Not one but two stories in today’s Beacon Journal about the Govenor’s race, focusing on the Strickland campaign. Front page below the fold they run an analysis piece on Strickland’s rapid response to Blackwell’s attacks on his voting record. The Local/Opinion section off-leads a dispatch from the Turnaround Ohio tour.
Both pieces show how campaigning aggressively can garner earned media (that is, media coverage not bought) for a campaign. The fronter about Ted’s counterpunch offers a study in contrasts with Kerry’s tactic of sticking fingers in ears and singing “Ni ni ni ni can’t hear you,” when the Swiftboating started. Happily, Ted has adopted a different strategy:
- The term swift-boating, as a verb, was born out of the 2004 presidential campaign, when Republicans attacked Democratic Sen. John Kerry by questioning his military service as a swift boat commander in Vietnam.
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For Kerry, the attacks proved fatal; his campaign was slow to react and rebut the allegations.
Strickland said slow reaction isn't a mistake his campaign would make. ``I know how to fight,'' he said.
His campaign went about proving that on Thursday, when, less than 24 hours after the two TV ads surfaced, Strickland's camp launched a counterattack in all of Ohio's major television markets -- an ad that depicts Ohio Republicans as stern-faced characters in a scene from the 1941 Frank Capra movie, Meet John Doe.
"We are responding in a muscular way to this negative attack,'' Strickland spokesman Keith Dailey said. "As far as we're concerned, the negative smear campaigning against Ted Strickland has been going on for some time. This is the first television attack that demands a swift and muscular response."
The dispatch from the campaign trial is similar to a PD piece that Jill writes up. In the Beacon the story hangs on the dual hooks that 1) Dems are campaigning hard in the reddest parts of the state and 2) They are finding friendly people who are sick of all this crap:
- In Warren County, roughly 50 Republicans had a meet-and-greet with the Democrats. Betty Davis, a Republican who organized the session, said she's been a Republican ``since sixth grade,'' but she's tired of her party's disconnect from everyday people.
"I don't want to hear about any more indictments," said Davis, who was mayor of Mason from 1981 to 2000. "More and more Republicans in Warren are saying, `It's time for a change.' "
She said that if the Republicans who confide in her do support Strickland, he'll get more than 40 percent of the vote in Warren County -- a pickup of about 11,000 votes for the Democrats.
But if papers are biased against J. Ken, he has no one but himself to blame. People opposed to Ken Blackwell aren’t just opposed; they are terrified of what his radical vision for Ohio would mean. The papers, whose continued viability depends on a stabilizing population and growing economy, may rightly be scared as well. Favoring Ted may not be about political bias, it may just be a good business decision.