Archive for October, 2008

Notes, Quotes & Anecdotes – McCain in Mentor

October 31, 2008
John Belushi as Bluto

John Belushi as Bluto

What? Over? Did you say “over”?

* Republican Steve LaTourette in an effort to rally the crowd at the Mentor High School Gym closed his speech with a good rendition of John Belushi’s nothing is over speech from the movie Animal House. 

You know the “What? Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!   The only problem is, while Animal House is a classic no doubt, it’s been 30 years since the movie came out.  As a result when I looked around the room I saw this look of pained surprise on the faces of not just the young but old as well that their Congressman didn’t know that it was the Japananese not the Germans who bombed Pearl Harbor.  Fortunately for LaTourette there were enough familiar with the movie to set them straight.


John McCain’s theme is “Country First” that probably explains why any event I’ve been to with him where they have a warm up band it’s always Country.   Sammy Kershaw Thursday in Mentor,  Gretchen Wilson and Lee Greenwood in Summit County.  There’s also been Hank Williams Jr. and John Rich with his “Raisin’ McCain.”    I know Ohio is technically mid-west but c’mon there’s gotta be some Republican Rockers out there somewhere.  I mean they make enough money.   As I’m thinking this to myself the piped music switches to rock with Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.”  Sprinsteen of course is a huge backer of Barack Obama.



October 27, 2008
The Phillies won only their second Word Championship in 126 years Wednesday night.  The other in October of 1980 just before another presidential election, one featuring incumbant Democrat Jimmy Carter against Republican Ronald Reagan. 

On that night in 1980 Reagan trailed Carter by 6-to-8 points in different polls and came back to win.  Omen for McCain?  (Truth be told Carter was slipping in the polls and the only debate in 1980 was held a week before the election and that was a huge win for Reagan.)

T- 1+ week

October 24, 2008

Theme of Hall of Fame Coach John Chaney

When it comes to the race for the White House “Winning is an Attitude” and attitudes are contagious, attitudes equal enthusiasm and enthusiasm is the motivation that will be the driving force among voters and volunteers on election day. 

The Caveat:  A winning attitude though can easily slip into one of the two C’s cockiness or complacency both of which provide oppositional opportunity.

I know it sounds like I’ve been reading too many fortune cookies but just a thought to leave you with over the weekend.


October 23, 2008

Notes – Quotes & Anecdotes from McCain & Palin in Green.


*    Over the last six months I’ve covered John McCain in just about every corner of this state and I can say without a doubt this was the most energetic, enthusiastic and for that matter young of all the events.  Past rally’s have been made up of alot of retirees but this one had alot of families.


*     “Someone called me a redneck woman once and you know what I said back?  Thank you very much.”                   -Sarah Palin to Country Music Singer Gretchen WIlson who has a song “Redneck Woman.”  It’s a comment that will play well not only in parts of Ohio but Western Pennsylvania after Democratic Congressman John Murtha called some of his constituents rednecks.


*  The picture of the day to me (and I’ll try to grab a frame of the video to post) was a three shot of 7-year-old Piper Palin and Cindy McCain standing behind Sarah Palin as she spoke.  What’s funny is Cindy McCain’s wearing a black turtleneck, a pink wool jacket, a shawl and gloves.  Piper Palin meanwhile is standing there wearing a dress with short sleeves.  Whose from Arizona and whose from Alaska?

AKRON CONNECTION:*    In addition to Gretchen Wilson, country music star Lee Greenwood (“Proud to be an American”) was also on hand.  He thanked the Summit County crowd for the gift of his wife who was born in Akron.


*     With McCain’s focus on winning the White House now counting on Pennsylvania (which hasn’t voted Republican for President since 1988) I would have loved to have put him on the spot by asking him Penn State or Ohio State this Saturday night?   Joe Paterno is a McCain backer but his son, Quarterbacks Coach Jay Paterno backs Obama. 


*     The weather cooperated perfectly for the event which was held out in the open air.  McCain had hoped to have his Strongsville rally two weeks ago outside as well but rain forced it inside.  This marks the first time this year in covering McCain or Obama this year we weren’t inside a poorly ventilated gym and for that I am thankful.

Palin & McCain in Green

Palin & McCain in Green


October 20, 2008


  “I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace.  That two are called a law firm and that three or more become a congress!”   

The character of John Adams in 1776

There are 18 Congressional Districts in Ohio, 11 of them cover at least a small part of Northeast Ohio, 7 of them entirely in our neck of the woods.  In those seven districts we have two open seats the 11th and the 16th.  The 11th is the seat of the late Stephanie Tubbs Jones which is as a safe a Democratic seat as you will find in Congress.  The others the 16th where longtime Republican Ralph Regula of Navarre is stepping down after 36 years.   The current breakdown is 11 Republican Seats, 6 Democratic (7 if you count Tubbs-Jones).

With that in mind the 3 most interesting races in Northeast Ohio this year are;

The 16th District Race in Stark, Wayne, Medina & Ashland Counties.    Alot of money being pumped into this one from in and out of the state.  The race features two State Senators, Republican Kirk Schurring and Democrat John Boccieri.  After 36 years in Republican hands It is one of the seats the Democrats feel they can flip this year and they’re doing what they can to make that happen but the Republicans are fighting equally as hard.

The 10th District Race in Cleveland and Western Cuyahoga County pitting 6-term incumbant Democrat Dennis Kucinich against former State Rep Jim Trakas. 

The 14th District Race in Lake, Geauga Ashtabula and parts of Cuyahoga and Trumbull.  Incumbant Republican Steve LaTourette, the former Lake County prosecutor seeking his 8th term in Congress against Democrat and former State Appeals Court Judge Bill O’Neill.


October 17, 2008
42 on Mall C

42 on Mall C

In the last 30 years only one Democrat has won both the State of Ohio and the White House and that man, Bill Clinton came to Cleveland Thursday for his first Ohio campaign stop for Barack Obama.  The 42nd President firing up the crowd of more than a thousand supporters.  His focus here to rally support in a city and county that will play a huge role in determining who wins the state.
The margin of victory coming out of Cuyahoga is key for Obama to offset the republican numbers elsewhere.
How much he’ll need used to be easy to tell.  When Clinton carried Ohio he only won Cuyahoga County by 150,362 votes in ’92 and 177,587 votes in ’96.
Al Gore fell between those numbers in 2000 with a 167,814 lead out of Cuyahoga but he lost the state.
John Kerry posted even bigger numbers in 2004 winning the county by 226,903 votes but he too lost the state. 
That’s why Barack Obama has focused so much of his efforts in other parts of the state.  He’s going to get what he’s going to get out of Cuyahoga and I suspect he’ll have a big rally here a day or two before the election but if he can build on Kerry’s numbers here and chip away some of the Republican votes in the other parts of the state it may be enough to join Bill Clinton in the Carried Ohio Club.

Can I Buy A Vowell; Part One

October 15, 2008
Here’s an entirely useless piece of Presidential Election history.  For some reason I was thinking about the number of vowels in the last name of John McCain & Barack Obama, 2-to-3 respectively.   I asked myself the useless question is their a subliminal edge?  The answer to my surprise – Yes.   
I looked at Presidential Elections dating back to 1872 and found that only four times did a candidate with more vowels in their last name than their opponent lose.  Seriously and if it wasn’t for the vowel challenged Bush duo it would have only been two times.


They are from 2004-1872;

2000:    Al Gore lost with more vowels to George W. Bush.

1988:    Michael Dukakis lost to George H.W. Bush.

1964:    Barry Goldwater defeated by Lyndon Johnson.

1912:    Teddy Roosevelt falls to Woodrow Wilson


Merv Griffin, Creator "Wheel of Fortune" 1994

Merv Griffin, Creator Wheel of Fortune

Vanna White, 1991

Vanna White, 1991










I wasn’t going to write about this but in keeping with the Wheel of Fortune theme I figured why not.  

I was recently waiting for John McCain to arrive at the airport.  As the Secret Service checked our equipment we were seated in a room with other reporters, photographers and a group of college journalism students. 

I thought to myself how neat for them being able to see a presidential candidate. World News Tonight was on the TV and I was straining to hear what Charlie Gibson was saying about the campaign over the talking students who could care less which kind of surprised me. 

A few minutes later though I looked over and they were glued to the TV…  Oh the news was over, Wheel of Fortune was on.  I pointed to my photographer and said “look at this.”  Then when Vanna turned the all revealing letter and they were able to solve the puzzle there were high fives for all.





$pecial Election – $130.76 a vote

October 15, 2008

The Special Election to fill the remaining few weeks of the late Stephanie Tubbs Jones term in Congress was special alright.  It was probably the most expensive race per vote that the district has or will ever see.

There are roughly 488,000 registered voters in the district and the special election cost about $2.1 million dollars to hold.   That’s $4.30 a registered voter.  But when I stopped by a polling place in Mayfield Heights at 7 p.m. Tuesday, more than 12-hours after polls opened and I ran into voters 8, 9 & 10 on the day, I knew it was going to be an expensive night.

When the votes were all tallied early Wednesday morning I was right.  Of the nearly half-million voters just 16,059 people voted.  If the $2.1 million estimate holds up, that means the cost per voter was $130.76.

But hey there were 9 candidates to pick between in this Democratic Primary so there was a reason behind the special primary election which was required by law.  But no one ran on the Republican side so Marcia Fudge is basically a lock to fill out the several weeks of the remaining term.  But by law there still has to be a special general election on November 18th. (Fudge may face a challenge from an independent candidate – election officials are waiting to certify the petitions needed to get on the ballot.)  That November 18th election would be saddled with the same costs associated with the primary but with far fewer voters.   Seriously?  Another $2+ million?  For what?  I know it’s the law but when the law hits a cash-strapped region in a cash-strapped state with a $4.5 million bill something needs to be done.


October 8, 2008

A vote yes for Issue 33 & 1/3 is a vote not only for Ohio’s future but our past present.


Issue 33 & 1/3 will;

         Create Jobs

         Lower Taxes

         Raise property values

         Reduce our dependence on imported beer

         Improve education

         Take inches off our waists

         Make our streets safer, cleaner and self repairing

         Put a chicken in every pot

         Make our children respectful

         Restore pride

         End male pattern baldness

         Give us a lush, green, fuller lawn

         Make us the envy of the other 49 states.  (Guam, Puerto Rico & American Samoa too.)



         Those who oppose Issue 33 & 1/3 are mean hateful people who live out of state, never call their mothers and don’t like puppies, kittens or small children.


Ohio the time is now to stand up and be counted.  On the 12th of Never vote YES on Issue 33 & 1/3,  You deserve it!


-The preceding message was furnished by the Council of Confusion Over All Issue Ads.      – I.B. Baffled, Treasurer






October 5, 2008

Over the final month of the campaign Barack Obama and John McCain will campaign across Northeast Ohio but it is unlikely they will see, in all of their campaigning, what I saw on a side street in Slavic Village the other night and that’s a shame because for my money it is the root cause of our nation’s financial problem.


            While my photographer and I were shooting some boarded up homes on the block I was approached by a woman who said “shoot this one they’re taking it in two weeks.”  She was pointing to the home she’s owned for 15 years that was now in foreclosure.


            She bought the place she told me for $39,000 and because of a bad loan, she still owes $39,000 (way more than the house is worth) on top of that she told me the place needs about $15,000 in work.  Her solution? Walk away, let the bank foreclose and just take the place.


            Home mortgages are no recourse loans.  If you default the bank can take your house but they can’t come after any of your assets.  So as the gap between what people owe on their homes and what the homes are actually worth continues to grow the temptation to do what the woman I met was doing will only be that much greater.


            The problem is that only causes home prices to fall further causing that negative equity gap to get even bigger causing more people to walk away which causes… (you get the spiral of a point.)


            Until this single problem is addressed the nation’s economic problem will continue to get worse.  Our economy’s been shot and the efforts in Congress are bandaging the wound and slowing the bleeding but ignoring the fact there’s still a bullet in the body.


            Harvard Economics professor Martin Feldstein estimates there are 10-million homes with negative equity and that half of those homeowners owe 20% or more over what the house is worth.  Housing prices fell 17% in the last year.  If nothing is done that 10-million will quickly grow to 20-million and that 20% will grow to 30 – 40% and the temptation to default will be too great to resist. 


            Feldstein, who was chief financial advisor to Ronald Reagan in his first term, suggests what he calls Mortgage Replacement Loans.  He proposes having the federal government loan homeowners up to 20% of their present mortgage at a very low interest rate.  The money would go to the holder of the mortgage and the homeowner would benefit from a substantially lower monthly house payment. 


The loans though would be with full recourse.   This guarantees the government getting their money back but it would also cause someone to think twice about defaulting after getting such a loan because there is no walking away from a loan, you’re still on the hook for it.


Is that the answer?  I have absolutely no idea but it’s something worthy of debate and if the candidates say it isn’t then tell me something that is. Until you do more and more people will be walking away and this hole will only get deeper.