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Obama will be a tough sell in Ohio

Published: Sun, August 31, 2008 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

By Bertram de Souza

As this is being written, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden is on national television ripping into his “good friend” John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president. It’s an impressive performance by the veteran U.S. senator from Delaware, and the Democratic Party faithful packed into the Pepsi Center in Denver are relishing the red meat.

But as Biden ticks off the reasons a McCain presidency would be a continuation of President Bush’s eight-year tenure, this question comes to mind: Will Biden’s impressive r sum , especially his foreign policy credentials, help Obama in the battleground states that the senator from Illinois lost in the primary to Hillary Clinton?

More specifically, will an Obama-Biden ticket be able to turn red Ohio blue?

That question would not be so compelling today had New York Sen. Clinton been the vice presidential pick. Her performance in the March 4 primary in the Buckeye State, in which she beat Obama handily, and her huge base of support in predominantly Democratic regions like the Mahoning Valley would have changed the dynamics of the race.

As it it now, the contest is a virtual dead heat, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll. Forty-four percent of the respondents favored Obama, while 43 percent said they were for McCain, who will accept his party’s nomination this week at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Buffo performance

It had to have been a “V8” political moment for the Democratic nominee last Tuesday night when he saw the jammed convention center in Denver literally rocking as Clinton stood at the lectern, and as he listened to the reaction of the party faithful when she spoke. It was a buffo performance by the most talented female politician in America today. Just ask her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who also wowed the crowd when he addressed them Wednesday night.

Obama must have had to restrain himself from slamming his hand against his forehead and quipping, “I should have had her on my ticket.”

Why he didn’t will remain the most intriguing question of this presidential election.

Not only would Clinton have brought the 18 million voters who supported her in the primary election to the table, but she also would have made it so easy for people like Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and other statewide Democratic officeholders who supported her to embrace the Democratic ticket.

Hillary Clinton’s support among blue-collar workers in Ohio, among hard-core Democrats and even among black voters parallels that of Bill Clinton’s.

As has been noted in this space on several occasions, Obama’s being black is a major hurdle in this state. Indeed, the willingness of labor leaders in Ohio and around the country to finally address the issue of race publicly last week is a recognition that while Obama has done very well with blacks, the young and the college educated, older white women still vote in larger numbers than any other group. And, they are the ones need to become comfortable with a black in the White House.

Historic moment

This is not to diminish the historic event that occurred in Denver when Obama stood as the first black to be nominated for president by a major political party. But there is nothing to suggest that the warm and fuzzies evident Thursday night when Obama addressed about 80,000 party faithful in Mile High Stadium will translate into enough votes in November to win.

Indeed, if Ohio is the key battleground state, as some political experts suggest, given that President Bush’s reelection four years ago was due to his winning here, then the Democrats have an uphill battle.

Obama will be a tough sell in this state, even with Biden on the ticket. The senator from Delaware was born in Scranton, Pa., and came from a blue-collar family. His working-class pedigree does make him an attractive figure in regions like the Mahoning Valley.

But, Biden isn’t Hillary Clinton.

During the 1992 presidential election, Bill and Hillary and Al and Tipper Gore came to the Mahoning Valley and drew 10,000 people to the Southern Park Mall parking lot.

Long-time Democrats compare that appearance to John F, Kennedy’s in downtown Youngstown.


1TheLostPatrol(755 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

When the Ohio electorate go into the voting booths in November, inevitably, aside from the urban areas of Ohio's major cities, Ohioans will not vote for Obama. Quite possibly, a vote for Hillary in the primary may have also been an anti-Obama vote, too.

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2valleyred(1094 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

You guys saw Palin last night. You liberals think every speech you gave would attract the swing vote, we'll you're wrong. Last night's speech will connect with MIDDLE AMERICA!


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3cambridge(2972 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

The Republicans had their chance for eight years and the results speak for themselves. McCain's policies are the same as Bush. I do agree that Obama wont carry Ohio. People in Ohio didn't get it four years ago, I doubt the get it now.

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4ytownoptimist(86 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Don't underestimate the youth vote, the African-American vote, the female vote (I don't believe every woman can identify with Palin and who the hell plays hockey in the Midwest anyway?) and then all the other Democratic voters. I don't think Ohio is a total wash at all. To think that we can predict this election is laughable. Anything could happen the night before the election that may sway the vote one way or another. I don't think Palin necessarily connected with all of Middle America. 1) you are assuming that all of Middle America even watched her speech. 2) you are assuming that no one in Middle America is the least bit Democratic leaning.

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5Ytown_born_and_bred(27 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

I agree ytownoptimist. And as the column stated, it may be a hurdle for him to carry the state because of his race, but what confuses me is, if this same group, "the young and the college educated, older white women still vote in larger numbers than any other group. And, they are the ones need to become comfortable with a black in the White House," were the ones that loved Hillary are willing to vote for McCain, because of race, then who cares about the economy, healthcare, or any issues that we are facing, they want 4 more years of the same majority being failed policies, and an unclear future for themselves and their children, etc. It's sad, but not totally unbelievable that we still cannot overcome race. And I cannot wait for the debates, that way we can see what Palin is about, because if McCain doesn't live to the end of his term, God help America if she becomes President. Ohio didn't get it right 4 years ago, but maybe 8 years of problems will knock some sense into the voters.

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6ytownoptimist(86 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Excuse me but women care about their individual rights over their own bodies and having their children educated regarding birth control to avoid STD's and AIDS than any positives Palin might represent. Palin would be so right wing with the appointment of Supreme Court justices that it is downright scary (I do realize that congress approves the justice but the prez does have a lot of power in this). Look at what Bush has done with the Attorney General's office and with appointing idealogical judges. Palin would be a worse alternative. She might not care about the environment or protecting it for future generations but the women of America do care. It is a woman's right to have control over her own body and being pro-choice isn't all about wanting people to make a very difficult decision about keeping a pregnancy. Its about wanting people to be educated before it gets to that point.

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7dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

All i know is Ohio has lost more jobs in the past 8 years under a republican ran government. They promised more jobs to our area as more and more were lost. I don't see how anyone can not be sick of it and see that McCain is 4 more years of Bush. All they care about is Ohio's vote then they kick us to the curb like trash. They see people in Ohio as muppet and them the puppet master. I didn't vote for Bush fearing exactly what has happen to Ohio and America. I just see is getting worse with McCain. We need a change, one that will take a look at the people of Ohio and America, and see we need a good leader who will get us back on track!

Obama Biden for a BETTER future for OHIO and AMERICA!!

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8talkinghead(9 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

@ ytownoptimist: I know it's hard for some to believe, but abortion rights isn't the most important issue for all women. It's important to the majority of woman, but I don't think many live in fear that the law as it exists will change much.

Some democratic leaning women will move to McCain's side partially because of Palin and partially because McCain isn't a party line Republican.

To believe this move won't help him and that (unfortunately) racism won't play a part in this election is to live in denial.

My prediction is that McCain wins by about 3% nationwide and a slim electoral margin...

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9MillCreeked(24 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

While I agree that there are issues that concern this election more than reproductive choice, I would caution Talkinghead about the statement that people don't live in fear that the law will be changed. The majority of Americans are pro-choice, plain and simple. McCain/Palin will appoint judges to overthrow Roe v. Wade. That is unacceptable to most Americans and thus it is a serious part of the election. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortions will continue to happen at the same rate, but many adult women will die from complications like they do in third world countries. How is that saving "lives"?

As for AndersonNathan, perhaps invading countries without just cause and thus allowing soldiers and civilians to die or be disabled for life for no reason is less important to you than the potential for life contained in a unborn fetus, but it seems to me to be a gross imbalance of morality on your part to vote for a party that continues to lead innocent adult Americans to their deaths for no reason just so you can feel better about than controlling the reproductive rights of women. If you cherish life so much, go out and demand and end to this facade of a war we've been waging on...who?

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10cambridge(2972 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

When McCain made his acceptance speech he stated that "the Republicans were in charge and they lost their way." He admitted they had their 8 years and screwed up.

For the last 8 years he voted with Bush 90% of the time. His policies are exactly what Bush has done for the last 8 years. But if you give him a chance and vote Republican again he will change everything that went wrong. He helped it go wrong.

I have to say it again. If you vote for McBush you just don't get it.

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11ytownoptimist(86 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Believe it or not, not all Americans believe in creationism but do believe in science. This is another area that Palin has extremely right wing viewpoints. So, let's say they can't get another Scalia or Thomas on the Supreme Court, they will still appoint other levels of judges who chip away at Roe v. Wade via allowing picketing at Planned Parenthoods (which actually do give birth control to women who cannot speak to their parents about sex - I knew many women in college who had evangelical parents that would never support taking them to a gynocologist for birth control) and the like.
Yes, women and mothers care about the economy but they also care about choice. McSame doesn't have any refreshing ideas regarding the economy. Its more tax breaks to the corporations "hoping" they will trickle down to the worker. Hmm, I seem to remember Reagan's trickle down theory didn't work either . . .

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12330treehugger(3 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

DeSouza is right: Hillary on the ticket might have locked Ohio up for the Dems. Florida and Michigan likewise have disgruntled democrats who are resentful of the failure to count their votes in the primary. All three states will be an uphill battle for Obama.

If only one in ten angry Hillary voters and one in ten white Dems votes for McCain-Palin it more than throws the election to the Republicans.

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13TheLostPatrol(755 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Bottom Line is that all that matters is the Electoral Numbers. Remember Al Gore took the popular just like Nixon did against JFK, and both Gore and Nixon (in that race against JFK) were not elected by the majority. Both candidates need Ohio, and that is where WE live, not in one of the other 49 states. That being said, if you think aside from the urban settings of this State of Ohio, that Obama and Joe Biden will defeat a Republican and a sitting Governor that is Female, then you need to get a folding chair and go sit on the grass of Route 422 facing the old mill property and watch them fire up the Ole Blast Furnace! Look at Ted Strickland, better yet, ever LISTEN to Ted Strickland? If you are riding the coat tails of a Strickland Victory as a matter of point that Obama is going to follow suit, may I remind you that Bob Taft was the WORST Governor this state has EVER had, and............who did Strickland run against? After you recall the candidate that ran as a Republican against Strickland, now tell me....aside from Faith, Hope, and Charity, do you Reeeeeeallllly think that the electoral (beyond the urbaan boundaries of our major cities in Ohio) are going to give the State of Ohio to Obama?

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14Tomcat(202 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Who in the world would vote for a declared Muslim for president. You have got to be kidding!!!!

McCain / Palin - 2008
Palin / ??? - 2012

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15cambridge(2972 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

What Muslim is running for president?

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16ytownoptimist(86 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

1) Obama is a declared Christian. 2) Muslims are citizens of the United States, too. Do some research on worldwide religions and you will see what % of Muslims are actual terrorists. FYI: few religions don't have violence in their historical background. Have you ever heard of the Crusades . . .?

Now, let's get back to the actual topic at hand. Who is the better individual to represent all of America in this melting pot of a country and who will make us proud in the global front and restore pride to our name around the world.

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17talkinghead(9 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

@ ytownoptimist:

I'll give you that Scalia is a dyed in the wool conservative. However, He, Thomas and Roberts are above anything, strict constitutionalists. They aren't activist judges that read things into the constitution that aren't there.

As far as picketing Planned Parenthood: how can you argue a citizens right to protest? Just as anyone is allowed to protest a given church, business or organization. Even the NRA and anyone that enjoys the freedom we have in this county should support that right.

Saying that "Believe it or not, not all Americans believe in creationism but do believe in science." smacks of elitism and assumes that all conservatives dismiss evolution. There are differing factions within both parties.

I raise this question: If the democrates don't win now when can they? Bush has made some terrible mistakes and given the left an open door. Can they stumble through it?

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18dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Tomcat like Palin's Bible thumping religon is a good thing? The woman stated that the war in Iraq is "God's will"!

Oh and Obama is not Muslim either and here is a repport for you Tomcat. If you are going to state things, at least make them truthful facts! So here is you proof he is NOT muslim:
Obama sets record straight on his religion
Presidential candidate battles misconception that he's a Muslim

updated 10:49 a.m. ET, Mon., Jan. 21, 2008
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Barack Obama is stepping up his effort to correct the misconception that he's a Muslim now that the presidential campaign has hit the Bible Belt.

At a rally to kick off a weeklong campaign for the South Carolina primary, Obama tried to set the record straight from an attack circulating widely on the Internet that is designed to play into prejudices against Muslims and fears of terrorism.

"I've been to the same church _ the same Christian church _ for almost 20 years," Obama said, stressing the word Christian and drawing cheers from the faithful in reply. "I was sworn in with my hand on the family Bible. Whenever I'm in the United States Senate, I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. So if you get some silly e-mail ... send it back to whoever sent it and tell them this is all crazy. Educate."

One piece features photos of Obama praying with the words "COMMITTED CHRISTIAN" in large letters across the middle. It says Obama will be a president "guided by his Christian faith" and includes a quote from him saying, "I believe in the power of prayer."

A second piece, which like the first doesn't mention the Muslim rumor, includes photos of Obama with his family and a caption that says they are active members of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. It explains how as a young man Obama "felt a beckoning of the spirit and accepted Jesus Christ into his life."

So Tomcat you can see he is NOT muslim!

Obama Biden 2008 for a BETTER AMERICA!!!

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19talkinghead(9 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Please site a credible source where Palin states that the Iraqi war is "God's Will." MoveOn.org does not count BTW.

Also, it's silly to state that Obama is a Muslim. That's just trolling. Ignore it.

Honestly, haven't we moved beyond religiously based attacks?

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20baxter(1 comment)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

here it is, from the horse's mouth:


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21dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Thank you baxter!

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22msell716(9 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

I was for Clinton; Obama was too arrogant to choose her for
a v.p. so my vote goes to McCain-Palin. I have confidence in
McCain that he is qualified and is separated from Bush; I have confidence that Palin can be a President. If George Bush can become President, anyone can!

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23ytownoptimist(86 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

msell716 - I have to ask if you were a Hillary supporter then what policies that she stood for do you see McCain supporting? I'm sorry but Sen. Clinton was my senator in New York state when I lived there. I know her background and policies very well. I find it hard to believe you truly are a Hillary supporter if you can switch over to McCain so easily. Their viewpoints on healthcare, choice, economic stimulation, Iraq (the list goes on and on) are opposite. And Palin is even more opposite Sen. Clinton than McCain. I find it baffling. Hmm, are you just saying you're a Clinton supporter to make it look like Clinton supporters are now McCain supporters?

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24lucy(123 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Way to go Ytown. I think most Hillary Clinton supporters have already figured out that Sarah Palin is nowhere near Hillary Clinton, either in substance or in style (meaning behavior, not clothing).

As for Obama's VP pick, it's clear that he chose a running mate who he felt would compliment his qualifications...the intelligent, not arrogant, way to run a campaign.

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