Entries in Ohio (98)


'American Dream': John Boehner Set to Take House Helm

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), likely the next speaker of the House of Representatives, sounds ready to get to work in his new role.

"This is a time to roll up our sleeves," a tearful Boehner said Tuesday night during his victory speech in Washington, D.C. "To look forward with determination and to take the first steps toward building a better future for our kids and grandkids."

A 20-year veteran of the House and the fiery leader of the House Republicans for the last four years, Boehner has made a name for himself as one of the most high-profile and spirited rhetorical opponents of outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and President Obama during the last two years.

"Hell no, you can't!" he said on the House floor as the health care bill was passing.

Boehner is a political survivor who has said that when he falls down, he smiles and works harder. If elected speaker, he will have his work cut out for him as he faces a new caucus of Republicans that includes political novices and Tea Party favorites.

On Tuesday night, he said that his work ethic is a result of his humble beginnings.

"I hold these values dear because I lived them," he told supporters.

Born John Andrew Boehner in 1949, he was one of 12 brothers and sisters in Reading, Ohio.

"We always had enough people to play a baseball game," said Boehner's brother Bob Boehner.

The family lived in a two-bedroom house in Cincinnati. Boehner's parents, Earl and Maryann Boehner, slept on a pull-out couch.

"You had to learn how to compromise because you only had one bathroom," Bob Boehner said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


'Defy the Conventional Wisdom,' Obama Urges Democrats

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CLEVELAND) -- President Obama closed out his heavy campaign schedule with a spirited rally Sunday in the basketball gym at Cleveland State University, begging Democratic voters to turn out to save incumbents, including Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.

"You can defy the conventional wisdom," he shouted. "Don't let anyone tell you your vote doesn't make a difference."

Ohio is also home to John Boehner, the Republican leader of the House who would become speaker and second in the line of succession to the presidency if Republicans win control of the House, as many experts predict.

The White House has announced no formal schedule for the president in the final 36 hours before the polls open Tuesday.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Will GOP Leader Stump With Nazi Reenactor Saturday?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TOLEDO, Ohio) -- House Minority Leader John Boehner is holding a Get Out The Vote rally on Saturday in Northwest Ohio and might be joined by a congressional candidate who was criticized for dressing up in a vintage Nazi uniform in a World War II reenactment.

Rich Iott, who is challenging Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur in Ohio's 9th district, was a former member of a World War II reenactment group that portrayed part of the 5th SS Wiking Panzer Division, a unit in the German army during World War II. Photos of Iott dressed as a soldier wearing a German Waffen SS uniform have been widely distributed over the internet.

A web page on Iott’s campaign website announced earlier this week that Iott would join Boehner on Saturday at the Lucas County Victory Center rally to support the local Republican Party’s get-out-the-vote efforts. However, the event has since been taken off Iott’s campaign website. It’s unclear whether Iott still plans to attend the rally.

Repeated calls and emails to Iott’s campaign headquarters and staff Friday inquiring about Iott’s campaign plans this weekend have not been answered.

The minority leader’s press office declined to speculate whether Iott would attend the event as well. Lucas County is not part of the 9th district in Ohio, where Iott is hoping to unseat Kaptur.

Iott explained earlier this month that he participated in the reenactments as a hobby and a father-son bonding experience. He says he has participated in a range of reenactments over the years including as a Union Army soldier and as American soldiers in World War I and II.

Democrats were quick to pounce at the prospect of a campaign stop featuring the top Republican in the House of Representatives alongside the controversial congressional candidate.

“Not only has John Boehner recruited and financed a disgraced Nazi enthusiast running for Congress, but now even more outrageous Boehner is attending a campaign rally with him,” Ryan Rudominer, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said. “John Boehner clearly needs a history lesson. John Boehner’s stubborn embrace of this Nazi enthusiast insults the memory of the six million Jews who died during the Holocaust and our nations’ veterans who sacrificed to defend our freedom.”

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, the only Jewish Republican in the House of Representatives, also took issue with Iott’s affinity for vintage uniforms during an appearance on a Fox News show earlier this month.

“I would absolutely repudiate that and do not support an individual who would do something like that,” Cantor said after the photos of Iott spread virally across the internet.

National Jewish Democratic Council President David A. Harris released a statement saying a campaign rally with Boehner and Iott would be “disturbing” and “offensive.”

“Apparently Boehner has little regard for victims of the Holocaust, their families and sensitivities, and the valiant members of the armed services who so bravely fought for our country,” Harris said. “It goes without saying that Rich Iott and his wildly insensitive penchant for dressing like a Nazi has no place in the halls of Congress.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Exclusive: Ohio Gov. Strickland Applauds the President, Health Care

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- You don't hear many embattled Democrats praising the president, the health care bill or the congressional leadership. But that’s exactly what Democratic Ohio Governor Ted Strickland did in an interview with ABC News.

The incumbent governor is locked in an uphill battle with former congressman John Kasich, who leads Strickland 51-41 percent according to a recent Quinnipiac poll.

“Barack Obama did not cause this national recession. The Democratic leadership in Congress did not cause this national recession. It was the result of eight years of mismanagement in Washington and during those years George Bush and Dick Cheney were in charge and what happened on Wall Street,” the governor said. “The amnesia is troublesome because people have seem to have forgotten what led us to where we are today.” 

Recent polling in Ohio suggests voters do blame the president. Perhaps no state has swung more dramatically away from President Obama and the Democratic Party as Ohio. The president, who won the battleground state back in 2008 over Sen. John McCain, carrying a number of Democrats with him to Washington, now has an approval rating of just 40 percent among Ohio voters.

Despite the president’s unpopularity in the Buckeye State, the president and first lady made a campaign stop in Ohio Sunday, a move Strickland said will help, not hurt, his chances of being reelected.

Strickland insists that his party can still pull out a victory.

“I don’t think it looks bad for Democrats in Ohio,” he told ABC News.  “We are working like a salmon going upstream, but I remind people, those salmon make it. They get up there, they spawn, they overcome the obstacles. I think I’m going to win and I think many of my fellow Democrats are going to win.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Democrats Brace For a Bloodbath in Ohio

Photo Courtesy - Ohio Office of the Governor(CLEVELAND) -- Democrats are bracing for a political bloodbath in Ohio. Perhaps no state has swung more dramatically away from the Democratic Party over the past two years.

John Kasich, former chairman of the House Budget Committee and Republican candidate for governor, is feeling confident about his chances of victory in November, and a poll released Tuesday from Quinnipiac University might be a good indication why:  Kasich leads Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, 51 percent to 41 percent, with just seven percent of Ohio voters undecided.

Strickland is continuing the fight.  He rallied supporters and campaign volunteers Tuesday at a Cleveland union hall.  He was one of the most popular governors in America two years ago, but supporters say he is a victim of the current political climate.  Strickland's job approval rating among Ohio voters in the Quinnipiac poll is now lower than even President Obama's, looming at 39 percent.

When ABC News caught up with Strickland Tuesday in Cleveland, he was realistic about his chances.

"I'm not sitting here telling you that I am going to win.  That's yet to be determined," he said.  "But I'm telling you that I think I'm going to win, and know we will win if we carry out our plan."

With early and absentee voting almost a month underway, the Democratic game plan is to use the same organization that helped Barack Obama win big here two years ago to get voters to the polls, and to get them there early.

In Cuyahoga County, where tens of thousands of ballots have already arrived and are being sorted, an undeniable enthusiasm gap is emerging.  According to the county board of elections, Republicans are voting at twice the rate they did in 2008.

And it's not just the gubernatorial race where Democrats are in trouble.  They trail badly in the Senate race to replace retiring Republican Senator George Voinovich, and six of the ten Democratic House members here are in danger of losing, according to the ABC News analysis.

"People are in a surly mood," Strickland told ABC News Tuesday.  "Many of them are angry, as they should be.  I am angry, but I want the anger to be directed toward those who caused the problem."

An unemployment rate over 10 percent, the ninth highest in the nation, certainly doesn't make voters happy with the party in power, a sentiment echoed by former Rep. Kasich.

"There's only three issues that matter in the voters' minds, and that's jobs, jobs, jobs," he said.  Ohio voters believe by 52 percent to 38 percent that Kasich would do the better job rebuilding Ohio's economy.  They gave Strickland a measly 36 percent approval rating for the way he is handling the economy as the state's top official.

It's hard to overstate the importance of Ohio in these midterm elections.  Republicans are unlikely to win back the House this year if they do not win big in Ohio.

"Ohio's the firewall. They need to win Ohio," Kasich said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


President and First Lady Reunite on the Stump

Photo Courtesy - Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- For the first time since 2008, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama teamed up on the campaign trail, traveling to Ohio for a rally at Ohio State University and fundraisers in Columbus and Cleveland.

The president and first lady walked onto the stage together at Ohio State University on Sunday to big cheers from a crowd of mostly young people.

The rally was aimed at the young voters who supported Obama for president in 2008 by a lopsided margin.  Democrats hope young voters recapture their enthusiasm to perhaps help boost the party’s chances in November’s midterm election.

“We need you fired up,” President Obama said.

Michelle Obama told the crowd that President Obama cares deeply about changing the country and making life better for the next generation, something she cares very much about as a mom, and that’s what motivates her to make the rounds on the stump.

“First of all this is something that I don’t do very often,” she said.  “I haven’t really been on the trail since a little campaign you might remember a couple years ago.” 

Using an old ’08 line, she told the crowd that if they were “still as fired up and ready to go” as they were then, they can bring about change by voting in the election.

Acknowledging Democrats are in a rough fight this election, the president told the young audience their vote can make a difference this year just as it helped two years ago.

“In little more than two weeks you can set the direction of this state and the direction of this country not just the next two years but for the next five years, the next 10 years, the next 20 years,” he said.  “Just like you did in 2008, you can defy the conventional wisdom.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Americans Getting in Line to Cast Votes Early

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Some Americans won't need to wait until Nov. 2 to cast their votes.  This year, 36 states are participating in some form of early voting, and results are already being seen.

In Iowa, for example, 119,430 early votes have been cast so far, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office.  That represents 13 percent of the total number of votes cast in 2006.  Of this first batch, 42.1 percent were registered Democrats, 28.9 percent registered Republicans and 28.9 percent independents.

“I’m just blown away by these numbers, given everything we’ve been told about the enthusiasm gap,” George Mason University political science Professor Michael McDonald said in an interview with ABC News.

McDonald, an expert in voting statistics and trends, said he’s also seen some positive signs for Democrats in certain Ohio counties.  “I don’t know what the heck to make out of what we’re seeing out of Iowa and Ohio,” he said. “I feel like I’m in 2008, it’s like déjà vu all over again.”

If this is a national phenomenon, Professor McDonald said it would really start kicking in this weekend when more states open up early voting locations, but he cautioned that it was too early to tell exactly what it all means.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Raio


Ohio GOP House Candidate Defends Wearing Nazi Garb

Photo Courtesy - Rich Iott for Congress(NEW YORK) -- Rich Iott, the Republican candidate for the U.S. House in northwest Ohio, has responded to the recently uncovered photos of him wearing a Nazi uniform, saying he is the victim of "false character attacks."

Photos of Iott -- a Tea Party favorite who is running against Democrat Marcy Kaptur for a Congressional seat in Ohio's ninth district -- posing in a Nazi uniform in a WWII reenactment were discovered by The Atlantic magazine and published in an online article earlier this week.

"Never, in any of my re-enacting of military history, have I meant any disrespect to anyone who served in our military or anyone who has been affected by the tragedy of war, especially the Jewish Community," Iott said in a press release posted Saturday on his campaign website.

In the press release, Iott also published several images of him dressed for other military reenactments that he participated in with the group Wiking from 2003 to 2007, including an image of him in a U.S. World War I military uniform and one with him and his son in Civil War Union uniforms.

Iott has stated that he has been involved with historical reenactments from different eras since he graduated college and his interest in reenactment is purely historical.

The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants said Mr. Iott's failure to apologize was "shameful."

There is no evidence that the Kaptur campaign was behind the unearthing of the photos in The Atlantic. Her office was unavailable for comment.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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