TALK SHOW U.S. Rep. Strickland hosts radio show on WKBN-AM
The congressman remained calm even when criticized.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
BOARDMAN -- Improving veterans' health care, problems with outsourcing and free trade, and a few shots at the Bush administration dominated the discussion during U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland's stint as a talk-show host on WKBN-AM radio.
Strickland, of Lisbon, D-6th, has hosted a few shows focused only on military veterans at smaller radio stations in the past, said John Haseley, the congressman's chief of staff.
But the Friday appearance at WKBN was Strickland's first time hosting a regular radio program. Also, Strickland never hosted a show on a station with a listening audience as large as WKBN's, Haseley said.
Strickland took five telephone calls from regular listeners, three of who criticized him. For most of the show, Strickland talked to local union and business officials, who praised him.
One person who didn't call was ex-U.S. Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia, veterans coordinator for U.S. Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign. Strickland had said Cleland was going to call the program, but he didn't. No explanation was given on the air for the no-show, but those close to the situation said there was a miscommunication regarding time zones and Cleland called the show three minutes before it ended. Strickland spoke to the former senator after the show ended off the air.
Strickland received an assist from radio personality Dan Gonder and local veterans leader John P. Brown, while filling in for Dan Rivers, who is on vacation.
During the show, which lasted about an hour and 45 minutes, Strickland railed against free trade and the outsourcing of jobs.
"How in the world can we expect companies to compete against companies that pay workers $38 a week" in Mexico? Strickland said. "If we don't stand up, we will lose the middle class."
Strickland also said reports that the national economy is improving are deceptive.
"The happy talk about the economy roaring back is false," he said. "People who I speak to know it isn't true."
One caller from Warren said Strickland and other Democrats blame President Bush forthe nation's economic struggles.
In response, Strickland said: "I wouldn't blame President Bush for everything. The economy was showing softness during the last few months of President Clinton's term. The fact is when those things happen, whoever is the president has the responsibility to take appropriate action. This administration and Clinton's administration encourage the outsourcing of jobs."
Other callers criticized Strickland for blaming Republicans for the nation's problems.
Strickland, a potential 2006 gubernatorial candidate, remained calm during the attacks, and agreed with some of the statements made by his detractors.
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, filled in for Rivers on April 30, his first time as a radio talk-show host.
Strickland and Ryan were low-key as hosts, particularly compared with former U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. The bombastic Traficant was a frequent guest host on WKBN.