Biden snubs are getting old
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.
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.
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.”