WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by German Lopez 10.03.2012
Posted In: 2012 Election, News, Economy, Republicans, Democrats, Courts at 08:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
josh_mandel headshot

Morning News and Stuff

In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth here.Josh Mandel, state treasurer and Republican U.S. senatorial candidate for Ohio, is denying he physically confronted a campaign tracker. According to Mandel, the tracker approached and confronted him, not the other way around. But the video of the confrontation shows Mandel approaching and getting really close to the tracker first. Ohio Democrats, who said Mandel’s campaign is a “campaign of unending dishonesty,” were quick to jump on another example of Mandel possibly being dishonest. CityBeat covered Mandel’s notorious dishonesty here. Mandel is running against Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown.  The presidential debates are tonight at 9 p.m. A full schedule of future debates can be found here. Whoever does better, keep in mind debates rarely influence elections. Michelle Obama was in town yesterday. She spoke to a crowd of 6,800, asking them to take part in Ohio’s early voting process and encourage friends and family to do the same. Grocery store competition could soon be bringing lower prices to the Greater Cincinnati area, according to analysts. JobsOhio chief Mark Kvamme is stepping down. The high-profile venture capitalist, who was originally from California, was originally recruited by Gov. John Kasich to lead the Ohio Department of Development. But soon Kvamme hopped onto JobsOhio, a nonprofit company established by Kasich and the state legislature to bring investment into Ohio. Under Kvamme’s leadership, JobsOhio, which is supposed to replace the Department of Development, has brought in 400 companies to invest in Ohio, leading to $6.1 billion in capital investment, according to a press release. But the nonprofit company has been heavily criticized by liberal groups like Progress Ohio, which say JobsOhio is unconstitutional. Lower courts have generally legitimized Progress Ohio’s claims, but the Ohio Supreme Court recently turned down a case dealing with JobsOhio. The court said a lower court would have to give a declaratory judgment first. William O’Neill, former judge and Democratic candidate for the Ohio Supreme Court, is asking Republican justices Robert Cupp and Terrence O’Donnell to “recuse or refuse.” O’Neill says the Republican justices are sitting on cases that involve FirstEnergy, an Akron-based energy company that has contributed to the re-election campaigns of Cupp and O’Donnell. O’Neill says the conflict of interest diminishes faith in the highest court of Ohio’s justice system. A new study on Taser use in Hamilton County found local law enforcement have some problematic policies on the books and in practice. The study was put together by a local law firm that’s demanding policy reform. Americans United for Life (AUL) is celebrating a federal court ruling against Planned Parenthood that maintains Ohio regulations on an abortion drug. The regulations require physicians to administer the drug in a clinic or physician’s office, and the drug may only be taken within 49 days of gestation. AUL says health groups like Planned Parenthood want to avoid sound health regulations, but Planned Parenthood argues the regulations make it too difficult for women to use the drug. Natalie Portman is in a new commercial in support of President Barack Obama. In the ad, she touts Obama’s support of women’s rights. It seems most Americans are avoiding or can’t afford as many trips to the doctor as before. One of the most lucrative criminal enterprises in the world is wood.It turns out the vampire squid is not a lethal ocean predator. Still, who wouldn't run away from that?
 
 
by Andy Brownfield 10.02.2012
 
 
Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama Visits Cincinnati on First Early Voting Day

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. “Our families 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 bootstraps. 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 Mike Breen 10.01.2012
Posted In: Local Music, Live Music, Music News at 11:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
mrnovember

Wanna Work for Tickets to See The National?

Locally-bred Indie Rock sensations The National give away tickets for volunteer support

Good news/possibly bad news for those hoping to attend the special appearance by Cincy-bred/Brooklyn-based Indie Rock stars The National Thursday at The Emery. The good news: tickets will be available on Wednesday. The (possibly) bad news (depending on your busy schedule and/or support for Barack Obama) is that you can only get one ticket and you have to agree to do some volunteering for the Obama campaign. To get details, sign up on the President's GottaVote campaign website here.Once you do that, you'll get this message: Get a ticket to see The National in Cincinnati To get a ticket, beginning Wednesday, October 3rd at 10:00 A.M. stop by an OFA-OH office listed below and volunteer. Tickets will be required for entry to the event. One ticket per person. Event Details: Location: Emery Theatre 1112 Walnut Street Cincinnati, OH 45202 Doors open: 7:00 P.M. Distribution Locations: OFA-OH Over the Rhine Office 1130 Main Street Cincinnati, OH 45202You'll also be able to get a ticket (according to the email you'll be sent) at the OFA-OH Woodburn Office, 2718 Woodburn Ave. Good luck!
 
 
by German Lopez 10.01.2012
 
 
Michelle Obama

Morning News and Stuff

It’s October. Tomorrow is the first day of in-person early voting in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth at the secretary of state’s website here. Michelle Obama will be in Cincinnati tomorrow to support an in-person early voting push in Ohio. The state is considered vital for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign against President Barack Obama, but while national polling is close, Ohio is looking very bad for Romney. The Romney team seems to be banking on the debates to regain momentum, but, historically, debates have little electoral impact. The first debate is Wednesday at 9 p.m. A full schedule of the debates can be found here.  In more good news for Democrats, a recent poll by The Columbus Dispatch found Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio is leading Josh Mandel, state treasurer and Brown’s Republican opponent for the U.S. Senate seat, by 10 points. The last Dispatch poll found the two candidates tied. The poll shows a long-term trend seen in aggregate polling of Brown gaining momentum and Mandel falling behind.   A former Republican Ohio state representative came out in support of Issue 2. Joan Lawrence came out for the initiative as part of Women for Issue 2, claiming the current system is rigged. If Issue 2 is approved by voters this election cycle, Ohio’s redistricting will be handled by an independent citizens committee. Currently, elected officials manage Ohio’s redistricting process, but the process normally leads to corruption in a process known as “gerrymandering” in which politicians redraw district borders in politically advantageous ways. In the First Congressional District, which includes Cincinnati, district boundaries were redrawn by Republicans to include less of Hamilton County’s urban population, which tends to vote Democrat, and instead include the more rural Warren County, which tends to vote Republican. CityBeat previously covered the issue and Republicans’ losses in court regarding Issue 2 here. Margaret Buchanan, The Cincinnati Enquirer’s publisher and president, left the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees Friday to avoid a potential conflict of interest in the newspaper’s reporting on the UC Board of Trustees. CityBeat and other media critics mentioned the conflict of interest in the past, particularly when former UC President Greg Williams suddenly resigned and Buchanan refused to comment on speculation around the resignation.  Cincinnati’s economic recovery is in full swing. For the second straight month, the area’s manufacturers expanded. The Cincinnati Purchasing Management Index, which measures manufacturing, went up from 54.6 in August to 58.8 in September. The index must be above 50 to signify growth; below 50 shows contraction. Cincinnati’s women-owned businesses are doing a lot more than some may think. They are responsible for 3,500 local area jobs. Ohio’s attorney general is devoting more money toward solving cold case homicides. Cold cases are old cases that have not been the subject of recent investigations but could be solved in light of new evidence. Captain America: The Winter Soldier will be filmed in southern and northeast Ohio. Nintendo’s Wii U is already looking like the top Christmas toy. Artificially intelligent gamer bots convinced judges they’re human more often than actual humans.
 
 
by German Lopez 09.28.2012
 
 
connie pillich

Morning News and Stuff

Ohio Rep. Connie Pillich, a Cincinnati Democrat, is asking the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees to explain former UC President Greg Williams’ $1.3 million severance package. Williams abruptly left UC on Aug. 21, citing personal reasons. Pillich writes in her letter, “I was disappointed to learn that the University agreed to continue paying former President Greg Williams a sum of $1.3 million over the next two years, considering the former president abruptly resigned six days before classes were to start this fall.  It is disheartening to see such a great deal of public money spent in a manner that is inconsistent with the financial realities many colleges, students, and families face in the current economy. … The University’s tuition increase of 3.5 percent this year means students and families must incur a greater financial burden at a time when many are struggling to make ends meet.  Certainly Mr. Williams’ payday will weigh on the minds of these students and parents, leaving them to wonder, ‘Does this kind of decision result in tuition and fee increases?’”The Cincinnati Enquirer gave some insight into what happened with Williams and the UC Board of Trustees the day before Williams’ resignation. Apparently, there was no sign of conflict in the correspondence and emails revealed under the Ohio Open Records Act, but anonymous sources told The Enquirer that the relationship between Williams and the UC Board of Trustees was breaking down prior to Williams’ resignation. The Enquirer could not get information from Margaret Buchanan, the publisher and president of the newspaper that is also on the UC Board of Trustees; instead, Buchanan referred reporters to Francis Barrett, another trustee.In-person early voting in Ohio begins Tuesday. Get ready to vote.A nonprofit group says Mitt Romney’s health care proposals are more expensive for Ohio than Obamacare. Families USA, a left-leaning group that lobbies on health issues, says Romney’s plan would make families pay about $10,100 a year on health care — almost twice the $5,100 paid under Obamacare. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction announced it will not be privatizing more prisons. The announcement came less than a week after CityBeat’s in-depth story on private prisons and the many issues they face.The state’s efforts to drive down prison recidivism rates saw some positive news. In total, the state’s recidivism rate fell by 21 percent from 2003 to 2008. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio said Josh Mandel, state treasurer and the Republican candidate for this year's senate race, is only doing as well as he is in polling due to $20 million in pro-Mandel spending coming from out-of-state sources. But the money doesn't seem to be helping much; Mandel is currently down by 7.5 points in aggregate polling.To celebrate Mandel’s birthday, Ohio Democrats gave him a new pair of pants. Democrats said Mandel, who is Ohio’s treasurer and Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, will need the pants after earning “more ‘Pants on Fire’ ratings from Politifact Ohio than any politician in state history.” Cincinnati is working on rainwater harvesting codes. A task force has made progress on the issue in the past year, but Cincinnati has only had one rainwater harvesting system installed since 2009. A new manufacturer could be bringing 60 jobs to Northern Kentucky.Bill Ackman, an activist investor, has a few bad things to say about Procter & Gamble. The problem? The public doesn’t know what those criticisms are. Ohio’s exotic pet owners are acting slowly in registering their pets, putting themselves at risk for jail time if they don’t register before Nov. 5.In an interview with Cleveland's The Plain Dealer, President Barack Obama said he will go after China's unfair trading practices, but the United States will not “go out of our way to embarrass” China. Obama said the lighter approach typically produces better results. The Cincinnati Reds rode their great home season to a 6 percent attendance gain.Science says traveling into the future is technically possible, but traveling to the past “can only exist in the movies.”Speaking of the past and science, Popular Science posted an old article published in 1961 with predictions for the future’s family cars. The article predicted invisible, self-driving cars that could travel at 1,500 mph.
 
 
by German Lopez 09.27.2012
 
 
josh_mandel headshot

Morning News and Stuff

In an ad accusing Josh Mandel, a Republican, of lying, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown’s campaign team may have lied, according to PolitiFact. The U.S. senatorial campaign for Ohio’s senate seat has been filled with dishonesty, but it usually comes from Mandel. The dishonesty seems to be hurting Mandel more than Brown; Mandel is currently down 7.5 points in aggregate polling numbers. Mandel is being taken to court by liberal blog Plunderbund. The blog claims Mandel has made it extra difficult to get public records.Preliminary data for Ohio schools was released yesterday. Some data is still being held back while an investigation into fraudulent reporting from some schools is finished, but the data gives some insight into how schools performed during the 2011-2012 school year. The data can be found here. From a local angle, the data shows Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) did not meet “adequate yearly progress,” a federal standard that measures progress in student subgroups, such as minority groups; but CPS did meet standards for “value-added growth,” which measures the expected progress in state testing for all students between the third and eighth grades. City Council approved the $29 million financing plan for the streetcar yesterday. The plan will use $15 million from the Blue Ash airport deal to move utility lines and pipes. The city claims the $15 million, which was originally promised to neighborhood projects, will be reimbursed by Duke Energy once the city settles a conflict with the energy company. Duke and the city are currently arguing over who has to pay to move the utility lines and pipes. An Ohio state representative is asking the federal government to monitor the election more closely. Rep. Alicia Reece, a Cincinnati Democrat, is asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to send monitors to the state to ensure no funny business goes on in voting booths on Nov. 6. The request is partly in response to a recent court ruling that forces Ohio to count provisional ballots if the ballots were brought around by poll worker errors. Ohio’s ability to stop political lies was upheld yesterday. The Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) tried to put an end to the government power, which COAST claimed was censorship, by taking it to court, but a U.S. judge upheld the ability. The judge, who is a former chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party, said COAST did not properly display that its speech was held down by the law. Considering some of COAST’s tweets, the judge is probably right. E.W. Scripps Co. will host a job fair in Cincinnati Oct. 10 to fill 100 digital jobs. The Ohio Supreme Court upheld the rights of lesbian ex-couples to set visitation times. The court said non-parents are allowed to participate in visitations during child custody proceedings. Ohio might expand Medicaid, but not to the extent asked for by Obamacare. That’s what the state’s Medicaid director said yesterday, anyway. A previous study found Medicaid expansions improved and might have saved lives in other states, and other studies have found Medicaid expansions may save the state money by cutting uncompensated costs. Pundits really dug into Mitt Romney the past few days over his poor poll numbers in Ohio. The Business Courier asked if Romney has already lost Ohio. Politico said Romney’s biggest hurdle to the White House is Ohio. The New Republic ran an article with six theories as to what led to Romney’s losses in the state. The Cleveland Plain Dealer pointed out both presidential candidates were stumping at a pivotal time in northern Ohio yesterday. Aggregate polling paints a consistently bad picture for Romney in Ohio; he is currently down four points. But Romney probably isn’t helping matters. In an Ohio rally Tuesday, he admitted President Barack Obama didn’t raise taxes in his first term. Gov. John Kasich signed a series of bills shoring up Ohio’s public pension system yesterday. The laws will cut benefits and raise eligibility requirements, but state officials insist the new laws will mostly affect future retirees. NASA wants samples from Mars, and it has a plan. The new plan may require a robot-to-human hand-off in space.
 
 

MidPoint is Here and The National Are Coming Soon

Latest updates for this week's MidPoint Music Festival and news on The National's upcoming concert

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Get the latest updates for this week's MidPoint Music Festival and news on The National's upcoming concert at the Emery Theatre on a mini-tour for Barack Obama.   
by Andy Brownfield 09.25.2012
 
 
paul ryan

Ryan Talks NFL Refs at Cincy Town Hall

Compares Obama administration to replacement refs who botched end of Monday game

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan weighed in on the controversy over replacement National Football League referees in a Tuesday town hall-style meeting in Cincinnati, comparing the Obama administration to the substitute officials who cost his home-state Green Bay Packers a victory with their botched call Monday night. “Give me a break. It is time to get the real refs,” Ryan said.  “And you know what, it reminds me of President Obama and the economy — if you can’t get it right, it’s time to get out. I half think that these refs work part time for the Obama administration in the budget office.” Ryan was referencing a play that should have been called an interception for the Packers but instead allowed the Seattle Seahawks to score a game-winning touchdown on Monday Night Foodball. Replacement referees — some of whom may have been fired by the Lingerie Football League for incompetence — are filling in for unionized officials who are locked out. The vice presidential candidate spoke inside a Byer Steel warehouse surrounded by piles of I-beams and rebar. A self-proclaimed Southern gospel rock band played before the event, occasionally pausing to talk up GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s conservative credentials. Much of Ryan’s prepared speech, as well as questions from participants in the town hall, focused on the economy, the deficit and the need for changes to entitlement programs. Asked by an audience member how he would limit government and eliminate programs, Ryan said he and Romney would spur economic growth by lessening the tax burdens on small businesses, cut discretionary spending on government agencies and overhaul entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Outside before the rally, protesters called for Ryan — whose House-passed budget made deeps cuts to many welfare and safety-net programs — to have more compassion for the poor.  Meanwhile an airplane sponsored by MoveOn.org carried a banner reading, “Romney: Believe in 55% of America?” referencing comments revealed in a recent video where Romney claimed 47 percent of Americans didn’t pay any income tax and viewed themselves as victims reliant on government so it wasn’t his job to worry about their votes. “We’re here with several messages, including the immorality of the Ryan budget and how it will impact the vast majority of Americans negatively," said David Little with the liberal advocacy group ProgressOhio. “When a budget protects those with the most and negatively impacts those with the least, I would suggest that is immoral.” Bentley Davis with the Alliance for Retired Americans said she was concerned about what Romney and Ryan’s plans for Medicare and Social Security would do to retirement security. Ryan had proposed to keep Medicare the same for anybody already 55 and over, but give younger Americans the choice to get money to spend toward private insurance or stay in a Medicare-like program. Inside the warehouse was a digital sign that ticked up the national debt, which was at $16 trillion and rising. “Here is what our government, our Congressional Budget Office, is telling us our debt is in the future if we stay on the path that President Obama has kept us on, has put us on … the debt goes as high as two and a half times the size of our economy by the time my three kids are my age,” Ryan said.  The Obama campaign fired back in an email response, saying Ryan used misleading rhetoric to hide his own record and Republican plans to raise taxes on the middle class to fund tax cuts for wealthier Americans. “The Romney-Ryan ticket has plenty of questions to answer about a failed record on manufacturing and job creation and their support for policies that will devastate middle class families by raising their taxes and shipping jobs overseas,” Obama for America – Ohio Press Secretary Jessica Kershaw wrote. “These policies would take the growing manufacturing industry backward, not forward.”For some in the audience, the economy was also on the forefront.Steve Teal, 56, of West Chester, said he doesn't like the direction the country is going in."Just get the country back to work," Teal said. "I don't trust him (Obama). He doesn't stand up for America. He doesn't stand up for Americans."CityBeat writer Stefane Kremer contributed to this report. Ryan went from Cincinnati to an event with Romney in Dayton later on Tuesday.
 
 
by German Lopez 09.25.2012
 
 
streetcar

Morning News and Stuff

City Council approved a $29 million plan that will shift $15 million from the Blue Ash airport deal to move utility lines and pipes in order to accommodate for streetcar tracks. The money will be reimbursed if a conflict with Duke Energy is settled in the city’s favor. The city is currently trying to resolve the conflict over who has to pay for moving utility lines and pipes. If the city wins out, Duke will have to pay up, and the money from the Blue Ash airport deal will be put back where it belongs. If Duke wins out, that money could be lost forever — a worry Chris Smitherman voiced in the public City Council session. Smitherman, Charlie Winburn and P.G. Sittenfeld voted against the plan, and Roxanne Qualls, Laure Quinlivan, Yvette Simpson, Cecil Thomas, Wendell Young and Chris Seelbach voted for it.CORRECTION: This blog originally said the entire $29 million plan will be reimbursed by Duke. Only the $15 million from the Blue Ash airport deal will be reimbursed if the city wins in the dispute.Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted received a failing grade from Voters First Ohio and the Ohio Unity Coalition for the way he's handled the 2012 election. The left-leaning groups criticized Husted for taking away in-person early voting hours that were available in 2008 and issues regarding provisional ballots, wrongful terminations and misleading language on the November ballot.Stan Heffner, former state superintendent of public instruction, won’t face criminal charges. Heffner stepped down after an investigation found he improperly lobbied legislators in favor of legislation that benefited a private company Heffner was employed under. Prosecutors claim Heffner acted inappropriately, not criminally.The Controlling Board unanimously approved $4 million Monday to conduct a study to determine possible funding for the Brent Spence Bridge. The study will look at tolls and the viability of various public-private partnerships to see how the bridge will be paid for.Jungle Jim's is opening an Eastgate location today, and people are apparently really excited for it.The state launched a new website to connect Ohio job seekers and opportunities in the energy industry. The website presents opportunities in advanced energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency and gas and oil. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will be in southwest Ohio today, and Obama will be in other parts of the state. The state is typically considered a must-win for Romney and Ryan, but aggregate polling has looked worse lately for the Republican duo.  Speaking of Romney, he indirectly admitted he’ll have to raise taxes on what he considers middle income. Remember when Republicans ran on tax cuts?Another problem with global warming: Hotter days make people less productive, which greatly hurts economic output. A Cincinnati research team found NFL players die often to Alzheimer’s disease and Lou Gehrig's disease. The two diseases kill NFL players four times more often than the average U.S. population, and other neurodegenerative diseases kill them twice as often as the norm.Having sex once a week instead of once a month is the “happiness equivalent” of making an extra $50,000 a year. Do not try that line at home.
 
 
by Andy Brownfield 09.19.2012
 
 
amidala

Natalie Portman Supports Obama in Cincinnati

Obama campaign's Women's Summit appeals to Ohio women to vote, volunteer

Actress and acclaimed rapper Natalie Portman played up her Cincinnati ties in a Wednesday appearance at the Obama campaign-sponsored Women’s Summit at Union Terminal. The Academy Award-winner said her mother graduated from Walnut Hills High School and her grandfather — Art Stevens — grew Champion Windows in Cincinnati after starting as a door-to-door salesman. “Because of that, I see President Obama’s support of small businesses as so crucial to our economy,” Portman said, adding that Obama has cut taxes for small businesses 82 times since taking office. Portman said the Republican Party and their presidential ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan did not have the best interests of women at heart. She pointed to attacks on the Affordable Care Act’s mandates that insurers provide birth control to women and ensure preventative care such as mammogram screenings for breast cancer is covered, as well a bill sponsored by Ryan and embattled congressional candidate Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) that would eliminate all abortion funding except for cases of “forcible rape.” “We need to stand up for ourselves,” Portman told the packed auditorium that was crowded with an audience of mostly women. “Our mothers and our grandmothers made giant steps for us. We can’t go backwards. We need to go forwards.” Portman was joined by Obama Campaign National Women’s Vote Director Kate Chapek, former Ohio first lady Frances Strickland, Ohio Rep. Alicia Reece and Obama campaign volunteer Mary Shelton. An Ohio Romney rep said the campaign did not have a comment on the Women’s Summit, but is hosting a “Women for Mitt” call night featuring former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao in Kenwood on Thursday. “Ohio women believe in the Romney-Ryan path for America that will result in lower taxes, less spending, less government and more economic growth,” said a release from Romney’s campaign. The Obama event on Wednesday catered to women, with Chapek telling the audience she knew how difficult it was for women to get there with jobs and the challenge of getting their kids to school. She framed women’s role in the election as a conversation. “The conversation starts like this: women, turns out, we’re not a constituency,” Chapek said. “Who knew? Apparently Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, because they don’t realize that women are actually a majority in this country.” She told the women gathered to have conversations with their neighbors and friends and encourage them to volunteer at phone banks or knocking on doors. Strickland talked about the need to reconcile qualities traditionally seen as masculine — like power — with those seen as feminine — like love. She also took the opportunity to riff on a statement made by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who said political wives were heroes because while they’re husbands were on stage in the limelight, they were at home doing things like laundry. “I even did the laundry last night so I could come here today,” Strickland said. “Even (former Gov.) Ted does the laundry.” Summit attendee Ray Boston, a 67-year-old retired writer for AT&T, said Natalie Portman’s presence caught his eye. “I’m a celebrity photo enthusiast,” he said. “Nothing’s official until I’ve taken a picture of it.” Boston said he didn’t vote in 2008, but felt the upcoming November election was too important to sit out. He said he was leaning toward voting for Obama and liked his health care overhaul, but was opposed to the president’s views on gay marriage for religious reasons. Gwen McFarlin, who works in health care administration, said she was there to support President Obama. She supports his health care overhaul, but thinks it’s a first step to further changes. She said she was encouraged by the diversity of the women in attendance. “For me, I’m sure the women who are here represent all the world, not one issue,” she said. “We’re here as a group of women working to empower all the U.S. and the world.”
 
 

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