Last week, the gubernatorial campaign of Congressman John Kasich took to the national stage in what has since been deemed a "backwards political twofer." In one week, his campaign managed to offend both rural Ohioans and Ohioans in Northeast Ohio - the most populous region of the state.
As first reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Kasich told FOX News radio, "the last guy I worry about is LeBron James." Kasich went on to say, "I'm not singing in any chorus for LeBron James," chiding Governor Strickland for appearing in a music video with famous Ohioans asking LeBron to stay in Cleveland. Knowing how important LeBron is to Ohio - both as a source of pride and as an economic driver for the Cleveland area - we quickly put together an "Ohioans Against LeBron" website - with John Kasich being the only member - and included a web video highlighting Kasich's comments, along with Google Ads to drive voters to the site.
The Kasich camp committed another major blunder with offensive comments directed at rural and Appalachian Ohio. In a prepared statement responding to a policy speech on urban issues by Lt. Governor candidate Yvette McGee Brown, a Kasich spokesman alleged that Governor Strickland has ignored Ohio's cities because he had "grown up in a chicken shack in Duck Run." The next day, Appalachian surrogates including Congressman Charlie Wilson called on the Kasich team to apologize. Kasich was put on his heels; his spokesman was forced to apologize and Kasich said he took that spokesman "out to the woodshed."
Kasich's gaffes - and the strategic response from Ohio Democrats - garnered widespread state and national headlines, such as:
Politico: Kasich mocks Strickland's upbringing
AP: Ohio Dems blast Kasich over LeBron James comments
Talking Points Memo: GOPer Kasich In Damage Control Mode After Gaffes In OH-GOV Race
NPR: Ohio Gov: Chicken Shack Comment Compounded By Kasich Dis Of Lebron
NBC Sports: John Kasich's LeBron gaffe could cost him the governor's race
Dayton Daily News: Kasich's light dims in 'chicken shack' flap
And the list goes on.
These gaffes reinforced two things we already knew:
First, Kasich is out-of-touch with Ohioans. After two decades in Congress and nearly a decade on Wall Street, Kasich has lost touch with the "son of a mailman" roots he brags about. Even as Congressman Kasich was offending millions of Ohioans last week, he was touring his old stomping grounds in New York to promote his third book.
Second, Kasich is running an inept campaign. And LeBrongate and Shackgate weren't Team Kasich's only recent screw-ups. The Associated Press revealed that Kasich's communications director attempted to cover up the extent of the cost of Lehman Brothers' collapse on Ohio's public pension systems. Kasich has also touted a radical tax proposal during this campaign - a plan that would decrease state revenue by 40 percent and devastate schools, libraries, parks, police and fire departments.
Following last week's events, it is now more clear than ever why we can't afford to place the future of Ohio in the hands of Congressman Kasich and the Wall Street values he represents.
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