Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Friday, September 29

Sen: Cleland and Obey Blast NRSC Attack Ad Against Brown (D)

Today I participated in a press conference call with former senator and Veterans Administration head Max Cleland (D-GA) and Rep. David Obey (D-WI). The occasion for the call was a new National Republican Senate Campaign Committee television ad that accuses Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) of failing to support U.S. troops, based on a particular roll call vote. The NRSC launched this attack ad just as Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Cedarville) unveiled an ad touting his record as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, despite the revelation yesterday that until last week DeWine had not even read the National Intelligence Report (available to him since April) which reveals that 16 national intelligence agencies agree that the Iraq War has increased the threat to America from terrorism.

Sen. Cleland opened the call by saying that DeWine "ought to be severely questioned" for having "hired the ad agency that did the Swiftboat ads against John Kerry, and which then doctored a photograph of the Twin Towers" in an attack ad against Brown. "Mike DeWine voted with Bush to send the troops to Iraq without enough body armor and equipment. Sherrod Brown opposed the Iraq War and fought to get the troops what they needed," Cleland continued. "It’s an absolute Republican distortion to make it appear that Sherrod Brown was less than fully supportive of the troops. The Republicans couldn’t even get their photograph of the Twin Towers right, how can they be expected to get Sherrod Brown’s record right?"

"Look, the Republicans are desperate, Mike DeWine is behind, they will say and do anything to bring Sherrod Brown down," Cleland continued. "Sherrod Brown did not vote for the war, and he fought to get the troops the equipment they need, especially body armor."

Rep. David Obey then made a statement. "It is absolutely outrageous and blatantly dishonest to use Roll Call Vote 601 as so-called evidence that Sherrod Brown opposed aid to the troops. I was the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee and handled the amendment. We wanted by amendment to add 4 ½ billion dollars for clean drinking water (there was a big problem with the troops havin enough clean drinking water) and pre-deployment health and dental screening (which they had to pay for themselves) and to extend health coverage for returning guard and reserve troops from 60 days to six months. We also wanted the administration to recognize that there was a huge backlog of equipment that needed to be refurbished. We wanted the administration to recognize that the Army was too small, with the additional stresses because of the extended tours that these troops are serving."

"My daughter-in-law’s brother is an Apache helicopter pilot in Iraq on his second tour of duty. I know, and anyone who talks to these troops know, that they don’t have all the equipment that they need," Obey continued. "Our objection to the funding package was not that it did too much, but not enough to help the troops."

"We also wanted to scale back tax cuts to the wealthy to pay for it," Obey said. "The only people being asked to sacrifice for this war are the military. The Bush administration is saying to the wealthy, you can help the war effort by taking a tax cut."

A reporter suggested that roll call votes have been taken out of context by both sides (literally, that "everybody does it"), Cleland said that was "no excuse." He also said that faiing to support body armor is a very serious allegation to make. DeWine has "supported the president up and down the line, Sherrod Brown has not," he said. "This is very important to me because the majority of casualties in Iraq are due to improvised explosive devices there. This is the way that our troops are most in harm’s way. Sherrod Brown has fought to get the troops the body armor they need."

As to DeWine's performance on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Cleland said "Mike DeWine ignored intelligence reports that said Iraq has become a breeding ground for terrorists. He is trying to cover that up by going after Sherrod Brown and smearing Sherrod Brown." Relating this attack to his own experience, Cleland said that the "Republicans have a long record of cherry-picking votes to smear candidates. I co-sponsored the bill that created the Department of Homeland Security, but the Republicans attacked me as having voted against the Presidents’ “plan” twelve times. They even used an ad with a picture of me next to a picture of Osama bin Laden. In reality, I was a co-sponsor of the Department of Homeland Security bill, even before President Bush supported it."

Responding to a question about DeWine's criticism of Brown for voting against intelligence funding in the 1980s, Obey said that "many of us objected to intelligence funding because the agencies were spending all their money on equipment and neglecting human intelligence. That’s why I voted against intelligence funding, I didn’t like the mix of funding." As to the reporter's complaint that all candidates take votes out of context Obey said, "To separate the wheat from the chaff, read the legislative record. Read my remarks on the amendment in question. It was an amendment to increase, not decrease, funding for the troops." At this point, Cleland added that "the most relevant point for Ohioans is that Mike DeWine has admitted that he ignored the report that indicated that the Iraq War is a failure, and that Iraq has become a breeding ground for terrorists. This election is a choice between stay-the-course and change-the-course, and I think Ohioans are ready for changing the course."

Asked about voting against the Patriot Act, Obey said "it is ridiculous to say that a Congressman that voted aganst the Patriot Act is soft on terrorism. Nobody is soft on terrorism. The question is whether you are going to fight terrorism with methods that are - well, look at the Canadian situation. A man is shipped off to a foreign country where he is tortured, and now the Canadians admit that he wasn’t involved in terrorism. They have egg all over their faces. It’s important to fight terrorism with methods that are (1) effective, and (2) don’t step on the rights and privacy of average American citizens. If you trust the government blindly to make judgments about surveillance without independent review from any source, you are making a huge mistake."

Obey conceded that the particular vote mentioned in the ad was not about body armor, but explained that it was to support the troops in other ways. As to the aspect of repairing and refurbishing equipment, he said that "the Pentagon has admitted that there is a $27 billion backlog in repair and refurbishing equipment of units returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. When troops return, they have no equipment to train and prepare for their redeployment. It was in the Washington Post today that units at home are ranked at the lowest level of readiness."

"Remember, it was Rep. Jack Murtha who went to Iraq and discovered that the troops were lacking body armor," Obey said toward the end of the call. Sherrod Brown "was a part of efforts to include body armor in Defense Department funding," he said. There were at least three efforts to do this. One of them was Obey’s amendment to a funding bill, which was not allowed by the Republican-controlled Rules Committee. "The Republicans have a bad habit of not allowing amendments and then criticizing Democrats for not offering alternatives," he said.

UPDATE: Coverage by Stephen Koff in the Cleveland Plain Dealer is here. Interesting that he distilled the conversation to a few remarks that include some I didn't note down. For example, Obey called the NRSC attack "blatant McCarthyism." Cleland said the political attacks are reminiscent of DeWine's criticism of Sen. John Glenn in DeWine's unsuccessful 1992 campaign that "[h]ad it been up to John Glenn and his colleagues, we would have backed down overseas. The Berlin Wall would still be standing."


At 5:34 AM, Blogger chancuff said...


CONTACT: Cliff Hancuff
September 29, 2006 Journalismisflat@aol.com

"American troops could be home now, except for critical mistakes by our current Commander in Chief," charges Cliff Hancuff, Director of The World of Journalism Is Flat, Too.

"Media and right-wing bloggers are ignoring this fact. For weeks I have been challenging political activists and journalists to act with a minimum of ethical standards," continued Hancuff.

"I became involved when the Sun-Sentinel in Florida reported that Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) said the U.S. poses the top threat to world peace. I watched in dismay as the media and bloggers worldwide reported on this misquote."

"My involvement continued when I discovered Diana Irey, John Murtha's political opponent, had attacked Murtha using a fictional quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln."

"Larry Bailey of bootmurtha.com is continuing his three year blind support of our current Commander in Chief's incompetence in war. President Bush declared war in Iraq without the 4th Infantry, our most lethal, modern, and deployable heavy division in the world," added Hancuff.

This mistake lead to the atrocity of Al Qaqaa. Iraqi insurgents stole hundreds of tons of high explosives to be used as weaponry.

"These are the explosives being used by Iraqi insurgents and al Qaeda to perpetuate the war in Iraq."

"I am distressed that the same issues ignored by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004 are being ignored again in 2006," said Hancuff adding, "Americans, American soldiers and their families deserve better."

"Without these critical mistakes made by our current Commander in Chief, our American troops would be home with their loved ones, with honor, right now."

On October 1, 2006 Hancuff be at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena located in Johnstown Pennsylvania for Larry Bailey's Swiftboating of John Murtha rally. It is there Hancuff will continue his wait for Mr. Bailey to recall the values of honor and integrity taught him by our US Navy.

There is a youtube.com video online at:

YouTube - Rovian Architecture Unplugged


The World of Journalism Is Flat, Too


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