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Ted Strickland, headhunter of GOP giants Christie, Kasich, to help Ed FitzGerald

Ted Strickland, the former governor of Ohio who John Kasich squeaked by four years ago with fewer votes statewide than it takes to fill Cleveland Browns stadium, was in Chicago Tuesday, where he continued the junk-yard dog role he played in 2012 in Ohio and other states.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, right, campaigns for Mitt Romney, center, with Ohio Senator Rob Portman.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, right, campaigns for Mitt Romney, center, with Ohio Senator Rob Portman.
Getty Images
Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland speaks during day one of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 4, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As one of about 30 unpaid national co-chairman of President Obama's reelection campaign, the Methodist minister and prison psychologist became quite adept at delivering pointed political barbs at the GOP in general and Mitt Romney in particular.

Romney lost Ohio by more than 160,000 votes even though the General Assembly is dominated by Republicans, as are all statewide agencies including the office of governor. Gov. John Kasich, one of the 2010 brood of Tea Party governors, won't know if Buckeyes want him to have a second term until November, but the GOP buzz now includes Kasich as an outlier, underdog candidate for the GOP's presidential sweepstakes in 2016.

"I'm excited to be back on the trail. I'm looking forward to helping Ed FitzGerald and others," Strickland, who was elected Ohio governor in 2006 following years of pay-to-play and influence peddling scandals by Republicans, said on his Facebook page.

New Jersey Gov Chris Christie was in Chicago Tuesday to raise money for the Republican Governors Association, which he continues to lead despite some calls for him to step away from, as an investigation into whether he had anything to do with payback to one Democratic Mayor that included closing all but one lane on the George Washington Bridge [GWB], which connects Fort Lee Jersey to Manhattan across the Hudson River.

Reports are that Gov. Christie told a group of business leaders that he is confident he can carry out his second-term agenda. He only briefly addressed the GWB scandal that has implicated some of his aides and allies, according to Politico.

"People who worked for me made some significant mistakes in judgment ... but you only have a few minutes to wallow in that disappointment," Christie said, according to Elizabeth Titus. "I don’t think that it will curtail for the long haul a second-term agenda because I think the public in New Jersey won’t tolerate it.

Gov. Strickland, an Ohio congressman for six terms before being elected chief executive with over 60 percent of the General Election vote in 2006, was on the hunt Tuesday for Christie, who has high praise for John Kasich. In the windy city to question Christie’s managerial skills in light of the so-called Bridgegate scandal, Gov. Strickland said, "I’m suggesting two things, two possibilities: Either the governor knew and he is lying, or he is the most inept, incompetent chief executive imaginable.

Strickland said he spent time with Gov. Christie's Democratic opponent last year, New Jersey State Sen. Barbara Buono, who is angry at the Democratic establishment for abandoning her campaign. "I only wish the people of New Jersey had the opportunity to go back and to recast their votes," the former governor said.

Writing on Facebook, Mike Meazell challenged Strickland: "Everything you said also applies to Barack Obama tenfold so keep throwing your rocks from that glass house."

There are similar feelings among a cross section of Ohio voters on the Strickland-Kasich race in 2010 as might be for last year's Christie-Buono race. Voters today who cast their vote for Kasich in 2010 might vote for Strickland were the election run again.

In 2010, on the cusp of the end of the Great Recession, a long, deep recession that pounded nearly ever governor with companies closing and workers losing their jobs, John Kasich, fresh from his years on Fox TV and working as a Wall Street banker for the failed Lehman Brothers investment firm, forced Ted Strickland to bear the full weight of a cross made from more than 400,000 jobs lost from the Great Recession, which next to the Great Recession of the 1930s is widely acknowledged to be the second worse financial crisis in American history, one that lingers to this day.

Lauren Hitt, spokeswoman for the FitzGerald campaign, told one news group that Strickland’s appointment by President Barack Obama as an alternate U.N. representative was time consuming. He has been helpful in recent weeks, though, she said, particularly raising money. He helped put together a Sunday fundraiser in Columbus for FitzGerald, who has already been endorsed by the Ohio Democratic Party.

"His appointment took up a lot of time," Hitt told the Plain Dealer, adding, "but since that ended in January, he's been active and will continue to help with the campaign in the future."

Some speculated that Strickland would be a good running mate for FitzGerald, citing his experience as governor. Gov. Kasich promised voters to out perform the national average on job creation, but reliable data from several sources, both progressive and conservative, show he's fallen far short of his goal. In fact, there were more jobs created during Gov. Strickland's last year in office, 2010, than Kasich has been able to muster on his own.

Gov. Kasich asked the Ohio legislature to create a private nonprofit economic group and it gave him his wish. Unfortunately, controversy rages around the group, JobsOhio, who operates behind secret barriers, while using public dollars from state liquor profits, which have been bonded out for decades to produce a cash flow stream in the billions.

Gov. Kasich's job creation quotient has been pegged in the mid 40s of all states by one business school, xxxx, and in the middle of all states according to Gallup's Job Creation Index released Wednesday.

Gov. Strickland will no doubt relish the role he'll play as attack dog on Kasich and his administration. There will be no one better for this role than Ted Strickland, who can disassemble the Kasich narrative of his self-described "Ohio Miracle" brick by brick. Gov. Kasich has struggled to elevate his poor job approval numbers, which at its best in one poll showed him just north of 50 percent approval.

FitzGerald, by contrast, is little known outside northeast Ohio, where he lives and serves as Cuyahoga County's first elected chief executive. But now that his team has some new faces in it, and the Feb. 5th candidate filing deadline has passed, Team FitzGerald is taking haymaker swings at Gov. Kasich on hot-button issues like women's health issues, his secret jobs group JobsOhio, and years of starving cities and counties and school districts of funding in order to balance the state budget, forcing local taxpayers to do with fewer services or vote for more local spending to compensate for state money Gov. Kasich kept in Columbus.

Gov. Kasich's fourth State of the State address will be delivered on Feb. 24 from Medina, southwest of Cleveland. Kasich's SOTS events have turned into mini tent revival productions since he abandoned the traditional venue, the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, for venues outside the capital city.

The news article Ted Strickland, headhunter of GOP giants Christie, Kasich, to help Ed FitzGerald appeared first on Columbus Government Examiner.

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