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Published: Friday, 2/24/2012


Kaptur: Kucinich ad disrespectful to Toledo politics

Rep. Dennis Kucinich's advertisement, airing only in Cleveland, is the politician's first radio or television ad in the race that ends with the election March 6. Rep. Dennis Kucinich's advertisement, airing only in Cleveland, is the politician's first radio or television ad in the race that ends with the election March 6.
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Unbeknownst to Toledoans, an advertising war is going on in Cleveland between U.S. Reps. Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich, with the latest salvo sounding not very complimentary to Toledo politicians.

In a radio commercial from Mr. Kucinich (D., Cleveland), an announcer says that "maybe in Toledo politics, facts don't matter."

"Toledo's Marcy Kaptur voted to waste half a trillion on Bush's wars. Cleveland's Dennis Kucinich voted to bring our troops and their money home to rebuild our economy," the radio ad says.

It says, "Toledo's Kaptur took hundreds of thousands from war contractors and voted for billions more than even the Republicans wanted for military spending."

The radio spot ends with the announcer saying, "Vote for Dennis. He works for you, not for war profiteers."

The radio spot is running in the Cleveland market only and is Mr. Kucinich's first radio or television advertisement in the race that ends with the election March 6.

Mr. Kucinich and Miss Kaptur (D., Toledo) are competing in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District, which yokes Toledo and Cleveland together along with Lake Erie coastline communities in Lorain, Erie, and Ottawa counties. Also competing in the primary is Clevelander Graham Veysey, a video entrepreneur making his first run for office.

Miss Kaptur responded to the radio ad with a prepared statement: "It's an insult to the people of Toledo to say they don't care about facts. Until today, I had never heard of a candidate attacking a community that he claims he wants to represent."

She said the radio ad was "disrespectful."

Andy Juniewicz, a spokesman for Mr. Kucinich, said the radio ad is not a slam on Toledoans in any way. He said it is a specific response to a negative ad produced by the Kaptur campaign last week that he said impugns Mr. Kucinich's record.

The Kaptur TV ad accuses Mr. Kucinich of voting "no" on several projects of importance to the Democratic constituencies of labor, seniors, and veterans, and concludes that's the reason she was endorsed by the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer.

It also features a depiction of the Space Needle landmark in Seattle, a city where Mr. Kucinich reportedly had considered planning a run for Congress last year when it appeared his district would be eliminated in the decennial redistricting.

"It's a dishonest, deceitful, deliberately misleading political ad emanating from Toledo, so we responded to it," Mr. Juniewicz said, though the radio ad doesn't expressly mention the TV ad.

In a letter sent Saturday to the Plain Dealer's publisher, president and chief executive officer, Terrance C. Z. Egger, and the Plain Dealer's editorial board, the Kucinich campaign calls on the paper to disavow each of the claims in the Kaptur TV ad.

The television commercial claims Mr. Kucinich voted "no" on a 2009 defense budget bill that included $42 million for new manufacturing jobs, that he voted against another 2009 budget bill that contained $15 billion for veterans care, and that in 2000 he voted against the "Democrats' prescription drug benefit for seniors."

In all three instances, Mr. Kucinich said he voted no to oppose military spending and defended his support of seniors, workers, and veterans.

One Kaptur supporter said Mr. Kucinich's ad is rich in irony if it's suggesting Cleveland politics has more integrity than Toledo politics.

"For someone from Cleveland to accuse Toledoans of [questionable] politics is like the pot calling the kettle black," said Wade Kapszukiewicz, Lucas County treasurer, a Democrat, and a supporter for Miss Kaptur.

Matthew Klempner, a spokesman for Miss Kaptur, declined to identify the cost of the Kaptur ad buy. He said it is in "heavy rotation" in the area.

"We believe that it is having a dramatic impact on the race in Cuyahoga County," he said.

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.

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