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  • Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal

    Sunday, October 31, 2004

    UA doesn't belong to the profs. It belongs to all of us 

    [{[; is a brave teacher. She must have tenure. She is responsible for what may be the first play at the University of Akron featuring an all-black cast. (There seems to be some debate about whether this is the first. Suffice it to say, it is a rare event.) She deserves our admiration for putting on August Wilson's Fences, winner of the 1987 Pulitizer Prize, and standing firm in the wake of criticism from some white theater students. None of those student had the courage to put his or her name behind this ridiculous whining when the Buchtelite, the independent student newspaper at UA, broke the story on which the Akron Beacon Journal followed up. Speers should have stopped while she was ahead.

    Saturday, she brought filmmaker Michael Moore to the university, purportedly to address film's influence on society. Speers told the Beacon Journal's Madelin Ewquivel that this was a ruse to get free use of UA's Knight Auditorium where Moore appeared before about 400 people.

    Here's the rub: this is a facility funded by taxpayers. It should not be used, even by dedicated faculty, for essentially one-sided political purposes without payment. Speers paid out of her own pocket for security guard out of her own pocket. That doesn't negate the issue. Moore clearly came to UA for political purposes, much as he made Fahrenheit 9/11 for political purposes. He wants to send President Bush home to Crawford, Texas, where even the local newspaper won't endorse him.

    If the Buchtelite knows what it's doing, it will investigate the use of university facilities under false pretenses. In fact, Ohioblog would advise the newspaper to do so. But then, the Buchtelite doesn't always listen to advice from the Blog - or anyone else.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 5:49 PM

    Oh, you bad, bad Oh-Flor-id-io-ians 

    Flordians have a love/hate relationship with snowbirds. Ohioblog knows because Blog once was one - a Floridian, not a snowbird. Floridians love the fact that snowbirds feather their state's economic nest, but they dislike the ancilliary problems such as traffic that snowbirds bring during the winter months when it is cold in places such as Ohio. Now, Ohioans also have a reason to add snowbirds to their lists of birdbrain-pains-in-the-butt.

    The Plain Dealer's Scott Hiaasen (whose father is the renown author and Miami Herald columnist, Carl Hiaasen), Dave Davis and Julie Carr Smyth have documented that more than 27,000 voters are double-registered in Ohio and Florida and that as many as 400 people voted in Ohio and Florida in the same election over the past four years.

    Nice reporting. Bad snowbirds. These people have taken the notion of Ohio as the next Florida to a new level - they're making it happen.

    Maybe these bozos think because they live in both places that they should be able to vote in both places. Wrong. A person must live for more than six months (even if it is one day more) to establish that place as a primary residence and Blog would bet the farm that the overwhelming majority of snowbirds from Ohio make Florida their primary residence so as to take advantage of the fact Florida has no state income tax. Other newspapers, the PD reports, have written similar stories documenting the illegal voting registration, if not actual voting, of their snowbirds, and Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood has asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate. (There are no new stories; just good ones borrowed when the situation such as this warrants.)

    Cuyahoga County (6,946) ranks first in Ohio among double-registered voters, with Stark County (2,010) fourth and Summit County (1,321) eighth. The bellwether county of Stark, given its population (378,098) compared with Cuyahoga (1,393,978, is offering the country another election example - though not one to follow.

    Yeah, but what about the double-uncounted?

    Maybe Ohio snowbirds aren't such bad birds, after all. They could only be protecting themselves from the Ohio's (and Florida's) inability to count the votes they cast. The Akron Beacon Journal's Dennis J. Willard and Doug Oplinger report that in 15 precincts in Summit County in the 2000 presidential election at least 10 percent of the votes weren't counted. The punch-card system is the problem. Ohio had $132 million
    from the Help America Vote Act to put toward correcting this with electronic machines. Ohioans wanted to worry about the lack of a paper trail so virtually nothing was done. Now they can follow the paper trail again this week. It will be marked by those little chad from punch cards. Mark another up for Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.

    Yes, and they would be from whose justice department

    Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta has filed a document with U.S. District Court Judge Susan Dlott in Cincinnati supporting the right of Ohioans to challenge their fellow voters at the polls. Both Dlott and U.S. District Court Judge John Adams in Akron have before them requests from Democrats to declare such challenges to be intimidation and to block their use. For the record: Acosta works for Attorney General John Ashcroft who works for President George W. Bush who, the last time Ohioblog checked, works for the American people, including Ohioans who could be challenged at the polls on Tuesday. What's wrong with this circle of responsibility?

    Voter beware

    Ohioans cannot count on anyone except themselves to protect their right to vote. Go to the polls prepared. Read this. It will help.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 2:08 PM

    Perchance to dream and win 

    Every statewide Democratic officeholder should put Associate Editor Michael Douglas's column from the Akron Beacon Journal about example-setter Eric Fingerhut on the wall. Oops, Democrats hold no statewide offices so they have no offices and no walls. OK, next best thing: You Dems put this baby under the pillow at night. At least you can dream.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 2:06 PM

    Endorsement MIA: The Vindy 

    The Youngstown Vindicator was to be the last of Ohio's larger newspapers to endorse. It is not, however, available on, the newpaper's two-tier Web site, one part available to freeloaders such as Ohioblog, the other locked and open only to those who are (paid - $5.05 per month) members. So let Blog get this straight: newspapers want to share their opinion on the most important issue of the day but they do not make that opinion available to as many people as possible (on the Internet). Seems counterproductive. In any case, I'll pass the endorsement along when I locate it. Meanwhile, thanks to Greg Mitchell at Editor&Publisher, the newspaper industry magazine, and Erin Olson and Teresa LaLoggia, who have sent endorsements to E&P, here are the overall totals for President Bush and Sen. John Kerry and the breakdown on Ohio endorsements. (It should be noted that some endorsements from groups of newspapers such as Copley's Ohio group, The Repository in Canton, The Independent in Massillon and The Times Reporter in New Philadelphia, are the product of group think.)

    138 newspapers total
    12,068,720 daily circulation

    OHIO (11)
    The Columbus Dispatch (B): 371,551
    The Cincinnati Enquirer (B): 216,509
    The Repository (Canton) (B): 66,014
    The News-Herald (Lake County-Willoughby): 45,366
    The Cincinnati Post (B): 40,618
    News Journal (Mansfield): 32,641
    The Times Reporter (New Philadelphia): 23,956
    The Courier (Findlay) (B): 22,319
    The Advocate (Newark): 22,217
    Chillicothe Gazette: 16,018
    The Independent (Massillon): 12,932

    175 newspapers total
    18,757,511 daily circulation

    OHIO (4)
    Dayton Daily News (G): 183,175
    The Blade (Toledo) (G): 139,293
    Akron Beacon Journal (G): 139,220
    Times Recorder (Zanesville): 21,329

    (The ``B'' and ``G'' following the newspaper name indicates whom the newspaper endorsed in 2000: George W. Bush or Al Gore.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:02 AM

    Ho, ho, ho - Santa defeats Archie the Snowman 

    Want a break from politics? Try David Giffels' column in the Akron Beacon Journal. David exposes the demise of Archie the talking Snowman, a 35-year tradition at Akron's Chapel Hill Mall. Come to think of it, this isn't much of a break. This is the politics of seasonal marketing and, with Richard Buchholozer no longer in charge, the ordinariness of Santa Claus has won. Ohioblog hopes Chapel Hill follows David's advice and donates Archie to the community. Of course, there is a risk. Archie might outdraw Santa.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:33 AM

    Polls have outlived their usefulness in this campaign 

    Ohioblog's poll boycott continues, despite the fact that Blog's sponsor, the Akron Beacon Journal, is out with the final Knight-Ridder/MSNBC series of its battleground state polls. While I would agree that polls have their use (you'll notice that they've appeared in Ohioblog through the summer and into the fall), they've reached their point of uselessness. Snapshots in time are irrelevant now. This is the time.

    Which Ohioans have the pollsters polled?

    The numbers tell us nothing. Ohio is statistically tied. It has been for
    weeks, maybe months. What does mean something is what the
    Knight-Ridder/MSBBC poll lists as the state's top issue: terrorism,
    homeland security. There are many Ohios and in some - the central Ohio
    dominated by Columbus - this may be the case. In other areas, and this
    would include Northeast Ohio, the economy is, if not a singular top
    issue, is at least on the list.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:21 AM

    Saturday, October 30, 2004

    Voting: a full-contact sport in Ohio 

    Pity the federal judiciary in Ohio. They're working this weekend (hmmm, seems as if Ohioblog has been doing the very same thing) to decide whether we can get in one another's faces at the polls come Tuesday. Between the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals, U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott
    in Cincinnati and boards of election such as Summit's which threw out unsupportable Republican challenges to voter regisitrations the pre-election challenges have been halted. Wise decision. The Republicans painted with too broad a brush and couldn't support - or didn't even bother to try - their allegations. They looked bad in the process.

    They could look worse Tuesday, depending on rulings from U.S. District Judge John Adams in Akron and Dlott in Cincinnati, who are considering whether a decades-old law that allows challenges at the polls is constitutional.

    Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell attempted the role of peacemaker Friday, asking that the political parties call off their poll challengers, while seeking legal support from Attorney General Jim Petro. Petro, who will be running against Blackwell for governor in 2006, said he couldn't support Blackwell's no-challengers plea in court.

    Whatever and whenver the rulings, Election Day could be the most interesting in Ohio history. There are more registered voters (7.98) million than ever before, and Blackwell is predicting a turnout of 5.8 million, which would exceed by 750,000 the number who voted in 1992 when President Bush's father George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot were on the ballot. Arm yourself - with knowledge - before you go to the polls. You may need it.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:38 AM

    Oh good, another political commercial 

    Tired of the political ads yet? They are wall to wall, and for every three from President Bush there are four from the camp of Sen. John Kerry. The Democratic challenger husbanded his advertising money, going
    dark on TV screens in August, just for this moment. Kerry is about to find out if there can be too much of a good (bad?) thing in this crucial swing state.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:36 AM

    Is there anything to learn from a mass murderer? 

    President Bush happened to be in Ohio - what are the chances? - when he responded to Osama bin Laden's election good wishes and assorted vague terrorism threats. Both he and his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry, made it clear that Americans stand together on this issue, if not at the polls. There was little difference in their responses, though David Brooks, The New York Times columnist, would disagree.

    Wonkette, and no doubt others, have been unable to interpret whether bin Laden's criticism of the president's initial response to the 9/11 attacks was meant as subtle endorsement of Kerry or reverse strategy. Ohioblog agrees with NPR's senior analyst Daniel Schorr who concluded on Weekend Edition Saturday that ``anything that says Iraq, helps Kerry; anything that says terrorism helps Bush - so this probably helped Bush.''

    Analysts, both security and those who study al Qaeda, are examining the message and trying to understand its implications. They're the pros, but it would seem that one question both men who want to be president might ask is whether there is a way this seeming you-leave-us-alone, we'll-leave-you-alone message would allow the United States to support Israel, defend itself and accommodate other cultures whose beliefs and goals differ from ours.

    One thing was unmistakeable, however. Bin Laden admitted responsibility for 9/11 and even explained when he began thinking about taking down the twin towers. The United States does not bargin with mass murders, but it is not impossible for intelligent U.S. leaders to learn something from those who would kill us that could this a safer world.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:05 AM

    Weather prediction: It will be darkest after the new dawn 

    Eventually this election will be over. Then what? Norman J. Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, is not optimistic about what the next president will face: ``Whoever wins the presidency is going to face the toughest, most rancorous and most divisive governing climate in modern times.''

    Unlike 2000, the contentiousness will not go turn into unity in the aftermath of tragedy. For President Bush's ability to govern, 9/11 was an important moment. Most people had been willing to give him chance. After the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, more were. Those feelings have dissipated.

    ``This time,'' Ornstein predicts, ``the propostion of voters who will refuse to accept the outcome if their side loses will be much higher. The situation in Congress (where relations between the minority and majority parties are poisonous) will become worse.''

    There is hope, however. It lies ultimately, Ornstein suggests, in a new generation of leaders (We Baby Boomers have botched it so far, with one president damaging the office by his personal behavior and the other by his professional incompetence.) and in a few good public servants. ``...Our best hope for creating some kind of governing center rests with 15 to 20 instutional-minded centrists in the Senate, such as John McCain (R-Ariz.), Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) - people who can, if they have the fortitude, force Senate action to the middle and away from the partisan destructiveness, and can challenge the House if it continues to exacerbate divisions by excluding Democrats from conference committees.''

    Ornstein believes this construct will be difficult to achieve. Ohioblog believes Ornstein is a sunny optimist in a day even darker than he paints.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:11 AM

    This would have been beautiful trouble 

    Hurry and you still might get to see and hear Michael Moore at noon today in the Knight Auditorium in Leigh Hall at the University of Akron. Theater professor Susan Speers is playing host to Moore, whose Fahrenheit 9/11 has been among the many controversies of the presidential campaign. On Sunday, TV conservative talker Sean Hannity will appear at the John S. Knight Center but all the tickets are gone. Hannity will be joined by turncoat Democratic Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia, former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma and former Education Secretary William Bennett. Too bad the two events - and crowds - could not have been combined. Ohioblog would have paid to see that one.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:08 AM

    More stupid polls to ignore 

    The Ohioblog poll boycott remains in place. Four days to go. If you must have a numbers fix, RealClearPolitics has so many that they could cause math anxiety. Deciphered, they all say this: After lo these many campaign days, no one knows with any degree of certainty whether President Bush will win re-election or be unseated by Sen. John Kerry. That's why they hold an actual election.

    More of the same but closer to home

    The Plain Dealer is out with what Ohioblog presumes is its last poll before Tuesday's vote. (One can hope.) Same as above.
    Statistical tie.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:53 AM

    Friday, October 29, 2004

    So, if we're a joke, what's the punch line? 

    If the Ohio Republican Party's voter challenges around the state are similar to the 976 thrown out in Summit County, Ohio deserves to be regarded as this election's national joke. All a person needs to know about the farce that occurred at the Summit County Board of Elections is that Alex Arshinkoff, chairman of the country Republican Party, sought to distance himself from this insult to voters perpetrated by his party's state organization. And then the Ohio Republican Party did not even bother to show up. It left it to the four pitiful stalking horses who had filed challenges because someone told them to and with no personal knowledge of any wrongdoing. Move over Florida. Here we come. This is unmitigated attempt to intimidate voters. If the challengers - Barbara Miller, Howard Calhoun, Madge Doerler and Louis Wray - are not held legally accountable for making false claims on the challenge forms, they should be subjected to the public ridicule they so richly deserve.

    Speaking of which...

    Chairman Arshinkoff has had to hire a security service to guard his Bush-Cheney yard sign over which there is a legal fight with Hudson. (The city says it is too large. Arshinkoff, wife Karen and the ACLU say it is just right because it is not about the dimensions of the physical materials but about the breadth of the right of free speech.) He should just turn the job over to these Republican pitbulls, Miller, Calhoun, Doerler and Wray. Maybe they'd have more teeth as sign security than they had as voter challengers.

    And elsewhere in the State of Challenges...

    The Plain Dealer thinks ``Confusion reigns over Ohio voting,'' but it hasn't seen nothin' yet. (Hey, we thought the PD was sitting this one out; isn't that what you guys announced?) As Ohioblog buddy Greg Korte reports in The Enquirer, the federal courthouse in Cincinnati has taken ``center stage for two nationally watched pre-election battles over who has the right to vote - and whether a political party has the right to challenge potential voters at the polls on Election Day.'' Summit County Democrats have jumped into the middle of the fray with their federal lawsuit objecting to poll challengers who will confront questionable voters on Election Day. Ohioblog hopes one of them comes to Green Precinct 2-D looking for the Blog, cause Blog is ready to rumble.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:30 AM

    Throwing the senator a curveball 

    The Boston Red Sox's Curt Schilling, who pitched until the stiched-together tendons in his right foot bled through his sock, has gone to bat for President Bush. Doesn't he know that Sen. John Kerry is the real Red Sox fan, not Bush, former owner of the Texas Rangers?

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:17 AM

    What we need is our old political system 

    Akron/Canton has been Focus Group Central for The Boston Globe as it has sought to understand Ohio and its voters. Yvonne Abraham writes about a final pre-election dinner with six voters, who were part of The Globe's larger focus group, recruited with help from the Center for Policy Studies at the University of Akron. Of the six voters, two had chosen President Bush during the summer and of the four undecideds two have have opted for Sen. John Kerry, one for Bush and the other remains uncertain. More important, though, is this from Abraham: ``The relentlessness of the 2004 presidential campaign has most of the group longing for big changes: a general election process that begins a few months before Election Day, for starters. And maybe a return to the old closed-door system where parties elevated their best and brightest to the top of the heap, so that smarts and wisdom might have an opportunity to trump posturing and glitz.'' Throw Ohioblog's log on that fire. And if all Akron/Canton voters are as smart as these, we'll be OK.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:08 AM

    A different sort of Brown-out 

    Here's a stupid rule: The Plain Dealer reports that U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Lorain, who represents a hunk of Summit County cannot serve as an elector for Sen. John Kerry should Kerry win Ohio. Seems the U.S. Constitution bars federal officeholders from serving this function. The ban may have made sense when the Founding Fathers thought of electors as representatives who picked a president from among several choices but as the position has evolved into more ceremony than substance, the antiquated restriction seems out of place. Sherrod's tough, though. He'll get over it.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:42 AM

    Saving economic face 

    Beyond the good economic news that Akron will retain jobs in the rubber industry, the diligence of the city's economic team has saved its face. Akron is the heart of polymer knowledge, of which rubber is just one. That heart has become centered at the University of Akron and its colleges of colleges of polymer science and polymer engineering. Beyond that, however, there are scores of operations in this area with polymer knowledge applied practically each day. RCA Co., maker of transit and commercial floring products, is one and it has decided to remain so, retaining 200 jobs in Akron and adding 26 more as it consolidates its operations here. What would it have said about Akron's claim as a place where polymers are a happening to have lost RCA to Pulaski, Tenn., the company's other consideration? Ohio's economy is an election issue. Federal recognition of Ohio's problems is important. State involvement in creation of a friendly business atmosphere is also important. But what is critical is local initiative such as that of Bob Bowman, Akron deputy mayor of economic development, and his staff. They kept Akron from having egg - or is it rubber? - on its face.

    Better there than here in Ohio

    ``If you really wanted to bring Iraq to its knees, all you really had to do is send the Bush economic team over there.'' - Sen. John Kerry.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:11 AM

    Attention fraud ferreters: Here's on offer you can't refuse 

    HypoSpeak is putting its money where its blog is. Now that the Summit County challenges have been deep-sixed, HypoSpeak is seeking proof of the Kerry campaign's ```massive and systematic voter fraud' that...Bob Bennett and the Ohio Republican Party have so regularly claimed in the past two weeks.'' It will hand over a $100 reward to anyone in the press who can provide the same. Ethics (yep, journalists have 'em) would not allow acceptance of the money, but clearly the gauntlet has been thrown down. Anyone want to do something about it? If so, So here are HypoSpeak's rules:

    1. You must be a full or part time journalist/reporter with a daily circulation or listenship greater than 25,000 (or the equivalent for weeklies).
    2. There must be substantial evidence that (the fraud) was initiated in Ohio.
    3. There must be substantial evidence that it occurred in Ohio.
    4. This is about ``massive fraud,'' not the work of some deranged loner. A few anecdotes won't make the cut.
    5. This is about ``systematic'' fraud - that means it is rooted in a known organization and evidence exists that some one in a paid position of significant authority in the organization was aware of it. This excludes the work of front line volunteers and temps. In other words, you can't collect the reward by reporting on the isolated work of a few idiots
    (read ``Defiance crack heads'').
    6. This is about fraud for political gain, not the schemes of con men who worm their way into a job with some campaign or 527 or PAC for personal gain.
    7. You must report on the evidence and claims in your publication or on your show.
    8. The reward will be paid via a $100 gift certificate to Trader Joes.
    9. Any disputes will be settled by the Chair of the Journalism Department of the Ohio State University (whoever he or she may be - we haven't a clue.)
    10. Deadline for submitting a claim for the reward is midnight Nov. 2, 2005 (this is not a typo).

    Does this mean that HypoSpeak expects the election to still be unsettled a year from now? George Washington help us all.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:01 AM

    Undecided? Kristin has something for you 

    Ohioblog leads a double life. When I'm not blogging to death my few remaining brain cells to bring you the best of Ohiocentric election notes and commentary, I'm at the Buchtelite, the University of Akron's independent student newspapers. One of the more independent and talented voices at the Buchtelite belongs to Kristin Snowberger,
    senior writer and former news editor. Kristin is especially adept at commentary, though I'm not sure her grandfather would concur. She grew up in a strong Republican family in the Philadelphia suburbs and even today is a registered Republican. There was no choice in her family. It was Republican or, well, Republican. ``But you could vote for whom you wanted,'' Kristin says. She also takes a position in her writing that she says has been inspired by her animus for George W. Bush's presidency. Read her commentary concerning undecided voters, but be warned: if you are still undecided it would be wise to read this after getting into the position resulting from the exercise we were taught in the 1950s during another kind of war. It's called duck and cover.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 7:53 AM

    Thursday, October 28, 2004

    Election trouble? What trouble? 

    Now that U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott in Cincinnati has stopped some voter registration challenge hearings in the state even as others continue, it makes Ohio an more perfect microcosm of America. Voters will be treated differently if they live in Medina and Cuyahoga counties (challenges blocked) than they are if they live in Summit County (challenge hearings were reported to be proceeding today). The Help America Vote Act is working just wonderfully. In some states there are strict interpretations (Ohio) for the use of provisional ballots and in others the procedure is more generous to the lost voter. And as the challenge ruling plays out in court, some Americans overseas are having trouble getting and casting their absentee ballots and Florida, in early voting, is, ``again struggling with questions about potential voting irregularities.'' There have been complaints about missing absentee ballots, accusations of voter suppression and worries about new touch-screen voting machines. And it's still five days until the election.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:34 AM

    So why can't one person have all we seek? 

    David Broder, the respected columnist for The Washington Post, anticipates Tuesday's vote not only in Ohio but across the land ``for what we may learn about this country of ours.'' Broder is correct when he says that ``Every election is a portrait of the nation and its
    people, and it will be even more fascinating than usual to see what patterns emerge from the returns this year.'' Those patterns, if a Los Angeles Times survey is correct will reveal a nation divided more by cultural values than by economic interests. The best and most telling pre-election assessment has come from conservative New York Times' columnist David Brooks when he explained why this country is still tied just days before an election between candidates of such stark contrast. Brooks' central point is worth looking at again, or for a first time, if you missed it. It is this:

    ``Republicans, from Reagan to Bush, particularly admire leaders who are straight-talking men of faith. The Republican leader doesn't have to be book smart, and probably shouldn't be narcissistically introspective. But he should have a clear, broad vision of America's exceptional role in the world. Democrats, on the other hand, are more apt to emphasize
    such leadership skills as being knowledgeable and thoughtful. They value leaders who can see complexities, who possess the virtues of the well-educated.

    ``Republicans and Democrats have different conceptions of the presidency. Republicans admire a president who is elevated above his executive branch colleagues. It is impossible to imagine George W. Bush or Reagan as a cabinet secretary. Instead, they are set apart by virtue of exceptional moral qualities. Relying on their core values, they set broad goals and remain resolute in times of crisis.

    ``Democrats see the presidency as a much more ministerial job. They admire presidents who engage in constant deliberative conversations. Democrats from Carter through Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, Gore and Kerry have all been well versed in the inner workings of government. It is easy to imagine each of them serving as a cabinet secretary.

    ``It just so happens that America is evenly divided about what sort of leader we need: the Republican who leads with his soul or the Democrat who leads with his judgment. Even the events of the past four years have not altered that disagreement.

    ``That's why we are still tied.''

    The shame is that in a country so rich with talent we cannot find a soulful person of judgment who wants the worst job in the world. Or, when we do, we reject the person for superficial reasons.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:59 AM

    Could you hum a few bars of that, Arnold? 

    The Boss is appearing with Sen. John Kerry today at Ohio State Univerity. The Arnold will stand with President Bush in Columbus on Friday. And, on election eve, Bruce Springsteen will return for a rally in Cleveland. John Campanelli of The Plain Dealer asked University of Cincinnati pollster Eric Rademacher what difference the stars coming out in Ohio will make in the contest for this swing state's 20 electoral votes. ``I don't think anyone chooses a candidate based on which celebrities come to Ohio,'' Rademacher said. And he's right. If they pay attention at all, Ohioans should listen to why California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger supports President Bush, and why Springsteen believes Kerry would make a better president and try to ignore the celebrity of the presenter or his medium. The medium is not the message.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:31 AM

    Mr. President, you're no JFK 

    During his visit to the Mahoning Valley, a Democratic stronghold, President Bush not only appeared with Youngstown Mayor George McKelvey and U.S. Sen. Zell Miller, Democrats who support him, but he also invoked the names of late, great Democrats such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey and John F. Kennedy. This is political sacrilege, and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg has said so. She has asked the president to stop using her father's name as if the two would be best buds if JFK were alive today. They would not be. Caroline has said that her father was an inspiration and that she finds the man most like him in this race to be the one with the same initials. How about a little respect here, Mr. President?

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:38 AM

    Yes, he did. No, he didn't. Can we vote, already? 

    The WMD Light issue (those missing Iraqi explosives) proves this about the presidential candidates: Sen. John Kerry will jump to any conclusion to win, and President Bush will deny any culpability to get re-elected. It should be noted that The New York Times broke this story on Sunday. President Bush's first comments on the missing explosives did not come until Wednesday. Maybe he was saving the moment for another Ohio campaign day.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:49 AM

    President Credit/Blame 

    Here's a campaign contradiction: While President Bush was at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport calling up the image of 9/11 and touting the promises he made in the wake of that tragedy, the principal advocacy group for families of 9/11 victimes were in Washington blistering the president and some House Republicans for failure to enact recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission. The group charged that Bush had ``allowed members of his own party to derail the legislative process.'' This should come as no surprise. The president opposed the creation of the 9/11 Commission, the single best example of bipartisan we've had in this country in recent memory.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:47 AM

    The Game is back! Three cheers for Michigan 

    Give Michigan the credit. SBC Communications cannot buy The Game. The Ohio State-Michigan football game will not be called The SBC Michigan-Ohio State Classic after all. It would be nice to report that good sense prevailed in Columbus upon consulting instant replay the call to sell the name of The Game to SBC was reversed. It wasn't. The impetus for canceling the $1 million deal came from Ann Arbor. According to Detroit Free Press columnist Michael Rosenberg, UM President Mary Sue Coleman killed the deal. Mary Sue, you're a good 'ol girl. Ohioblog just wishes the folks in Columbus had your sensibilities. They don't. The decision was forced upon OSU athletic director Andy Geiger. Geiger's UM counterpart, Bill Martin, ``You say, `How does this happen?' it happened because Bill Martin screwed up. I did not focus on the naming aspect of this thing soon enough. There is nobody to blame in this situation but me.'' How refreshing. But Ohioblog will also continue to blame Geiger.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:38 AM

    Wednesday, October 27, 2004

    Blackwell: Let my Ohioans vote  

    J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio's Secretary of State, made a
    good call when he told the state's 88 county election boards to allow challenged voters to cast provisional ballots on Election Day. The Ohio Republican Party filed more than 35,000 registration challenges last week and even though it has begun to drop some of them, the action created a logjam of voter-eligibility hearings that might not end before Blackwell's 2006 run for governor (I'm sure all the challenged voters will remember this decision more generously than they will Blackwell's strict determination of where the lost or misplaced voter must vote - his precinct or no precinct).

    As almost everyone has noticed, this presidential election has become the most litigious in history - and it isn't even Election Day yet. Blackwell and Ohio are in the middle of it. No wonder everyone is watching and wondering if the state is the Florida of 2004.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 4:53 PM

    So is no endorsement a victory or a loss? 

    Editor&Publisher, the press-industry biggie that has done such a commendable job of providing Ohioblog with endorsement information to steal, reports that The Plain Dealer's director of community affairs, Shirley Steinman, told the mazazine that the newspaper would decide which candidate ``later this week'' and a few hours later the Let-the-Reader-Decide non-endorsement was published. If another business was this disingenuous with a PD reporter, the newspaper would get itself in one huge huff.

    Internet reaction to The Plain Dealer's no-endorsement decision has been generally viewed as a triumph since the paper endorsed President Bush in 2000 and Publisher Alex Machaskee reportedly wanted to do so again despite a PD editorial board consensus for Sen. John Kerry. Here's the view from Daily Kos, a liberal Web site:

    ``Back in Cleveland, intense public scrutiny probably had a role in fighting off the Plain Dealer's publisher from imposing a Bush endorsement on the paper's pro-Kerry editorial board...getting the Plain-Dealer to sit this one out was another example of Internet activism at its finest.

    ``If I had to guess, the presidential endorsement is on its last legs. If I was a newspaper publisher, I'd run two editorials - one making the case for each candidate. And it's perhaps as it should be - if people really need help making up their minds, let them read two arguments so they can make the decision themselves.''

    Of course, blogs with an agenda - and Daily Kos wants to put Kerry in the White House - is not doing what he recommends newspapers do.

    Here's E&P's assessment of the swing states

    Editor&Publisher's Greg Mitchell assesses the race this way with almost all of the endorsements in: ``Seventy-two of the largest papers divided right down the middle in 2000. In 2004, the same papers (at least the ones that have announced their picks) favor Kerry by about a 3-2 margin.

    ``Now, on to a few swinging states, and some predictions, giving (perhaps) undue weight to editorial endorsements:

    ``FLORIDA: Bush is in big trouble here, at least if newspapers have any sway. Every single large paper has gone for Kerry, with the Orlando and Bradenton papers abandoning Bush and The Tampa Tribune (formerly for Dubya) sitting it out. This is how bad it is for the president: As far we know, his two biggest Sunshine State catches so far are the Ocala Star-Banner and The Ledger in Lakeland. So let's give this state to Kerry. In fact, if Bush pulls this one out, E&P promises never to give any weight to editorial endorsements in the future.

    ``PENNSYLVANIA: More bad news for Bush. As expected, the two Philly dailies and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette backed Kerry, and The Morning Call in Allentown also switched to him. The Scranton and Harrisburg papers, previously pro-Bush, declared neutrality. Bush did pick up switches in York and Easton, but we have to give this state to Kerry.

    ``COLORADO: With Dean Singleton taking over as publisher at The Denver Post, both of that city's papers lined up for Bush. Kerry picked up a switch in Boulder, but it's not enough. This state goes in the Bush column.

    ``MICHIGAN: Unlike in previous years, the Detroit papers are not split,
    with the Free-Press going for Kerry and the News, shockingly, sitting it out. Kerry also picked up switches in Flint and Muskegon. Score this for Kerry.

    ``OHIO: Too tough to call. Of the two big Bush papers from 2000, The Plain Dealer is now (officially) neutral and The Columbus Dispatch
    offered a Bush endorsement that was critical of the president. Elsewhere, Kerry gets Dayton, Toledo, and Akron, while Bush gets Cincinnati and Canton.

    ``IOWA: Kerry gets the Des Moines paper and a switch in Davenport. Bush gets Cedar Rapids. Give it to Kerry.

    ``MINNESOTA: Kerry grabbed the Minneapolis paper but the Saint Paul Pioneer Press has yet to make a call.

    ``OREGON: Did anyone notice that this state went from tossup to leaning left (according to the pundits) right after The Oregonian switched from
    Bush to Kerry?

    ``WASHINGTON: Ditto here, when The Seattle Times jumped to Kerry. The Dem now has both Seattle papers, plus Tacoma's.

    ``MAINE: The Portland paper stayed with Kerry and Bangor gave up on Bush. Need we say more?

    ``So who wins on Tuesday? If Kerry's newspaper boost in Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania means anything, he can afford to drop Ohio and still take home the big prize. But that's a big `if.'''

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 4:35 PM

    They must mean somone else 

    The media are unfair. Or, to put it another way, the media have been more fair to Sen. John Kerry than to President Bush in recent weeks. That's the conclusion of a survey by the Project for Excellence in Journalism. ``The press always likes the race to tighten, and the debates offered that moment,'' project director Tom Rosenstiel told The Boston Globe. ``In a year that is confusing and when the polls are floppiing around, the debates offer a moment of liberation for the reporters, because they can resort back to the safety of being drama critics.'' Call it the debate hangover effect.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 4:30 PM

    Scoring OSU's $name$ $game$ 

    Ohio sports columnists have begun to weigh in on SBC Communications' purchase of the naming rights to the Ohio State-Michigan football game. Tom Reed of the Akron Beacon Journal shares Ohioblog's consternation at the over- and unnecessary commercialization of Ohio State football, and Bob Hunter of The Columbus Dispatch considers it just the price of doing business, separating the athletic from the financial side of the game.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 3:20 PM

    Opposites attract 

    Here are a couple of interesting opinions: One from The Nation, a publication to the left of the Left Coast, in which Christopher Hitchens who is slightly for President Bush and conservative Andrew
    who is for Sen. John Kerry. The flip-flop season continues to the end.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 3:17 PM

    Lovely leaves, wiser words 

    While we must wait until Sunday for the Youngstown Vindicator Sunday to complete the cycle of the larger Ohio newspaper endorsements (4 are for Bush, 3 are for Kerry and 1 refuses to make a choice), Ohioblog wants to share three endorsements (all for Kerry) from liberal Vermont. While Vermont is not much like Ohio (we both have cows), its newspapers are much better than their circulation and resources might indicate. So take a look at the two-part process used by the Valley News from White River Junction, the Burlington Free Press and the Rutland Herald. I'm assuming the Rutland editorial was written by David Moats, who won the Pulitizer Prize for editorial campaign for civil unions that was most acrimonious. Here's one paragraph of the Herald presidential endorsement: ``It may strike some as curious to assert that President Bush has undermined the moral standing of the United States. After all, he is a president who has made a poiint of taking what he views as the moral position on a host of issues. But truthfulness is a moral quality, too, and it is a quality that is fundamental to leadership. By restoring trust in the world of the American president, John Kerry will be able to redress the betrayal for which President Bush is responsible.'' Vermont has much more to admire than pretty foilage.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 2:59 PM

    It's hard work. It's really hard work 

    ``These terrorist acts and, you know, the responses have got to end in order for us to get the framework - the groundwork, not the framework - the groundwork to discuss a framework for peace, to lay the - all right.''

    - George W. Bush
    Aug. 13, 2001 on former U.S. Sen. Geroge Mitchell's Middle East peace blueprint Presidential (Mis)Speak: The Very
    Curious Language of George W. Bush

    Ohioblog would miss these quotes should Sen. John Kerry win the presidency. Maybe Dubya could write his memoirs.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 2:54 PM

    The polls boycott (day whatever this is) 

    Ohioblog's boycott of last-week polls continues. To understand why, check out David Knox's story in the Akron Beacon Journal. And for those who must have their numbers, however, wrong, go to

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 2:53 PM

    Slow blog slog 

    Due to server problems, Ohioblog is posted later than usual today. Clean-up work was completed and missing links supplied as of 9 p.m. - Ohio time, of course.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 2:52 PM

    Tuesday, October 26, 2004

    The Plain Dealer's do-it-yourself endorsement  

    The Plain Dealer can begin calling itself The Readers Newspaper, because Tuesday it officially abandoned its professional responsibility to everyone with a couple quarters to rub together. Ohio's largest newspaper has chosen to sit on the sidelines of this important presidential election under the guise of believing its ``readers are perfectly capable of judging...'' They're right about that. But The Plain Dealer's readers deserve to know the collective reasoning of the newspaper's editorial board and have a chance to judge how it frames its argument for either President Bush or Sen. John Kerry. Instead, readers have foisted off on them the worst of the editorialist's craft - the wishy-washy on-the-one-hand but on-the-other-hand excuse for a non-endorsement.

    The reason is simple, at least based on what Ohioblog hears: Publisher Alex Machaskee wanted to endorse Bush, the editorial board - though not unanimous - favored Kerry. When these moments occur, it's the newspaper's responsibility to resolve them and explain them, not to abdicate and certainly not to lay its shortcomings on the readers.

    The Plain Dealer has spent much time and effort positioning itself to help lead Northeast Ohio out of the economic doldrums that it called ``The Quiet Crisis'' and which have contributed to Cleveland's status as America's poorest big city. Why should anyone look to the PD for leadership now? It can't even resolve its own leadership issues.

    It would have been preferable to endorse Bush and make the case for the president (plenty of other newspapers have) than to join The Detroit News, the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal and, no doubt, others on the sideline at this critical time. Some readers will applaud the PD's decision. They believe newspapers should be read and not heard. The editorial board of The Plain Dealer knows better. If not, why fill pages day after day with opinions on subjects of far less consequence than who leads this nation in a time of war and crisis?

    Oh yeah. It's because, ``We believe our readers are perfectly capable of making an informed, rational decision by their own lights, and we strongly urge them to do so.'' Just don't expect The Plain Dealer editorial page to help.

    And elsewhere, they understand responsibility

    Karen Hunter, the readers representative at The Hartford Courant, explained there is a reason to endorse candidates despite the fact ``research shows political endorsements have little impact on most readers.'' She noted that Publisher Jack Davis and Deputy Editorial Page Editor Robert Schrepf ``view endorsements as the newspaper's responsibility.'' And Davis amplified upon that responsibility: ``Not so much because we're expecting to influence the election but because we want to give (readers) the benefit of having spent so much time analyzing the election.'' Guess responsibility is taken more seriously in Hartford than in Cleveland. The Courant endorsed George W. Bush.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:03 AM

    How about Wall Street Election Day? 

    It's official. Nothing is sacred. Everything is for sale. The Ohio State University has joined Michigan in selling the name of its renown football game to SBC Communications for slightly more than $1 million. It isn't good enough to just be Ohio State-Michigan or The Game. Now it will be the SBC Michigan-Ohio State Classic. ``That's unbelieveable,'' former OSU fullback Harold ``Champ'' Henson told Barnet D. Wolf of The Columbus Dispatch. ``There's some traditions that shouldn't be fooled with.'' Sorry, Champ. Not true. Next thing on the block will be the dotting of the ``i'' in Script Ohio or maybe even that ostentatious The in front of Ohio State University. OSU athletic director Andy Geiger said the $530,000 OSU will provide ``incremental revenue at a time when it's hard to find.'' Still, he expected some negative reaction. So they announced this sellout during the last week of the presidential campaign in the most important swing state of the election? Nice try, Andy, but you can't hide from Ohioblog's revulsion.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:00 AM

    Profits up. Reputation down? 

    The Timken Co. has issued a response to what it terms as ``misinformation.'' It's a thorough response and many of its arguments are compelling. It does not, however, address the decisions made by the company and its executives to become visibily involved with President Bush and his policies, many of which have benefitted the company (and by association its workers and shareholders) Timken might not have had to gone into the crisis control mode if it had answered reporters' questions with more than ``it's business, not politics.'' The fate of more than 1,000 workers at Timken's Canton bearings plant will not be changed by the company's third-quarter earnings report but they were up 17 percent.

    Northeast Ohio's steel industry is, well, strong as steel

    For a change, it looks as if a merger announcement will be good for
    Northeast Ohio's economy, which has been a central issue of the presidential campaign in this swing state. International Steel Group Inc. will become part of soon-to-be-formed Mittal Steel Co. NV and the Dutch company will be the largest steel maker in the world. The names of the companies have changed but consolidation and good management are turning banked furnaces into white-hot prospects.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:56 AM

    Nothing civil about this issue 

    Here's an irony (an often misused word): President Bush will benefit in Ohio because Issue 1 to ban gay marriage (and any other kind of personal arrangement outside of heterosexual marriage) is on the ballot and will attract conservative voters to the polls. Over the weekend, the president told Charles Gibson of ABC's Good Morning America that he doesn't think ``we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that's what a state chooses to do so.'' Ohio so chooses to ban all such arrangements (see its Defense of Marriage Act) - and more. So does the Republican Party platform on which Bush is running.

    And here's more...

    Legal experts consider Ohio's proposed constitutional amendment the most far-reaching of any being considered on Election Day around the country. It would ban civil unions between all unmarried couples - gay or straight. The first TV commercials opposing Issue 1 stress that unmarried seniors who live together could not inherit property (at least not automatically) because relationships that ``approximate marriage'' would be forbidden. Seniors will remember when these kinds of arrangements used to be called ``living in sin.'' Such judgmental rhetoric has gone out of fashion even in conservative Ohio - unless, of course, you're gay.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:50 AM

    Polls? Who cares 

    Need the latest numbers on the presidential campaign? RealClearPolitics is the best source. Ohioblog continues its boycott of the polls because they no longer matter in a tie that will be decided in seven days.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:46 AM

    Monday, October 25, 2004

    Mea culpa: The Dispatch is all Republican all the time 

    Ohioblog needs to correct a point and thank Peter Wray of the Ohio Civil Servie Employees Association for bringing it to his attention. The Columbus Dispatch was not one of the two newspapers in the United States to switch from George W. Bush in 2000 to the Democratic side this year. Ohioblog should have know better. The Dispatch is as Republican as the Tafts. It has not endorsed a Democrat since Woodrow Wilson in 1916 and would not endorse a Democrat unless the Republican candidate were not breathing and probably not then. Ohioblog is stupid and sorry.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:00 PM

    Roland Queen, R.I.P. 

    This is a sad day at Ohioblog. Friend and former colleague Roland Queen died of bone cancer last week at 59 . His funeral is today. We shared many press boxes over the years. He was a good and gentle soul, too few of whom we have in this state or any other. Today, we say farewell. Rest in peace, Roland. You will be missed but not forgotten.
    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 11:06 AM

    Noodling for a few more voters 

    Michael Moore, controversial filmmaker, voting advocate and Democratic propagandist, packed the house at Kent State University's MAC Center on Sunday and democracy did not crumble. In fact, Northeast Ohio Republicans showed what a classy bunch they can be. They didn't even try to have Moore arrested for ``bribing'' college slackers to vote by giving them noodles and underwear. This was the reaction in Michigan, but in Portage County, Republican Party chairman Norman Sandvoss did not get his underwear in a knot. He told the Akron Beacon Journal's Martin Cizmar (this guy sure has a lot of jobs) that ``this whole business of running to the courts at the drop of a hat is detrimental to the whole system and detrimental to both parties.'' So while outside protesters complained about the maker of Fahrenheit 9/11, the 44th stop on the 60-stop Slacker Uprising Tour went on with Moore telling an audience of 6,000 that 50 percent of Americans don't vote in most elections and they are the workingclass people, poor people, single mothers and young people - and they should. (Of course, these people tend to vote the way Moore and the Democrats would like.)
    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:54 AM

    With rules for voting set, the emphasis is on following them 

    Could there be peace at the polls? (Naw.) The Democrats have begun to act to help their voters to get to the correct polling place, and Republicans have withdrawn some of their registration challenges in Hamilton County while many of their other challenges have been thrown out due to a glitch in the computer program used to prepare the filings.

    On a Sunday swing that took him fromm Cincinnati to Dayton to Lima, Sen. John Edwards, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, told reporters the voting issue swings, as the Dayton Daily News' Jim Bebbington put it, on whether the effort is to stop fraudulent voting or to deter legitimate voters. ``My gut feeling has always been that the more people who vote, the more likely it is that John Kerry will be president,'' Edwards said. ``They think that, too. We're doing
    everything we can to make sure people get to vote legitimately. They are certainly engageed in some efforts in the opposite direction.''

    In Dayton at the Allen Temple, Edwards promised churchgoers that ``We are going to make sure that if you want to vote, you're going to be able to cast your vote. Democracy is going to work in this election.''

    Regardless their political side, Ohio election officials experssed relief at knowing which rules to follow with provisional voting. ``We're happy there's been a decision, whether people like it or not,'' Michael Sciortino, president of the Ohio Assocaition of Election officials, told The Columbus Dispatch's Mark Niquette. Sciortino, director of the Mahoning County Board of Elections, could have phrased it a little eloquently but we get the point. We all know what we have to do: Find our precinct and vote there. (Most of us actually does this on a regular basis.) The remaining flaw is that in some states voters don't have to do this so the federal Help America Vote Act hasn't quite accomplished what was intended. Maybe our lawmakers could revise it so we all vote under the same rules. Is that asking too much?

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:13 AM

    Now, everyone can know Mr. Blackwell 

    Once Ohioblog took a break from compiling endorsements, there was time to read Julie Carr Smyth's telling profile of Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell in Sunday's The Plain Dealer. It's worth every Ohioan's time, because this is the Ken Blackwell I know from meetings with the Akron Beacon Journal editorial board and numerous one-on-one conversations (mostly by phone) over the years. The man is whip smart or as his grandmother put it ``all-out.'' He also has an ego larger than Lake Erie and ambitions that know no bounds. He's never met a stage he didn't like, and don't think he doesn't realize that he has the biggest of his life as the chief election officer of a state that will be key to deciding our next president. The question you'll have to answer - and you may have the chance to do so as Blackwell intends to run for governor in 2006 - is whether the broad spectrum of Blackwell enemies, in his own Republican Party as well as among Democrats, is a good sign for ordinary Ohioans or a bad one. I side Dennis Eckart, former Democratic congressman as well Blackwell's former college classmate at Xavier University in Cincinnati, who has come to the conclusion that this is not the same Blackwell who once fought for equality on many fronts, not if Blackwell can adopt ``one of the narrowest constructions possible of the Help America Vote Act in the country.'' Blackwell is an opportunist. Too often, and certainly in the case of his narrow ruling on provisional votes, the opportunity is good for Ken but not so good for other Ohioans.
    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 9:08 AM

    It's a fine mess you've got 'em into this time, Alex (no, the other Alex) 

    Toledo attorney Mark Adams, the Dispassionate Liberal, has launched a letter-writing campaign to The Plain Dealer to express consternation over the possibility that the newspaper will endorse President Bush on orders from Publisher Alex Machaskee, who may override the collective decision of the PD's editorial board.

    On his Web site and with e-mails, Adams is asking that Northeast Ohioans: ``Let the staff at the Cleveland Plain Dealer know that journalistic integrity is more important than holding a grudge against Clinton and taking it out on Soon-To-Be-President Kerry. Write them RIGHT NOW and tell them that there is the overwhelming majority of the citizens of Northeast Ohio will not stand for their newspaper pushing an agenda they feel is diametrically opposed to the interest and desires of the people of Greater Cleveland.''

    It is within Machaskee's purview as publisher to hijack the endorsement process but when it happens it leaves not only the newspaper but also the community damaged, particularly one that is the poorest among the country's big cities.

    Adams' campaign is unlikely to change what is happening at the PD. Editorial departments frown upon letter-writing campaigns, even those that support their position. They seek individual thought. So the one thing people can do to make their letters and e-mails count is to write them short and from the heart. No form letters/e-mails. No language borrowed from Adams. If you care, care enough to use your own words. The contact information is as follows: Letters can be mailed to the Editor, The Plain Dealer, 1801 Superior Ave, Cleveland 44114. E-mail can be sent to Faxes can be sent to (216) 999-6209.

    If he's good enough for The New Yorker...

    The New Yorker magazine has broken with tradition and endorsed a presidential candidate in its Nov. 1 issue, because Editor David Remnick, tells the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz ``the magazine's not a museum; it's a living thing that evolves.'' The New Yorker chose Sen. John Kerry because President Bush's record is ``one of failure, arrogance'' and ``incompetence.'' What makes this all the more interesting is that Remnick says he did not consult The New Yorker's owner Si Newhouse - yes, the same Newhouses who own The Plain Dealer.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 8:42 AM

    An endorsement update: Bad news for President Bush 

    Editor&Publisher has again updated its list of endorsements and created a list of the endorsing newspapers by candidate and state. The findings would be bad news for President Bush if people used the endorsements as what they are meant to be - one part of the decision-making process. Read Akron Beacon Journal Public Editor Mike Needs' Sunday column and it continues to be obvious that many people consider endorsements as intrusions into their singular thought process. There aren't enough people such as Art Blair of Akron, who believes the endorsements are ``a moral obligation.'' John S. Knight, late Beacon Journal editor and founder of Knight Newspapers (now Knight Ridder) would agree. He used to say about his hometown that he didn't care who led it, but someone had to. Often that was Knight and his newspaper.

    And as Roger Bryant of Akron so aptly observed in Needs' column, the closer to home the political contest gets, the more people need information and even judgments of those who have spent time studying the candidates. That, of course, is among our political ironies: We know more about the presidential candidates than those who will affect our daily lives more directly in our schools, courts and city halls.

    Watch for the Beacon Journal election guide on Wednesday. The
    Plain Dealer
    published its guide on Sunday and its contents are available on line. In the meantime, check out the E&P findings: There are 24 newspaper that have ``flip-flopped'' from endorsing President Bush in 2000 against Vice President Al Gore to supporting Sen. John Kerry. Only two newspapers have switched from Gore in 2000 to Bush this year. Kerry has received 125 endorsements (16 million circulation) compared with Bush's 96 (10 million).

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 7:44 AM

    Sunday, October 24, 2004

    Endorsement central is now closed 

    What are you doing looking at these when the Browns are playing?
    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 2:50 PM

    Mucho endorsements but not The Plain Dealer 

    There's trouble in Comeback City - or is it the Capital of Poverty? Whatever it is, Cleveland woke up this morning to no presidential endorsement from The Plain Dealer, Ohio's largest newspaper. Ohioblog and others sent up early warnings of the conflict occuring between the newspaper's editorial board and its publisher, Alex Machaskee.

    The Plain Dealer did not promise it would publish an endorsement today, but this was the day for it. Waiting until next Sunday doesn't allow sufficient time for community reaction (maybe that's desirable in this case) or conversation. And newspapers don't like to place their most important endorsements in weekday editions because the circulation is smaller than on Sunday. So, what happened?

    Editor&Publisher, a monthly magazine covering the newspaper industry, suggests on its Web site that ``consternation in some quarters at The Plain Dealer'' caused the editorial to be put off. When the publisher wants to endorse President Bush and the majority of his editorial board favors the change that might be brought by Sen. John Kerry to the city with the highest poverty rate in the country, it will prompt consternation. Pick Bush and The Plain Dealer is as much as telling those who live in the city proper that it doesn't give a damn, that it is going to do what is best for those in the suburbs. The Plain Dealer has been preaching the regional approach. In this instance, it doesn't work. It's either Cleveland's newspaper or it is not.

    Elsewhere, editorial boards and publishers were able to wend their ways along what Columbia Journalism Review calls ``The Circuitous Road to and Endorsement.'' and John Kerry came up the big winner according to Editor&Publisher's exclusive count. Kerry leads Bush in daily newspaper endorsements 113-71 (14.4 million to 8.6 million in circulation) and has gotten 17 new and a total of 28 newspapers to change their endorsements from 2000. Only two papers that supported Vice President Al Gore have moved to the president, but one was The Columbus Dispatch (Ohioblog offers an excerpt of the editorial - and others - below).

    Here is E&P's flip-flop breakdown and papers for Bush:

    KERRY SWITCHES: Besides those already mentioned (the Detroit News, the New Orleans Times Picayune, the Harrisburg Patriot-News, the Washington Post, the Orlando Sentinel, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, the Memphis Commercial Appeal), Kerry grabbed 13 other papers from the Bush 2000 column, with the endorsement of the Allentown (Pa.) Morning Call; the Stamford (Ct.) Advocate; the Journal News (White Plains, N.Y.); the Quad City Times in Davenport, Iowa; The Rockford (Ill.) Register-Star, the Contra Costa (Ca.) Times; Iowa City Press-Citizen; Worcester (Ma.) Telegram & Gazette; the Ventura County (Ca.) Star; the Wausau (Wi.) Daily Herald; the Billings (Mt.) Gazette; Walla Walla (Wa.) Union-Bulletin; and the Bangor (Maine) Daily News.

    OTHER KERRY PICKUPS: Kerry also gained the backing of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Centre Daily Times in hotly-contested Pennsylvania; the Bergen Record, Newark Star-Ledger, The Times of Trenton and Gloucester County Times in surprisingly close New Jersey; the Toledo Blade in Ohio; the Raleigh News & Observer and Asheville Citizen Times in North Carolina; Newsday, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News and Glens Falls Post-Star in New York; the Des Moines (Iowa) Register; Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal; Las Vegas Sun and the Reno Gazette-Journal in Nevada; the Daily Southtown in Illinois; Hampton Roads (Va.)Daily Press; the Nashville Tennesean; Santa Fe New Mexican; The Journal Times in Racine, Wisconsin; the Bismarck (N.D.) Tribune, The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Indiana; the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph; the Waco Tribune-Herald and Lufkin Daily News in Texas; The Coloradan in Ft. Collins; the Decatur (Ala.), Daily; Kennebec (Me.) Journal; The Republican in Mass.; Durango (Colo.) Herald; Lansing State Journal in Michigan; the Portsmouth Herald and Nashua Telegraph in New Hampshire; the Hutchinson News (Kansas.

    BUSH BACKING: Bush, however, (got the Denver Post to switch to his side and) retained the Austin American-Statesman and Houston Chronicle in his home Texas; the Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati Post; the Hartford (Ct.) Courant; Long Beach (Ca.) Press-Telegram; Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; the Chronicle of Centralia, Wash.; the Express-Times of Easton, Pa.; Bowling Green (Oh.) Daily News; The Ledger of Lakeland, Fla.; the Enterprise-Record of Mocksville, N.C.; the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, Va., the Fargo (ND) Forum.

    Ohio's largest dailies (Overall total: 4 for Bush; 3 for Kerry)

    The Enquirer (Cincinnati) - Bush.

    The terrorist attack that killed more than 3,000 Americans changed our outlook, changed our sense of security and it most certainly changed our president. The next four years will require a president who has the fortitude not to waver in the face of terror. George W. Bush and John Kerry are both strong and patriotic men, but we believe the times call for America to be consistent. For that reason we support Bush....This election may be as close as the last. That means there will be a sharp and painful division in this country. To achieve our goals of security at home and stability abroad, our president must couple the constancy of his first term with the compassion that he has long professed. To be effective, that compassion must be used to encourage compromise. We believe George W. Bush has the strength to meet this challenge and the others that will confront America in the next four years.

    Cincinnati Post - Bush.

    Our endorsement is not without reservation. We worry that Bush, who promised to be ``a uniter not a divider,'' while rightfully pre-occupied with the war on terror, has nonetheless permitted the extremists in his party to exploit social issues for partisan purposes. We worry that he has allowed those extremists to demonize all government instead of encouraging good and robust government. In his 1999 campaign Bush argued his party "too often confused the need for limited government with a disdain for government itself." We hope he can return the GOP to its roots in the party of Alexander Hamilton, of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, to government which is limited but energetic, supportive but not intrusive, and which cultivates the entrepreneurial spirit which has served our nation for nearly 230 years. Those are values we cherish and we believe they are the values of George Bush. With George W. Bush we choose stability, continuity and decisive leadership.

    Columbus Dispatch - Bush.

    Like millions of American voters, The Dispatch is less than enthused about the choices in next week's presidential election. Neither President Bush nor Sen. John Kerry has built a record that leads to a clear-cut decision. Since President Bush took office, this newspaper repeatedly has criticized his administration's borrow-and-spend fiscal policies, which have resulted in massive deficits that weaken America. The Dispatch also strongly opposed the invasion of Iraq, contending the case had not been made that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction or posed an imminent threat to this nation. On the other hand, neither Kerry's 20-year Senate record nor his shifting positions during the presidential campaign inspire confidence that he would provide the strong, resolute leadership America desperately needs. Confronted with these disappointments and this choice, The Dispatch believes a second-term George W. Bush would stand a better chance of leading the nation up the difficult road that lies ahead.

    Toledo Blade - Kerry.

    It was Ronald Reagan, on the eve of his election against Jimmy Carter in 1980, who asked if the American people were better off than they had been four years earlier. It was a powerful question, and on Election Day the nation delivered an emphatic answer: no. Today, 24 years later, faced with the same query, Americans must consider that, by almost any measurement, the answer is the same. They must also understand that this country's best chance to embrace better times is with the election of John Kerry as the 44th President of the United States. This is not an election about John Kerry's service in Vietnam. It is not about George W. Bush's record with the Air National Guard. It is not about who did what in the service of his country more than a generation ago. At its core this election is about unhappy times in America. Our country is a sadder place than it was on Inauguration Day, 2001, and we attribute it directly to the incompetence of the President.

    Non-Ohio endorsements for President Bush (not all inclusive)

    Austin American Statesman

    President Bush got some things wrong, but there is much he got right. We are faced with an unrelenting foe who strikes from the shadows and won't be deterred by diplomacy or international resolutions. Bush's resolve and commitment to stay the course are clear. As Winston Churchill once said, ``When you're going through hell, keep going.'' Though Kerry is an honorable man who knows firsthand the horrors of war, he is deluding himself if he thinks a different administration will change the outlook of a foe that doesn't make war on an individual administration, but on the West in general and the United States in particular....This president is not a conservative in either foreign or fiscal policy. In some ways, he is radically changing the course of government - and that might be just what we need to face foreign threats and a rapidly changing global economy. We certainly hope so. We do not make this endorsement lightly or without reservation, and we ask that the president return our faith by acknowledging his failures and acting to correct them.

    The Denver Post

    Typically, in the case of an incumbent, our endorsement calculation would begin this way: Are we, as Coloradans, better off today than we were four years ago? In a word, no. Since 2001, Colorado has lost more jobs than we've gained, and the ones we've gained pay less than the ones we've lost. We pay less in taxes, but our household and medical expenses have skyrocketed. Ninety thousand of us have lost our health coverage. Washington is ringing up record deficits and sticking the next generation with the bill. In Iraq, Colorado-based military units and reserves are deployed in a hostile environment for questionable purpose and uncertain result. Yet, in the context of Nov. 2, it isn't sensible to assess the state of our union in easily definable ways. Ours is an era in which security matters most, and national security is the preeminent duty of the next president. On Sept. 11, 2001, this country accepted a great challenge - to inflict justice on terrorists who would attack us and to take every reasonable step to protect our homeland. The task has been pursued with dogged resolution, and we think President Bush is best suited to continue the fight.

    Hartford Courant

    As in many past elections, Americans are closely divided over who should be the next president. It's not a clear-cut case of one candidate being far superior to the other. Yet history is not made by those who stand on the sidelines and wring their hands. The people must choose on Nov. 2, and The Courant recommends George W. Bush over John F. Kerry. A cataclysmic event occurred nine months into Mr. Bush's presidency - the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 - that changed America and reordered the criteria for judging who should be president. In this age of global terrorism, Americans must have a resolute leader. President Bush is better prepared than his challenger to manage the security needs of the nation. His promise to prevent attacks on the United States by taking the fight to the enemy abroad is one of the main reasons we recommend Mr. Bush for a second term....We are rarely blessed with perfect choices on who should lead the nation. On balance, President Bush has compiled a record good enough to merit a second term. He has been an agent of change and a strong leader in a dangerous time.

    The Houston Chronicle

    Four years ago the Houston Chronicle was pleased to endorse Texas Gov. George W. Bush for the presidency of the United States. That endorsement drew upon Bush's successful governorship that sought and found pragmatic, bipartisan solutions to pressing problems. Since then, the most devastating terrorist attack on the United States, eclipsing even Pearl Harbor, has placed new imperatives on the voters' choice of the nation's chief executive. Despite the Chronicle editorial board's disagreements with some of the president's policies, both foreign and domestic, the Chronicle believes today's criteria, combined with Bush's long record as chief executive of Texas and the United States, again recommend President Bush to lead the nation. The Chronicle endorses his candidacy for re-election to a second term.

    Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, S.D.)

    We have a clear choice for president. We can choose a man who can make decisions and has the courage of his convictions. Or we can chose a man who can't and doesn't. We must choose President George Bush - a far from perfect president but the better of the two. Four years ago, the Argus Leader endorsed Al Gore over President Bush. We're facing a different world situation now, with different needs. In 2004, given the choices, George Bush is the right person to lead our nation.

    Non-Ohio endorsements for Sen. John Kerry (not all inclusive)

    Bangor (Maine) Daily News

    We endorsed George W. Bush in 2000 based on his humility, optimism, a professed compassionate brand of Republicanism and, after the divisive years between the White House and Congress in the 1990s, his pledge to be a uniter, not a divider. Those traits have arisen occasionally in the last four years, but not often....Sen. Kerry would return the White House to a mainstream, outward-looking style of governance, more inclusive by necessity and inclination, more willing to confront the complex and changing conditions in the world and more willing to address domestic issues in an enlightened way. He will face perilous times abroad and at home, but by many measures he seems the more capable of meeting them successfully.

    Billings (Mont.) Gazette

    President Bush had the whole world on his side after 9/11. He squandered that goodwill and undermined U.S. credibility with his Iraq policy. After his initial strong response in Afghanistan, he turned his focus to Iraq. Osama bin Laden remains at large. The president failed to adequately plan a U.S. exit from Iraq as demonstrated by the ongoing deadly insurgency. One of the most troubling aspects of Bush's leadership style is his view that ``if you're not with us, you're against us.'' The right to dissent is a basic guarantee of our democracy. Americans should exercise their right to criticize the government and work for positive change.

    Chicago Sun-Times

    The Chicago Sun-Times endorses Sen. John Kerry for president. This represents a change in outlook for us. Four years ago, this newspaper endorsed George W. Bush. We thought his administration would be about trimming big government and spending a surplus projected at $4.5 trillion. We liked Bush's vision for cutting taxes. And, most of all, we saw Bush as a leader who could unite the nation. ``Bush reaches out...'' we wrote in 2000. ``Throughout the campaign, Bush has sounded a conciliatory tone, avoiding the ugly culture wars of recent years and promising to work across party lines for unity.'' Culture wars were eclipsed by real war on Sept. 11, 2001, and suddenly our visions of ever-expanding American prosperity and influence were exposed as pretty illusions. We found ourselves plunged into an unfamiliar and very dangerous new world....The question that Americans need to ask themselves, going into the voting booth a week from Tuesday, is this: Do you like the direction our nation is heading? If the answer is no, then your vote should be for Sen. John Kerry.

    Des Moines Register

    About half of Americans have lost confidence in President Bush, yet many hang back from embracing the alternative. That's unfortunate, because Senator John F. Kerry is a wise and decent man who has the makings of a fine president. Still, there's little wonder that voters have doubts. Most of what they think they know about the senator comes from a masterful job of``defining the opposition'' carried out by the Bush campaign and its surrogates before most people got a chance to know the real Kerry. So Americans were introduced to Kerry the flip-flopper. Kerry the softie on defense. Kerry the wild-eyed liberal. Kerry the appeaser who will let terrorists attack America. It's sad that an incumbent president chose to employ so much of his vast campaign resources to tear down his challenger, and not to cite his own accomplishments or to move the nation ahead. But perhaps that's precisely the difficulty the president faces. His presidency has been one of bold leadership undermined by a failure to achieve meaningful results.

    Fort Wayne (Ind.) Journal Gazette

    Kerry, while lacking the eloquence and focus of a perfect candidate, is the superior alternative. Kerry would move to protect Social Security while Bush would most likely undermine it with individual savings accounts that would partially privatize it. Kerry would seek a fairer tax system, while Bush seems poised to seek a regressive tax restructuring that would continue to favor the rich. Kerry would seek to increase health insurance availability and lower prescription drug costs while Bush would continue to protect the drug industry’s profits. Kerry would act to enlarge and improve a middle class that the Bush administration ignores. President Kerry would work to restore U.S. global credibility and to resolve the Iraq quagmire by involving the United Nations and U.S. allies in stabilizing the war-torn nation. Bush, by contrast, would continue to pursue the failed go-it-alone strategy. Kerry would meld intelligence, prevention and diplomacy to prevent terrorism, while Bush prefers to rely on force. Too many Democrats have adopted an ``anybody but Bush'' mantra that demeans John Kerry, who in fact has a strong grasp of the issues and a better understanding of what must be done to make the nation safer and improve the quality of life at home.

    Idaho Statesman (Boise)

    Today we endorse John Kerry for president. We do so with reluctance and regret. Reluctance because Kerry's promises are vague, his 20-year Senate record slim. Regret because we expected more from President Bush, whom we endorsed four years ago. Kerry promises to bring a more thoughtful approach to difficult problems. He will need a strong team surrounding him. He will need to do something Bush abandoned: make a concerted and continued effort to build coalitions. He will need to grow into the toughest job in the world. Kerry has not won our confidence. But Bush has lost it. Bush has made snap decisions. His shoot-from-the-hip style has polarized the nation. He has bulldozed environmental protections and piled up frightening budget deficits. Most critically, he rushed this nation into war in Iraq, costing more than 1,100 U.S. lives and damaging America's image abroad.

    Iowa City (Iowa) Press Citizen

    If a CEO took his company from record revenues to record debts, then bogged down his employees in a messy, costly project with no easy way out, shareholders would have no choice but to fire him. Given that, America’s sharenolders - its voters - need to hire a new CEO on Nov. 2. President George W. Bush has failed America.

    Louisville (Ky.) Courier Journal

    President Bush stands for re-election next week as one of the most divisive chief executives in the country's history. It did not have to be that way. After the bitterly contested race in 2000, the President had an opportunity to recognize that his mandate was limited and to make good on his campaign promise to be a ``uniter, not a divider.'' Then came the horrors of Sept. 11, 2001. Putting aside their differences, Americans stood shoulder to shoulder behind the President in their determination to defend the nation, defeat the criminals who had perpetrated mass murder, and combat global terrorism. What the President delivere, however, was a dismal mixture of radicalism, recklessness and incompetence. Fortunately, Americans have an appealing alternative. Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic nominee, has demonstrated, particularly during the televised debates, breadth of knowledge, ability to understand complex issues, and sound judgment - qualities that have been missing from Mr. Bush's stewardship.

    Los Angeles Daily News

    With the presidential election just nine days away and polls showing a dead heat, the country appears as divided as it was four years ago, when George W. Bush eked out a victory over then-Vice President Al Gore. And that's no place to be. With the nation at war against terrorist radicals, there has never been a greater need for unity. We found that unity after the terrible 9-11 attacks, but under President Bush's leadership we have become dangerously polarized. To wage an effective war on terrorism, we must restore national unity and repair our damaged international alliances. And the candidate best able to do that is Sen. John Kerry. In fairness, there is much to admire about Bush's four years in office. In the aftermath of 9-11, he applied a steadying hand that helped unite the nation and focus Americans on the enormity of the task we faced. He crafted a sound vision for what it will take to wage the war, and he has shown the resolve necessary to win it. But for all the leadership Bush showed in those first days, the record has been far more troubling ever since.

    Newsday (Mellville, N.Y.)

    The case against re-electing George W. Bush is very strong. But the case for electing Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts is not as clear-cut as we ould have liked. That leaves voters with a tough choice this year....Bush's presidency has been too radical and too often wrong. Kerry will have a fresh chance to bring the country together, to help heal the wounds of the past 12 years when partisan bickering has reached historic highs. Kerry will face the same tough choices that Bush will in trying to stabilize Iraq. Indeed, for all their arguments over what went wrong in Iraq, both Bush and Kerry have fairly similar prescriptions for what has to be done now to shore up the interim government and gain control of the security situation. Kerry says he can do a better job of bringing the allies back to the table and into Iraq. Maybe. It certainly is worth a try. He will have more goodwill from the allies than Bush. Kerry will also bring to government a group of advisers much more committed to nation building than the Bush administration has been. After all the blunders of the Bush administration, a fresh start, with a different team, is worth a try there. Kerry is not an ideologue, and his desire for success makes him more likely to compromise and find common ground with his opposition. He is the one candidate who can begin to heal the deeply bitter divisions in the nation. Bush cannot and will not do that. By his own words, he is what he is. Newsday endorses John F. Kerry for president of the United States.

    Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk. Va.)

    George W. Bush oiled the troubled waters of his 2000 election by promising to govern as a unifier and a compassionate conservative. Four years later, the nation is more bitterly split than ever. That is because the president abandoned the middle ground of the Republican Party in favor of its ideological edge. He discourages internal dissent, equates disagreement with disloyalty and presents the terrorist attacks of 9/11 as an unassailable justification for whatever course the administration takes....In poll after poll, Americans say that the nation is on the wrong track. They are right. It is time for fresh leadership at the Pentagon, time for a president who will hold subordinates accountable, time for a chief executive with the wisdom to recognize fatal miscalculations. If you want the same results, you keep doing the same thing. We do not doubt George Bush’s good intentions. We doubt his judgment. The results speak for themselves. John Kerry has demonstrated the personal courage and intellectual stamina to put the nation on a sounder course.

    Orlando Sentinel (Kerry has swept the large Florday dailies)

    Four years ago, the Orlando Sentinel endorsed Republican George W. Bush for president based on our trust in him to unite America. We expected him to forge bipartisan solutions to problems while keeping this nation secure and fiscally sound. This president has utterly failed to fulfill our expectations. We turn now to his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry, with the belief that he is more likely to meet the hopes we once held for Mr. Bush. Our choice was not dictated by partisanship. Already this election season, the Sentinel has endorsed Republican Mel Martinez for the U.S. Senate and four U.S. House Republicans. In 2002, we backed Republican Gov. Jeb Bush for re-election, repeating our endorsement of four years earlier. Indeed, it has been 40 years since the Sentinel endorsed a Democrat - Lyndon Johnson - for president. But we cannot forget what we wrote in endorsing Mr. Bush in 2000: ``The nation needs a leader who can bring people together, who can stand firm on principle but knows the art of compromise.'' Four years later, Mr. Bush presides over a bitterly divided Congress and nation. The unity following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks - the president's finest hour - is a memory now. Mr. Bush's inflexibility has deepened the divide.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Four years ago Al Gore won the popular vote and George Bush, after a Supreme Court decision, became president. The new chief executive promised to be a uniter, not divider. So much for that pledge. It gets worse. Since 2001, the incumbent has been lacking on foreign policy, national security, the economy, safeguarding constitutional rights and maintaining credibility at home and abroad. In all of these categories, the Post-Gazette believes the United States needs a fresh start and that John Kerry can provide such leadership. A President Kerry will make the country safer because he will not take his eye off Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. A President Kerry will look after the workers of America because he is concerned about both the haves and the have-nots....There is no doubt that Americans have gone from a generally happy time in the 1990s to four years of deficit, discord and disappointment. We would pose the same question that President Reagan asked famously in the heat of his own campaign: Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Relatively few, we think, would answer that with ``yes.'' If your answer is ``no'' or ``not sure,'' then we have a president for you. The Post-Gazette enthusiastically endorses John Kerry. It's definitely time for a fresh start.

    Racine (Wis.) Journal Times

    President Bush favors the line, ``It's a tough job.'' That could apply as well to the presidency - and Bush has occupied the Oval Office in trying times - but it is clear that he is not up to the challenge. His legacy in four years in office is one of massive national debt, tattered foreign relations, environmental degradation, job losses, skyrocketing health care costs and an economically pinched middle class. We cannot recommend his re-election. In all honesty, we were not overly impressed initially with Democratic candidate, Sen. John Kerry, when he was on the campaign trail. But after watching his steady performance in the trio of debates and listening to his pledges to rein in the national debt, work to rebuild international alliances, roll back some of the recent tax cuts and work toward healthcare reform, we believe he will be able to make some headway in getting those jobs done. The most impressive qualities that Kerry would bring to the job are his studied thoughtfulness and pragmatism. His history in Congress has shown an ability to compromise on issues and to consider other points of view. That has been sorely lacking in the Bush administration and is the root cause of some of its biggest failings. The Journal Times recommends John Kerry for president of the United States.

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:45 PM

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