By DAVID SKOLNICK
Gov. Ted Strickland said he’s not smearing, lying, distorting or telling half-truths about John Kasich, his Republican opponent.
Instead, Strickland, a Democrat, told a crowd of about 150 supporters that he’s pointing out the “different values” between the two.
Kasich “has called what I’ve said smear,” Strickland said at a Friday campaign visit to the Lemon Grove Cafe on West Federal Street in the city’s downtown.
“When you talk about a person’s record, that’s not smear.”
Strickland criticized Kasich for some of his votes during the Republican’s 18 years in the U.S. House, including his support for the North American Free Trade Agreement, normalizing trade relations with China and his opposition to increasing the minimum wage.
“I challenge John Kasich to refute anything I’ve said about him,” Strickland said. “I know what mudslinging is. It’s when you lie, distort or tell half-truths. I’m just saying what’s in the record.”
Rob Nichols, Kasich’s spokesman, said Strickland is attacking his Republican opponent and ignoring his own failures as governor.
“If this is not a smear campaign, then show me one,” Nichols said. “Tell voters what you’ve done over the past 31/2 years. Better yet, do your job.”
Strickland also criticized Ohio Auditor Mary Taylor, the Republican lieutenant-governor candidate, for comments she made at a Cleveland roundtable discussion Thursday.
In making a point about Ohio’s estate tax hurting businesses, Taylor, a certified public accountant, said, “I spent 16 years working with businesses, entrepreneurs that were successful, created a great deal of wealth for themselves and their families, and you now, we counseled those individuals to consider, you know, moving to Florida or other states that don’t have high income taxes and an onerous stand-alone death tax.”
Strickland said “it’s almost incomprehensible” that a lieutenant-governor candidate would make such a statement.
“Sometimes I wonder if John Kasich and Mary Taylor like Ohio,” Strickland said. “... If John Kasich and Mary Taylor are so in love with Florida, maybe they should run for governor and lieutenant governor of Florida. I’m not going to bash Ohio. They’re bashing Ohio.”
In response, Nichols said Friday, “Apparently Ted Strickland is the last one to know that job-creating entrepreneurs regularly flee our state for those with lower taxes.”