by Andy Brownfield
Rep. Reece claims "voter fraud is illegal" ads are attempt at voter intimidation
A Cincinnati-area state representative is decrying billboards throughout Ohio whose aim, she says, is voter intimidation.
Democratic Rep. Alicia Reece held a news conference Monday morning in front of a billboard that read, “Voter Fraud is a Felony!”
The billboards were paid for “by a private family
foundation,” but Reece claims in a news release that the sponsors are
essentially anonymous and the billboards are being strategically placed
in low-income and black neighborhoods.
“We are asking the Outdoor Advertising Association of Ohio
to work with the anonymous sponsors of the billboards to have them
removed immediately,” Reece wrote in a statement.
“It’s obvious that the billboards are designed to intimidate voters and leave some wondering if merely voting is now a crime.”
Mike Norton with Norton Outdoor Advertising — the company
on whose billboards the ads appear — said there are 30 such signs in the
Greater Cincinnati area.
He said the sponsor didn’t ask for any demographic
targeting and the ads are appearing in all neighborhoods wherever there
was open space.
Norton said the sponsor wished to remain anonymous and he isn’t at liberty to give out its name.
As for the anonymity of the ads sponsor, “Our company’s
stand on political advertising is we do our very best to make sure it’s
accurate and it’s not an attack ad,” Norton said. “This seemed to fall
well within the bounds of reason on both of those benchmarks.”
The billboards are not illegal, and they are considered Constitutionally protected speech.
The Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University
Law School issued a policy paper finding that cases of fraud by
individual voters are extremely rare.
The center found that in the 2004 presidential election saw a voter fraud rate of 0.00004 percent.
Cincinnati isn’t the only city to see such billboards.
They have also made appearances in Cleveland and Columbus, as well as
According to the Plain Dealer newspaper in
Cleveland, the billboards there are owned by Clear Channel Outdoor. A
company spokesman told the newspaper that Clear Channel’s policy is
usually to identify who sponsors a political ad, but in this case a
salesperson made a mistake.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 10, 2012
This is not just my response to the first presidential
debate, which truth be told wasn’t a debate at all since one of the guys
behind the podium was decidedly not in the mood to debate or discuss
much of anything that voters might have been concerned about.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 10, 2012
MONDAY OCT. 8: Pizza Hut will give an audience member at next week’s presidential
debate at Hofstra University free pizza for life if they exploit the
town hall format of it and ask one of the candidates if they prefer
sausage or pepperoni as a topping during the debate.
by Andy Brownfield
Appears on same day Husted petitions Supreme Court to strike down in-person voting
Speaking to about 60 people at the Rockdale Baptist Church
in Avondale, the Rev. Jesse Jackson talked about the many “schemes” used to
disenfranchise voters while encouraging Cincinnatians to register to vote and
take advantage of Ohio’s early voting days. “Dealing in this state, for example, you think so much about
the painful days in the deep South — the overt schemes to deny the right to
vote,” Jackson said on Tuesday, the last day to register to vote in Ohio.
“We saw Ohio as a kind of beacon of light, the beacon of
hope once we ran across the river coming north. This year we’ve seen
Ohio and Pennsylvania take the lead in trying to purge voters and
suppress the vote to determine the outcome.”
Jackson’s comments came on the same day Ohio Secretary of
State Jon Husted appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court the Six Circuit
Court of Appeals’ decision to allow early in-person voting on the three
days before Election Day.
The three days had previously only applied to military personnel and their families.
Republicans like Husted have cited cost as the reason to
not allow in-person voting on the three days before the election. But in
an Aug. 19 email to The Columbus Dispatch, Franklin County
Republican Party chairman Doug Preisse said “I guess I really actually
feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban —
read African-American — voter-turnout machine.”
Pennsylvania, meanwhile, tried to require voters take a
photo ID with them into the polls. A state judge blocked the law from
going into effect for the 2012 election.
Jackson said restrictions as to who can vote when and where undermine the purpose of democracy.
“Open access, free, transparent voting makes democracy real,” he said.
Flanked by a tapestry portraying President Barack Obama,
Jackson touted the president’s accomplishments in his first term and
urged those assembled to give him a second.
Jackson was in Toledo Oct. 5 pushing early voting. He said
he was in Cincinnati because “Ohio matters” and he saw it as a way to
penetrate Appalachia because “poverty is not just a black problem.”
by Stefanie Kremer
GottaVote concert drew hundreds of Obama supporters and opponents alike
Members of Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Cincinnati natives The National
knew they could lose fans if their band became vocal supporters of
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama back in 2008.
“When we publicly started supporting Obama, we did have a
lot of fans that were upset about that and just thought, ‘you should
keep your political opinions to yourself,’ ” lead singer Matt Berninger
told reporters before their Thursday GottaVote concert sponsored by the
“And I actually totally understand that and in many ways
almost agree. I don’t want to be preached to by the Rock bands that I
The band drew a mixed crowd of 750 people to the intimate show at The Emery Theater on Thursday. The concert’s purpose was to encourage attendees to vote for
Obama in the Nov. 6 election and encourage Cincinnatians to take
advantage of Ohio’s early voting. While the band’s support for Obama has drawn some vitriol
(fans made comments like “fools” and “shame on you” on Facebook posts
announcing the shows in support of the president) it didn’t stop everyone
who didn’t plan on voting for Obama from coming to the concert.
Adam Kesee, 25, is not an Obama supporter. He explained that he
was at The Emery to see The National perform anyway — just as long as
they didn’t devote the whole show to politics.
"I do not think music and politics should mix," Kesee
explained. "It's OK if you play to support a candidate you like, but
don't expect everyone to share your views and do not bog down the
concert with political views."
The National plays a GottaVote concert for the Obama campaign in CincinnatiCatie Viox
[Photo gallery: The National plays in Cincinnati Oct. 4]Despite their recent outspoken support of President Obama
and their series of shows dedicated to rallying support in 2008, 2010 and 2012,
Berninger and guitarist Aaron Dessner said they never saw their band
going in such a direction.
“We didn’t want our band to be a political band … most of
our songs are love songs or songs about drinking — we don’t think of
ourselves as socially conscious songwriters or anything,” Berninger
He said that during the George W. Bush administration,
they started to feel a responsibility to get involved — even if their
band took a hit. He cited his 3-year-old daughter as the context
through which he sees politics — he’s worried about the way her world
will be shaped.
"Where our country is now is more important than our Rock
and Roll band," Berninger said. "If it hurts our band, that's OK
Although some of The National's songs seem to hold
political themes, including "Mr. November," the majority of the songs
performed were rock songs written about love and loss including the
popular "Bloodbuzz Ohio" and "Fake Empire."
An intense performer, Berninger didn’t get so enthused
about performing for Obama that he slipped "Vote Obama," into the
lyrics, or devote the majority of the performance to campaigning. Aside
from two young campaign volunteers speaking at the beginning of the
concert, the president was not even mentioned until introducing the
third song, "I'm Afraid of Everyone," written, Berninger said, about a
desperate plea for the truth.
In exchange for free tickets to see The National, attendees were expected to volunteer their time for the Obama campaign.
Many concertgoers explained that they would gladly offer
their time to support the campaign. Others said that they were strictly
in attendance to see The National and do not plan on knocking on doors
or making phone calls to support the president.
"I don't really have the time and I don't really care about politics that much," said Kedharhneth Sairam, 24.
The crowd may not have been full of Obama supporters, but
they were still supporters of The National. The band’s GottaVote tour
included a Wednesday stop in
both Columbus and Cincinnati. Along with performing for fans, the band
took to the streets with clipboards encouraging students on the campuses
of The Ohio State University, Xavier University and Berninger’s alma
mater, the University of Cincinnati, to sign up to vote.
CityBeat staff writer Andy Brownfield contributed to this report.
by Andy Brownfield
Priebus tells Ohio reporters GOP ground game will "crush" Democrats in Ohio
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus held
a conference call with Ohio reporters Wednesday morning in response to
Tuesday comments by Democratic Vice President Joe Biden that the middle
class had been “buried” in the last four years.
“Obama and Biden have buried the middle class, and now they want to bury them some more,” Priebus told reporters.
“I mean, just imagine what Barack Obama would do. He
buried us economically in this country knowing that he would have to
face re-election. Just imagine what he would do with nothing but
daylight in front of him. Just imagine where this economy would go.”
Biden made his comments before an audience of about 1,000
in Charlotte on Tuesday. He said Republican presidential candidate Mitt
Romney’s tax cuts for millionaires would raise taxes for the middle
“How can they justify raising classes on a middle class that has been buried the last four years?” Biden said.
Biden tried to clarify that he meant they had been buried by policies supported by Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan.
Republicans, however, jumped on the comment immediately,
with Romney tweeting, “the middle class has been buried the last 4
years, which is why we need a change in November.”
Priebus said despite polling showing Obama pulling ahead
of Romney in Ohio that the state would be very close. He said
Republicans have a better ground game and would “crush” Democrats.
“I think we’re going to crush the Democrats on the ground,” Priebus said.
“I just don’t think they’ve got a very good ground game. I’ve looked through it, I’ve seen it. It’s all smoke and mirrors.”
Priebus said if Romney were to lose Ohio, he was still optimistic about Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.
“We’ve got it all on the table. Ohio is, of course,
extremely important. It’s nothing new, but I also see avenues to 270
(electoral votes) opening up for Mitt Romney in places that weren’t
there in ’08.”
After a decade of budget cuts, CPS looks to Issue 42 for stability
3 Comments · Wednesday, October 3, 2012
By the end of November 2011, Cincinnati Public Schools
(CPS) knew it would soon have bigger financial problems. The school
district had just lost the battle for Issue 32, a permanent levy that
would have raised $49.5 million for CPS every year.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 3, 2012
I dread presidential debates. Other than “gotcha!” moments, when was the last time a
presidential debate was more than tired talking point responses to a
by Andy Brownfield
Ad reaches out to women voters in Ohio weeks ahead of election
Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman is again
campaigning in Ohio for President Barack Obama, but this time over the
In an ad targeting the Buckeye State and set to be
released online, Portman talks about her family’s Cincinnati roots and
calls Ohio a crucial place for the election.
Portman visited Cincinnati Sept. 19 for the Obama
campaign’s Women’s Summit, where she talked about how she thought the
president’s policies — which include health care coverage for preventive
care such as mammograms and birth control — were better for women than
those of his opponent, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
“I think this election is particularly important because
we are really facing a difference in ideas,” Portman said in the new ad, made available to CityBeat.
“Sometimes the candidates are the same and sometimes
they’ve got really different points of view, and in this case you’ve got
President Obama, who’s been really, really fighting for women’s
rights,” she said, citing Obama’s signing of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay
Act and the provisions of the Affordable Care Act targeted toward
women’s health. “Romney wants to roll those achievements back.”
The video is the latest in the campaign’s “How We Win” series, the first of which featured Ohio native John Legend.
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.