Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Ohio

Three years after Obama's race speech, he can joke about another man's skin color

Republican house speaker john Boehner and democrat president Obama, file

"My understanding is the Speaker of the House, John Boehner -- is he here? He couldn't show up, huh? OK. I mean, we've heard a few jokes about John, and I've made a few jokes over the years about John’s unusual coloring.
"I used to think that it was a tan, but after seeing how often he tears up, I've come to realize that's not a tan -- that's rust. Think about it." -- President Barack Obama, March 12, 2011.

After reading President Obama's comment about the color of Republican House Speaker John Boehner's skin at a banquet last weekend, we wondered if anyone would have commented had the House Speaker made such a joke. Then, we looked up Sen. Barack Obama's famous speech on race during the rugged 2008 party primary season against Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Turns out, Obama gave that speech exactly three years ago this morning. So we thought we'd publish it for old time's sake. 

The speech came at a precarious political time for Obama. Somehow someone trying to embarrass him dug up videotapes of Obama's family pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, giving sermons often laced with racist rants, anti-Semitic remarks, cursing America and suggesting the federal government spread HIV-AIDs to kill blacks.

Obama, who had claimed to be a faithful worshiper at Wright's Trinity United Church in Chicago for some 20 years, said he had no recollection of ever hearing such comments. As usual, Obama's opponents didn't dump all the videos at once but released them over time to cause more extended political bleeding, forcing repeated denials.

Word came that Chicago celebrity and fellow parishoner Oprah Winfrey had quit Wright's church with her own concerns, but not the Obamas. Over succeeding weeks it became....

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich: 'We will not be raising taxes in this state'


After but 58 days in office, Ohio's new Republican Gov. John Kasich has already driven through the legislature several major reforms and, now, presented his first State of the State Address.

Ohio is crucial politically to both parties next year but especially Republicans, who haven't won the presidency without Ohio for more than a century. The state will lose two House districts as a result of the 2010 Census, but worse, it has lost thousands of citizens and companies in recent years.

Like Obama, Kasich is an ex-state senator. But In his hourlong speech Tuesday afternoon the veteran Kasich gave it the way he likes it -- from notes, not a text or Teleprompter, a method not for the faint-hearted or those whose mind is not chock-full of readily-available details.

The address reads that way (full transcript below), allowing for Kasich to throw in spontaneous thoughts and the names of audience members he happens to be looking at. The less....

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Weekly remarks: GOP's Portman says spending must be controlled; Obama sees need for new investments

Capitol Dome

Weekly remarks by Sen. Rob Portman, as provided by Republican Party leadership

I’m Rob Portman. I am proud to represent the people of Ohio as a new United States senator. What I heard in my travels to every county in Ohio over the past couple of years, and what I continue to hear across our state, is a deep concern over jobs and the future of our economy. There is an understandable frustration with Washington's failure to address even the most basic problems. 

People are looking for leadership to help create jobs and opportunity, and instead what they see is the same, tired political responses. We were told two years ago this month that the way to grow the economy was through bigger government, more spending and more borrowing.

The stimulus plan ended up costing over a trillion dollars when you include the interest on the money that had to be borrowed to pay for it. It was a grand experiment that failed.

It not only failed to produce new jobs, an economic boost the Obama administration promised, the trillion-dollar price tag, combined with higher levels of spending across government, added....

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Joe Biden update: He meets with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to talk about secret stuff

AFL CIO pres Richard Trumka 2-18-11

News report on 'Battle with unions widens in the Midwest':

The battle against unions in the Midwest escalated Wednesday as a second state, Indiana, effectively found itself trapped in a legislative stalemate.
All but three of the 40 Democratic members of the Indiana House of Representatives have temporarily moved to Illinois to avoid voting on legislation they consider to be anti-union.
Illinois is also where all 14 of the Democratic senators from Wisconsin sought sanctuary when they fled from Madison last week to block legislation that would have ended collective bargaining rights for public employee unions.

Public schedule of Vice President Joe Biden for Thursday, Feb. 24:

At 10:45 AM, the Vice President and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis will meet with President of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka and with presidents of AFL-CIO labor organizations.

Whatever do you suppose they're plotting inside this transparent Obama administration White House?

Well, we'll never know. Because this meeting of an elected federal official with top labor union officers is closed to press.

Then there are the meetings with lobbyists held just off the executive office grounds to avoid reporting them in White House logs.

You are dismissed.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Michael P. King / via Associated Press (Trumka incites protesters outside the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Feb. 18, 2011).

Percentage of Americans feeling isolationist now up to one-in-three, largest this century

U.S. soldiers clear roadside bombs in Afghanistan

Tim and Eric in Trouble

Of course, no president ever admits to reading the polls. They're all way too busy winning the future or something. With his family fresh back from their latest vacation, this one skiing in Vail, Colo., President Obama is off Tuesday to Cleveland. Lucky him in February.

But it's work-related. Actually, 2012-related, Ohio being what it is: crucial for both parties.

Obama will talk with small businessmen -- no, make that businessmen who run small companies -- about winning the future through innovation. While he's out of town, we can talk about a trio of polls, one having to do with his crew, one his party and the third a change in how Americans feel about the world and its problems.

First, it's a good thing that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. ...

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Rep. Dennis Kucinich details his recent dental work

Text of the Ohio Democrat's letter to supporters

Dear Friend

Though I would prefer to focus your attention on my work dealing with the profoundly important issues that face our nation, such as job creation, getting the economy back on track, and ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq -- it seems that some are more interested in discussing my personal dental issues. Given the degree of public interest you should know some details:

This injury required nearly two years, three dental surgeries, and a substantial amount of money to rectify.

The legal action you have heard about was filed due to the severity, expense and duration of the dental injury, the complications which followed and which still persist. I wanted to resolve this matter without filing a lawsuit. The events below involved numerous dental visits, more than are detailed in this summary. The dental injury set in motion a chain of dental and medical events.

When I bit into the olive pit, (unbeknown to me at the time), upon impact the tooth split in half,  vertically through the crown and the tooth, bOhio Democrat Dennis Kucinich at the DNC 2008elow the level of the bone. Externally there was no evidence of a break. This was not about aesthetics. The internal structure of the tooth was rendered nonrestorable. Although the pain was excruciating, I shook it off and I went right back to work.   

This tooth is a key tooth which anchored my upper bridgework. The injured tooth and the bone above it became infected. I took a course of antibiotics for the infection, had an adverse reaction to the antibiotics which caused me to have an intestinal obstruction and emergency medical intervention.

Later, my dentist referred me to a specialist who informed me that the damaged tooth had to be removed.  A third dentist removed the tooth and I was fitted for a temporary partial. I waited for the bone to heal. An implant was placed, but it failed. Many months later still a second implant succeeded.

My bridgework had to be completely reconfigured, a new partial was designed, so this injury did not affect only one tooth, but rather involved six (6) replacement teeth as well.    

A new crown with a new precision attachment was engineered and put in place. To clarify, no dental expenses were covered by any health plan, nor did I have dental insurance that covered the injury, which, until it was resolved, affected my ability to chew food properly.

The clamor for information about this incident requires that I provide at least this much information. I would have liked to provide such details sooner but did not want it said that I was trying the case in the media. So that is why I declined any interviews about the matter. The parties have exchanged information and after some investigation and discussion have resolved the matter for an amount all parties believe reflects the actual out-of-pocket expenses related to this incident.

The terms of the settlement are confidential; however, I feel that the defendants have responded fairly and reasonably. I don't want to have to make another dental visit for a very long time, and will be making no further comment on this matter.

Thank you very much.

/s/  Dennis

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Photo: Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Credit: Paul J. Richards / AFP/Getty Images

How government images of today's House vote are carefully fed to American TV viewers


House of Representatives on C-SPAN


House OF Representatives as portrayed via House cameras and strict rules

Those Ticket readers who memorize all of our items will recall this one from Nov. 18 at 8:16 a.m. We wrote about new House Speaker John Boehner's efforts to dramatize how differently his Republicans would run the people's house from the way it was operated by the previous crowd ousted in the Nov. 2 midterm elections.

The visionary founder of C-SPAN, Brian Lamb, took the occasion of those election upsets to plead with the Ohioan that finally after all these years C-SPAN's independent TV cameras be allowed in for daily coverage of the proceedings.

Few people realize that except for special days, like the opening of a new Congress (see top photo), all of the video feeds to the outside world come from government cameras operating under strict government rules (see bottom photo).

Apparently the bipartisan fear has been that independent cameras would focus on....

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What gives? First, approval of Congress jumps; Now, Americans like Republican John Boehner more

House Speaker and Ohio Republican John Boehner 1-9-11

First, voters in November ordered a historic turnaround in membership of the U.S. House of Representatives, substituting a Republican majority for the other people.

Then, as soon as the new Congress convened early this month, came a poll showing Americans' opinion of Congress had jumped sharply to a less pathetic approval level of 20% from the 13% under Brand X.

Now comes new polling word from the gods of Gallup that the Republicans' House leader, John Boehner of Ohio, has also jumped in approval, at least among those who've heard of the guy. Not that he likely cares because ....

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New House Speaker John Boehner: 'Our debt will soon eclipse the size of our entire economy'

BEFORE, 2007

Democrat Nancy Pelosi receives the Speaker's gavel from Republican John Boehner January 4 2007

AFTER 4 YEARS + 1 DAY, 2011

Republican John Boehner receives the speaker's gavel from Democrat Nancy Pelosi 1-5-11

Remarks by House Speaker John A. Boehner, as provided by his office

Madam Speaker, thank you for your kind words, and thank you for your service. 

I’d like to welcome our new colleagues and their families. My own family is here as well: my wife, Debbie; our daughters, Lindsay and Tricia; my brothers and sisters, brothers- and sisters-in-law and their children.

I am honored and humbled to represent a great, hard-working community in Congress. The people of Ohio’s 8th Congressional District continue to afford me the privilege to serve, for which I am deeply grateful. (Scroll down for video highlights of Boehner's speech.)

We gather here today at a time of great challenges. Nearly 1 in 10 of our neighbors ...

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Finally, a tortured Tucker Carlson confesses he 'overspoke' about Michael Vick's execution

Capitol Dome

Remember last week when political commentator Tucker Carlson ignited a one-day online brushfire by suggesting that alleged NFL quarterback Michael Vick should have been executed himself for promoting dog-fighting, personally torturing dogs and manually drowning those he deemed unfit to live? We had video of TC's hyper-moment here.

Well, never mind.

After a few days of thought and, no doubt, counseling, Tucker admits he was "too emotional" and "overspoke." Now, maybe Carlson can show his face in Philadelphia again someday, though probably best to avoid Eagles games.

Vick served about 19 months in federal prison for his homicidal canine capers. What should....

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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