by Andy Brownfield
First lady urges Ohioans to vote early; Romney campaign launches Ohio early voting bus tour
While the presidential candidates prepared for Wednesday’s
debate, Michelle Obama urged Cincinnatians on Tuesday to take advantage
of the first day of early voting, before leading a group to the board
of elections to cast their ballots.
“I’ve got news for you: Here in Ohio it’s already
Election Day. Early voting starts today,” Obama told a crowd of 6,800 inside
the Duke Energy Convention Center. She urged everyone to reach out and
encourage their friends to vote after they had cast their own ballots.
“Twitter them. Tweet them. What do you do? It’s tweeting, right? Tweet them,” she joked to the crowd.
Earlier in the morning, the campaign of Republican
presidential candidate Mitt Romney kicked off its “Commit to Mitt Early
Vote Express” statewide bus tour in downtown Cincinnati.
The tour started in Hamilton County before moving through Butler County and is scheduled to end the day in Preble County.
The bus is scheduled to make its way through every region
of Ohio during the early voting period and will serve as a mobile
campaign headquarters, dispensing voter contact materials and featuring
Romney campaign surrogates, according to a news release.
At the convention center, Michelle Obama avoided some of
the direct attacks employed by her husband or the Romney campaign, but
used her 30-minute speech to counter some of the criticisms from the GOP
nominee, recapping some of her convention speech.
“Our families weren’t asking for much,” Michelle said of
her own and Barack’s families. “They didn’t begrudge anyone else’s
success, you know, they didn’t mind if others had much more than they
did, in fact they admired it. That’s why they pushed us to succeed.”
Her comment seemed to come in response to an attack that
the Romney campaign levied against Barack Obama after his infamous “you
didn’t build that” comment, where the GOP candidate argues that Obama
and Democrats are fostering enmity among the middle class by stoking
jealousy of rich, successful Americans like Mitt Romney.
believed also that when you work hard and have done well and finally
walk through that doorway of opportunity, you don’t slam it shut behind
you,” Michelle Obama continued.
“No, you reach back and you give other folks the same
chances that helped you succeed. You see, that’s how Barack and I and so
many of you were raised. … We learned that the truth matters – you
don’t take shortcuts, you don’t game the system, you don’t play by your
own set of rules.”
She went on to say that Americans are part of something
bigger than themselves and obligated to give back to others, counter to
the Republicans’ narrative of the individual pulled up by his or her own
Danielle Henderson, 40, a teacher’s assistant from
Cincinnati, said she was a fan of the first lady’s and joked that she
wanted to know if Michelle was running for president in 2016.
“Behind every good man is a good woman,” Henderson said. “Honestly, a woman is a backbone of the family.”
She said she thought the first family was a good model for the rest of the country.
Henderson’s mother-in-law Barbara joked that she was excited to see what the first lady was going to wear.
“I see trends she sets trickle down to other politicians’ wives,” she joked.
by German Lopez
GOP mailer allegedly misrepresents redistricting amendment
Voters First Ohio is not letting Republicans get away with
any dishonesty on Issue 2. In a complaint filed to the Ohio Elections
Commission yesterday, the pro-redistricting reform group claimed a
recent mailer from Republicans contained three incorrect statements.
“In an effort to affect the outcome of the election and
defeat State Issue 2, Republicans have knowingly, or with reckless
disregard of the truth, made false statements in printed campaign
material disseminated to registered voters,” the complaint said.
If approved by voters in November, Issue 2 will place the
responsibility of redistricting in the hands of an independent citizens
commission. Currently, politicians handle the process, which they use to
redraw district boundaries in politically advantageous ways in a
process known as “gerrymandering.” Ohio’s First Congressional District,
which includes Cincinnati, was redrawn by the Republican-controlled
process to include Warren County, which contains more rural voters that
tend to vote Republican, and less of Cincinnati, which contains more
urban voters that tend to vote Democrat.
The Voters First complaint outlines three allegedly false statements
made by the Republican mailer. The first claim is “Some of the members
will be chosen in secret.” As the complaint points out, this is false.
The redistricting amendment on the November ballot will require nine of
twelve members to be chosen in public, and then those nine members will
pick the three final members. All of this has to be done in the public
eye, according to the amendment: “All meetings of the Commission shall
be open to the public.”
The second disputed claim is that
the amendment will provide a “blank check to spend our money” for the
commission. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled against that claim on Sept. 12
when it ruled against Secretary of State Jon Husted’s proposed ballot
language for Issue 2: “The actual text of the proposed amendment does
not state that the redistricting amendment would have — as the ballot
board’s language indicates — a blank check for all funds as determined
by the commission.”
The mailer also claims that, in the redistricting
amendment, “There’s no process for removing these bureaucrats, even if
they commit a felony.” But the amendment says commissioners must be
electors, and when an elector is convicted of a felony, that status is
lost. The complaint says commissioners can also be removed “by a judge
under a petition process that applies to public officials generally for
exercising power not authorized by law, refusing or neglecting to
perform a duty imposed by law, gross neglect of duty, gross immorality,
drunkenness, misfeasance, nonfeasance, or malfeasance.”
The Ohio Elections Commission will take up the complaint Thursday morning. The full complaint can be read here.
Matthew Henderson, spokesperson for the Ohio Republican
Party, called the complaint a "distraction”: “It’s a cheap shot. It’s up
to the Ohio Elections Commission, and they’ll likely throw it out. It’s
essentially a distraction from the real issues. The bottom line is that
Issue 2 is going to create a panel of unelected, unaccountable
bureaucrats, and they’ll have influence over our elections.”
He added, “Ohio voters will be able to decide for themselves this fall whether they want to pay for these commissioners or not.”
When pressed about whether or not the Ohio Republican
Party is sticking to the claims found in the mailer, he said that’s up to the
Ohio Elections Commission to decide.
It is true the independent citizens commission created by
Voters First is unelected, but that’s the entire point. The current
problem with the system, as argued by Voters First, is elected officials
are too vested in reelection to place the district boundary needs of the
public above electoral needs. That’s why districts like Ohio’s First
Congressional District are redrawn in a way that includes Cincinnati and
Warren County — two regions that are vastly different.
CityBeat previously covered the redistricting issue
when Husted’s ballot language lost in court and when We Are Ohio threw
its support behind Voters First.While current Republicans oppose redistricting reform in Ohio, some Republicans of the past advocated for it. Ronald Reagan was one such advocate:
1 Comment · Wednesday, September 19, 2012
We’ve all been there. You’re just minding your own
business, killing time on the Internet, when you see “4 friends like
this” beneath Mitt Romney’s shining visage. First comes the feeling of
anger. Before you shed a single tear and click “Hide all updates from this
user” or — gasp! — “Unfriend,” stop what you’re doing.
by German Lopez
As other states come under fire, Ohio hints at voter ID law
It seems Ohio may soon get a controversial voter ID law.
While speaking at a Tea Party event in Cincinnati on Monday, Secretary of State
Jon Husted said the General Assembly is likely to take up a voter ID law
after the November election.
“I was listening to a show one night where they talked
about these onerous rules, these onerous photo ID rules and the onerous
rules in Ohio on photo ID,” he said. “Well, the photo ID law in Ohio is
not onerous. As a matter of fact, I suspect the General Assembly will
take up a more strict version of what we have after what we’ve been
through with this election process.”
Later on, an audience member commented on the issue by
pointing out Ohioans can currently identify themselves with 12 different
types of ID. In response, Husted clarified his position: “We need to
streamline that because it’s really hard for a poll worker to know
exactly what they’re supposed to be checking. And I’m quite confident
the legislature is going to take that issue up.”
Under current Ohio law, voters can go to the polls with
state ID cards, driver’s licenses, military IDs, utility bills,
paychecks, bank statements and other forms of ID. Republicans have sometimes
criticized the many options, particularly for not being state-issued and not requiring a photo.
Other states have taken up voter ID laws. Pennsylvania’s
controversial law requires voters to have state-issued photo
ID. A Pennsylvania court recently upheld the law, but the Pennsylvania
Supreme Court vacated the decision today and asked the lower court to
reconsider. The ruling from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court gives lower
courts room to strike down the law.
Democrats criticize ID laws for suppressing voters. A study from researchers
at the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis
found nearly 700,000 young, minority voters will be unable to
cast a ballot due to voter ID laws. Both young and minority voters tend
to side with Democrats.
Republicans say the laws are necessary to protect elections from
voter fraud. However, studies suggest in-person voter fraud is not a
serious, widespread issue. A News21 report, a Carnegie-Knight
investigative reporting project that looked at national public records,
found 10 cases of alleged in-person voter fraud since 2000. That’s less
than one case a year nationwide.
The audio clips from the event, which was provided by the Ohio Democratic Party, can be heard here and here.
Husted’s office could not be immediately reached for comment. This story will be updated if a comment becomes available.UPDATE (4:25 P.M.): Matt McClellan, spokesperson for Husted, called CityBeat after this story was published."The Tea Party has generally been critical of the secretary's position on voter ID," he said, referring to Husted's past opposition of strict voter ID laws. "The comments he made at the event last night were environmental in general about what the secretary thought had been happening at the statehouse. His position, in general, is unchanged."When pressed about what Husted meant when he advocated for "streamlining" laws, McClellan said Husted supported "simplification" of the current system. McClellan could not offer more details on what that means, and he said specifics would be up to the legislature to decide.
Chris Redfern, Ohio Democratic Party chairman, responded to Husted’s suggestions in a statement: “As
if Secretary of State Husted has not done enough to undermine access to
Ohio’s polls, now he’s planning a secret post-Election Day assault on
what forms of identification voters can present to cast a ballot. It’s
no surprise that after slashing voting access across the state, using
his office for partisan advantage, and lying about Issue 2, now Husted
is making plans to create obstacles for African Americans and seniors to
by Andy Brownfield
Posted In: 2012 Election
, Foreign Relations
, President Obama
at 03:16 PM | Permalink
Local Republicans criticize president's record on deficit in counter-rally
President Barack Obama announced a new trade action
against China during a Cincinnati campaign stop on Monday, where he also
took the opportunity to attack Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
The U.S. filed the case at the World Trade Organization on
Monday and claims that China offers “extensive subsidies” to native
automakers and auto-parts producers.
The Chinese government filed its own complaint before the
WTO on Monday, challenging tariffs the U.S. imposes on Chinese products
ranging from steel to tires. The tariffs are meant to protect American
manufacturers against what the U.S. government claims are unfair trade
practices by China.
“(The U.S. action is) against illegal subsidies that
encourage companies to ship auto part manufacturing jobs overseas,”
Obama said before an estimated crowd of 4,500 at the Seasongood Pavilion
in Eden Park. “These are subsidies that directly harm working men and
women on the assembly lines in Ohio and Michigan and across the
“It’s not right, it’s against the rules, and we will not let it stand. American
workers build better products than anyone. ‘Made in America’ means
something. And when the playing field is level, America will always
Obama went on to criticize his Republican challenger,
saying Romney made his fortune in part by uprooting American jobs and
shipping them to China. Obama accused Romney — who has criticized
Obama’s foreign policy, saying the president apologizes for American
interests — of talking the talk without being able to walk the walk.
The Romney campaign countered with an email after the
rally, saying that Obama’s economic policies were hurting the private
sector and harmed manufacturing.
“The President’s misguided, ineffective policies have
hampered the private sector and allowed China to flaunt the rules while
middle-class families suffer,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda
“As president, Mitt Romney will deliver a fresh start for
manufacturers by promoting trade that works for America and fiscal
policies that encourage investment, hiring and growth.”
The email pointed to reports from Bloomberg finding that manufacturing and production have shrunk recently.
Before the Obama rally several Ohio Republicans held a
news conference behind a Romney campaign bus near Eden Park, where they
focused more on the deficit than foreign trade.
U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot said it was “laughable” that
Obama considers himself a budget hawk. He pointed to the decline in
budget negotiations between the president and the Republican-controlled
House of Representatives, saying Obama “walked away” from talks with
Speaker John Boehner.
“Basically as president from that time last August until now, it’s been all politics,” Chabot said.
Chabot also attacked Obama on foreign policy, claiming the
president has left Israel hanging in the Middle East and is not serious
with Iran, who he says is on the brink of getting nuclear weapons.
The president in his speech said he did have a plan to
reduce the federal deficit, and would reduce it by $4 trillion over the
next 10 years without raising taxes on the middle class.
Monday’s visit to Cincinnati was Obama’s second of this
campaign and his 12th trip to Ohio this year. Romney has visited the
state 18 times during his campaign.
Obama was scheduled to fly to Columbus Monday afternoon for a campaign appearance there.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Gina Rinehart, an Australian billionaire mining tycoon who
inherited her fortune, stated that the key to economic success for
Australians is to cut labor costs to compete with Africans who “are
willing to work for less than $2 a day.” Rinehart earns $600 a second
from her mining company, BBC reported. WORLD -2
by German Lopez
The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber released its positions
on this November’s ballot issues. The chamber supports the Cincinnati
Public Schools tax levy and Hamilton County mental health and services
levy, but it does not support extending City Council’s terms to four
years. The chamber also opposes Issue 2, which would place the
redistricting process in the hands of an independent citizens commission
instead of a commission run by politicians. The chamber said it opposes
Issue 2 partially because it excludes “some Ohioans” from the
redistricting process. The excluded Ohioans are lobbyists and
politicians, who have a vested interest in redrawing district boundaries
in politically advantageous ways in a process known as
“gerrymandering.” In Cincinnati’s district, the district was redrawn by
the Republican-controlled commission to include Warren County, which
puts more emphasis on the rural vote that tends to vote Republican
instead of the urban vote that tends to vote Democrat. CityBeat
previously covered the redistricting issue here and here.Related to Issue 2, the controversial ballot language that
was approved by the state seems to be weighing down the amendment. Public Policy Polling said voters are confused by the ballot initiative.Ohio State Auditor Dave Yost found Value Learning and
Teaching (VLT) Academy, a charter school in downtown Cincinnati, to be
wasteful and unethical. According to a state audit, the school had
multiple instances in the 2010-2011 school year in which it made
excessive payments in possible conflicts of interest.In another audit, Yost also criticized his own political
party. Yost found the Ohio Republican Party accepted prohibited
contributions and improperly spent money.A recent police chase that resulted in a crash and the the injury of minors is coming under scrutiny. The cop involved was found to be in violation of department procedure.Even though he resigned abruptly, the University of
Cincinnati Board of Trustees is considering separation payments for
former UC President Greg Williams. Board Chairman Fran Barrett says the
payments will tie up “loose ends” and buyout Williams’ tenure.Gov. John Kasich is asking public colleges to collaborate
on a funding formula. He says the schools should have a better idea than the state government of
what they need. The schools previously collaborated on a construction
wishlist, which apparently impressed Kasich.A proposed state policy will force schools to keep better
track of who is kept in seclusion rooms and for how long, but the
details will be closed to the public.The fired Democrats suing Ohio Secretary of State Jon
Husted will be getting their day in court. Yesterday, a federal judge
agreed to a hearing on Sept. 21. The fired Democrats are suing Husted
after he dismissed them for attempting to extend in-person early voting,
which broke Husted’s uniform rules on voting hours.
Even Republicans are now demanding more substance from presidential candidate Mitt Romney.A North Dakota college football player says he got kicked off his
team for kissing his boyfriend.Scientists planted false short-term memories in the brains of rats.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 5, 2012
In a statement on Aug. 22, Secretary of
State Jon Husted said of early voting, “The rules are set and are not
going to change.” Husted made the comment in an attempt to end
discussion over in-person early voting hours.
Unfortunately for Husted, a federal judge
3 Comments · Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Like any political convention, the
Republican National Convention was filled with little substance and
mostly vague platitudes. But one piece of policy was made very clear in
the Republican Party’s political platform, which was officially unveiled
at the convention: The war on women is still marching along.
by Andy Brownfield
Local Democrats say GOP nominee's plans would hurt middle class, Hamilton County
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Saturday laid out
five steps that he said would have America “roaring back” during his first campaign stop since formally accepting the
Republican nomination.At Cincinnati's Union Terminal, Romney was joined on stage by his wife Anne, who spoke briefly, echoing her convention speech meant to humanize her husband.
He said his plan involved encouraging development in oil
and coal, implementing a trade policy that favored American companies
and not “cheaters” like China, making sure workers and students had
skills to succeed in the coming century, reducing the deficit and
encouraging small business growth.
“America is going to come roaring back,” Romney told the crowd of thousands packed inside Union Terminal.
Not everyone was so impressed with the GOP nominee’s promises.
About an hour after the Romney campaign event, Cincinnati
Democratic leaders held a news conference to rebut the Republican’s
“Much of his (Romney’s) speech was like his speech in
Tampa, which is where Romney gave Cincinnatians nothing more than vague
platitudes, false and misleading attacks without one single tangible
idea on how to move forward,” said Democratic/Charterite Cincinnati City
Councilwoman Yvette Simpson.
Simpson, along with Democratic Councilman Cecil Thomas and
Bishop Bobby Hilton, attacked the tax plan put forward by Romney and
his running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. They said it would cut taxes
for the richest Americans while raising taxes on the middle class by
about $2,000 per household, citing an analysis from the nonpartisan Tax
“Mitt Romney’s plan would take Ohio and Cincinnati backwards, and we don’t have time to go backwards,” Hilton said.
Hilton credited Cincinnati’s revitalization and urban development in part on federal money obtained from Obama’s stimulus plan.
“We deserve better than this. We deserve better than Romney/Ryan,” he said.
Romney would have disagreed with Hilton’s assessment of
Cincinnati’s growth. During his speech he praised Ohio Gov. John Kasich,
crediting him with bringing jobs and businesses to the state.
Romney also took time to attack President Barack Obama’s
record in office. The GOP nominee said in preparation for his convention
speech he read many past convention speeches — including Obama’s.
“He was not one of the ones that I wanted to draw from,
except I could not resist a couple of things he said, because he made a
lot of promises,” Romney said. “And I noted that he didn't keep a lot of
Romney also criticized what he called the bitterness and
divisiveness of Obama’s campaign, saying as president he would bring the
country together. He mentioned the “patriotism and courage” of the late
Neil Armstrong, who was honored in a private service in Cincinnati on
“I will do everything in my power to bring us together,
because, united, America built the strongest economy in the history of
the earth. United, we put Neil Armstrong on the moon. United, we faced
down unspeakable darkness,” Romney said.
“United, our men and women in uniform continue to defend
freedom today. I love those people who serve our great nation. This is a
time for us to come together as a nation.”
The candidate’s remarks ignited the crowd of thousands,
many of whom wore shirts with slogans like “Mr. President, I did build
my business,” in response to a remark made by Obama about businesses being helped to grow by government contracts and
infrastructure, and “Mitt 2012: At least he never ate dog meat,” referring to a passage in Obama’s 2008 memoir during which he recalls being
fed dog meat as a boy in Indonesia.
Steve Heckman, a 62-year-old environmental consultant from
Springfield, Ohio, said he voted for Obama in 2008 but will likely
vote for Romney in this election.
He said he’d written “some pretty ugly stuff” about Romney
in the past but felt jobs was the No. 1 issue and thought the Obama
administration’s policies were sending them out of the country.
“The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has, to me, become a little too almost like a fringe group, putting so much pressure
on businesses that they are moving to Canada,” Heckman said. “Things
like air permits, the EPA is taking too long to issue them. It’s not
just power plants they’re affecting, but all manufacturing.”
Heckman said he didn’t blame the president personally but thinks whoever he put in charge of the agency is being too strict.
“I grew up when the EPA was first put in place in the '70s, and they were, in my opinion, doing God’s work,” he said, citing
the cleaning up of rivers such as the Cuyahoga near Cleveland, which
famously caught fire because of pollution in 1969.
“I support the EPA, but it’s driving businesses out of here.”
Speaking ahead of Romney were U.S. House Speaker John
Boehner, Sen. Rob Portman, U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, Ohio treasurer and
GOP senatorial candidate Josh Mandel and Republican U.S. House candidate
for Ohio’s 2nd District, Brad Wenstrup.
“This election is all about changing Washington,” Mandel
said. “The only way to change Washington is to change the people we send