold Brooks, a longtime GOP activist from Westwood, said he came because he plans to help organize a "Black Republicans for Obama" organization in Ohio.


"My party may not like it, but I support Sen. Obama," Brooks said. "He's the best candidate I've seen."


Obama's appearance in Cincinnati drew a response from the Hamilton County Republican Party in the form of a written statement from Maggie Nafziger, the party's executive director.


"Senator Obama's lack of leadership and liberal voting record is concerning," Nafziger said. "I am not sure he is prepared to function as head of the world's most powerful nation at such a crucial time in our nation's history."


Obama is the first of the announced Democratic candidates to campaign in Cincinnati.


After the Cincinnati event, Obama went on to Columbus and Cleveland, making the rounds of the major cities in a state that is likely to have a great deal to say about who becomes the 44th president of the United States.



From the 2/27/07 News-Herald:



Buzz for Obama

Thousands rally to support candidate at Tri-C

By: Justin Maynor




Sen. Barack Obama, D-III, brought the campaign trail buzz to Northeast Ohio on Monday with a rally drawing thousands to Cuyahoga Community College's eastern campus in Highland Hills.


After the gymnasium filled, many supporters were funneled into overflow rooms to watch the Democratic presidential candidate on closed-circuit television as he took the stage just after 8 p.m.


"This is the end of the first leg of a long journey, and it's a good place to end it - in Cleveland, Ohio," Obama said, adding that he expects to win the Democratic nomination and turn Ohio into a blue state in 2008.


Obama spoke for half an hour on topics ranging from the war in Iraq and the war on terror, to domestic issues like health care and education.


The turnout surprised campaign volunteer Julie Stipich of Perry Village.


"I've been somewhat involved in small ways with candidates like John Kerry, and I couldn't imagine this kind of energy a year and a half before an election," she said.


"I think where we're at in the country is a big reason for the interest. Obama is what people are looking for that we haven't had."


Stipich said Obama comes off as a "thoughtful" person with good judgment, which she hopes will resonate with voters who might dismiss him for lack of experience.


The senator wasted no time in distancing himself from fellow candidates who supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq.


"We know that we are in the midst of a war that should have never been authorized," he said, adding that money spent on Iraq could be better spent on things like urban renewal.


"It's time to give the Iraqis their country back," he said. The senator supports a phased redeployment of troops out of Iraq beginning in May, with all combat troops being removed by March 31, 2008.


"It seems to me that he is way more in tune with the average, middle-of-the-road American and what we're thinking about," Stipich said.


She said the diversity of the crowd - black, white, young and old - was also a very positive sign for supporters.


"People are so anxious - they are so desperate for change," she said. "We deserve an inspiring candidate like this."


Matt Brownson, a Euclid Republican, said "hope" is what typifies Obama's candidacy and the feeling of those who showed up to hear him speak.


Brownson, who has been inspired by Obama's books, said he was impressed with the candidate's lack of pretentiousness and willingness to show that he is human.


Obama repeatedly emphasized that his is a grassroots, people's campaign.


"I am an imperfect vessel for all your hopes and dreams," he said.


That kind of humility resonated with Brownson.


"He has a human side to him, that folksy side, that charisma, that you just can't manufacture," he said.


Brownson was turned away from the gymnasium, but Obama visited the overflow room to thank supporters who couldn't get in before taking the stage.


"The fact that he took the time to come over there was impressive," Brownson said.



From the 2/27/07 Canton Repository:



Voters will keep an eye on candidates




It may be 20 months before the next presidential election, but some Stark County residents don't believe it's too early to start thinking about who they'll choose to be the next commander-in-chief.


"Government classes are kind of forcing it down our throat," said Kim Games, an 18-year-old Jackson High School senior who's already considering her choices, a year before the presidential primary is held in Ohio. "Hillary Clinton's very qualified, but she's not as charismatic as (Barack) Obama (Democratic U.S. senator from Illinois), so it's kind of a toss-up."


She said while it may be a tad early, she doesn't mind that the candidates are campaigning so far in advance. For example, Obama was set to attend a campaign rally in Cleveland Monday night.


"It's important. We should be talking about it," said Games, who is also keeping up on the race through the Comedy Central program The Daily Show. "The more they talk about it, the more aware of it I'll be when I have to vote."


Her friend Amy Manos, 17, of Jackson Township, said she would like the extra time to get to know the candidates.


"We don't want to pick a president just by the name," she said.





Richard Shallenberger, 59, of Perry Township, a regular newspaper reader, said he's been paying constant attention to the presidential contest.


"I would like to see Hillary run for president, and Barack Obama for vice president," he said. "I think Barack Obama's got good ideas, too. ... (but) he's a little bit too young to take on the helm."


Demonstrating the challenges for the other candidates, Shallenberger had difficulty recalling who else is running.


Kathy Ridenour, 43, of Canton, doesn't think it's too early either, given the nation's problems and her opposition to the war in Iraq, where her son-in-law is serving.


"This election I started to think (about) earlier because of the state of the economy and the war and everything," she said. "And there's a woman in the race this time. That puts a whole new perspective on things. ... (It) takes time to see what somebody's really about."


Stephen Malcolm, 41, of North Canton said it's too early for him to focus on the contest, especially since some candidates now may drop out of the race.


"It's kind of pointless to think about it too far in advance," he said. "I think there's a lot of overkill in the media. It gives a lot (of things) for people to talk about, but it's not important this early. There are so many issues and things that will happen between now and then."


Games said the race seems fresh now, but she can see herself tired of it.


"It might get redundant and boring by the time the actual election comes."


Malcolm added, "There's people who are sick of it now."


Randall Sistrunk, 24, a former Walsh University basketball player, said he doesn't plan to look at the candidates until six to seven months before the general election.


While he knows Clinton is running, he struggled to remember the name of the one black candidate.


"What's his name? O Something? ... Obama?" he asked. "With him not being a typical white male, I think that throws a monkey wrench in the way things usually are going."





Several others said they haven't paid any attention and have no idea who Obama or any of the other candidates are.


"I don't even know when the election time starts," said Claude Johnson, 48, of Canton.


Emma Uhrain, 21, of Hartville, said, "it's important, but I honestly don't feel ... that my vote makes too much of a difference."


"It's not too early to start thinking about who's running this country," said Vaniesha Clark, 18, of Canton, who said she needs to start paying attention. "They should have thought about it before they put Bush in."


Raymond Smith, 65, of Kimbolton, who was in Canton to buy a vehicle part, said he never votes.


"I can't see whatever president I have has ever made a difference in operations in this country."


Reach Repository writer Robert Wang at (330) 580-8327 or e-mail: robert.wang@cantonrep.com




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From the 2/28/07 PD:



Cleveland leaders meet Obama in private

Politicians and business leaders mingle amid finger foods and fund raising

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Mark Naymik

Plain Dealer Politics Writer


Some of Cleveland's top civic and business leaders greeted Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama Monday during two private receptions that preceded his evening public rally at Cuyahoga Community College's Eastern Campus.


Obama first made a brief appearance at the law office of John R. Climaco, mingling with board members from the Port of Cleveland, including developer John J. Carney and Steven Williams. The port is a client of the law firm.


Cuyahoga County Commissioners Peter Lawson Jones, Tim Hagan and Jimmy Dimora were also there, as were College President Jerry Sue Thornton; Cleveland NAACP President George Forbes and his son-in-law, Darrell Fields; David Carr, CEO of Brennan Industries and who has contributed to Republicans and Democrats in the past, and his wife, Carole Carr, one of the organizers of Five-Star Sensation, one of the biggest fund-raisers in Greater Cleveland that benefits University Hospitals.


Attendees were not required to contribute to Obama's campaign but most wrote sizeable checks, says Climaco.


Then Obama hustled to the downtown Marriott to glad-hand with about 200 people, who paid at least $500 to attend. Some even brought Obama's popular autobiography to be signed. Among those waiting were Robert Rawson, partner in charge of the Jones Day law firm; Wendy Shiba, general counsel of PolyOne Corp.; former Congresswoman Mary Rose Oakar and businessman Tony George, who raised money in the 1990s for President Bill Clinton.


The Rev. Joan Campbell Brown and Mayor Frank Jackson also attended, as did several prominent black ministers whom Obama met with privately. Obama's campaign, perhaps afraid of falling short of the hype, refused to say how much money the events raised.


"We had more people than anticipated given that we had about 10 days to pull it together," said Subodh Chandra, a local lawyer who helped organize the event. "We felt it was a great success."


Those without the connections or unable to write fat checks didn't miss too much, other than the finger foods. Obama gave short versions of his stump speech at both receptions, even using the same joke about one of his campaign stops in Iowa.


"If you are going to give three speeches, then you need three jokes," teased Commissioner Jones, who attended both private receptions and supports Obama.


Jones said he couldn't speculate on how many people at the fund-raiser were truly committed to Obama.


"I felt a majority of the people were there because they made significant contributions," Jones said. "But there are a lot of people with deep pockets who can make contributions to several candidates."


To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

mnaymik@plaind.com, 216-999-4849




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From the 3/1/07 PD:



Should Ohio move presidential primary?

Other states are scheduling theirs earlier

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Sabrina Eaton

Plain Dealer Bureau


Washington -- Clinton vs. Obama. Giuliani vs. McCain.


The presidential nomination decisions of 2008 could be over before Ohio voters weigh in next March 4.


A slew of delegate-rich states seeking to increase their clout in the presidential sweeps are rescheduling their 2008 political primaries for Feb. 5. Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich and Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur want Ohio to join them.



"It is in Ohio's interest to be at the front of the line, not the back of the queue," said Kaptur, who believes moving Ohio's primary to Feb. 5 will force candidates in both parties to highlight issues important to Ohio, like jobs, health care and trade.


Any switch from Ohio's March 4, 2008, primary date would be up to Ohio's legislature. Although Democratic and Republican leaders in Columbus say they have no plans to change the date, Kucinich said he will mobilize his "grassroots network" to make it happen.


"You can move a bill through in a day," said Kucinich, a Cleveland congressman whose presidential bid registers under 2 percent in national and Ohio polls.


Despite his low Ohio poll numbers, Kucinich says his campaign would benefit from moving up Ohio's primary date. Kucinich said his competitors may be trying to front-load their home-state primaries to boost their delegate count, but voters will be more swayed by their stances on the Iraq war and health care.


Iowa holds the nation's first caucus on Jan. 14, followed by Nevada's Jan. 19 caucus, New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary on Jan. 22 and South Carolina's on Jan. 29.


Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Missouri, Oklahoma and Utah are already planning Feb. 5 primaries. Other states contemplating a change to that day include Texas, New York, California, Illinois, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico and North Carolina.


Political leaders in Columbus say there has been no groundswell for change. They say Ohio's key role as a swing state ensures it will get plenty of general election attention from candidates.


Karen Tabor, a spokeswoman for Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted, said Ohio voters can get overwhelmed by ads and campaigning and haven't expressed any interest in "drawing out the election season."


"Ohio will always be ground zero in electing the president," added Kevin DeWine, the Ohio House of Representatives' GOP speaker pro tempore.


Ohio House Democratic Caucus spokesman John Kohlstrand said he's unaware of any moves to change Ohio's primary date, although Democratic Leader Joyce Beatty would "welcome the opportunity" to discuss the subject with Kucinich.


Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Randy Borntrager said Ohio's late primary might still prove decisive if the balloting in earlier states doesn't winnow down the field.


"Nobody can predict the future," said Borntrager.


To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

seaton@plaind.com, 216-999-4212




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From the 3/2/07 Enquirer:



* GRAPHIC: Whom do we like?


Clinton, Obama close in Cincy poll



A new SurveyUSA/WCPO poll shows that among Greater Cincinnati registered voters, the Democratic presidential race is closer the Republican one.


Read more about the already hot presidential race - and why Cincinnati is getting so many visits - in Sunday's Enquirer.


Meanwhile, a new poll of 857 registered voters in Greater Cincinnati shows:


- Sen. Hillary Clinton leading Sen. Barack Obama, 29 percent to 23 percent. John Edwards is third with 19 percent, though 39 percent say they're undecided.


- Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani is squashing Sen. John McCain, 42 percent to 24 percent.


the poll has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.


Obama does better in the local poll that in a statewide Bliss Institute poll released last week. That showed Clinton with 42.1 percent and Obama with 18.4 percent.


The local poll was done Feb. 28, two days after Obama visited Cincinnati for a private fundraiser that raised between $350,000 and $500,000. A story about the fundraiser was on the front page of the Enquirer on Feb. 27.




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From the 3/4/07 Dispatch:



Presidential primary won't reflect Ohio's clout

Nominees should be obvious by time state votes, but they'll need Ohio to win White House

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Joe Hallett



A year from today, Ohio Republican and Democratic voters will go to the polls to cast what likely will be symbolic votes for president.


With big states such as California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey preparing to move their primaries to Feb. 5, the vetting should be done by the time Ohio weighs in on March 4.


By then, the parties' 2008 nominees probably will be running full speed toward November, pausing in midsummer for their official coronations at the Democratic convention in Denver and the Republican convention in Minneapolis.


"It would be hard to see how the nominations won't be settled well before Ohioans get a chance to offer their opinions," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.


Even so, Buckeye State voters aren't fretting about being cut out of the action. In presidential elections, we are the action. That was proved anew in November 2004 when Ohio determined the winner after Republican George W. Bush, Democrat John Kerry and their running mates visited the state a total of 82 times in less than eight months, including Bush's Election Day rush to Columbus.


"The real state on the road to the White House is Ohio. It was the last time and will be this time," said Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman.


Despite Ohio's second-fiddle role in the nominating process, the candidates apparently won't risk ignoring the state before the primary election, as shown by Sen. Barack Obama's trek up I-71 last week to raise money and shake hands in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland.


"Ohio ends up playing such a critical role in the general election that I think all candidates are well served to begin campaigning here now," the Illinois Democrat said. "My mother always taught me to be nice to folks before you need them, and I figure I'm going to be spending a lot of time in Ohio so that people are familiar with me, so that by the time I'm the Democratic nominee, they don't feel like I'm just parachuting in."


Even outside Iowa and New Hampshire, the presidential race on both sides is occurring earlier than any time in memory, said Aaron McLear, 2004 Ohio spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign and now press secretary for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.


"A lot of my friends are working on the campaigns and have remarked about how surprised they are that things are so intense so soon," McLear said. "They are operating at a level you'd see the summer before the election."


Voters quickly are learning about the candidates and forming opinions. In the early going, there appears to be more excitement among Democrats than Republicans. A Washington Post-ABC News Poll last week showed that 86 percent of Democrats surveyed were "very or somewhat satisfied" with their choice of candidates, compared with 73 percent of Republicans.


"There is massive confusion and hand-wringing about our prospects and who our candidate should be," said James P. Trakas, former chairman of the Cuyahoga County Republican Party.


Anecdotally, the parties' energy level was measurable last month in Cuyahoga and Clermont counties, in opposite corners of the state and worlds apart politically.


Cuyahoga County has supported the Democratic nominee in 10 of the past 11 presidential elections. Clermont County has the same record of supporting the Republican nominee.


Last Monday, more than 1,500 people packed an Obama rally at Cuyahoga Community College, with 5,500 more watching at other campus locations via closed-circuit television.


Monete Morris, 25, a Democrat and Cleveland city worker, said she is torn between Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, but leaning toward Obama.


"In a perfect world," Morris said, "I could vote for both of them."


In contrast, Doug Walker, a township administrator, was asked during the Clermont County GOP Lincoln Day dinner Feb. 16 whom he planned to support in the GOP field: "At this point in time," he said, "none of them excite me."


Brown, the Quinnipiac University pollster, said that many Republican activists doubt the conservative credentials of the party's presidential front-runners -- Sen. John McCain of Arizona, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- while Democrats are comfortable with Clinton, Obama and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.


"The three leading Democratic candidates all fairly can be considered in sync with the generally liberal views of Democratic primary voters, but Sen. McCain and former Mayor Giuliani are much less in sync with the views and values of strongly conservative voters who tend to dominate Republican primaries," Brown said. "Therefore, it is not surprising that there is currently much more excitement on the Democratic side."


Clermont County GOP Chairman Tim Rudd said many Republicans are suffering a hangover from their loss in the 2006 election, in part attributable to an unpopular Iraq war and GOP scandals.


"We've let the American people down over the last few years both here in Ohio and at the national level," Rudd said. "We've got to go back to our roots and decide what our principles are and what we feel is the proper role of government in Americans' lives."


State Rep. Kevin DeWine, a Fairborn Republican, said he doesn't know which GOP candidate to support. But he does know which Democrat many in his party want to face.


"Hillary Clinton has (generated) very strong negative feelings among Republicans and those feelings would be a very strong galvanizing force for our party," DeWine said.


Joseph White, political-science professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, cautioned that what appears to be an advantageous climate for Democrats could evaporate as the issues and candidates become more defined.


"I'm not convinced that Hillary and Barack are going to clearly run good campaigns, and I'm not convinced that the Republican candidates are going to run bad campaigns," White said. "A lot can happen in two years."


Dispatch reporter Mark Niquette contributed to this story.





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From the 3/8/07 Dispatch:



* GRAPHIC: Leaning Democratic


Democrats looking strong in Ohio

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Jonathan Riskind



WASHINGTON -- Ohio broke Democrats' hearts in 2004 when President Bush snared a narrow Buckeye State win that vaulted him to a second term.


But presidential polling in Ohio and two other key swing states published yesterday gives Democrats reason for cheer in the early stages of the 2008 battle for the White House.


Although Rudy Giuliani continues his surge to the front of the Republican pack, the ex-New York mayor and 9/11 national hero is losing to two of the three front-running Democrats in Ohio, according to a new survey of Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.


Quinnipiac plans to continue simultaneous polling in the three states. Since 1964, no candidate has won the White House without winning at least two of those states.


"With the way the Electoral College works, no other big states are as important that are up for grabs as these three," said Peter A. Brown, Quinnipiac?s assistant polling director.


At this early stage, Democrats are in a good position to grab Ohio, Brown said.


"The Democratic brand is stronger in Ohio these days," he said.


Giuliani leads in early matchups with the Democratic frontrunners, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, in Florida and Pennsylvania. But in Ohio, the former first lady eked out a 44 percent to 43 percent advantage.


The combination of GOP scandals, economic fears and free trade misgivings that propelled Ohio Democrats to a huge win in 2006 continues to make the state fertile ground for Democratic presidential candidates, Brown said.


And the Democrat who currently is strongest in Ohio is John Edwards. The former U.S. senator from North Carolina and 2004 vice-presidential candidate has been eclipsed nationally in recent days by Clinton and Obama.


Giuliani and the other GOP front-runner, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, for the most part lead all three Democrats in Florida and Pennsylvania in head-to-head matchups, the poll found during a survey conducted Feb. 25 through Sunday. The only exception is Florida, where Clinton and McCain are tied at 44 percent.


But the race is much more to Democrats' advantage in Ohio, where Edwards does the best against Giuliani and McCain.


"Ironically, John Edwards finds himself dropping further behind in the nomination fight while there are indications he might be the party's best votegetter in November in Ohio," Brown said.


Part of the reason might be that the state embraced Edwards in 2004 and part could be attributed to his criticism of free-trade treaties in a state where manufacturing has lost jobs to globalization, Brown said.






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From the 3/9/07 Enquirer:



Bill Clinton to visit Cincinnati



Former President Clinton is coming to Cincinnati March 21 to raise money for his wife's presidential campaign.


The 42nd president - without Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton - will come to the Indian Hill home of class-action lawyer Stan Chesley. Chesley said earlier this month that he plans to have a later fundraiser featuring the New York senator.


Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper said Thursday that he has been asked to be on the host committee for the private, invitation-only fundraiser.


It is not known how much it will cost to attend the event or how much the Clinton campaign expects to raise.


"It will be great having him in my home again," Chesley said Thursday. "It will be just like the good old days."


The former president is no stranger to the Chesley household. While president, he came to Chesley's former home in Amberley Village several times to raise money for his own presidential campaigns and for the Democratic National Committee.


And, as during the visits to Chesley's home in the 1990s, Chesley's wife, U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott, will have to leave the house - federal judges aren't allowed to attend partisan political events.


President Clinton's last visit to Cincinnati was Oct. 25, when about 600 people gathered to hear him speak at a midday fundraiser for 1st Congressional District candidate John Cranley




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From the 3/22/07 Enquirer:



Clinton works crowd for wife

Spends hours at fundraiser



INDIAN HILL - Former President Bill Clinton made Cincinnati one of the first campaign stops Wednesday in his bid to help his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, follow him into the White House.


The former president mingled for well over two hours Wednesday evening at a $2,300-per-ticket party at the home of an old friend - class action lawyer Stan Chesley, who, in the 1990s, raised millions for Clinton and the Democratic Party.


The event raised about $400,000 for Sen. Clinton's campaign to win the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.


"It was a fantastic event; and he stayed a lot longer than anybody expected," Chesley said afterwards.


Chesley said he will follow up later this year with a fundraising event featuring Sen. Clinton.


After mingling with the guests and posing for many photographs, the former president spoke for more than half an hour to the nearly 100 guests who had crowded into the "hearth room" of Chesley's Indian Hill home.


While President Clinton was a frequent guest at Chesley's former home in Amberley Village, this was the first time he had visited since Chesley and his wife, U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott, moved to Indian Hill. Clinton noted the change of address.


"Stan, this is the first time I've been in your new house; and I've got to tell you, your house makes the White House look like public housing," Clinton told Chesley.


Dlott could not stay in the house while the fundraiser was going on because federal judges are barred from participating in partisan political events.


The crowd was a mix of Chesley's fellow trial lawyers and a grab-bag of local Democratic politicians. One prominent Republican was in attendance - former Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, who recently joined Chesley's law firm.


After a 4:30 p.m. arrival at Lunken Airport, the former president spoke privately in the airport's administration building with Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, who said he discussed with Clinton the challenges facing the city.


Mallory said he talked to Clinton about efforts to improve race relations, youth violence, economic opportunity - "all issues that the president has had a lot of experience in dealing with." Mallory made it clear he is not ready to endorse any candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.




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From the 3/23/07 Dispatch:



* GRAPHIC: Ohio feels blue



Survey portends difficulties in Ohio for GOP hopefuls

Friday, March 23, 2007

Darrel Rowland



Barack Obama is closing the gap on Hillary Clinton in Ohio, but Republican presidential contenders should not find solace in the former first lady?s decline.


Right now, most any one of three Democrats can whip the best the Republicans can throw at them, a survey released yesterday shows.


The Quinnipiac University poll matched the three leading Democratic candidates with the top trio of Republicans. Of those nine matchups, Democrats won eight (albeit some within the poll?s margin of error); the other was a tie.


"Clearly what you've got is a situation where the GOP brand in Ohio is not doing well," said Peter Brown, the poll's assistant director.


"You've got an unpopular war that people associate with the Republican Party, you've got a Democratic governor who is very popular who succeeded a Republican governor who was very unpopular, and none of the Republican candidates have made an impression.


"It's certainly worrisome for Republicans, no doubt about that. But on the other hand you've got 20 months to go."


President Bush's poll numbers continue to sink in Ohio. Even the group regarded as his staunchest supporters -- white, born-again evangelicals -- for the first time disapprove of his performance, by 49 percent to 47 percent.






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From the 3/25/07 ABJ:



Republican straw poll favors Giuliani

Voting at Summit party's event measures mood. McCain finishes second, Fred Thompson third

By Ed Meyer

Beacon Journal staff writer


In what might be an early indication of the nation's thinking on the next Republican presidential nominee, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani won a straw poll Saturday night with 233 votes at the Summit County party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner in downtown Akron.


Giuliani's total was 31 percent of the 752 votes cast in the straw poll.


Finishing second with 194 votes, or 26 percent, was U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee was a distant third with 91 votes.


Rounding out the top five, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was fourth with 65 votes, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was next with 62.


The dinner was held on a balmy night, with temperatures in the mid-60s, in the Quaker Station ballroom at the Crowne Plaza Quaker Square hotel.


Alex R. Arshinkoff, chairman of the Summit County Republican Party Executive Committee, said party organizers sold 1,050 tickets to the affair, at $40 each, and that about 900 turned out for the dinner, speeches and straw poll.


Bryan Williams, Republican director of the Summit County Board of Elections, was in charge of counting the votes, with the help, he said, of about 80 volunteer election workers who distributed and collected the ballots at the dining tables while a seven-piece band played.


The actual vote counting was conducted in a meeting room next to the banquet hall. The volunteers began passing out the ballots about 7:15 p.m., and the official tally was in, with Williams supervising, in a little more than an hour.


Reporters were allowed inside the room to watch the process.


John Boehner of West Chester, the U.S. House minority leader, delivered the keynote address. He began his speech by referring to the results of the November elections and getting in a shot at Democrats, saying: "Last year, we lost. They didn't win.''


"As we look at where we are,'' Boehner added, "my job as the Republican minority leader of the House is to help to get our team back together.''


It was a theme that echoed from the start of the dinner to the end.


Arshinkoff was in early season political form, working the banquet hall and ballroom bar, where Ohio State's NCAA Tournament basketball game against the University of Memphis was being televised.


He said the turnout represented Republicans "from all walks of life. Obviously, Ohio is an important start to this process, and we like to think of Summit County as a bellwether county in this state,'' he said.


"Is this important to the future of the nation? I don't know, but if we can show some small part of what the nation is thinking at this point, I think that's good,'' Arshinkoff said.


Printed on professional-looking 8 ½-by-11-inch cardboard ballots were the names of 14 declared and potential presidential candidates. They were listed in alphabetical order as follows: U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (Kansas), former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, Gingrich, Giuliani, U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel (Nebraska), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (California), McCain, former New York Gov. George Pataki, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), Romney, U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colorado), Fred Thompson and former Wisconsin Gov. and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.


Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or emeyer@thebeaconjournal.com.




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Link contains photos.  From Gahanna News, 3/28/07:



Presidential candidate has vocal Central Ohio following



Honk if you love Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.


That's just what a group of Central Ohio residents asked passers-by using signs and fliers during the Honk for Obama event Saturday on the corner of Morse and Hamilton roads.


The grass-roots event was created by a political support group Gahanna for Obama. The group was formed by using Obama's campaign Web site, barackobama.com, which allows for supporters of the Illinois senator to join grass-roots networks and become actively involved in spreading the word on his campaign.


The Gahanna group has about 45 members from Gahanna, Westerville, Reynoldsburg, New Albany and various other parts of Columbus, said member Faye Martin, a Gahanna resident.


The group came up with the honking idea as a local way to help gain support for Obama, but after the idea was posted on the Web site, about 25 other groups across the nation -- including California, Utah, Colorado and Michigan -- decided to hop on board, said member Valli Frausto, a Clintonville resident.


"Our hope is that it becomes something that's really across the nation," Frausto said. "Because we just want people to be able to learn about him and increase his visibility."


Now the group is hoping to spend one day each month helping gain support for the presidential candidate in Central Ohio, Martin said.


The group was recently contacted by Obama himself in appreciation for all of the work members have done, Frausto said.


Member Barbara Chester said she joined the group because she wanted to become actively involved in Obama's campaign.


"I've been following him since before he became a senator, and I just feel out of all the candidates, he really is the most sincere," said the Reynoldsburg resident. "I think he's what the American public needs back in office, and so I decided to become active in supporting him."


"This is the first time I've become active in something like this and I've talked to a lot of people and they've said the same thing," Chester said. "They've never really wanted to become involved until a candidate like him came along."


Galloway resident Amy Rock said she hopes the group's work will help spread the word about what Obama can do for the country.


"I just think he's intelligent and reasonable and he appears to be a good man," she said. "I'm inspired by him and I just believe he can get America back to where it's supposed to be."


While Saturday's event was the first one the group has held, there are many other initiatives and ideas for events to come, Martin said.


She encouraged any Obama supporters to join the group at their next meeting, set for 7 p.m. April 5 at the Howard Recreation Center, 2505 Cassady Ave.


For more information on the group and how to join, visit mybarackobama.com.




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From the 4/3/07 DDN:



Hillary Clinton plans Ohio visit

By William Hershey

Staff Writer

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


COLUMBUS — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., will be a featured guest at the Ohio Democratic Party's state dinner on May 12 in Columbus, the state party announced Monday.


The announcement comes a day after Clinton's presidential campaign said it would report $36 million in receipts for the first quarter of this year. This includes $26 million in new contributions and $10 million transferred from Clinton's Senate re-election account, a press release said.


The $36 million is the largest amount announced by any of the candidates so far.


Randy Borntrager, spokesman for the Ohio Democratic party, said that other presidential candidates also have been invited to the state dinner. All candidates who want to attend will be given the opportunity to speak, said Borntrager.


"We're excited that Sen. Clinton has responded, and I think it shows that the Ohio Democratic Party state dinner will be one of the premier events for Democrats across Ohio," he said. "It shows the importance of Ohio."


Last year, U.S. Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Joe Biden, D-Del., spoke at the party's state dinner.


Both are candidates for the party's presidential nomination in 2008.


The dinner will be at 7 p.m. at the Celeste Center on the Ohio State Fairgrounds. General reception and dinner tickets cost $150.


For reservations, call (614) 360-3750 or visit www.ohiodems.org/


Contact this reporter at (614) 224-1608 or whershey@DaytonDailyNews.com.




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From the AP, 4/7/07:



Ohio likely not to tinker with March primary


Associated Press Writer


COLUMBUS - Ohio is being left behind in the rush of states seeking to move up their presidential primaries - by choice.


The state that returned President Bush to a second term in 2004 has made no move to leapfrog other primaries next year.


Some 15 other states are considering shifting their elections ahead to Feb. 5, including New Jersey, Illinois and the November battlegrounds of Florida and Michigan. California already made the move and a bill moving the New York primary to Feb. 5 is expected to be signed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer. Even more states are expected to act by next year.


Those states covet the relevance - and the boost invading campaigns, reporters and others give their economies - that the states with early primaries enjoy.


But Ohio's relevance in November outweighs any sentiment to join the early February parade. In 2004, Ohio's 20 electoral votes pushed Bush past the 270 he needed to stay in the White House and the state is expected to be key in November 2008.


Neither Democrats nor Republicans are pushing for a move. The GOP officially has no position and Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern said the party would not support moving up the primary. Both parties are on the sidelines in endorsing candidates.


"Ohio gets enough attention in the general election. I don't know that it's really necessary that we move it up," Ohio GOP spokesman John McClelland said.


The primary in Ohio has been held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March in the past two presidential elections. In 2000, Al Gore had all but sewn up the Democratic nomination by then and Republican George Bush carried unstoppable momentum into Ohio's primaries. In 2004, Bush was the incumbent and Democrat John Kerry had drubbed John Edwards in most of the primaries before Ohio's.


Before Democrat Jimmy Carter jump-started his 1976 campaign by prevailing in the Iowa caucuses, New Hampshire had the nation's earliest contest and the Iowa caucuses drew little attention. New Hampshire law requires the state to hold its primary before any other state's. Now, states such as South Carolina and Wisconsin have crept up closer.


The sheer number of state in recent "Super Tuesdays" - Ohio joined nine other states holding a primary in March of 2004 - dilute any influence the state has on the nominations, said state Sen. Gary Cates, a West Chester Republican.


"This thing is so front-loaded now, there's no way Ohio's going to matter in a primary," Cates said. "I personally don't have any interest in moving it up."


Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Randy Borntrager said the only times he's heard about moving the primary is when reporters call to ask him if it's going to happen.


"There's been no interest in moving up. I've heard nothing except pure speculation," he said.


The silence on the issue comes as no surprise to John Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron. He also cited another reason against moving up the Ohio primary: the cost of holding two primaries - one for president and one for other offices. The state won't be eager to anger county officials who would have to pay for them.


"People are going to pay attention to Ohio eventually, but there might be an advantage to not being in the mix," Green said. "It doesn't cost the state money. It costs the localities. If it doesn't look like it's going to make a difference, there's sort of a double reluctance."


Recalling the dozens of visits Bush and Kerry made to Ohio in 2004, veteran GOP consultant Scott Borgemenke, now House Speaker Jon Husted's chief of staff, couldn't bear to think of opening the starting gate early.


"I don't think Ohio could handle the excitement," Borgemenke said.


At a glance 

MOVIN' ON UP: Fifteen to 30 states could join the rush to next year's "Super Tuesday" by moving their presidential primaries up to Feb. 5, but Ohio isn't one of them. California's and New York's legislatures already have signed on.


WHY NOT OHIO? Lawmakers, used to Ohio having little impact on the nominating process, say Ohio's importance comes in November. The state in 2004 it handed President Bush his second term.


WHAT'S IN IT FOR THE OTHER STATES: Those states covet the relevance - and the boost invading campaigns, reporters and others give their economies - that the early states enjoy.




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From the 4/12/07 PD:



Hillary Clinton to make two Ohio stops

Thursday, April 12, 2007

From staff and wire reports


Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has two Ohio appearances on her schedule next month.


Clinton will speak at commencement for Wilberforce University on May 5, the school announced Wednesday. On May 12, she will deliver the keynote address at this year's Ohio Democratic Party state dinner at the Ohio State Fairgrounds in Columbus.


The U.S. senator from New York was the first candidate to commit to speaking at the Democratic event, though the invitation remains open to the others, said party spokesman Randy Borntrager.


Democratic senators and presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Joe Biden spoke at the party's annual dinner last year. The dinner is expected to draw 4,000 party insiders.


Clinton's early commitment speaks to her understanding of Ohio's importance and her confidence that she will remain a front-runner. Already the juggernaut fund-raiser along with Obama, she is likely to pad her visit with fund-raising events.


Her address to the Wilberforce graduates will be at an arena at nearby Wright State University.


"Wilberforce University's historic place in the history of black America bequeaths to Sen. Clinton a blessing she will never forget," said the Rev. Floyd Flake, president of Wilberforce.


About 1,050 students are enrolled at the private, historically black university that traces its roots to 1856. The school is about 15 miles east of Dayton.



From the 4/12/07 Enquirer:



Michelle Obama misses Indian Hill fundraiser



A Chicago snowstorm scuttled Michelle Obama's trip to Indian Hill on Wednesday to raise money for her husband's presidential campaign, but supporters who gathered at the home of Democratic fundraiser Barbara Gould got to hear her talk anyway - via speaker phone.


Gould, an interior designer who is one of Ohio's most active Democratic fundraisers, said more than 100 people - nearly all of them women - gathered in her Indian Hill home at lunchtime Wednesday, having written checks for $250 or $500, or more, for Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign.


Michelle Obama was to have been the featured speaker, but a snowstorm shut down O'Hare International Airport in Chicago on Wednesday morning, making it impossible for her to fly to Cincinnati.


"It was disappointing, but we had a great time anyway," Gould said.


Gould said she put Michelle Obama on speaker phones throughout the house and the candidate's wife spoke for an hour, fielding questions from the party guests.


"She was marvelous; she talked about her husband, her children and about the campaign," Gould said.


Obama told Gould she would reschedule the trip for sometime in May.


Gould said she does not know how much was raised Wednesday because many of the checks went directly to Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago.




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From the 4/13/07 Blade:



RNC chief: Ohio role is still crucial

State a major player in '08, Duncan says




COLUMBUS - The Republican National Committee's new chairman yesterday made Ohio one of his first stops out of state, saying he believes the state will play a major role in selecting the party's presidential candidate next year despite the fact some 25 states may hold a pseudonational primary a month earlier.


"Fifty-three percent of Republican delegates, if every state does what they say they're going to do, will be chosen by Feb. 6," said Mike Duncan, a 30-year GOP campaign operative from Kentucky.


"The question is, will one person emerge as the presumptive nominee out of that?" he said. "Currently, we have several candidates who've demonstrated the ability to either raise the money or generate support in the double digits or more in our polling. It's not clear to me that we're going to have a presumptive nominee on that day. Ohio may become even more important."


Ohio's presidential primary will be March 4, and there's been no discussion about Ohio joining large states like California, Texas, New York, and Florida on Feb. 5 in a kind of superprimary.


Regardless of how much of a role Ohio plays in the primary, Mr. Duncan said his visit here is evidence the state will again be a major battleground in choosing the next president in the 2008 general election.


Mr. Duncan visited the state even as the RNC was pulled further into the Washington furor over the firing of federal prosecutors. The RNC had established private e-mail accounts and provided separate laptop computers in 2001 for some White House staffers, including Karl Rove, that congressional Democrats contend were used to discuss public policy, including possibly the prosecutor firings, and should have been preserved for scrutiny.


"This was set up in order to avoid problems with the Hatch Act, [which prohibits] federal employees using government equipment or government space or government telephones for their [political] activities," Mr. Duncan said. "This was a reaction to what had gone on in the Clinton administration."


He said the RNC is cooperating with the congressional inquiry.


"I don't think any laws have been violated," he said. "Lots of e-mails have been turned over by the Justice Department."


The political landscape witnessed yesterday by Mr. Duncan is far from what greeted his predecessors.


In a year of scandal, Republicans lost every statewide nonjudicial office save one, state auditor, in 2006.


"Clearly, the chairman of the RNC has provided cover for nonpolitical government employees to hide the truth about the ongoing Alberto Gonzales investigation, trying to skirt the law and hide the truth from the American public," said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, of Catawba Island.


"I'm confident that the Democratic Congress is finally going to get at the truth," he said.


Ohio GOP Chairman Bob Bennett said he believes the political landscape in Ohio will not change the party's strategy going forward.


"President Reagan carried this state twice when the Democrats held all of the offices, including the state legislature," he said. "We stumbled last year. Next year is a new year. … Although the governor will be the titular head of the Democratic ticket in Ohio next year, that can have pluses and minuses. Certainly the presidential candidates will stand on their own when it comes to voters in '08."


Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com, or 614-221-0496.




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From the 4/18/07 Dispatch:



* GRAPHIC: Money machine


2008 election

Ohio cash flowing Romney's direction

Higher-profile presidential hopefuls trail in fundraising

Wednesday,  April 18, 2007 3:45 AM

By Jonathan Riskind and Jack Torry



WASHINGTON -- Aided by major financial backers of President Bush, Republican Mitt Romney is the early 2008 presidential race fundraising champ in Ohio.


The former Massachusetts governor has reaped about $478,000 from Ohio givers, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics from first-quarter Federal Election Commission reports.


Romney trails in the polls, but as in Ohio, his fundraising nationwide has far outstripped his GOP foes.


Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani took in about $85,000 from Ohio contributors as of March 31, while GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona got nearly $75,000 from Ohio donors.


On the Democratic side, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama outpaced New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Obama has raised more than $316,000 from Ohioans, compared with Clinton's $232,000.


Despite Romney's impressive fundraising nationally and in Ohio, he still trails in the polls behind Giuliani and McCain.


In Ohio, his backers include a number of major GOP givers from the Cincinnati area, including businessman Carl Lindner, a big bucks supporter of Bush. Contributions to Romney from Lindner family members surpassed $45,000, according to the center's database.


Others who were part of an extensive Cincinnati-area Bush fundraising network now giving to Romney include businessmen Richard Farmer and Mercer Reynolds -- although Reynolds also gave $2,100 to Giuliani.


Michael Horvitz, an attorney with the Cleveland law firm Jones Day, contributed $2,000 to Obama. When asked why he wrote that check, Horvitz jokingly replied, "You know what the secret to happiness in life is? Do what your wife tells you to do."


"At this stage of the campaign, everything is uncertain, and he seems to be a candidate who has potential and ought to have a chance to get his story told," Horvitz said. "We were eager to try and help him."


Former Democratic Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina nearly matched Clinton in the Buckeye State, getting more than $220,000, according to the figures compiled by the nonpartisan center. Long-shot candidate Dennis J. Kucinich, a U.S. House member from Cleveland, received about $5,200 from fellow Ohioans.


Like Reynolds, several Ohio donors gave money to multiple candidates, a relatively common practice early in a presidential-election cycle. Stanley Chesley, a prominent Cincinnati attorney, contributed $4,600 to Clinton and $2,000 to Obama. Raymond T. Sawyer, who served as chief of staff to former Gov. Richard F. Celeste, gave $1,000 each to Clinton and Edwards and $500 to Obama.


The list of donors included some of the best-known business and political people in the state. Richard Jacobs, former owner of the Cleveland Indians, gave $2,100 to Romney, as did John McConnell, chairman and CEO of Worthington Industries and majority owner of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Mike Brown, owner of the Cincinnati Bengals, gave $2,300 to McCain.


Samuel H. Miller and Albert Ratner, co-chairmen of the board of Forest City Enterprises of Cleveland, one of the major real-estate-development companies in the United States, were responsible for a large number of contributions.


Miller gave $4,600 to Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del., and $2,300 to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Ratner and family members, many of whom work at Forest City, contributed $28,400 to Richardson.


At least one donor is expressing second thoughts. Gerald Austin, who managed Celeste's winning 1982 gubernatorial campaign, gave $1,000 to Edwards. But he changed his mind about Edwards after the revelation that Elizabeth Edwards is suffering a recurrence of breast cancer. In particular, he objected when John Edwards said that while he loves his wife, he has "a responsibility to this country" to continue his campaign.


"It wasn't necessary for him to talk about how important it was for him to be president," Austin said. "I know you have to be possessed to run for president, but sometimes possession is not nine-tenths of the law."


In the Columbus area, Obama eclipses all candidates, including Romney. Central Ohio givers have handed over more than $97,000 to Obama, who held a Feb. 26 fundraiser at 1 Miranova Place hosted by Larry and Donna James. Giuliani was a distant second with about $32,000 from central Ohio contributors.


Clinton has received about $24,000 from Columbus-area supporters, while Romney has gotten less than $18,000, Edwards about $16,000 and McCain about $8,000, according to the center's figures.







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From the 4/20/07 DDN:



Ohio GOP plans first straw poll for president

By William Hershey

Staff Writer

Friday, April 20, 2007


COLUMBUS — The Ohio Republican Party for the first time will hold a straw poll for top tier GOP presidential candidates in conjunction with the party's state dinner on Sept. 14 in Columbus, party Chairman Robert Bennett announced Friday.


As of Friday, the top tier for 2008 includes: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Bennett said.


If Fred Thompson, the former Tennessee senator who plays District Attorney Arthur Branch on TV's "Law & Order" gets in the race, he likely would be in that group, said Bennett.


"The top tier candidates are the ones who generate the buzz at the grass roots level," said Bennett.


He said the party hadn't held a presidential straw poll before.


"This is going to be a first for us," said Bennett.


Any Republican who pays to attend the dinner — expected to cost about $100 — will be able to vote in the poll, said Bennett.


Ohio Democrats have no plans for a straw poll, said Randy Borntrager, party spokesman. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., a leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, is set to speak at the state Democratic dinner on May 12 in Columbus and other presidential candidates have been invited.


Bennett made his announcement at the end of a meeting of the party's Central and Executive Committee.


The committee elected state Rep. Kevin DeWine, R-Fairborn, as deputy chairman, a new post established to prepare a successor to Bennett who plans to step down when his current term ends in 2009.


DeWine said he would serve out his current term in the House through 2008 but step down from his leadership post as speaker pro tem, the number two position. He said he would seek no future political office.




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From the 4/21/07 DDN:



* GRAPHIC: Area contributions to 2008 Presidential candidates

* GRAPHIC: Ohio contributions to 2008 Presidential candidates


Ohioans contributing to presidential favorites

By William Hershey and Jessica Wehrman

Staff Writers

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Retiree Robert L. Cartwright of Miamisburg cast his vote in what amounts to the nation's unofficial first presidential primary with $470 in contributions to Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign.


Cartwright, 88, didn't stop at the contributions, however.


He also spent about $400 on chicken wings, shrimp and fresh fruit for a party at his retirement center to promote Clinton, a U.S. senator from New York.


"I had all of her literature and I had a picture of her I took out of a newspaper," said Cartwright, a former contracting officer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.


Cartwright considers Clinton a "good politician."


"I admired the way she handled Bill's zipper trouble. I think she handled that in a womanly way," Cartwright said.


While all contributors during the first three months of 2007 haven't been as busy campaigning as Cartwright, others have their own reasons for getting involved.


Susan Saxbe, 58, a Columbus art consultant and wife of longtime Republican supporter Charles "Rocky" Saxbe, gave $500 to U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, Clinton's Democratic rival. Obama brings needed hope to the country, the 58-year-old Saxbe said. "I have not felt this way about a candidate since John F. Kennedy ran for president," she said.


On the Republican side, Ron Adler of Miamisburg contributed $1,200 to Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor. To Adler and his wife, Romney represents the "Ronald Reagan values" they hold dear.


"He seems to embrace that kind of a tone of 'back to basic' kind of values," said Adler, 66, president of the Ohio Coalition for Quality Education, a grass roots advocacy group representing charter schools. Also on the Republican side, Ronald Alban of Kettering, owner of an investment management company, contributed $250 to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.


"Fundamentally, I think he has excellent leadership skills and I think he would be particularly strong in the economic (area) and the law enforcement (area)," said Alban, 51.


While Romney led the pack in contributions from Ohioans, Clinton was in the front nationally with more than $36 million, including $10 million from her Senate campaign. She was followed in the national race by: Obama, $25.8 million; Romney, $23 million; Giuliani, $16.6 million; former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., $14 million, and U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., $13 million. Also, Sens. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Joe Biden, D-Del. and Sam Brownback, R-Kan., along with Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo. and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, each raised more than $1 million during the first quarter.


Contributors are permitted to give each candidate $2,300 for the primary election and another $2,300 for the general election if the candidate doesn't accept federal funding.




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From the 4/23/07 Lorain Morning Journal:




MEGAN KING and ALEX M. PARKER, Morning Journal Writers



LORAIN -- The presidential campaign started early this year, with millions already raised and spent in both the Republican and Democratic primaries.


Donors in Lorain, Erie, and Huron counties are beginning to dole out the cash, too.


Donors in the three counties gave more than $15,517 to candidates in both parties, with Lorain County people mostly donating to Democrats while donors in Erie and Huron tilted towards the Republicans.


Sen. John Edwards was Lorain, Erie and Huron counties' top recipient in the first quarter, according to campaign finance filings with the Federal Election Commission.


The fundraising reports, which were filed last week, show Edwards took in $8,900 from area residents in the first quarter of 2007, followed by Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois with $3,117.11. The top local Republican recipient was Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who received $1,100 from local contributors.


One Democratic front-runner who didn't lighten local donors' wallets?


New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.


''I think the Clintons blew it, and I hold Hillary responsible on health care,'' said Gary Kornblith, a professor of history at Oberlin College, who donated to John Edwards' campaign. ''The Clintons and the Bushes trade the presidency back and forth for 16 years? That's not a healthy thing for democracy.''


Kornblith is considering supporting both Edwards and Obama, but he decided to donate $250 to the Edwards campaign after Elizabeth Edwards, the candidate's wife, announced her breast cancer had returned.


''They came across to me as real people dealing with a family crisis,'' said Kornblith, whose father died from lung cancer. ''They didn't try to pretend it wasn't there, but they faced the prospect of death with a statement, ÔWe've got goals, we've got purposes.'''


Korblith said Edwards was probably the most progressive candidate in the race.


Elyria trial lawyer Michael Becker, an Edwards donor, described Edwards as a ''very bright, very energetic'' candidate who could be a fresh mind for Washington.


''I think he's a very bright guy. I think his mind's in the right place. He's not afraid to admit a mistake and learn from it,'' Becker said of Edwards' vote to authorize the Iraq war.


Becker said he also supports Edwards' stance on poverty and the courage with which the Edwards family has handled Elizabeth's recurrence of breast cancer.


''I think what he and his wife have done relative to her health issues is extremely admirable and courageous and a great example for one to live their life. They're both great people,'' Becker said.


Becker said both Clinton and Obama were also bright candidates, but he said he believes Edwards would be most electable in a national election after the Democratic primary.


McCain's straight-talking appeal is also earning him supporters throughout the county.


Philip Kudela of Vermilion, who donated to McCain's campaign, said he's supporting McCain because he's straightforward and honest.


''I don't think he's a politician as we know them,'' Kudela said. ''I think he's an honest young man and someone who's been through what he's been through doesn't have any uncertainty about what's important in the world.''


Kudela, a Vermilion native who flew 112 missions in the Air Force during the war in Vietnam, spends his retirement golfing and bowling ''depending on the weather.''


Kudela said another reason he supports McCain is Kudela's involvement with Citizens Against Government Waste.


''When you're a politician in Washington, the first thing your primary concern is to be re-elected,'' Kudela said. ''How you do that is you get millions of dollars to bring back to build a bridge in Alaska to an island with 45 people or get $2 million to set up a World War II battleship off the coast of Alabama and things like that.''


Ron Gorman of Columbia Station has donated to the underdog campaign of Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.


Gorman, a computer software engineer, said he is not usually active in politics, but is paying close attention to the 2008 presidential campaign.


''The main reason I'm supporting him is he sounds like he knows what he's talking about, and he has the experience and the temperament that I think we need right now.''


He said the most important issue for him in 2008 is Iraq.


''(Biden) seems to be the only one who really has a plan that might have a chance of working there,'' Gorman said.


Gorman said he's not discouraged by Biden's lesser-known status in the campaign.


''He's down in the pack, but as long as he's in the campaign, he's my guy.''


Gorman, an independent, said he supported McCain in 2000.


''I'm not normally active in politics, but I guess the way situations are right now, it's kind of called for.''


So far, most political leaders are withholding their support until the primary gets more underway. But a few have already decided to throw their weight around a candidate.


For instance, newly elected state representative Matt Barrett, D-Amherst, donated $250 to the Edwards campaign.


''I supported John Edwards early in 2004, and I again supported him early now,'' said Barrett. ''I liked his message the last time, of unifying America, and its similar message this time.''


Barrett said he wasn't surprised Edwards had strong support in Lorain County.


''Seeing how he did the last time, and how his message resonates with middle-class America, I think that would translate to strong support with Lorain County,'' said Barrett. ''Hopefully, it doesn't come down to simply money. I think he's got a strong message that resonates in Lorain County.''


Helen Hurst, chairwoman of the Lorain County Republican Central Committee, is already proudly wearing a button for Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and presidential candidate.


''He's pretty popular in North Ridgeville. I stuck my neck out, and I'm amazed how many people have stopped me and said, ÔGood guy,''' said Hurst. ''He's straightforward, he says it like it is. I think he really showed us what he was made of with 9/11. I think we could use a hero in the White House.''


Hurst said she was only supporting Giuliani as a citizen, not as a party official.


David Arredondo, president of the Lorain Republican Party, said he isn't yet supporting anyone but is leaning toward Giuliani because of his chances of winning the presidency.


''My sense is that Republicans are unsure of who it is they want to back. I think we all want to get behind the person who we feel can beat the Democrats. Earlier this year the polls were showing Rudy was that person,'' said Arredondo. ''I don't agree with all of his positions, but I'm willing to back him because I feel he can win.''


While they can donate money to campaigns, Lorain County residents might not be able to have a meaningful vote in the party nominating process.


Ohio lawmakers decided not to join several other states in moving up their presidential primaries. By the time Ohio holds its presidential primary in March 2008, the majority of delegates to the national conventions to choose the candidates will already have been chosen in primaries in other states.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.




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From the 4/24/07 Enquirer:



Lindners give Romney leg up

He dominates fundraising here; Clinton, Obama lead Dems



Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney barely registers in most polls of Ohio voters. But when it comes to raising money in Ohio - and especially Cincinnati - Romney is the clear favorite.


An analysis on the Web site opensecrets.org, run by the Center for Responsive Politics, showed that in the first quarter of 2007, Romney was the top recipient of campaign money in the Cincinnati area, raking in $409,500 - more than 90 percent of the total for GOP contenders.


And that made him the top presidential fundraiser in Ohio.


Is that because the former Massachusetts governor is extraordinarily popular among voters in the region? Probably not.


But he is extraordinarily popular among Cincinnati-area residents named Lindner - specifically, financier Carl Lindner Jr. and his son S. Craig Lindner, co-president of American Financial Group.


Both have signed on to Romney's national campaign fundraising team and have hosted Romney fundraising events here.


In Republican politics, the support of the Lindner family is considered one of the big prizes in the country. George W. Bush won it early in his 2000 campaign, as did his father before him.


"When someone of prominence supports a particular candidate, a lot of other people follow his lead," said Hamilton County Republican Chairman George Vincent.


Romney - who led all GOP candidates in fundraising nationwide with $23.4 million - had an enormous lead over his two principal opponents in Cincinnati fundraising. Arizona Sen. John McCain was second with $20,650, while former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani raised $11,250.


The first round of campaign finance reports for 2008 presidential campaign show that Romney, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton all figured out the key to raising campaign dollars in Cincinnati:


It's who you know that counts.


Like Romney, Democrats Clinton and Obama have high-profile, well-connected Cincinnatians who can guarantee them a house or ballroom full of eager donors.


For Obama, there are at least two: state Sen. Eric Kearney, whose wife was a law school classmate of the Illinois senator; and Barbara Gould of Indian Hill, who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars last year for Ohio Democrats.


The analysis showed that Obama raised $130,488 in the Cincinnati metro area, about $42,000 less than Clinton.


Kearney, who hosted Obama at a downtown fundraiser in February, said he believes that number is "way low."


"I know I had about $225,000 in checks from that fundraiser that I passed on, and a whole lot more people sent money straight to Chicago (Obama headquarters)," said Kearney, who, at the time of the fundraiser, estimated it raised at least $350,000 and possibly as much as $500,000.


Some guests at the Obama fundraiser were not from the Cincinnati area - including a large contingent that came from Dayton - and their contributions weren't reflected in the Cincinnati numbers.


Lawyer Stan Chesley, who raised millions for the Democratic Party and the Clinton-Gore campaigns in the 1990s, is Hillary Clinton's best friend in Cincinnati.


On March 21, former President Clinton came to Chesley's home - as he did several times during his presidency - to raise money for his wife's presidential campaign. Chesley said he plans a second event featuring the candidate herself.


Overall, eight Republican candidates and six Democrats raised $776,428 in the Cincinnati metro area - 58 percent of it going to GOP candidates.


Across the state

In Ohio, Republican Mitt Romney was the favorite of the GOP money, pulling in $478,030 - most of it from the Cincinnati area. Among Democrats, Barack Obama raised the most, with $316,336. The money winners around Ohio:


Metro area    Candidate    Amount 

Akron            McCain      $8,431

Canton          Edwards    $51,500

Cleveland      Edwards    $74,475

Columbus        Obama      $97,356

Dayton          Romney    $15,925

Toledo            Giuliani      $5,350

Youngstown    Edwards    $62,800


Candidates' events in Cincinnati



16: Sen. John McCain spent the day in Cincinnati in private meetings with potential donors and at a reception at the Queen City Club.


19: Sen. Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, held a fundraising breakfast at the Queen City Club.


26: Sen. Barack Obama came to Cincinnati for a fundraising breakfast at the Westin Hotel downtown. Nearly 1,000 supporters attended.



9: Republican Mitt Romney attended a fundraiser for his presidential campaign at the Indian Hill home of S. Craig Lindner.


21: Former President Bill Clinton was the featured speaker at a fundraising event for his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, at the Indian Hill home of lawyer Stan Chesley. Chesley is planning to have a second fundraiser at his home, possibly in early summer, featuring the senator.



11: Michelle Obama, the candidate's wife, was to have been at the Indian Hill home of Barbara Gould for a midday fundraising event, but a snowstorm kept her from flying out of Chicago. So she spoke to about 100 supporters at Gould's house by speakerphone, and promised to try to come here again in May.




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All from the 4/25/07 Tipp City Herald:



Audience finds Bush sincere


Brown News Service


"Personable" and "sincere" are just two of the words used by those who listened to President George W. Bush's speech Thursday at Tippecanoe High School.


Tipp City Chamber of Commerce President Matt Owen, who said he landed front-row seats to the speech by standing in the shuttle bus line for almost three hours Thursday morning, said having the president in Tipp City was "fantastic."


"For our small community here to come together the past four days and pull this off was incredible," Owen said. "It was just a really neat experience and great to actually have it at the high school. I've said time and time again that ... our school system is the heart of our community, so it was absolutely a great place for our president to come and visit."


Owen said hearing Bush talk abut the war in Iraq, health care, border patrol and even about his own family was important to him.


"It's good to hear about his family and personal life," Owen said. "With the beliefs we have here in the Midwest we want someone to stand on their word and this president has done that."


When Bush agreed to come to Tipp City, his agenda stated he would be talking about terrorism and the war in Iraq, but he talked about other issues in the country as well.


"I was more than pleased with how today went," board chair of the Tipp City Chamber of Commerce Mike McDermott said. "My expectation was that the president would come and share some boiler plate information about the war, but the format of the speech was so much different; it was interactive. It was very personal. The president shared his convictions about staying the course, why he's staying the course and the reasons for doing that."


McDermott said one thing Bush discussed that was of particular importance to the chamber was keeping the economy strong.


"One thing I think everyone forgets about in America is that the economy is tied to everything that occurs both in the United States and the international market," McDermott said. "All these things affect local businesses and the communities that surround them."


When Bush did speak about the war, he did so with honesty and sincerity, according to Owen.


"It's unlike the experience you get watching someone give a speech on television," Owen said. "You know, I've heard this before with President Bush, when he starts to talk specifically about things you instantly get a feeling of his commitment and passion and his own personal feelings about issues. You can really tell it isn't an act.


"Sending all those troops over to Iraq and Afghanistan, you can tell it has to weigh heavily on his heart that he is sending parents' children in harms way. That's got to weigh heavily on his mind and heart and you can tell when he speak about it that it does. You could really tell the passion and sincerity in his tone when he started talking about the kids over there fighting for our freedom."


Carli Amblin Dean is on the board of directors for the Tipp chamber and she shared Owen's and McDermott's sentiments about the speech.


"It rocked," she said. "He was so personable. I felt like I was sitting down at a table with him. He was so off the cuff and laid back. He really made me feel like I was sitting down for a cup of coffee with him."



Protestors voice their view of president


Brown News Service


Protesters of President George W. Bush gathered on Main Street in Tipp City Thursday just out of sight from the presidential motorcade.


Official protest groups from the September 11 Coalition, Dayton Peace Action and Military Families Speak Out joined independent protesters who stood at the intersection of Main Street and Garber Road.


Regardless of affiliation, almost all of the protesters were in opposition to the war in Iraq. Julia Goodman of Riverside said she supports the troops, but not the war.


"There's nothing we can do over there," Goodman said. "There are not enough Iraqis who want to change to change it. All we're doing is sending more boys over there without enough training and they're dying."


Goodman said her nephew was injured in Iraq when the Humvee he was on hit a roadside bomb and he's now lost his hearing.


"I just want the boys and girls over there to come home. Bush needs to stop all this senseless killing because it hasn't solved anything," she said. "Throwing more troops in there is not going to make them stop hating us. We're the gasoline on the fire."


Beth Lerman of Military Families Speak Out held a sign with the names of Ohioans who have died in the war in Iraq. The sign read "How many more Ohioans, President Bush?"


"I hope that the war ends and the troops are sent home," Lerman said. "There is no reason for them to go over there."


Lerman said the troops should be given three months of training, but they are being sent over too soon and "they're dying."


"They're sending them over there with six weeks of training and saying they'll learn when they get over there," Lerman said. "Then if they come back, some of the boys have to raise money so they'll have sheets and pillows and blankets on their beds back at the base. The government needs to bring them home and take care of them when they get here."


Passers-by both honked their horns in support of the protesters and gave thumbs up signs, while others yelled obscenities and made obscene gestures at the protesters. Goodman said she showed the sign language symbol for love at every heckler.


"It's all you can do," she said.


In addition to the protesters, Bush supporters came out to stand in the parking lot of Dave Arbogast Buick-Pontiac-GMC Truck Inc. and the Circle K gas station, both on South County Road 25-A.


Lynn DeCloedt of Indianapolis held up signs she made that read "God Bless You."


"I just love and very much support my president," she said. "I have a deep trust in him and believe he not only leads us in good foreign policy, but he's not afraid to say love your neighbor as yourself and put God first. He makes hard decisions that are difficult for mainstream mostly liberal media to handle. He's a leader that makes hard decisions whether they'll help him in polls or not."


DeCloedt stood with Sandy Berning of Tipp City who said she was there to show her six and twelve year old sons the importance of the office of the president.


"I wanted to show them how important it is and how the office should be respected," Berning said.


Berning's son, Zach, said Thursday was the second time he saw the president.


"I thought it was cool," Zach said. "Last time I saw him he blew us a kiss when he went by in the motorcade. This time was the first time I got to see the helicopter and all the security."


Like the protesters, Bush supporters were not exempt from passers-by that did not agree with their sentiments. One woman drove by and slowed when she neared the supporters and gave a thumbs down while others honked in support.


DeCloedt said one man drove by and yelled obscenities that "made her blood boil."


"Many protesters don't believe that freedom is never free," DeCloedt said. "We're so lucky to live in a world where we have freedom and powers and we have to have enough sense to use that to help other countries."


According to the Tipp City Police Department, only two incidents occurred during Bush's visit.


Three neo-nazis were arrested at Tipp Middle School for trespassing. Two of the men were from Miami County while the third was from Jamestown.


The other incident involved a protester being pushed by a local man who tried to jerk the protester's sign away, according to a spokesperson from the Tipp City PD.



Students get a chance to see president


Brown News Service


Most people can't say they've shaken hands with the president of the United States; but as of Thursday, a small group of Tippecanoe High School seniors can make the claim.


Four hundred fifty people piled into Tippecanoe High School Thursday to watch President Bush speak about decisions he has made regarding the war in Iraq. Although most in the crowd consisted of people selected by the Tipp City Chamber of Commerce, a small group of senior government students were granted entrance, giving them memories to last a lifetime.


"It was pretty awesome," senior Kristie Furst said. "It'll be a memory to cherish forever."


Phillip Monnier agreed, "It was a once in a lifetime opportunity."


The president covered issues involving the war in Iraq, which the students said he explained thoroughly.


"I agree with everything he said," Furst said. "I think he knows what he's talking about."


"I support his efforts to get the job done," Lauren Miller confirmed.


As the current debate on the Iraq war rages through the United States and Congress, students said they felt the war may not be progressing as smoothly as they want, but the loss is necessary for democratic victory in the region.


"It seems like we're stuck," Miller said. "But it's time to finish what we've started."


Phillip Monnier agreed.


"It'll take a while for everything to fall through; but I think we'll succeed," he said.


According to the president, one hindrance on winning the war in Iraq is the current Congressional debate on supplemental funding, something the students did not agree with.


"The way I see it, if you cut funding, they'll be fighting with guns and we'll be fighting with sticks and stones," Monnier said.


With Iraq aside, the students did mention an issue they wished the president would have touched on more heavily.


"School safety," Furst explained. "I think what he was saying was common sense. I think he should have explained how they're keeping the schools safe."


With the crowd being mostly hand chosen, the students felt allowing other students to see the speech in person would have been both a good and bad thing.


"It's tough when you have 800 students and only 400 seats," Monnier said.


"It is kind of unfair that just AP classes got to go," Furst said. "But I understand issues with having everyone there and some people making rude remarks."


But in all, the students were impressed with President Bush and how he handled himself at the presentation.


"He was very thorough," Miller said. "It did help people understand his policy and what he's trying to do."


Afterward, the president stayed around long enough to shake hands and take pictures with the students.


"I though he did a great job," government teacher Randy Sentman said. "He really personalized to the kids and took pictures with several of the students, which they really enjoyed."


At the end of an exciting day, the select students able to meet the president, were left with a unique story to share.


"It was an incredible opportunity," Miller said.


Monnier agreed.


"He has the toughest job in America and he does a good job," he said.



Presidental frenzy in Tipp City


Tipp City Student


From Monday morning until Thursday afternoon the city of Tipp City, Ohio, had a distinguished buzz of the likes the quiet suburban town had never seen before. News of President George W. Bush's eventual visit spread like wildfire. In particular, the high school became a breeding ground for hundreds of questions and rumors about President Bush's advent.


In preparation, Secret Service officials began roaming the halls on Saturday and maintained their presence throughout the week. These "men in black" set the air that the "real deal" was coming to Tippecanoe High School with haste. Personnel from the White House converted the gym and the wrestling room to a point where it was unrecognizable by THS students. As high school students do, rumors flew about everything from parking privileges and total lockdowns to projected timeframes and a closed circuit television feed. Naturally, some of that gossip contained a shed of truth.


Luckily for most of the students at THS, the drama teacher, Mr. Sagona, had the equipment, know-how, and capability to set up a closed circuit television feed available in every classroom. "I was glad to be able to listen to the president speak, and watching it at the high school was the next best thing," said junior at THS Becky Pelishek.


Of the hundreds of students at Tippecanoe High School only the Advanced Placement American government class was fortunate enough to attend the presidential event. Also a handful of government students from Miami East High School were able to attend.


"It gets the kids politically active at a young age" said, Fred Worth, the government teacher at Miami East. "At least the kids will always vote."


"Why here?" was the most frequent question asked by Tipp City citizens about this appearance. The general consensus wondered how, out of all the places in the United States, the president ended up in our quiet little town?


"It's not surprising," said Jim Provance writer for the Toledo Blade. "Not only was he invited, but Miami County is a favorable county for him. He's in friendly territory."


Steve Bruns, of Bruns construction, [the man who invited George W. Bush to Tipp City] said," I faxed the White House and asked if the president would please speak to our chambers about what's going right."


Bruns was lucky enough to introduce President Bush and now holds his head higher knowing that he was cause for the first President of the United States to visit Tipp City in over 22 years.



Differing views on president's visit


Tipp City Student


No matter what the event, it is viewed by many different people many different ways. There are some people that choose to view the world through rose colored glasses and there are others that choose to close their eyes and not view it at all. Strong convictions and bias are inevitable, especially when politics are involved. This was especially relevant when President George W. Bush visited our very own Tippecanoe High School on April 19th, 2007.


From the moment that you arrived on the school grounds, these varying viewpoints were blatantly evident. Situated next to the growing line made up of people hoping to gain entrance were four peaceful, student protesters. These Stebbins High School students claimed that when they heard that the president would visit a nearby high school, they felt compelled to come and get their opinions heard. Says junior Eric Eby, "It really is our responsibility to come out and get our voices heard... We're fighting a civil war that isn't even ours. People say that we're the future, but no one wants to take a stand for anything. Americans need to stop taking things and question why we are over there." S.H.S. senior Virginia Whetzler adds, "Whenever we have an opinion, no one wants to hear it. They like to just sit on their couch, watch their T.V., eat their potato chips, and complain." However, they would like to add that it is the war that they are protesting, not the people that are over there fighting.


Also in attendance were several representatives from the Army and Marines. When asked many had no comment on the protestors. Comments Captain Nicholson of the Army, "I have more important things to worry about. I'm a physician in the Army and you have to think about what you are doing. You have to prioritize and not let the little things bother you... you have to do what you think is right and not worry about others."


Several students also had the honor of being in attendance. Student Senate executives, student ushers, and representatives from our high school paper, The Canoe Tribune were all invited to attend. Seniors Annie Rattermann, Katie Burton, and Joe Linsenmeyer couldn't be happier. Ratermann relates, "It's an honor and a privilege." Burton agrees, " It's a once in a lifetime experience to be this close to the President of the United States." Linsenmeyer adds, "I'm excited for this unique experience."


Classmates Mike Dever and Matt DeNuzzo see the President's visit in a different light. Seniors Dever and DeNuzzo anticipated they event, but had some reservations. Dever comments, "It's government in action, but I just wish that he wouldn't ignore China." DeNuzzo agrees, "It [the situation in China] is the white elephant in the room that everyone is content to ignore."


No matter how you slice it, the President's visit to our small town was an exciting experience for all involved. Though people may have entered with preconceived notions, you couldn't help but leave with a new viewpoint on the President. With his charismatic speech and personable nature, President George W. Bush helped to turn people's rose colored glasses to a bright shade of red, white, and blue.




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From the 5/1/07 Enquirer:



Candidates love our $$, want more



Republican and Democratic presidential candidates’ campaign committees raised nearly $780,000 in the Cincinnati area during the first three months of 2007 and they are coming back for more this month.


The campaign committees of two presidential candidates – Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney – have fund-raising events in the Cincinnati area next week.


The government’s highest-ranking Democrat – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – will be in Indian Hill on May 20 to raise money for the Democrats’ effort to expand their thin Senate majority in the 2008 election.


Next Tuesday, Meg Whitman, the CEO of eBay, will come to the Queen City Club in downtown Cincinnati for a fund-raising event for Romney. He’s the former Massachusetts governor who has received over half of the campaign dollars raised in the Cincinnati area so far.


Having Whitman on board is one reason why Romney, despite low ranking in the polls, led all GOP presidential contenders in fund raising with $23.4 million.


Whitman and Romney both worked for Bain & Co., a management consultant firm, in the 1980s; and the eBay CEO has been one of his biggest fund-raising assets as head of his California finance committee.


The Queen City Club event is hosted by S. Craig Lindner, who heads up Romney’s Ohio fund raising. By presidential campaign standards, it will be a relatively low-cost affair – a 5 p.m. roundtable discussion with Whitman that will cost $500 per ticket, followed by a general reception for $250 per person.


The next day, Michelle Obama – wife of the freshman senator from Illinois – will head to the Indian Hill home of Democratic fund raiser Barbara Gould for a luncheon gathering.


The Obama event is a rescheduling of an April 14 fund raiser that Mrs. Obama could not attend because of a snowstorm in Chicago.


Gould has told everyone who attended the April 14 event – and heard Mrs. Obama via speaker phone – that they can come to the Wednesday event.


Tickets for the Obama event are going for $250 and $500, with those paying the higher price being able to attend a private reception and have a picture taken with the candidate’s wife.


Gould’s Indian Hill home will also be the venue May 20 for a Democratic Senate Campaign Committee fund-raiser featuring Reid and Ohio’s freshman senator, Sherrod Brown.


The Reid event will be a pricey one, with ticket prices ranging from $2,500 to $28,500 for persons who want to be listed as “sponsors” of the event.




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From the 5/2/07 PD:



Clinton to tout education in Cleveland

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Mark Naymik

Plain Dealer Politics Writer


Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will hold a public forum on education Saturday afternoon in Cleveland before attending three fund-raisers.


Clinton, who will speak earlier in the day at the commencement for Wilberforce University near Dayton, will lead a discussion with Cleveland schools Chief Executive Eugene Sanders and U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Cleveland at John Hay High School on Cleveland's East Side. The 4:30 p.m. event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Doors open at 4 p.m. Other details about the event have not been released.


Clinton, whose campaign would not confirm details verified by Tubbs Jones' campaign office and the Cleveland schools, will appear later Saturday at three receptions at the nearby Intercontinental Hotel. Tickets cost between $100 and $2,300.


This is her first appearance in the city as a presidential candidate.


Clinton will be back May 12, when she will deliver the keynote address at this year's Ohio Democratic Party state dinner at the Ohio State Fairgrounds in Columbus.


That event is closed to the public.




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From the 5/4/07 DDN:



* GRAPHIC: Ohio: Still a battleground


Clinton stop underscores Ohio's importance

By Jessica Wehrman

Staff Writer

Friday, May 04, 2007


WASHINGTON — — When Sen. Hillary Clinton makes five stops in Ohio on Saturday — attending the commencement for Wilberforce University at the Nutter Center, a public forum on education in Cleveland and three fundraisers in the Cleveland area — her presence will underscore what became a political truism in 2004 and will likely remain one in 2008.


To win the presidency, you've got to win Ohio.


That means the presumed front-runners will likely find excuses to come to Ohio despite a demanding primary schedule that includes 24 states currently slated to hold primaries or caucuses on Feb. 5. Clinton will come back to Ohio on May 12 to speak at the Ohio Democratic Party state dinner.


With nine months to go before Super Tuesday, Clinton leads all Democratic candidates with 32 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released Thursday, while former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani leads among Republicans with 27 percent. Both candidates are also out in front in Ohio.


While Ohio is a battleground in the general election, it is less so during the primary season. That's because at least 39 states and the District of Columbia will hold their primaries or caucuses before Ohio's scheduled March 4 primary election, according to the National Association of Secretaries of State. But that doesn't mean the candidates will write off Ohio until the general election.


"You can't start a conversation with Ohio voters extremely late," said Randy Borntrager of the Ohio Democratic Party. "You need to start engaging them now. Because our voters are going to decide who the next president is going to be."


And since no one is running away from the field — at least not yet — it's possible Ohio could play a role in deciding one or both nominees, said Democratic political consultant Gerald Austin. "Perhaps no one will emerge as the presumptive winner, and therefore Ohio in March becomes a very important primary," Austin said. "Hope springs eternal."


There is one race that is already well under way in Ohio, and it's why candidates like Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain have made trips here: money. During the first quarter of 2007, Ohio ranked 19th in terms of big donors — far below Texas and California, but above states such as Missouri, South Carolina and New Hampshire.


"The way it stands right now is each of the campaigns views Ohio as a financial target," said Republican political consultant Jim Nathanson. "There's a sense that Ohio isn't going to play a pivotal role in terms of the nomination, so we're a fundraising tool."


That tool benefited Democratic New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who is eighth among candidates in fundraising but sixth in Ohio, raising more in the state than McCain. The reason? The Ratner family of Cleveland, which is affiliated with the $9 billion real estate firm Forest City Enterprises, which owns large developments in New Mexico. Members of the Ratners gave Richardson $26,100 in the first quarter of this year. Clinton, meanwhile, got $9,200 from the Cafaros, a Hubbard, Ohio, family that develops shopping centers; and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney got $45,800 from Cincinnati businessman Carl Lindner and his family.


Nathanson said Republican candidates are focusing more on the earlier primaries at this point as well as waiting to see how the race is going to shake out. "There's a lot of people holding their breath wondering if Fred Thompson will enter the race," he said. "And some of the conservatives are wondering where is the strong conservative candidate."


Most pundits expect plenty of Ohio visits from presidential contenders in the coming months. Amid all the uncertainty in the presidential race there appears one sure bet: Ohio will remain a bellwether.


"I think it's in a basket of eight or 10 states everyone will keep an eye on, depending on how close the election is," said Stu Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report. "If it looks like the presidential election is going to come down to a small group of states, Ohio is likely going to be in that group."




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From the AP, 5/6/07:



Clinton courts Cleveland, promises to revise No Child Left Behind Act

Presidential candidate promises to revise No Child Left Behind Act if elected

By M.R. Kropko

Associated Press


CLEVELAND - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Saturday that President Bush has cut education funding so much that some schools are cutting programs such as art, music and dance.


If elected president, the New York Democrat said, she would work to revise the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act.


"Yes, I believe in accountability,'' Clinton told a crowd of about 300 at John Hay High School, part of a struggling school district in what the Census Bureau considers to be the nation's poorest big city.


"But one of the saddest parts about what's happening with No Child Left Behind is that schools are cutting so much in their curricula because they are trying to keep up with demands in unfunded mandates.''


Cleveland was Clinton's second stop in Ohio; earlier in the day, she delivered the commencement speech at Wilberforce University, a small, historically black school. There, she urged the graduates to remain optimistic about their ability to fight injustice and change society for the better.


"Don't let anyone wear you down to the point where you believe it is not worth trying to change your society any longer,'' she told about 4,000 people and a graduating class of 225 at the private college near Dayton that traces its roots to 1856.


"Journeys that led to the abolition of slavery still call us to finish the march to justice,'' she said.


The crowd gave a warm reception to Clinton and broke into applause several times in a 25-minute speech in which she largely avoided the hot-button campaign issues such as the war in Iraq.


At the Intercontinental Hotel in Cleveland in the evening, Clinton attended a private fundraiser for which tickets ranged from $100 to $2,300.


She is scheduled to return to Ohio Friday as the keynote speaker for the annual Ohio Democratic Party dinner.


Only two Democrats since 1900 have won the presidency without carrying Ohio; no Republican has done so.



From the 5/6/07 DDN:




'Speak out,' Clinton tells graduates

By William Hershey

Staff Writer

Sunday, May 06, 2007


FAIRBORN — After Wilberforce University President Floyd H. Flake introduced her as the "next president of the United States," U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday challenged graduates to finish the "march for justice."


Clinton, D-N.Y., said there's "work to do" to help Americans without health care, families struggling on low wages, single parents without child care and injured military veterans returning home to treatment facilities "not fit to stay in."


"We need to be willing to say this is wrong. Let us make it right," Clinton told the commencement crowd of about 4,000 in the Ervin J. Nutter Center at Wright State University.


She invoked university namesake British abolitionist William Wilberforce, who Clinton said was shunned but persisted in the battle against slavery.


She praised the Rutgers University women's basketball team for speaking out after their verbal degrading by radio host Don Imus.


"Speak out whenever you see or hear the degradation of women or minorities, the weak, the vulnerable, the marginalized," said Clinton, who is seeking to become the first woman U.S. president.


Her speech for the graduates of the nation's oldest, private historically black university was part of a day that took her to Baton Rouge, La., in the morning for a conference of black mayors and was to end in Cleveland with three fundraisers and a forum with U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Cleveland.


She returns to Ohio on Saturday to speak at the state dinner of the Ohio Democratic Party.


Contact this reporter at (614) 224-1608 or whershey@DaytonDailyNews.com.




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From the 5/12/07 DDN:



Sen. Clinton believes Wilberforce grad 'exemplifies the human spirit'

22-year-old Liberia native escapes war-torn country and earns college degree.

By William Hershey

Staff Writer

Saturday, May 12, 2007


COLUMBUS — —Brenda Wilberforce was impressed with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, but maybe not as impressed as Clinton was with Wilberforce.


"Brenda, thank you for your life," Clinton, D-N.Y., said when she addressed Wilberforce University graduates last Saturday. "Brenda Wilberforce exemplifies the human spirit."


That spirit "can never be crushed or extinguished if we understand what is most important," Clinton told graduates, their families and friends in the Nutter Center at Wright State University.


Wilberforce, 22, is president of the university's senior class, but that's not the only reason Clinton was drawn to her.


Wilberforce is a native of Liberia in West Africa and took her last name from her adoptive father, Steven Wilberforce, a minister in Ghana. When she was just seven, she walked with other family members for a year to escape the violence after war broke out in 1989, she said. When the rebels overthrew the government, Wilberforce said, her mother became a target because she was a college professor.


"People just started shooting," she said of the war. "You just run wherever you think it is safe."


They moved from village to village, leaving when it was no longer safe.


"When the soldiers came through, they ransacked your house," Wilberforce said. "They would recruit these little boys. They would take them away. They would harass old ladies and old men."


She and her family eventually got to the neighboring Ivory Coast and then made their way to a refugee camp in Ghana before coming to the United States in 2000, she said.


"I was surprised about what she (Clinton) knew about me," said Wilberforce, who spoke to the graduates before Clinton. When they were together on stage, Wilberforce told Clinton that "she was an inspiration to me." Clinton hugged her.


Sharing a name with the university, named after British abolitionist William Wilberforce, helped make her meeting with Clinton possible. Back in California when she was searching on a Web page for historically black colleges and universities, Wilberforce University caught her eye. "I thought it was a typo or a mistake," she said.


She applied to Wilberforce but still "didn't think it was real" until she got an acceptance letter.


Now, she's glad she came to Ohio, saying it reminds her of Liberia.


"The cornfields, the grass, the trees," she said. "Parts of Ohio remind me so much of home."




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From the 5/13/07 Dispatch:




Resurgent Democrats wild for Clinton

Sunday,  May 13, 2007 3:52 AM

By Joe Hallett



Appearing last night in a state on the pathway to the presidency, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton told a huge throng of Democrats that Americans' craving for change will lead the party back into the White House.


Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, lambasted the policies of President Bush, saying that voters next year will show that they're "ready to end this government by the few, of the few and for the few" in order to "get back to a balance in our country."


The country, Clinton said, can no longer tolerate inaction on universal health care and other priorities.


"For six long years, our families and our middle class have been invisible to this president," Clinton said. "It's like he just looks through them. ... When we take back the White House, you will no longer be invisible to the president of the United States."


Clinton criticized Bush for vetoing a bill to set a timetable for bringing home U.S. troops from Iraq.


"Let me be clear," she said. "If this president won't end this war during his time in office, when I am president, I will."


More than 3,200 Democrats in the Celeste Center at the state fairgrounds cheered wildly for Clinton, exuberantly signaling that the long-downtrodden Ohio faithful were happy to be back from the political wilderness after ending the Republicans' 12-year state government reign last year.


"Tonight feels different, doesn't it?" state Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern said, having noted that the event netted about $550,000 for the party.


Before her speech, Clinton raised more than $200,000 at a $2,300-per-person fundraiser attended by more than 100 at the New Albany home of Neil Fiske, chief executive officer of the Bath & Body Works division of Limited Brands. Clinton also met with Ohio labor leaders, Democratic legislative leaders and Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman.


At the fairgrounds, Clinton was preceded on the dais by a species just removed this year from the endangered list -- Ohio Democratic statewide officeholders. Led by Gov. Ted Strickland and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, the five new statewide officeholders exhorted the big crowd with assurances that the party is back and ready to win next year.


Although Redfern does not plan to make a primary campaign endorsement for president, he did make a suggestion for No. 2 on the ticket. Referring to Strickland, he said, "Friends, he would make an extraordinary vice president."


A spokesman for Strickland said the governor planned to be neutral in the Democratic presidential race, even though Clinton repeatedly has helped Strickland in his campaigns.


Strickland said last night that Clinton and her husband raised about $500,000 for his gubernatorial campaign last year. She appeared at rallies for his 6th District congressional campaigns in 1996 and 1998.


If Clinton wins the nomination, she no doubt will all but take up residency in Ohio for the campaign. The state decided the 2004 race and is expected to be the epicenter of the 2008 presidential campaign. Last night's visit was her second in as many weekends to Ohio, and on June 10, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, will deliver the commencement address at Ohio State University.


Despite the Democratic primary process's natural tug to the left, Sen. Clinton generally has sought to avoid the red-meat partisan rhetoric and continued to burnish credentials as a moderate.


David Wilhelm of Bexley, national manager of President Clinton's 1992 campaign, said fighting to stay toward the center will help Clinton in Ohio. Wilhelm, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is supporting the presidential candidacy of his longtime friend, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware.


"She's positioned herself and taken hits as a more moderate candidate within the Democratic Party and has worked hard to establish her national-security bona fides," Wilhelm said. "I think Hillary, if she is our nominee, can win Ohio and will need to win here."


In a statement, Ohio GOP Chairman Robert T. Bennett called Clinton "a calculating politician" who is trying to reinvent herself.


"But she can never escape her liberal activist agenda," Bennett said. "That's why she'll continue to be on the losing end in Ohio. She just doesn't fit with our common-sense Midwestern values."






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From the 5/13/07 Dispatch:




Resurgent Democrats wild for Clinton

Sunday,  May 13, 2007 3:52 AM

By Joe Hallett



Appearing last night in a state on the pathway to the presidency, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton told a huge throng of Democrats that Americans' craving for change will lead the party back into the White House.


Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, lambasted the policies of President Bush, saying that voters next year will show that they're "ready to end this government by the few, of the few and for the few" in order to "get back to a balance in our country."


The country, Clinton said, can no longer tolerate inaction on universal health care and other priorities.


"For six long years, our families and our middle class have been invisible to this president," Clinton said. "It's like he just looks through them. ... When we take back the White House, you will no longer be invisible to the president of the United States."


Clinton criticized Bush for vetoing a bill to set a timetable for bringing home U.S. troops from Iraq.


"Let me be clear," she said. "If this president won't end this war during his time in office, when I am president, I will."


More than 3,200 Democrats in the Celeste Center at the state fairgrounds cheered wildly for Clinton, exuberantly signaling that the long-downtrodden Ohio faithful were happy to be back from the political wilderness after ending the Republicans' 12-year state government reign last year.


"Tonight feels different, doesn't it?" state Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern said, having noted that the event netted about $550,000 for the party.


Before her speech, Clinton raised more than $200,000 at a $2,300-per-person fundraiser attended by more than 100 at the New Albany home of Neil Fiske, chief executive officer of the Bath & Body Works division of Limited Brands. Clinton also met with Ohio labor leaders, Democratic legislative leaders and Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman.


At the fairgrounds, Clinton was preceded on the dais by a species just removed this year from the endangered list -- Ohio Democratic statewide officeholders. Led by Gov. Ted Strickland and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, the five new statewide officeholders exhorted the big crowd with assurances that the party is back and ready to win next year.


Although Redfern does not plan to make a primary campaign endorsement for president, he did make a suggestion for No. 2 on the ticket. Referring to Strickland, he said, "Friends, he would make an extraordinary vice president."


A spokesman for Strickland said the governor planned to be neutral in the Democratic presidential race, even though Clinton repeatedly has helped Strickland in his campaigns.


Strickland said last night that Clinton and her husband raised about $500,000 for his gubernatorial campaign last year. She appeared at rallies for his 6th District congressional campaigns in 1996 and 1998.


If Clinton wins the nomination, she no doubt will all but take up residency in Ohio for the campaign. The state decided the 2004 race and is expected to be the epicenter of the 2008 presidential campaign. Last night's visit was her second in as many weekends to Ohio, and on June 10, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, will deliver the commencement address at Ohio State University.


Despite the Democratic primary process's natural tug to the left, Sen. Clinton generally has sought to avoid the red-meat partisan rhetoric and continued to burnish credentials as a moderate.


David Wilhelm of Bexley, national manager of President Clinton's 1992 campaign, said fighting to stay toward the center will help Clinton in Ohio. Wilhelm, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is supporting the presidential candidacy of his longtime friend, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware.


"She's positioned herself and taken hits as a more moderate candidate within the Democratic Party and has worked hard to establish her national-security bona fides," Wilhelm said. "I think Hillary, if she is our nominee, can win Ohio and will need to win here."


In a statement, Ohio GOP Chairman Robert T. Bennett called Clinton "a calculating politician" who is trying to reinvent herself.


"But she can never escape her liberal activist agenda," Bennett said. "That's why she'll continue to be on the losing end in Ohio. She just doesn't fit with our common-sense Midwestern values."






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From the 5/17/07 Dispatch:



GRAPHIC: Presidential matchups


New Yorkers lead in Ohio primaries

Giuliani beats Gore, Clinton and Obama, one of polls finds

Thursday,  May 17, 2007 3:31 AM

By Darrel Rowland



Hillary and Rudy.


Many Ohioans already "know" them on a first-name basis. Yesterday, two new polls confirmed they remain the Buckeye State's favorites in the 2008 presidential race.


But New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani both have negatives that could sidetrack them.


Clinton leads by a 2-to-1 ratio over her nearest Democratic challenger, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, in a new poll from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. Giuliani tops Arizona Sen. John McCain 23 percent to 17 percent among Ohio Republicans.


A new Ohio Poll, sponsored by the University of Cincinnati, shows Giuliani, Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, a Democrat, enjoy the highest net favorability ratings (favorability minus unfavorability) among their fellow party members.


And Giuliani currently bests any of the top three Democratic candidates in prospective November 2008 matchups, the Quinnipiac Poll says.


But here's the rub: That poll shows Clinton's net favorability rating among all voters is the lowest among any major candidate from either party. In fact, Obama performs better in the potential one-on-one contests with Republicans than Clinton does, according to the Quinnipiac survey.


Meanwhile, Giuliani has the highest net favorability rating among the major candidates. But Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said that in coming months, Republicans will hear repeatedly about Giuliani's stands in favor of abortion and gay rights, his multiple marriages and other factors that might not play well with a GOP primary audience.


But McCain and another highly visible candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, have their own problems with Republican voters, Brown noted.


That might leave an opening for someone like former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, who has rocketed from nowhere to third place with GOP voters in the latest Quinnipiac poll.


Thompson's rise is amazing because he is not yet a candidate, Brown noted. In the Ohio Poll, a third of Ohioans said they do not know who he is, despite repeated appearances on their TV screens as a district attorney in Law & Order.


"It appears that he is a candidate that might be acceptable to almost everyone in the Republican Party," Brown said. "The question is, is he as good a candidate in the flesh as he is on paper?"


The Ohio Poll shows that more than one in four Ohio voters already has given "a lot" of thought to the presidential race; another 42 percent have given the candidates at least some thought.


The Ohio Poll of 668 Ohio voters April 26 through May 8 has an overall sampling error margin of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points; it's 5.5 points for Democratic results and 6.3 points for GOP totals.


The Quinnipiac Poll of 939 Ohio voters from May 8 through Sunday has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points for overall results. The error margin would be 5.2 points for questions asked only of Democrats and 5.4 points for those asked just of Republican voters.






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From the 5/30/07 Blade:



Some Toledoans back Obama's campaign for Democratic nomination




The candidate is nowhere in sight. The election is more than a year away.


But some Toledo residents are already rallying behind the presidential campaign of Barack Obama.


In a news conference yesterday to announce the formation of "Toledoans for Obama," the Democratic senator from Illinois was portrayed as the savior of American politics.


Meanwhile in the primary election battleground of Iowa, Mr. Obama proposed subsidizing health insurance for less fortunate Americans by raising taxes on dividends and inheritances of more than $7 million.


According to his local supporters, who include Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz and former Toledo mayoral candidate Keith Wilkowski, Mr. Obama is a "once-in-a-lifetime candidate," "the kind of person who can help us gain respect around the world," and a "fabulous writer."


Mr. Obama, a relative unknown, is also behind New York Sen. Hillary Clinton in early polls.


A recent survey of Ohio voters by Quinnipiac University found that Mrs. Clinton led him 38 percent to 19 percent in a Democratic primary. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards had 11 percent.


The local Obama group plans to raise $10,000 for their candidate.


It will hold a public meeting in Manhattan's Restaurant on Adams Street at 7 p.m. June 4, in advance of a June 19 Cleveland appearance by Mr. Obama.


"It's open to Democrats. It's open to independents. It's open to Republicans," Mr. Wilkowski said.


"The reason it's open to everyone is the unique candidacy of Barack Obama," he said


Part of that uniqueness comes from Mr. Obama's racial identity, a subject chronicled in his best-selling autobiography, Dreams from My Father.


He is the son of a black Kenyan father and white Kansan mother. His childhood was spent in Indonesia and Hawaii.


Elected to the Senate in 2004, Mr. Obama benefits from his ability to run as a Washington outsider and his consistent opposition to the Iraq war, Mr. Kapszukiewicz said.


John Irish, chairman of the Lucas County Democratic Party, said he knew of no other presidential candidate with a similar steering committee in the area.




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From the 6/12/07 Youngstown Vindicator:



Zoldan, Washington to host Obama

The presidential candidate will hold a private fundraiser in Boardman next week.




YOUNGSTOWN — Local businessman Bruce Zoldan, one of the Mahoning Valley's most prominent political donors, said he was "shocked" to get a recent call from presidential hopeful Barack Obama.


He was further surprised by the initial topic of discussion.


"I thought he'd talk about politics," said Zoldan, chief executive officer of B.J. Alan Co., a Youngstown-based fireworks company.


Instead, Obama talked about fireworks for most of the conversation, Zoldan said. After a few minutes, Obama got around to his business.


The U.S. senator from Illinois asked if Zoldan could host a fundraiser for him in the Mahoning Valley. Last year, Zoldan held fundraisers at his Canfield home for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown. U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, a 2008 Democratic presidential hopeful, attended the latter event.


Because Zoldan's wife, Rori, recently had surgery, he declined to hold the event at his house.



The fundraiser


But after a conversation with businessman Herb Washington, Zoldan told the Obama camp that Washington's Boardman home was available for the event. The private fund-raising breakfast at Washington's home is set for June 20. Zoldan is co-hosting the event.


Washington, who owns more than 20 local McDonald's restaurants and the Youngstown SteelHounds minor league hockey team, wasn't available Monday to comment because of a death in his family.


Tickets for the breakfast cost a minimum of $1,000 with those attending allowed to give Obama's campaign up to $2,300, the maximum amount an individual can contribute to a presidential candidate under federal law.


Zoldan said he is "very impressed" by Obama, but said co-hosting the event doesn't mean he's endorsing the senator for the presidency.


"I want to help the Mahoning Valley, and that means hosting an event for anyone, Democrat or Republican, who I believe can help this area," he said.


Zoldan contributed $2,300 on March 31 to ex-U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, another 2008 Democratic presidential candidate.



The mayor will attend


Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams, who successfully ran as an independent for his seat and is a registered Democrat, will attend the event and will pay $1,000 for his ticket. But, like Zoldan, Williams isn't prepared to endorse a candidate.


"I'm very interested in what he has to say," Williams said. "If I have an opportunity to hear from presidential candidates, I will."


This is the first visit to the Mahoning Valley by Obama, elected to the Senate in 2004, and the first fundraiser in the area by a Democratic presidential hopeful.


During the 2004 presidential campaign, President Bush, a Republican, and U.S. Sen. John Kerry, his Democratic opponent, as well as numerous surrogates made several campaign stops in the Mahoning Valley. Ohio was considered a key battleground state in the 2004 election and is expected to be the same in next year's presidential race.




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From the 6/13/07 PD:



Democratic candidates tap Cleveland for money

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mark Naymik

Plain Dealer Politics Writer


The top three Democratic presidential campaigns will be in Cleveland during the next week on fund-raising and bridge-building missions.


John Edwards, who ran as John Kerry's running mate in 2004, drops in Thursday for a fund-raiser hosted by lawyer Craig Bashien. This will be Edwards' first visit to Cleveland since he announced his bid for the White House.


While here, Edwards also will meet with a powerful group of Democrats, known as D-2000, which acts like a shadow local Democratic Party and is led by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason and Parma Mayor Dean DePiero.


"The purpose of the meeting is to have a lively and candid conversation with John Edwards," reads the group's invitation.


DePiero said the group isn't officially endorsing Edwards.


"We like him a lot, and he wants to get to know more people here," DePiero said.


Also on Thursday, Terry McAuliffe, the national chairman of Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign, will meet with key fund-raisers and political leaders to try to shore up support for Clinton.


McAuliffe, the former chairman of the national party, was scheduled to speak at an event hosted by the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, but it was canceled because of competition from Game 4 of the NBA Finals.


Barack Obama returns to Cleveland on Tuesday, his first visit since he grabbed headlines with a large February rally in Highland Hills that topped a day of fund-raisers.


He wants big checks, charging between $1,000 and $2,300 per ticket for an evening reception at downtown's Crowne Plaza Hotel, according to a copy of an invitation to the event.


His campaign is also trying to set up meetings with local leaders, though his campaign didn't respond to questions about his visit.


Obama will attend a similarly priced breakfast fund-raiser the next morning at the home of a wealthy businessman in Boardman, according to the Youngstown Vindicator.


While Ohio will not likely have a role in picking the party's nominee because of the state's late primary, the top candidates are hedging their bets, building networks of support in Ohio, which will be a battleground state in (GC: Story ends for no reason.)




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From the 6/14/07 Fremont News-Messenger:



Fred Thompson wins straw poll

News-Messenger reports


BOWLING GREEN -- Northwest Ohio Republicans made presidential waves recently. At the 5th District Lincoln-Hayes Banquet hosted annually by Rep. Paul Gillmor, R-Tiffin, guests were given one vote in a straw poll for their choice of 2008 Republican nominees for president.


With nearly 250 guests in attendance, most of whom are active Republicans from the Northwest Ohio district, former Sen. Fred Thompson emerged victorious.


Results of the 5th District straw poll are:


Fred Thompson, 32.5 percent

Rudy Giuliani, 18.1 percent

Mitt Romney, 18.1 percent

John McCain, 11.4 percent

Newt Gingrich, 10.8 percent


The following candidates failed to receive more than 5 percent of the vote: Michael Bloomberg, Sam Brownback, Jim Gilmore, Chuck Hagel, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, George Pataki, Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo and Tommy Thompson.


"Iowa and New Hampshire had better be ready because the 5th District of Ohio has already voted. I was happy to give Republicans in my district a meaningful way to express their choice for our Presidential nominee," said Gillmor of the 5th District. "Republicans have the right values for our communities, the right policies for Ohio and the right message for America. I think this straw poll shows that Republicans have a very strong field of candidates with great support in our communities. Ohio will continue to play a key role in the presidential election and with 17 months left until November 2008, this is still a wide open race."


The banquet is a low-cost, grassroots event hosted annually by Gillmor. For many years, the banquet has been one of the largest Republican events in Ohio bringing together conservatives from each of the 16 counties in Gillmor's Northwest Ohio district.


The banquet was at Bowling Green State University's Bowen-Thompson Student Union on Friday and featured an address by keynote speaker, the Honorable Rob Portman.




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From the 6/14/07 Tiffin Advertiser-Tribune:



PHOTO: 'Average' Joe Schriner speaks during a campaing stop in Tiffin Wednesday.  PHOTO BY JIM SHOBE


'Average' Joe's presidential push

By Zachary Petit, zpetit@advertiser-tribune.com


Like the majority of presidential candidates, “average” Joe Schriner has a Web site, a few books, and a solid politician’s handshake.


Unlike most, however, independent contender Schriner stopped by a Tiffin street corner Wednesday and described — to the backdrop of “Vote for Joe” battlecries and sporadic honking vehicles — what sets him apart from the rest of the political pack.


“I cut my own grass, I change the kid’s diapers, we eat at Mexican restaurants because the chips are free,” he said. “We’re pretty much in touch with your average person’s concerns.”


With his wife, three children and dog in tow, the two-time presidential candidate parked his camper at Market and South Washington streets to campaign as part of his “Buckeye Blitz” strategy to win Ohio.


Contrasting previous campaigns where he travelled around the country, Schriner said he is focusing solely on his home turf of Ohio for 2008, which has held the status of a battleground in national elections.


He acknowledges his success hasn’t shown in the polls — according to the Federal Elections Committee he got 36 votes in 2000 and 142 in 2004 — but said instead it can best be measured by media coverage and the many people he connects with on the street who then pass the word on to others.


As part of his plan, the Cleveland native said he’s getting close to becoming a “national story” that would broadcast his message on a wider scale, allowing him to measure up to the constant press focused on politicians such as Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.


Regardless of how much attention he receives; however, Schriner said his White House bid isn’t in jest.


“This is not a publicity stunt,” he said. “This is a serious attempt by an average citizen to run for president.”


Should the story garner national press, Schriner said all the people he’s connected with in his travels over the years might start looking at his run as a viable effort to vote for.


He noted he doesn’t think any of the major 2008 contenders see him as a threat — yet — adding his dream is to have the 15 percent poll support score necessary to be invited to a presidential debate, where Schriner said he could take on any of the candidates.


So where does he stand on the issues?


Schriner’s positions essentially traverse both sides of the political spectrum: He proposes unilateral nuclear disarmament, has his eyes on more renewable energy and quality health care for all, and is also anti-abortion.


He said the immigration debate needs to be looked at with compassion, and suggests amnesty for people already in the United States, and efforts to make southern countries more sustainable.


Further, Schriner said his anti-abortion stance covers all “life” issues, branching out from his anti-death penalty and anti-euthanasia views to include curbing pollution and poverty because they also can end lives.


For one of the most common political debates of the 2008 election — the “stay or go” question surrounding the war in Iraq — he proposes withdrawing troops and stationing them in international waters nearby to test the country’s response, and sending them back if attacks escalate.


Coinciding with the “grassroots groundswell” Schriner said he’s shooting for, the candidate spent time Wednesday chatting with a small handful of passers-by on the street as the rest of his family passed out postcards and waved a flag.


After chatting with the hopeful president, local attorney Martin Koop said he thinks it’s great Schriner came to Tiffin, a battleground location where all politicians should feel obligated to appear.


“I like that he’s independent and that he’s taken the politics out of the politics,” he said of Schriner.


Schriner’s wife Liz — a New Zealand native who provided the rally cries Wednesday and also home-schools the couple’s young children — said the country needs a change in leadership to return “back to the basics.”


“The American people are so generally enthusiastic. They like somebody doing something different,” she said. “I’m not sure if he’s going to win Ohio this time around, but I think he’s going to make a difference.”


When not on the road, Schriner said he lives in downtown Cleveland, where his family puts some of his policies into action by volunteering at a homeless shelter. The former journalist also has penned three books, and he said he paints and performs handyman work on the side to bring in some funds.


As for why he jumped into the presidential race in the first place, he cites sex, violence and climate change.


“We’re concerned parents,” he said. “So instead of joining the PTA or PTO ... we decided we could just impact the society by doing what we’re doing.”


As for his next stop, Schriner said he will continue east toward Cleveland in his camper, emblazoned with the words, “Whitehouse or bust!”


Want to learn more about “average” Joe Schriner?

Head over to his official Web site: www.voteforjoe.com




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From the AP, 6/15/07:



Edwards talks with Ohio Dems about campaign


CLEVELAND (AP) — A group of Democrats met Thursday with presidential candidate John Edwards, an event that was kept private, to help energize his Ohio campaign supporters.


Bill Mason, Cuyahoga County prosecutor, said the event was motivational and not designed as a fundraiser.


"It was just a meeting with grass-roots campaign workers, along with some elected officials, in all about 125 people," Mason said.


The Democratic candidate in an early political battle with Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and several others, spoke for about 15 minutes on various topics, then left for a private fundraiser at the suburban Cleveland home of a private practice lawyer, Mason said.


Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, in 2004 was the vice presidential candidate on the Democrats' ticket with John Kerry. They lost Ohio to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.


Earlier on Thursday, Edwards spoke in Detroit and proposed cutting health-care costs by overhauling the patent process for breakthrough drugs and requiring health insurance companies to spend at least 85 percent of their premiums on patient care.




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So who are everyone's choices?  LOL


Mine's Fred Thompson, who I believe will be the nominee and I believe will be elected unless the Democratic Party puts up an actual moderate like Mike Easley (NC governor).


One thing I really like about Fred: he seems to know that the "cultural" issues are losers for the GOP, particularly on a national level, and he avoids them the same way Reagan did.  Must be a Hollywood thing.   8-)

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