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Biden snubs are getting old

Published: Fri, May 18, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By David Skolnick (Contact)

On the side

Hometown connection: A former Mahoning Valley resident is the Democratic nominee for a congressional seat in northeastern Indiana.

Kevin Boyd defeated five other Democrats in last week’s primary for Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District seat, which is in and around Fort Wayne.

Boyd, a Presbyterian minister, is a 1973 Boardman High School graduate who received a bachelor’s degree in 1977 from Westminster College.

Turnout was low with Boyd winning with 5,981 votes, or 47.8 percent. The second-place finisher received only 1,691 votes, or 13.5 percent.

Boyd has an uphill climb in a district that is considered a strong Republican area. He will face U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, a Republican seeking his second two-year term in Congress, in the November general election.

For the past several months, editors and reporters with The Vindicator have asked the campaign of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to provide us access to the two officeholders if/when they come here.

Our ultimate goal was an editorial board meeting, but even a few minutes for a one-on-one interview would be something.

With Biden coming to Youngstown, the requests were made again, and politely denied — as they were during the 2008 campaign.

I was told Biden couldn’t spare three to four minutes even though he ended up staying at M7 Technologies for about 90 minutes after his speech before going to his next campaign stop.

Consolation prize

As a consolation prize, the campaign offered me the job of being the local pool reporter.

I initially declined because the job’s main responsibility is to spend a lot of time covering a secondary event — in this case, Biden’s visit to the Salem Fire Department — and share all the information you obtain with other reporters.

Anything covered becomes the property of any reporter on the Obama/Biden list.

I agreed to do it, at the request of an editor, because it meant at the very least I’d see what Biden was doing.

When I arrived at M7, I learned the local TV stations were getting five minutes each with Biden. That meant this newspaper was the only daily news outlet in Youngstown without access to Biden.

I again asked for three or four minutes, explained the situation and said if denied access, I wouldn’t do the pool report.

That may sound harsh, but it’s been a long-standing problem with the Obama/Biden campaign. I have a lot of respect for our local TV reporters, but it is simply not fair to favor them over print journalists. The TV reporters I speak to agree.

TV received access to Biden during his two visits to the Mahoning Valley in 2008. The Vindicator was denied access.

The trend continued again this week.

A Biden press official told me my “unprofessional” decision, backed by my editors, would mean less or no future access.

I told her that I couldn’t see how I could get less access than zero, and the newspaper was tired of being treated this way.

This isn’t exclusive to just Democrats, but there’s been consistency with Biden — or the people who make these decisions for him.

Newspaper readers

I’m left wondering if the campaign believes the readers of this newspaper in a key area of one of the most important swing states in the nation aren’t worth three minutes of the vice president’s time.

This has never impacted my coverage, but it does leave me personally disappointed with some of those involved.

On a positive note, Biden name-dropped the newspaper. The campaign sent portions of his speech to me the night before the event.

I forwarded it to an editor who saw a line about reading “your newspaper.” At the suggestion of the editor, I asked the campaign to replace that with “The Vindicator.”

“I’ll see what I can do” was the response.

I never thought it would work. Much to my surprise, Biden changed the line to “The Vindicator or other papers.”


1Photoman(1237 comments)posted 4 years ago

The people at The Vindicator should understand that they've already been allowed to kiss the ring of our all powerful leader and his associate. They don't really need our printed press now-they want the big splash of T.V. We the voters remain but foolish pawns in the view of our government.

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2republicanRick(1700 comments)posted 4 years ago

Biden and Obama know they have the Vindicator editorial Board support locked up so why should they talk to you?

It's like a football team ahead by 4 touchdowns in the fourth quarter - sit on the ball and don't take any chances.

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3borylie(946 comments)posted 4 years ago

Mr. Skolnick,
Didn't Charlie Wilson snub you after he lost to Bill Johnson?
Could be a trend here by the democrats that the Vindy proudly endorse.

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4redeye1(5543 comments)posted 4 years ago

Dave this is only the beginning , just wait . If your paper endorses these two , they are showing you how much they really think about you

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5walter_sobchak(2635 comments)posted 4 years ago

You should have politely told the Biden press official "Kiss my a$$! I will call the Romney campaign to see if we can talk to Mitt." But, don't worry; when Nov. gets closer, they will give you five minutes and the Vindy can endorse the Barry/Biden ticket.

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6Woody(482 comments)posted 4 years ago


Don't take that crap from them. I like how you stood your ground.

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7AtownAugie(873 comments)posted 4 years ago

I found Mr Skolnick's photo in the dictionary next to the phrase "been played." (A shame Biden didn't at least throw you some candy as the pols do in the Atown parade.)

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8CongressWatcher(225 comments)posted 4 years ago

@Walter Sobchak - right on! That is what I would have done and then actually followed up with a call to Mit and do a story on it. Putting just a small clip in the back pages of the paper covering Biden's visit. Keep in mind, I am not even a Romney fan, but if the vindy is going to play hard-ball, then use a hard ball.

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9TylerDurden(367 comments)posted 4 years ago

Most of the constituents that Biden was trying to reach don't read the newspaper or anything else except a sentence or two on a website. When you are part of the political base of a candidate you probably despise reading because of all the words. These people are more inclined to watch Jerry Springer or Entertainment Tonight, hence Super Joe on the TV pitch.

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