Kasich’s winged speech crashes and burns

On the side

Ohio in the spotlight: The Republican presidential candidates are paying attention to Ohio, likely the most important state with a primary on the March 6 Super Tuesday ballot.

Newt Gingrich spent Tuesday and Wednesday campaigning in Ohio.

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum will speak at Republican Lincoln Day fundraisers in Northeast Ohio next week.

No appearances are confirmed by the GOP presidential candidates in the Mahoning Valley, and it’s possible we could be bypassed.

Mahoning and Trumbull are two of the most Democratic counties in Ohio.

The area’s best chance for a Republican presidential candidate appearance is Columbiana County, a swing county.

There are 437 delegates in the 10 Super Tuesday states. Ohio has the second-largest number with 66.

Georgia, Gingrich’s home state, has 76 delegates.

After his second sometimes rambling and strange State of the State address, Gov. John Kasich should realize that winging it with some notes is not working.

Kasich, a Republican, bounced from subject to subject, made some bizarre quips, and relied too much on shout-outs to those in the audience and the same tired references.

Also, the speech was nearly 85 minutes long (and felt even longer).

It’s like a three-hour movie that would be more enjoyable — and watchable — at two hours in length.

It’s not like the bar is that high.

Former Govs. Bob Taft, a Republican, and Ted Strickland, a Democrat, delivered good, but far from excellent, State of the State addresses.

There were two new touches from Kasich this year that I liked.

One was delivering the speech outside of Columbus. Kasich spoke at a Steubenville school.

Except for tradition and the comfort of state officials who don’t like to leave Columbus, there’s no reason the State of the State address shouldn’t be held in a different part of Ohio every year.

Courage awards

Second was the state courage awards he gave to three people.

But that quickly turned weird when Kasich said to two of the winners: “We don’t want to see those on eBay, ladies.”

Also, even if you think you’ve got a great-looking spouse, calling her a “hot wife” at the State of the State address is probably not a great idea.

I wonder if the “hot wife” and “eBay” quips were on the pieces of paper he had in front of him delivering the address.

And how many times can Kasich bring up his childhood home of McKees Rocks, Pa., and compare it to other “ethnic blue-collar, hard-working town(s)?”

Apparently as many times as possible.

The comparison this time was Steubenville.

Several times before this, including last year’s State of the State, it was Youngstown.

There were some amusing references — and I don’t mean his often-stated comment, which he repeated at Tuesday’s speech, that California is “filled by a bunch of wackadoodles.”

When talking about Honda’s investment in Ohio, he mentioned Jerry Seinfeld in the back seat of a car.

The comedian was in a commercial for Honda that aired during the Super Bowl, two days before the governor’s speech.

Little laughter

There was none to little laughter from the crowd, which was likely filled with New England Patriots fans.

Kasich spoke about the Mahoning Valley though not as much as his first State of the State address.

When talking about General Motors, he mentioned Lordstown, adding “Chevy Cruze, baby, it’s selling.”

He also said he couldn’t “believe” the “unemployment rate in Youngstown has gone from 11.5 to 8.3 percent in the last year. The Mahoning Valley is alive again, and they deserve it.”

But state figures show Kasich is wrong. The city’s unemployment rate declined from 11.2 percent in December 2010 to 9.7 percent in December 2011, the most recently-released month by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The Valley metro area’s unemployment rate, during that time-frame, went from 10.2 percent to 8.2 percent.

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