Ex-Rep./ex-OMB Dir. Rob Portman (R) and LG Lee Fisher (D) met for their final debate 10/12, which "was indecisive but instructive to voters, who got a clear delineation of the differences between" the two.
"The debate featured a high level of discourse on a range of issues, from the economy and trade to gays in the military and bipartisanship, with pointed parries but no personal attacks. There were no Hail Marys lobbed and no blood drawn to alter the race."
"Fisher acknowledged that Ohioans are hurting and angry in the aftermath of the recession, but he accused Portman of supporting corporations, banks and other special interests." Fisher: "I'm not going there to carry their water, I'm not going there to curry their favor, I'm going there to fight for you."
Portman said the "Pelosi-Reid-Obama agenda" hasn't been working. Portman: "If you like the way things are going, you think we're headed in the right direction, you should probably support my opponent. If you're ready for a change, if you believe there's a better way, I hope you'll join our cause."
"The candidates several times posited themselves as bipartisan, but Fisher attacked Portman for his answer when he was asked to name one piece of legislation signed" by Pres. Obama that he supported. Portman: "Wow, the Obama administration hasn't had a whole lot of legislation I support, because I think what they have done in terms of the stimulus package, the health-care legislation, the financial-services regulation - it's going to make it harder to create jobs here in America."
Fisher replied: "What you just heard was the typical Washington answer: somebody who says he's bipartisan but in the entire two minutes couldn't find one thing that he could agree with. It doesn't sound too bipartisan to me, it sounds like a rubber-stamp, party-line guy who's going to go there and oppose everything the Democrats do."
Fisher continued, "one of the things (Bush) did that was good was give a middle-class tax cut, and you know what, I think we should extend it."
Fisher: "If you want somebody who talks the talk and want somebody who was in (Washington) D.C. for 20 years, creating the policies that put people out of work, he's your guy. But if you want somebody who doesn't whine and complain but gets on the field and actually saves and create jobs I hope you'll support Lee Fisher."
Responded Portman: "Well, if you have been on the field, it certainly hasn't been a productive game for you. I mean, unbelievable. The numbers don't lie" (Niquette/Hallett, Columbus Dispatch, 10/13).
Time Long Coming
Portman released a TV ad 10/12, produced by Stevens & Schriefer Group. Full script, "Timeline:"
ANNCR: "January 2007. Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher takes office. Appointed Ohio's Job Czar. Fisher's salary doubles. Says 'Hold me accountable.' Over 400,000 jobs disappear, many to other states. His jobs performance? Unemployment nearly doubles. We need to change direction. Rob Portman. His jobs plan will get Ohio working again. Read the plan at RobPortman.com." PORTMAN: "I'm Rob Portman, and I approve this message" (release, 10/12).
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is stumping for Fisher this p.m., while Al Gore will be in OH for Fisher on 10/16. And Fisher will join Obama and FL Michelle Obama on their 10/17 OH trip (Koff, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/12).