Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Camera-shy Josh Mandel' s black-suited guys

A SKIRMISH BETWEEN Josh Mandel's troops and an Akron Press Club officer caught the eye of the Huffington Post this week, which reported it in full. As noted in Grumpy Abe earlier, Team Mandel tried to shut down a photographer for the other side when the Republican U.S. Senate candidate spoke at the PC on March 1. It was an amateurish intrusion into standard Press Club practice of letting all sides record an event.

It didn't go well for the guy who is hoping to oust U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown. Indeed it drew a sharp rebuke from PC Board member David Cohen, a University of Akron political science professor who was trying to manage decorum in the camera section at the back of the room. ,

"Mandel's staffers acted unprofessionally and were clearly trying to intimidate the folks that came to record the event," Cohen said. "They tried to prevent one individual from even entering the room until I intervened and also tried to obstruct their view with their heads and holding up pieces of paper until I told them to stop. "

Well, that's one way of using their heads in this instance because they simply don'thave a clue to understanding the freedom the club accords anyone who wants to video the event.

"Those folks that came to record the event, by the way, despite what has been reported, did not try to disrupt anything, " Cohen said. "In fact they did not say a word while they were recording nor did they ask for help while they were being harassed."

Every mature campaigner can expect trackers from their opponents and this was no exception. Cohen noted that when Brown spoke at a club luncheon on Jan. 6 his opponents would have been granted the same opportunity.

I happened to attend the Mandel program and noticed a very important-looking Mandel team in black suits moving about the room checking something or other (bugs?). They should have known better. And Mandel, the Repubican whiz kid state treasurer, wants to be a U.S. Senator?

Well, yes. So much so that the Plain Dealer reported that he flew to the Bahamas on Friday to speak at the payday lending industry meeting and held a fundraiser at the resort. The payday lenders who think nothing of charging borrowers preposterous rates? Tsk. Tsk.


Sandy Theis said...

I was the communications director for the anti-payday referendum. They spent 10s of millions, we spent about a half -million and voters across Ohio voted to KEEP the reforms in place because they witnessed how the industry ruined peoples lives. I still think about some of the horror stories people told.

DC said...

Abe--just to clarify--there were actually two people videotaping for two different groups. I didn't know who they represented nor did it matter. The Akron Press Club was also taping the entire event and it was put on the Internet later that evening.

Also, the Akron Press Club is non-partisan and we are an open forum--had the Mandel Campaign or GOP surrogates showed up to Sherrod Brown's event two months earlier to record they would have been granted that privilege. You might recall that back in 2006 the Democratic candidate for Ohio State Auditor, Barbara Sykes, was very angry when she noticed that Mary Taylor's campaign (or one of her advocates) videotaped the debate we hosted. We protected the Taylor Campaign's right to do so despite the strenuous objections of Sykes.

Finally, for the record, the Mandel Campaign knew going into the event that we are an open forum and that anyone who wished to record could do so (you just can't have lunch unless you pay for it). When they tried to block one of the individuals from entering the room, I reminded them of that. They then proceeded to continue to try to block the recording after I told them they couldn't. What you see near the end of the Huffington Post video is the second time I had to speak with them.

Dave Cohen

David hess said...

You don't suppose Mandel's trip to the Bahamas to cuddle the payday lenders was meant to borrow money at 600 pct. interest for the Ohio state treasury? It's certainly one way to assure a steady flow of campaign contributions from the usury lobby. And you wouldn't have to tap the usual fat cat contributors. You'd be able to finance your political ambitions with money extracted in obscene interest payments from the desperate poor and unemployed.

Grumpy Abe said...

The whiz kid has a long way to come back if he wants anybody to believe that he's a credible candidate (besides his financiers, of course).