Strickland Addresses Akron Press Club

Then-Gov. Ted Strickland speaks at an event in Northeast Ohio in 2010.
Then-Gov. Ted Strickland speaks at an event in Northeast Ohio in 2010. (ideastream file photo)
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by M.L. Schultze

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland continued his attacks on incumbent GOP Sen. Rob Portman in a speech to the Akron Press Club on Monday.

For months, the Portman campaign has painted former Gov. Ted Strickland as “Retread Ted,” claiming his record cost Ohio more than 300,000 jobs. 

And a man dressed as a tire showed up to make the point silently outside Strickland’s speech.

Strickland was not silent on the issue, though, especially when he contrasted his record with his successor, John Kasich – saying he handed Kasich an economy in 2011 that was already outstripping the nation in recovery from the great recession.

“We protected our priorities,” Strickland said. “We did not renege on our commitment to resources for local governments, for fire protection and police protection. And we kept faith with that local government fund. We continued to support education, even in the midst of this horrendous recession.”

Strickland is running for the Democratic nomination to take on Portman in the fall.

During the speech, Strickland never mentioned P.G. Sittenfeld, the Cincinnati councilmember whose name will appear with Strickland’s on the March 15 Democratic primary ballot.

And when asked by the audience and later, again, by reporters, he made no apologies for refusing to debate Sittenfeld.

“My responsibility is to go to the voters myself,” Strickland said. “My opponent can do what he chooses to do in order to run his own campaign. But my responsibility is not to assist his campaign.”

Strickland says making his case to voters includes contrasting his positions on maintaining Social Security and Medicare and other public safety nets with Portman’s, along with criticizing trade deals Portman not only supported, but helped engineer as U.S. Trade Representative in President George Bush’s White House.

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