Mehmentum: Clinton underwhelms in Ohio

posted at 2:01 pm on November 2, 2012 by Mary Katharine Ham

PERRYSBURG, OH— Pulling into the parking lot at Owens Community College in Perrysburg Thursday, I briefly wondered if I was in the right spot. I cruised through a roundabout, in the shadow of a painted silo and a giant windmill— the tableau of rural past and green energy future no doubt a deliberate backdrop for an Obama campaign event featuring former President Bill Clinton.

The rock star of the campaign trail was still on his way as one straggling supporter from nearby Maumee and I squinted at each other’s smartphone maps to locate the rally. We found the school’s half-full gymnasium, blocked off at half-court by a red vinyl curtain descended from the ceiling.

Outside, there was no line, but there was a bit of a ruckus as two young people protested their removal from the rally. Kelli Miller, a 28-year-old student, said she and 25-year-old Nick Osberger were told to leave the event after she wrote “I will not support Obama” on the signage provided at the rally and displayed it. A Gary Johnson supporter, Miller objected to not being able to voice her political opinion at a political rally at the school she attends.

“This is my school,” she said. “It’s my constitutional right to express my beliefs, you know? I just held the sign.”

I asked a student working on a laptop right outside the gym if she was planning to go to the rally. “I’ve got class,” she said with a shrug.

Inside the gym, I moved past the curtain to the waiting crowd doing the usual milling and half-hearted chants you get before the headliner arrives. John Welch, a schoolteacher from Moline, was cautiously optimistic about the president’s chances in the battleground state.

“I hope we’re edging a little ahead, it feels like,” he said, adding his objections to Mitt Romney. “I don’t see how he relates to anyone in this room…someone who worries about the price of gas and milk.”

As Clinton took the stage, the crowd, estimated at 1,900 by the Toledo Blade, perked up. He addressed them with a smile and his patented husky, trail voice, damaged from workin’ so hard for you. He ticked off his recent campaign stops, saying he’d lost his voice for “a good cause” before announcing to the crowd he was “honored to be in Pennsylvania for President Obama.”

“OHIO,” the crowd shouted at Clinton’s Bidenism as he corrected himself and pivoted into his stump speech. A prologue on Hurricane Sandy got a round of cheers for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Clinton was best when he was affably sarcastic, delivering barbs with an aww-shucks, amirite shrug. His impression of Romney when asked for details on his economics plan, for instance: “I’m a business guy,” Clinton said, with a tug at his lapels, getting laughs from the audience.

He reserved his harshest criticism for Romney’s position on the auto bailout and the Republican challenger’s ads on the subject. The crowd, gathered just minutes from a Chrysler machining plant, was familiar with the ad, many finishing Clinton’s sentence with “China” as Clinton repeated Romney’s charge that Jeep is considering sending production there.

This was the most effective part of the speech, but it look Clinton plenty of time to get there, running through a litany of other issues, including a minutes-long discussion of Medicare Advantage’s structure over the last decade. He indulges his wonky style on the trail just as he did in his State of the Union addresses. This was no mere sprinkling of stats but a slow-moving Sandy of policy numbers and explanations, marked by the occasional odd assertion.

Clinton, free-styling on Obama’s claim to be an all-of-the-above energy guy, said Obama doesn’t advocate “taking away incentives for natural gas and oil,” just keeping incentives for green energy. This despite the president’s frequent talk about taking away “tax breaks” and policies favorable to natural gas and oil.

He cited investments in green energy as important, especially to “Indian reservations that don’t have gambling.” The audience snickered briefly as Clinton himself seemed to sense he didn’t want to go any further down that road.

The speech was mostly low-key and low on expectations. Clinton’s summation of Obama’s plan for green energy investment could stand in as his pitch for the entire second term— “Let’s keep doing this.”

His closing attempted to tie up all of the campaign’s objections to the Romney/Ryan ticket in a racial bow, implying Republican xenophobia and racism toward everyone from African-Americans to Italians. The New York Times recounts:

“Oh, he endorsed him because they are both black,” Mr. Clinton said, using his own paraphrase of Mr. Sununu’s comments. (Mr. Sununu had quickly backtracked last week, saying he did not doubt Mr. Powell’s endorsement was based on anything other than support for Mr. Obama’s policies.)…

And Mr. Clinton wasn’t finished. He mentioned how the Romney campaign had, in Mr. Clinton’s words, stated that “now the Italians are taking your jobs away.”

And the big finish: “Mr. Clinton, who says he has Irish ancestry, closed his remarks here by joking, ‘Pretty soon, they’ll come after the Irish – and I’m toast.’”

Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I expected far more people and more excitement for Bill Clinton. This is the rock star, in northern Ohio, 10 minutes from an auto plant, where Obama’s support for the auto industry bailout is supposed to carry the state into the blue column. I’m not regularly on the trail, but I did attend a Paul Ryan rally in Colorado swing district. Like Clinton, Ryan’s a rock star with appeal on par with the candidate himself, and the event was held in a nearly identical gym. Ryan’s rally outdid this effort by a factor of four. That rally happened right after Ryan was named to the ticket, so enthusiasm was admittedly high, but shouldn’t enthusiasm be high in northern Ohio four days before the election? If not, to borrow a phrase, maybe you’re toast.


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H

e ticked off his recent campaign stops, saying he’d lost his voice for “a good cause” before announcing to the crowd he was “honored to be in Pennsylvania for President Obama.”

“OHIO,”

File this under..What if Palin or GWB had said this…

Caper29 on November 2, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Hey, U2denver, how do you think Obama would say Schadenfreude in Austrian?

Schadenfreude on November 2, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Are you seriously asking u2denver to do a Hitler accent? He/she can barely speak English…

jimver on November 2, 2012 at 3:02 PM

If Obama was half a man, and one tenth a president, he’d call out the National Guard and have flights of supplies, workers, and equipment heading into NYC.

If Bloomberg had half the brain of a man, and one tenth the brain of a mayor, he’d use all the resources he has at his disposal to maintain order and get supplies out to the people stranded in NY, not throwing a marathon and using desperately needed supplies, manpower and equipment, to do it.

Those poor people are suffering and they deserve all the help and resources that can be directed their way. It seems Obama has no empathy for them, and Bloomberg doesn’t care.

But since neither is, or possesses such, Obama will go down in ignominious defeat on Tuesday, as well he should.

The economy, jobs, energy, Benghazi, and not doing what he can to help after this storm, are going to end Obama’s career.

thatsafactjack on November 2, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Bill Clinton is way more popular in America than either George Bush Or Mitt Romney…

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 2:21 PM

When he left office in disgrace, nearly 75% of Americans said Clinton’s pResidency would only be remembered for a blue dress.

Of course, that was before they knew he’s left 9/11 to his successor.

Del Dolemonte on November 2, 2012 at 3:03 PM

and Schadenfruede ,you might think he is dumb but there is one thing both of them have accomplished that you ,ryan ,and Romney never will… they have actually served as either Vice President of the USA or President of the USA

also Bill Clinton is way more popular in America than either George Bush Or Mitt Romney

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 2:21 PM

1. Richard Nixon was President too…so was Jimmy Carter
LOL
2. So you say Bubba is SOOOO popular, yet he can’t draw anywhere NEAR what even Paul Ryan draws…

LOL

Gotta love commie logic…

3 more days and hopenchange fades away to the dustbin of history like so many other failed socialist wet dreams…and it takes the commie drum circle-jerk freeloaders with it…
BACK TO WORK!!!

Strike Hornet on November 2, 2012 at 3:03 PM

well meat headin ca , I vote in Ohio ,but I got to help vote Senator Bennett in over Buck in Colorado (remember him the right wing loony Rasmussen and the right wing said was going to win)…

Schadenfruede I may send in a few typos but I never spell words wrong ,but I was truly excited 4 your new math skills …I guess you are still struggling with the counting to four as in President Obama EOUR MORE YEARS

Christien …you left off the word million as in the over 4 million jobs created under the President since he took over in the worst economic crash and job loss era since the Great Depression brought on us by Bush/Cheney/GOP/RightWing

or speaking of the number 4 that was next to the number 7 as in 47% of the Americans (including the elderly,sick and veterans)Romney was caught ripping on till he had to say he had been totally wrong

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Perrysburg is about 15 miles south of Toledo in the heart of blue northern Ohio.

bw222 on November 2, 2012 at 3:06 PM

the tears of the failed hopenchange revolution taste like VICTORY!
Came in like a LION and went out like a puppy with its tail between it’s legs…
The sad and desperate end of a conman and his prey…

Good bye hopenchange…we hardly knew ye…

Strike Hornet on November 2, 2012 at 3:08 PM

well it has been fun but I have to go drive early voters to the polls …sorry and Mary in Ca.is really going to be mad that you are not following her advice and ignoring the Democrats on here …but I’m glad you don’t

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 3:08 PM

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 3:05 PM

It’s fun to watch you melt, you liar.

Schadenfreude on November 2, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Schadenfruede I may send in a few typos but I never spell words wrong

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 3:05 PM

You sure don’t, you dummy.

Schadenfreude on November 2, 2012 at 3:10 PM

well it has been fun but I have to go drive early voters to the polls …sorry and Mary in Ca.is really going to be mad that you are not following her advice and ignoring the Democrats on here …but I’m glad you don’t

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Witness “THE END OF HOPENCHANGE AND THE FLIM-FLAM MAN”

Strike Hornet on November 2, 2012 at 3:10 PM

one last thing… leave it to the most pathetic and mentally unbalanced poster on here Jimver to bring up Hitler ,how appropriate for a scum of the earth like Jimver to go there ,once again your GOP candidate would reject your support like he did Akin’s

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 3:11 PM

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Gasping at straws like that on dry land is really a sign of desperation.

“EOUR MORE YEARS”?

47%? Even Axelrod has abandoned that canard.

thatsafactjack on November 2, 2012 at 3:12 PM

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 3:11 PM

‘One last thing…’ PROMISE?

thatsafactjack on November 2, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Great job, Bubba.

And kudos on filling the 750 seat auditorium in MN on Monday!!!!

If the Obama campaign sends their #1 campaigner to these venues, Barry is in deep doo-doo.

fred5678 on November 2, 2012 at 3:12 PM

U2 is sure dumber than gumby.

Schadenfreude on November 2, 2012 at 3:14 PM

one last thing… leave it to the most pathetic and mentally unbalanced poster on here Jimver to bring up Hitler ,how appropriate for a scum of the earth like Jimver to go there ,once again your GOP candidate would reject your support like he did Akin’s

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 3:11 PM

How ironic that the party that coined the term Bush-Hitler would be complaining about the fact that their campaign chief looks just like Hitler (sorry, but he REALLY does)…
LOL

Strike Hornet on November 2, 2012 at 3:15 PM

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Brought to you by the letter “o” and the number 16,000,000,000,000, and by the number “4″ along with the words “Americans” and “Benghazi.”

Don’t b l8 4 your shift in OIHO.

Christien on November 2, 2012 at 3:15 PM

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 3:11 PM

I’m sure you are trying to say something, but I have no idea what it is. Is English your second language?

bw222 on November 2, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Speaking of the Clintons. Attack from another flank.

a capella on November 2, 2012 at 3:19 PM

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 3:11 PM

For someone so completely dedicated and absorbed in the election, campaigning in TWO states, and going to multiple rallies in TWO states, back to back…

I’m surprised you found the time to stop by Hot Air and harangue us all for not embracing your ideology or your chosen candidate.

How about that?

thatsafactjack on November 2, 2012 at 3:20 PM

well it has been fun but I have to go drive early voters to the polls …sorry and Mary in Ca.is really going to be mad that you are not following her advice and ignoring the Democrats on here …but I’m glad you don’t

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Go heard those cows. Obama’s gonna need it to even stay competitive in Ohio ;)

MeatHeadinCA on November 2, 2012 at 3:22 PM

U2 is sure dumber than gumby.

Schadenfreude on November 2, 2012 at 3:14 PM

I don’t know, that’s a pretty tough call.

UltimateBob on November 2, 2012 at 3:24 PM

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 2:36 PM

You, sirrah, are in for a long, disappointing evening this coming Tuesday. I suggest you stock up on some strong drink, as you’re going to need it…

Ace ODale on November 2, 2012 at 3:31 PM

How about that?

thatsafactjack on November 2, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Booom…basement door

Schadenfreude on November 2, 2012 at 3:32 PM

one last thing… leave it to the most pathetic and mentally unbalanced poster on here Jimver to bring up Hitler ,how appropriate for a scum of the earth like Jimver to go there ,once again your GOP candidate would reject your support like he did Akin’s

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Your desperation is sad and worrisome. Please remove any firearms, sharp knives and razor blades from your home. If you have any loved ones, please keep them close by to make sure you don’t hurt yourself Tuesday evening.

UpTheCreek on November 2, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Clinton was slamming Obama if you read between the lines. Each sentence had double/negative meaning. Clinton can’t STAND Barry.

bob77 on November 2, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Ms.Ham 1900 people in the middle of the day for a speech by a someone not on the ballot is actually pretty good …
and Schadenfruede ,you might think he is dumb but there is one thing both of them have accomplished that you ,ryan ,and Romney never will… they have actually served as either Vice President of the USA or President of the USA

also Bill Clinton is way more popular in America than either George Bush Or Mitt Romney…

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 2:21 PM

American Idol is more popular than CSPAN.

Night Owl on November 2, 2012 at 4:29 PM

well meat headin ca , I vote in Ohio ,but I got to help vote Senator Bennett in over Buck in Colorado (remember him the right wing loony Rasmussen and the right wing said was going to win)…

Schadenfruede I may send in a few typos but I never spell words wrong ,but I was truly excited 4 your new math skills …I guess you are still struggling with the counting to four as in President Obama EOUR MORE YEARS

Christien …you left off the word million as in the over 4 million jobs created under the President since he took over in the worst economic crash and job loss era since the Great Depression brought on us by Bush/Cheney/GOP/RightWing

or speaking of the number 4 that was next to the number 7 as in 47% of the Americans (including the elderly,sick and veterans)Romney was caught ripping on till he had to say he had been totally wrong

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 3:05 PM

I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

ConDem on November 2, 2012 at 4:39 PM

also Bill Clinton is way more popular in America than either George Bush Or Mitt Romney…

U2denver on November 2, 2012 at 2:21 PM

I kinda doubt the “way more” part, sparky. But I will say this:

Bill Clinton is more popular than Barack Obama, the man who is seeking to be the first man in 96 years to win a second term while shedding Electoral College votes.

Me? I don’t see that second term happening.

John Hitchcock on November 2, 2012 at 4:48 PM

…I don’t see gummeandpoleme farting anywhere?
.
.
.K A B O O M
.
.
.
*excuse me*

KOOLAID2 on November 2, 2012 at 5:23 PM

“Mehmentum” is right. Clinton just doesn’t seem to have the magic he once did. Paul Ryan campaigned in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on October 21, and drew approximately 1,200 people. Bill Clinton was in Council Bluffs on October 31, and drew approximately 600 people. I didn’t see any media reports that contrasted the crowd size in the reports about Clinton this week.

huskerjeff on November 2, 2012 at 5:27 PM

that U2 thing is like a diarrheac sphincter. It randomly spews s&!t and can’t seem to control itself.

WhaleBellied on November 2, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Speaking of the Clintons. Attack from another flank.

a capella on November 2, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Issa questions cost of White House State Dinners — which are not exactly a role model for belt-tightening and austerity.

My question on this, and All the President’s Vacations: why doesn’t the Executive Branch as directly related to the President and his office have some kind of BUDGET for their activities that Congress can enforce?

It’s one thing to have relatively open-ended spending for security and state travel (even if misused for campaigning), but dinners and vacations are always optional, or at least flexible.

Will we continue to let them eat cake on our dime dollar?

AesopFan on November 2, 2012 at 6:47 PM

PS — and no word from a media frantically obsessed about the cost of Sarah Palin’s campaign wardrobe, purchased with private funds not tax-payer’s money.

AesopFan on November 2, 2012 at 6:49 PM

And, again, spread the word about this gone viral pro-Romney video starring a 13 year old black girl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=prmGb1o3dcQ

anotherJoe on November 2, 2012 at 2:12 PM

I was just in the middle of watching this awesome young woman’s video when it got pulled! Suddenly the picture went black with “This video is currently unavailable” across the screen.

Freelancer on November 3, 2012 at 1:14 AM

TOAST :)

kcd on November 3, 2012 at 10:58 PM

Comment pages: 1 2