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Published: Sunday, 10/27/2002

Taft's sporting tour scores with fans in northwest Ohio

BY RACHEL ZINN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Gov. Bob Taft, decked out in Bowling Green State University paraphernalia, is greeted by BGSU mascots Frieda and Freddy as he arrives to attend a football game. Gov. Bob Taft, decked out in Bowling Green State University paraphernalia, is greeted by BGSU mascots Frieda and Freddy as he arrives to attend a football game.
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The cover-up has been going on for years, but some Northwest Ohio residents finally learned a shocking truth last night about Gov. Bob Taft. Sources close to the governor admitted that he is a “terrible” bowler.

“We're trying to get him not to bowl. He'd probably like to, but he's terrible. Nobody wants to see that,” assistant press secretary Aaron McLear said as Governor Taft began a campaign appearance at Imperial Lanes on Central Avenue.

Against all advice, Governor Taft bowled one frame. As he positioned himself on lane 45, a nervous murmur went through the crowd.

“Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Better keep your fingers crossed,” First Lady Hope Taft said.

The governor earned a smattering of applause, scoring a six on his first ball and then missing the spare by just one pin.

Gov. Bob Taft and Lucas County Commission candidate Maggie Thurber line up shots at Toledo's Imperial Lanes. Gov. Bob Taft and Lucas County Commission candidate Maggie Thurber line up shots at Toledo's Imperial Lanes.
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Bowlers enthusiastically greeted Governor Taft and Maggie Thurber, the Republican candidate for Lucas County commissioner, as they strolled around the lanes. Jeanette Bradley, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor and current member of Columbus City Council, also made the rounds.

The candidates shook hands and signed autographs. Governor Taft even signed a bowling ball belonging to Jacob Christopher of West Toledo.

“I don't pay much attention to politics, but he's got my vote now,” Mr. Christopher said. “He's definitely the most famous person we've ever met bowling.”

The candidates spent about an hour mingling at the bowling alley, which had more than 50 of its 60 lanes full. The crowd ranged from small children drawing crayon pictures to seniors who wanted to talk about the rising costs of prescription drugs.

Paul Valiquette, 64, told the governor that his mother, who is 91, pays more than $1000 every month for medicine. She only gets $800 each month in social security.

Gov. Taft has been promoting the Golden Buckeye card to lower drug costs.

“It's good to see that somebody is sympathetic,” Mr. Valiquette said.

Earlier in the day, Governor Taft hustled off a passenger bus into a sea of brown and orange at Bowling Green State University with his thumbs up and chanted “Go Falcons” as the team clashed with Ball State's Cardinals.

Governor Taft, who wore BGSU paraphernalia, made his way through students, alumni, residents, and tailgating tents. The conversations were mostly small talk, but he touched on education and medical issues.

Dr. Greg Johnson, an ob-gyn in Bowling Green, asked about malpractice insurance reform. Governor Taft said he was “working hard on it” because “it's a big priority.”

Blade staff writer Jason Williams contributed to this report.



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