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Letson, Hagan say some Valley McCain supporters are racists

Published: Mon, September 15, 2008 @ 5:40 p.m.

YOUNGSTOWN — With the Republican presidential and vice presidential nominees in the Mahoning Valley Tuesday for a rally, two local Democratic state legislators said that they believe a main reason polls show a tight race is because of racist voters.

“Race — that’s the only reason people in the Valley won’t vote for him,” said state Rep. Thomas Letson of Warren, D-64th, about Barack Obama, his party’s presidential nominee. “There are 1,000 reasons to vote for Obama and one reason why you won’t — race.”

There are 35 percent to 40 percent of the population made up of “staunch Republicans” who would never vote for a Democrat regardless of race, Letson said.

It is the independents, the “swing voters” and Democrats who are or will support Republican John McCain who are the “racists,” Letson and state Rep. Robert F. Hagan of Youngstown, D-60th, said.

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Vindicator or Vindy.com


1RobinVanPersie(9 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Well, isn't that typical.

Was that the remnants of Hurricane Ike last night, or the breeze from the desperate flailing of the Democrat Party and its constituency?

I'm not voting for Obama because there are 1,000 reasons why I won't. But race is not one of them.

It's nice to know how the leadership of this area thinks of the people who vote them into office. Apparently, I am nothing but a hood wearing racist. Shove off, you do-nothing legislative wankers.

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2DoctorGonzo(728 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

That is some typical democrat nonsense coming out of the mouth of a typical politician.
Nothing like calling part of your constituency racists and then asking for their vote when your next election comes up.
You know what, the independents who vote for Obama are racists and chauvinistic, and the ones who don't vote for these clowns are intelligent.

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3MVProud(20 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Racist? Come on Democrats - come up with something new. Bring a candidate that has potential and real ideas, then we will vote for him. We are smarter than you give us credit for. We can see through BO's "talk." Tell us "how" you will do it not what we want to hear. Sound bytes don't get you elected. Leadership, results and a plan for America gets you elected.

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4ytown9999(55 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Wow. Has it come to this? Point your finger and say if you don't vote the way we want you to, you are nothing but a racist.

Hagan and Letson are clearly just hateful mysoginists just trying to stop Palin. They are just trying to cover up their sexist motives by playing the race card.

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5ytown53(5 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

What a typical Democrat Liberal idiotic statement. You guys have overplayed the race card. Maybe, just maybe, we aren't voting for Obama because he is a SOCIALST, with no decision making experience.

When you are out of ideas and have no argument "Cry Racism"

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6valleyred(1103 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

That was a very demeaning and cruel thing to say, and if this area was split down the middle among conservatives and liberals, I guarantee you that both Hagan and Letson would be out of jobs by this fall.

I am voting for McCain because I am a strong conservative on the issues. I am for lower taxes, less government, stronger military, more oil drilling, and conservative stances on social issues like guns, gay marriage, and abortions.

Hagan should recall that Local GOP Chair Sonny Smith was a big contributor to a black man named JAY WILLIAMS FOR MAYOR. And I wonder if Hagan forgot, that is the same man he lost to for mayor in 2006..

Racist, give me a break. I'd vote for Condi-Steele-Powell over Obama anyday! Read more at the Valley's First and Only Conservative Blog, MVRed.com

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7xytown(63 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Typical ignorant comment from 2 loser politicians who have done nothing for the Youngstown area!


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8dmets(575 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Typical? Please you are all to afraid to talk about the elephant in the room. Most white American are scared to death to have Obama, who is part African American in office. They just use other thing as there excuses. Our area is very racist and I see and hear it way to often. So don't even say typical. I would rather you be truthful, then lie. Cause all you republican beleive in Palin, who is a terrible choice, and McCain who is going to be another Bush and do nothing for us. He is a rich man and gives to s***s less about the middle class or the poor. Which what most of our area is! McCain is not going to cut our taxes, only make them high in order to keep give the rich more benefits. McCain is a hugh lier and his record of voting proves it in governmnet. He is a Bush man! He is going to keep driving our country into the hole Bush has already made if voted president. He is no Maverick, but a wolf in sheeps clothing! He is saying anything to to keep all his little puppets in place!

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9OhioPerson(76 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Are yall serious??? Has anyone noticed that even just the comments on vindy.com are drenched with racism??? I grew up in the South and I'd had this silly idea before I moved here that people in the North were different... I was totally wrong- this place is actually worse than "the sticks" when it comes to racism. And I'm not talking about the odd Confederate flag or white power dumb crosses, though I do see those here and there- I hear people using "black neighborhood" as a synonym for "dangerous neighborhood", assumptions are regularly made about black kids in the schools (by kids and teachers), not to mention this comment area on vindy.com. In the South, at least there's mixed neighborhoods, you regularly see people of color in restaurants, stores, churches... Here it seems everywhere we go is practically segregated. It's really disturbing that people here are so defensive and unwilling to look at themselves honestly. Even if some white voters aren't voting for Obama because of policy reasons (like if they make over $250,000 per year and don't want a tax increase), we should at least really think twice about our racist leanings.

I would more question where Hagan and Letson are coming from. Where do they live and how far is it to the nearest black/latino/asian/or otherwise non-white resident? How often do they encourage their kids to play with all kids- boys, girls, black, white, asian, latino, etc. It's good they are willing to point out others' racism, but I hope they're looking at themselves too.

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10andersonathan(683 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Amazing how many times the bho campaign, supporters and media will play the race card, maybe it is their ace in hole. So i guess being a McCain/Palin supporter just makes me a racist then so i guess i will buy a flag flying the stars and bars then.

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11DoctorGonzo(728 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago


"McCain is a hugh lier and his record of voting proves it in governmnet."

Perhaps if you had been paying attention in school you could be a member of the rich that McCain panders to. You are only a few decades from having an intelligent opinion on things.

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12OhioPerson(76 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Maybe yall didn't read the whole article? Letson said, "There are 35 percent to 40 percent of the population made up of “staunch Republicans” who would never vote for a Democrat regardless of race, Letson said." He's talking about on-the-fence voters.

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13dmets(575 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

I completely argree with Ohioperson and city dweller. They said everything, along with my comments from earlier.

You are right about the republican voting strickly a republican ticket. That is so right, huh? Lets not even look at what the other candidates bring. The funny thing is, they are the same ones who said the White House wasn't ready for a woman in office, while Clinton was running, who had tons of experience. Now they are backing a woman to be in White House, Palin, without any experience. Hugh HYPOCRATES! Flip flop, that is all republicans do! I think you could have put Mickey Mouse as Vice President, with McCain, as long as he is a republican they would vote for him. They look at the letter and not the actual issues and platform.

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14TB(1167 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

"Tell us "how" you will do it not what we want to hear. Sound bytes don't get you elected. Leadership, results and a plan for America gets you elected."

Maybe if you examine Barack Obama's website you might actually see his platform and plans. Give it a shot.

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15andersonathan(683 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

yes Obama a couple of his economic advisers just happen to be ex Ceo of Fannie May and Freddie Mac then look up who is supporting his campaign, add in his church, crooked friends, voting record, His only 2 bills submitted on his own was to rename a post office and to give support to the Congo in three years, Obama is the puppet, racism is the platform, toss in Muslim and the bomber his being the big Liberal


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16ts1227(137 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

This is news? If you didn't know this area was racist, you probably live under a rock. This area won't ever change their ways...

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17Stillwrong(1 comment)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Hagan get a real job, b/c sucking off tax dollars for 22 years really isn't fair to anyone and on your point of racism, I KNOW that there are some who wouldn't vote for Mr. Obama for this reason but I can give you another "thousand reasons why not" and would be glad to in any form as I know I have more talent and intelligence then either Mr. Hagan or Mr. Letson

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18lucy(135 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

While I can understand that no one wants to be accused of racism, but as many posters have pointed out here, we do have a problem with racism in this area. It isn't inappropriate for our local leaders to confront it.

This summer, I met a young man who visited for a month from Manchester, England through our Working Class Studies program. He said that he really enjoyed the people that he met in Youngstown, and he also said "your biggest problem is racism."

Last week, I listened to my dentist and his assistant talk about "the coloreds" while they worked on my teeth. I wish this example was unusual; it wasn't. I hear this kind of thing all the time.

Also, bear in mind that while the politicians quoted here seem to be "playing the race card" we really don't necessarily know everything that they said. News stories are typically written from an angle; it's just the way journalistic writing works.

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19George412(161 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Lost Patrol asked "Now why is that so, especially after over an entire generation and a half of Equal Employment Opportunity initiatives being in-place here in Ohio?"

Some would respond "institutionalized racism."

But this article isn't about the State of Ohio and its prisons. It's about Letson and Hagan making the point that race might affect Barack Obama's chances of garnering Valley votes because we have some pretty entrenched racist beliefs here in Youngstown.

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20Westsider(269 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

As a lifelong registered Democrat, I deeply resent being called a racist if my vote goes to the McCain/Palin ticket. I have known Bob Hagan for many years and am sickened by his comments. I am a Democrat who is voting for McCain and Palin - and proud of it - especially with such hatred spewing from Democrats. What's the matter? They must be terrified of losing the election - and you know what - they should be.

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21DRDAVE1965(80 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago


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22shallowdave(2 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

I ain't no racist... Palin's hot. I'd vote for her any day. I was going to vote for Hillary, but one womans good as another. I don't care about no stinking issues like the fact Obama's going to bail out medicare forever. Heck the dollars dropping like a depressed stock trader from a New York skyscrapper anyway. Go Middle Class! Vote Mc Cain and Palin!

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23cambridge(4064 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

In a recent Vindy poll the question was asked: "Will race affect how you vote for President in November". 34% said yes.

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24shallowdave(2 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

That doesn't surprise me. But I am not sure it is the Hillary or McCain suporters that said "yes".

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25andersonathan(683 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Hey i am a little old [D.O.M.]aka:dirty old man Cindy McCain is hot so is Palin so lets just agree on that the [R]'s have the babes this year and vote that way? After all i liked Hilary if she could put up with Bill this long she might be able to run a country? Chelsae in 2020? plus some one is right if this area was a little more split D's and R's some people might consider thinking before speaking. The primary proved big city with large black voters went Obama, rural areas [more white] voted Hilary. Google maps has [had] state and county voting to look at where votes were supporting who both parties.

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26dmets(575 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

shallowdave...That's really a great way to make your pick, cause the VP on the ticket is hot. Are you serious? Typical man always think with the wrong head.

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27Ytown_born_and_bred(27 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Those voters that were supporting Hillary, I can see as voting for McCain due to race, I will call them racist all day. And aztek519, whose money is the govt using to bailout these greedy companies, AIG, Fannie and Freddie? Now those CEOs and whoever else, are still going to maintain their lavish lifestyles and still benefit financially off of us working people. So either way your money is going to the lazy or the rich and greedy!

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28andersonathan(683 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Well as a Hilary supporter changing to McCain i would step softly calling me a racist and a prime example of CEO is Obama and his friend Johnson who was in charge of selecting his VP pick collected over 90 million in wages in 6 years from Fannie and Freddie, and his other close economic buddy was at Freddie Fannie and Lehman's. both have former lobbyist and BHO has is number 2 on donations in three short years from Fanni and Freddie, So that might shed some light on BHO and you might want to consider McCain he and Ron Paul both addressed Fannie and Freddie i think to the senate or congress in 2005 and no body wanted to hear it.

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29valley73(1 comment)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Someone forgot to mention the first 35 minutes of the press conference.
As a supporter, and a first time volunteer for the Democratic Party, it’s amazing to me how the media misconstrued the message and how the journalist failed to mention what the press conference was actually about:
McCain choosing a inexperienced, earmark ask'n, ANWR drilling, Gov to be his running mate. And how the Republican ,McCain/Palin ticket will further ruin our failed economy.
Mahoning County cant with stand another 4 years, Youngstown is barely hanging on, our Unions are falling apart, residents are forced to leave to find work, and our children are moving states away in order to find a halfway decent job.

“Sadly race is an issue”… Skolnick, give me a break…you know what you heard.

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30apollo(1227 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Come on Andersonathan, McCain's team is full of Washington lobbyist. Phil Gramm, the bank lobby guy is going to set McCain's economic policy.

What your saying about Fannie and Freddie is a smokescreen for your real reason for supporting McCain. Obama's black!

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31ysugrad1999(46 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

You do know none of McCain's current campaign team are active lobbyists! Obama's claims are only partially correct. Seven members of his current staff have worked as lobbyists in the past at one time or another. None of them have worked with/or as a lobbyist since joining McCain's team. Obama's ad insinuates they all still are! This is all very misleading.
I also agree with an earlier posting. Hagan and Letson are clearly playing the race card to cover up their sexist motives.

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32DRDAVE1965(80 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

"It always amazes me how many times the candidates come to visit and make promises, yet the valley gets ZERO HELP after the election."


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33NoBS(2761 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

The last president who was going to do anything was George Bush Sr. He had the wheels in motion to locate a Government Accounting Office here, which would have meant many many jobs. But then he was voted out and the Democrat Slick Willie got in. He realized this area would support him even if he screwed us over, so he did just that, and reneged on that GAO. Hey, we did still support him. Dems here just love to drink that kool aid.

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34andersonathan(683 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago


If McCain let his manager of picking his vice president who was a ex CEO of F&F who made 90 million over six years and has other top advisors CEO's from F&F Lehman on his economic plan. That among other things would lead me astray from voting for McCain and Palin. But guess what the "black guy" has those people on his payroll planning the future of us? It is the Dems new drilling plan, my God what a JOKE, just more Pelosi, Reed, Kerry, Dodd, Obama nonsense.

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35ytownoptimist(86 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Hagan and Letson are right on the dot. I live on the south side, in the house I grew up in, after being away for 14 years and the racial makeup has changed. I am always asked "Aren't you scared living there?" Are you telling me that isn't veiled racism or what? My neighbors are lovely families just as my neighbors were growing up just a different color. What is a sin is the fact that some of them rent their homes and the owners take such horrible care of the properties. Just because you rent out a property doesn't mean you don't regularly mow the lawn, paint the house or fix things up.

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36michaelat(9 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Well, I think there are some people who are going to have trouble voting for a black man, no matter how much his policies will help them. Are they openly racist? Maybe yes, maybe no. I think this is a good time for people to be introspective--if you aren't going to vote for Obama b/c he's black, or you "don't know him", or "he's different", or "you have no idea what he stands for" (all euphemisms for problems with his race) then it is time for some 21st-Century soul-searching. You know yourself how you feel about this issue--it's time for everyone to realize that if we do not take part in the modern world, it is going to chew us up and leave us behind.

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37andersonathan(683 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

And it seems funny the CEO of these company's are on board with Obama. And with a few tax hikes even on the over 250 thousand people will shut the rest down. But Joe Biden says it is their patriotic duty? There is no test to be a republican. As far as to what to expect with Dems in the white house senate and congress just check out their new energy bill.
They pulled a legal ENRON scam on Americans made hundreds of millions of dollars and the federal government bailed them out.

So i think i will toss another name in to Obama pill of crooks George Soros. There is a long list of new and old money and Harvard lawyers, in fact if money is a requirement to be a republican i would hate to see the requirement to be in with the Democrats these days.

So just name the regulations you want or name the ones we took away to cause the fall of there company's? the people trail falls right in Obama campaign staff and contributors.

It is not a race issue but every Liberal, every Democrat, MSNBC, wants it to be it might be the only thing only card you have to play. We will know in 8 days how they stack up.

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38OhioPerson(76 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Personally I like Cynthia McKinney.


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39NoBS(2761 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

ytownoptimist writes: "I am always asked "Aren't you scared living there?" Are you telling me that isn't veiled racism or what?"

No, it's not racism. It's simple amazement that you choose to live in a high crime rate area. I wish people would stop 'finding' racism where none exists. The charge of "racism" seems to be the flavor of the day - the most overworked and inappropriately applied term currently in use.

And I'm not voting for Obama NOT because I'm a racist, but because I feel Obama is completely unqualified to hold the office. That doesn't make me a racist, it makes me an American.

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40ytownoptimist(86 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

FYI: I don't live in a high crime area. There has never been a shooting, there are no gangs, there are a lot of single mothers and families. It is just not all white like it was 20 years ago. The people that ask me that question live in very affluent areas in Poland and Boardman. It IS racism because they came out and have said worse but it is so ignorant I choose to not write it here.

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41michae7193(2 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Id like to say, Im a republican, I wont vote for a democrat around here again. We need to go republican and get these people off our payroll and take this valley back. Im sick of these democrats, the same names the same people in different offices doing nothing for us. Hagan has been in office his whole life, its time for that man to go home. Come out and call us racist if we are republicans. I wrote an email to the UAW and the response I got back was that republicans are ignorant and anyone who votes for Mccain is ignorant. That Union has to go too, they will ruin this valley and general motors before its all over. But, not to worry, their pockets and Obamas will be lined with our money. Just as the ceo's of all these giants have lined his pockets.

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42michaelat(9 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Check out this short column on Obama and race. I think this is a really clear articulation of how racism pervades a system in indirect forms.


If the link doesn't work, go to www.nytimes.com and look for Nicholas Kristof's article in Op-Ed from Sunday--"The Push to Otherize Obama.

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43Empathetic(11 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Today is my 1st time reading these comments about the news articles and I had to sign-up. Jeez what a treat. Forget about racism against blacks, with out even absorbing what the article was talking about (undecided and independents)the vicious hatred spewing began- not against blacks, against democrats.

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44tjescaped(3 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

AMMAN Hagan told the truth and shame the devil. this is the reason why I left Youngstown. As an political community organizer I found youngstown to be very racist. And unforgiving toward anyone who believes in a United Country.

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45Empathetic(11 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

ytownnoopt- I 2 grew up on the Southside and my Mom still lives there. Most homes are indeed in major disrepair and yes partly due to owners moving in renters and never bothering with them again, the lawns are atrocious. Grass a foot high,trash all over.This has ALOT to do with why some people do not want to stay there.It drives property value to zip. This however is NOT the responsibility of owners to run over,cut the grass and pick up the trash. Ill admit my brother and I HAVE begged my mother to move elsewhere because along with those "lovely families" lurks a criminal element as well. The school system also has huge problems. I guess my point is that these are the reasons y many people ( including myself) dont want to live there anymore. Not because we dont want to live where black people live, we would feel the same same no matter what the race ratio.

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46Ken(153 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Bob "Do Nothing" Hagan has mis-spoke again and then wanted to clear up his comments...isn't that typical. The only thing he worries about is that his wife has her 'job' at YSU for near $50,000/year and he can continue to spount on about health care for all; education improvement and whatever else he is told to say!

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47spenc083(7 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

I'm a dem and I'm voting Rep this time around because I want Sara as President...one heart beat away.

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48jae(1 comment)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

I am really embarrassed by what has been said in all of the comments. I was born and raised in Youngstown, attended Youngstown city schools, and my grandparents have owned a business there for close to 50 years. I see the real issues that are a factor, and racism is one of many. The problem is that no one in this country wants to address the real issues. Most of Ohio Public schools are in bad shape, we are ALL struggling to make ends meet. Between my husband and me we make decent money. We do not get assistance from the government, but we can barely make ends meet because of what is happening with this country. No one talks about the outrageous daycare costs, grocery costs, inflation, and how that affects your life. Let's be real, in the last 8 years this country has gone down the drain. Is that our fault, or the fault of the people we have put in office? I went to college, I have a good job, and my husband has a good job and was in the service. But what are we left with for all of our hard work, what is he left with for defending our country? Nothing. Everyone needs to stop making crazy comments about who looks better, or what a person's skin color is and address the issues. When do we stop being selfish and start looking at what is best for everyone. I am always looking for ways to help others, it sounds like everyone making these comments needs to review the idea who will be better for the country. Examine the websites of the candidates, look at the plans, look at the history, and then make your decision.

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49Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Once again, and never ending, is racism! That's going to be the issue in EVERYTHING! Racism? hmmmm, why is a color of someone such a issue, and from what I read on these comments, Y-town is a racist city! Give me a break! It's everywhere! And no matter what you say or do or comment, it'll be racism! FORGET THE PAST, THE PAST IS OVER, And move on and decide who u think the best next President is, and for me, I'm voting for a write in with Hillary Clinton! But it just amazes me, how no matter what! It boils down to Racism! I would never understand that, till I die! Racism is so uncalled for in this decade, and I no it'll never go away, but just get along and forget the PAST! Which is what they always bring up! The PAST, it's over and done with, get over it! And it's sad you can't say NOTHING even in a joke it being Racism!
Give me a break!


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50spenc083(7 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Son, you need to walk in another MAN'S shoes for a day!

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51Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

Mainstream media use racism to sell news air time in mainstream news should not happen.. For racism to end people and news have to cover news without racial involvement doing a news story. Race plays to big a part of America.
For America to get past racism people have to openly deal with problems without using any racial over tones in news or conversations. Hatred only weakens the bond to bring Americans together as one people live in one nation.

For Americans to help the country come together to help end racial hatred people must accept each other without looking at a person`s sex or race. Racial hatred only weakens America for the long term pulling races apart.

Americas has to come together as one people living in one nation where all people are just American without race culture attached to the end of American. America is in two wars this nations needs for all people to stand side by side to end the ties of racism that tears people apart.

America will not grow or thrive as a nation without a permanent end to hate of races or people with a different sexual preferences. The American people must accept each other as Americans now more then ever with the nation`s very uncertain years ahead.

As long as Americans stay divided this nation will continue to decline America needs a united people for the United States of America to be fulfilled. As a free nation with total freedom America needs for people to act without racial hatred to help America over come the hard lean times of recession ahead.


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52andersonathan(683 comments)posted 7 years, 9 months ago

In Ohio, ACORN's continuing pattern of voter registration fraud apparently includes the 73 registration cards turned in this year for just one individual. WKYC has reported: "ACORN has already submitted more than 75,000

In Texas, where ACORN's affiliate, Citizens Services Inc., has provided contract work on behalf of Senator Obama's campaign, its record of voter registration has been lacking hope. The Houston Chronicle reported on August 17 that "About 40 percent of the 27,000 registration cards gathered by ACORN from January through July have been rejected or placed in limbo pending the gathering of more information, according to the county" while "about 6,600 were filled out by people already registered, and many others contained insufficient information."
2008 Has Been A Banner Year For Bogus Registrations In 2008 alone, ACORN’s activities have prompted calls for investigations in nearly a dozen states: Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina, with new investigations developing regularly.

Just one reason not to vote for Obama and nothing to do with race.

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