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No surprises in Veep’s visit

Published: Fri, August 31, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By David Skolnick (Contact)

On the side

At the fair: U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, will join Democratic officials and candidates at the Mahoning County Democratic Party’s tent at the Canfield Fair from 3 to 5 p.m. today to meet fairgoers.

The tent is located at 47 Beaver St., near the fairground’s grandstand.

Hard-hitting billboard: Marisha Agana, Ryan’s Republican opponent for the U.S. House, calls the congressman “an obedient lapdog” in a billboard advertisement.

The billboard has President Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, all Democrats, in caricature, with leashes holding a caricature dog with Ryan’s face, standing next to a fire hydrant.

The billboard states: “Dr. Marisha Agana will serve only you!”

Vice President Joe Biden returns to the Mahoning Valley today with a stump speech that will target Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee.

Biden will compare the economic policies of President Barack Obama, a fellow Democrat, and Romney, who gave his presidential nominee acceptance speech Thursday to close the Republican National Convention.

Biden “will discuss the choice voters in Ohio have in this election — a choice between these two fundamentally different visions of how to grow the economy, create middle-class jobs, and pay down the debt,” according to an email from the campaign.

That’s what Biden talked about during a 35-minute speech May 16 at M7 Technologies in Youngstown.

Biden said at the time that very wealthy people, like Romney “don’t get us,” meaning the middle-class.

Biden also said in May that the area has “been through hell and back — outsourcing, padlocked plants.”

He also praised Obama for the auto bailout, saying the “only reason” there are jobs at the General Motors complex in Lordstown is “because the president had the courage” to push through the rescue plan in 2009.

With Biden speaking at the United Auto Workers Local 1714 union hall in Lordstown today, he’s obviously going to talk again about the bailout. Local 1714 members work at that GM facility.

Also, Biden will talk about what Romney said Thursday in accepting the GOP presidential nomination.

No interview

And just like the last time and his three previous visits to the area since mid-2008, Biden isn’t available today for an interview with The Vindicator.

I complained about the snub in May and during a Democratic conference call shortly thereafter.

That not only attracted some national attention, but also the attention of the Romney campaign.

On a positive note, that led to an exclusive interview with Romney.

Following that, the Obama/Biden campaign told me in early July that they were working on getting me an interview with the vice president.

Apparently that’s still a work in progress.

Many national politicians — or at least the people who make decisions on interviews — don’t like to talk to print media.

I remember John Edwards in early 2004, then a Democratic presidential candidate, complaining in front of me about having to talk to the “pencils,” his derogatory term for newspaper reporters.

My ability to cover politicians doesn’t depend on the 5 to 10 minutes given to reporters for one-on-one interviews.

Important state

They’re nice to have, and in a heavily Democratic area in one of the most important swing states in this election, you’d think Democrats would make a point to provide that access.

But often those interviews are too brief to get in more than two or three questions.

Also, an experienced politician can talk for several minutes in response to questions without actually answering them.

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