Monday, March 15, 2004

Spinmeisters finding way around in Ohio


Inside Washington

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WASHINGTON - President Bush visited Ohio for the 15th time Wednesday.

But the real gauge of the state's importance is the volume of spin surrounding the president's Cleveland trip for a speech on the economy.

Here's a timeline:

10:43 a.m.: On Air Force One, Bush spokesman Mark McClellan tells reporters President Bush is eager to talk about how free trade agreements help Ohio. "Honda employs about 16,000 Ohioans," McClellan says.

10:55 a.m.: The White House sends a fact sheet showing that Ohio's exports to Mexico have tripled since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, and that no state has seen more export growth since 2000.

12:15 p.m.: After touring a Cleveland factory, Bush speaks at the Cleveland Convention Center to a group of women business leaders. "People all over the world are buying products from Ohio," he says.

12:45 p.m.: The Clinton administration's commerce secretary, Mickey Kantor, has a conference call on how the plan of Democratic nominee-to-be John Kerry is better for Ohio manufacturers.

1:15 p.m.: Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell and Clinton's former small-business administrator Aida Alvarez have a conference call to discuss "the real state of women-owned small business under the Bush administration." More have shut down than opened, they said.

2:44 p.m.: The Bush campaign fires out a press release detailing nine ways in which Kerry is anti-Ohio: His "economic isolationism" could hurt foreign companies like Honda with plants in Ohio.

3:30 p.m.: Rep. Rob Portman, the Bush campaign's Ohio spokesman, has a conference call to contrast Bush's economic policies with Kerry's.

3:56 p.m.: The Kerry campaign issues a press release noting that Ohio has lost 267,400 jobs since Bush took office and charting rises in bankruptcies, college tuition, sales tax and uninsured people.

4:01 p.m.: Portman issues a statement, declaring "Senator Kerry's policies of higher taxes, increased regulation and economic isolationism would hurt Ohio's economy and Ohio workers."

12:46 p.m. Thursday: The Ohio Democratic Party says that when Bush talked about the economy expanding in his Cleveland speech, "he must have been talking about someplace else."

ANTI-CHABOT, PRO-GAY MARRIAGE: While GOP Rep. Steve Chabot of Westwood said he will have hearings starting this month on protecting traditional marriage, Chabot's Democratic opponent, Greg Harris, said he supports gay marriage.

"If I were like most other politicians, including most Democrats, I'd try to muddle my viewpoint by saying I oppose gay marriage but support civil unions," Harris said. "But I refuse to compromise on a matter of fundamental civil rights."

BASEBALL STAT OF THE MONTH: Zero. That's the number of Congressional Record tributes to former Reds owner Marge Schott, who died March 2. During the last year the Tristate delegation has honored other people connected to the Cincinnati Reds, including Dayton sportswriter Hal McCoy and former pitcher and broadcaster Joe Nuxhall.

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E-mail cweiser@gannett.com or call (202) 906-8134.




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