by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
October 26, 2006
The man who stole Ohio for George W. Bush in 2004 is now trying to steal it for himself in 2006. The question is: who will stop him, and will he also affect the balance of power in the U.S. Congress?
As election day approaches, Blackwell's dirty tricks sink ever deeper.
Blackwell is now using "push polls" made infamous by Karl Rove. True to form, child molestation charges are front and center. He has also escalated the mass disenfranchisement of Ohio voters, trashing the ballots of some ten percent of absentee voters. He has eliminated the state-wide ballot initiative meant to save workers rights and wages. He's even tried to strike the Democratic gubernatorial nominee from the ballot altogether. All of which could affect not only his race for governor, but key U.S. Senate and House races as well.
Blackwell is using Rove's notoriously deceptive push poll device to spread an unsubstantiated smear against his Democratic gubernatorial opponent, Ted Strickland. Push polls were rendered infamous when Rove used them in South Carolina to falsely suggest that Senator John McCain had fathered a mixed-race child. Often the impact of push polls is magnified by callers to talk shows that spread additional street rumors, as in the lie that McCain impregnated a black hooker. The reality in McCain's case: he had adopted a child from one of Mother Teresa's orphanages and prominently displayed her in his campaign literature.
In Strickland's case, the Free Press has obtained a statement from Barbara Mooney of Fremont, Ohio describing in detail the phone call she received from the Blackwell for Governor campaign. On October 23, Mooney picked up the phone and heard: "This is a 45-second survey. Please answer yes or no."
Then came: "If you knew Ted Strickland had hired a child molester would you still vote for him?"
The electronic voice continued: "Are you going to vote for Ted Strickland?" and "Are you going to vote for Ken Blackwell?"
Mooney answered yes for Strickland, so the next question was "Are you black or white?" followed by "If you knew Ted Strickland had hired a child molester who had gone on to a playground and exposed himself to them, would you vote for him?"
A yes answer prompted: "Are you a Democrat?" and "Are you a Republican?"
The push poll then asked: "How old are you?" and "Are you male or female?"
The push poll then ended, identifying the Blackwell campaign as the party responsible for the "survey."
On Tuesday morning, October 24, the Columbus Dispatch confirmed Blackwell is using this push poll in Ohio. It reported that a former Strickland aide had committed a misdemeanor for public indecency, but his record had been expunged. There is no evidence Strickland knew of the expunged charge when the aide was later hired.
At the final Oct. 16 Ohio gubernatorial debate, freshly scrubbed Republicans swarmed outside the Channel 10 studio in Columbus, chanting for Blackwell. Members of the Ohio State University campus-based young Republicans and fundamentalists gloated that Strickland's "child molester" scandal would elect Blackwell. In the televised debate, Blackwell tried to link Strickland to the North American Man-Boy Love Society.
The next day, The Dispatch revealed that when he was treasurer of Ohio, Blackwell had on his payroll a felon convicted of cocaine possession. The Dispatch said that when Blackwell learned of the conviction, he kept the felon on staff. Three months after leaving the treasurer's office, this same former Blackwell employee was sent to prison for four years for sexually abusing a young girl.
Blackwell attained national notoriety after serving as state co-chair of the Bush-Cheney Re-election Committee while also, as Ohio Secretary of State, running the dubious vote count that gave Bush a second White House term.
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