What They’re Saying: At Cleveland Debate, Strickland ‘Came Out Swinging’

Strickland highlights Portman’s Senate obstruction, support for a national “stop-and-frisk” law and hyper-partisan record 

COLUMBUS, OH -- At Thursday’s debate in Cleveland, Ted Strickland won a decisive victory over Senator Rob Portman, framing the debate by calling out Portman’s partisanship on the issues that matter most to cities like Cleveland. Strickland revealed that Portman had authored and sponsored a national “stop-and-frisk” bill and called out Portman’s record of always prioritizing the wealthy and well connected in Washington while Ohio’s working families pay the price.  

In answer after answer, Strickland revealed Portman for what he is: a partisan who puts the interests of his party bosses ahead of what’s right for Ohio’s middle class.

Here’s what they’re saying:

Toledo Blade: Strickland goes on attack during debate 

  • Mr. Strickland came out swinging at Mr. Portman as someone who likes to be seen as an independent but who toes a partisan political line.” 

  • A man who pretends to be nonpartisan but who’s always there when Mitch McConnell and the Washington power brokers need him. In fact, he is spending his time and our tax dollars fighting President Obama every step of the way,’ Mr. Strickland said. ‘He is the great pretender.’”

  • Mr. Strickland charged Mr. Portman for failing to do his job by refusing to vote up or down on President Obama’s nominee to a vacancy on the Supreme Court. ‘You’re acting in a very hyperpartisan manner when it comes to the Supreme Court,’ Mr. Strickland said.” 

Columbus Dispatch: Strickland: Portman has fought Obama ‘every step of the way’ 

  • Baloney, said Strickland. ‘For months he has blocked Judge Garland,’ Strickland said, referring to Merrick Garland, who Portman and other Senate Republicans have essentially blocked from being confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. ‘He said this man should not have a hearing or get a vote. He has disrespected the president and he has failed to carry out his constitutional obligation. He has not done his job for months.’”

  • “The two also argued about the Black Lives Matter movement, with Strickland accusing Portman of supporting ‘stop and frisk’ – a policy that was struck down by the Supreme Court that allowed police to stop anyone suspected of a crime. He was referring to a bill Portman introduced in 1994 as a member of the U.S. House.”

  • “Strickland, however, took exception. He said Portman has fought Obama ‘every step of the way’ and stood with Donald Trump for months before finally saying he wouldn’t vote for him. When it came to being an independent, Strickland said, ‘he is the great pretender.’”

WKYC-TV Cleveland: Strickland: Portman introduced a national ‘stop-and-frisk’ bill

  • “What about the need for racial fairness in the justice system? Strickland referred to an old Portman bill. ‘He has an introduced a measure to use stop-and-frisk,’ he said.”

  • “Strickland criticized Portman for waiting so long to pull his endorsement of Donald Trump. ‘He stood by Donald Trump when he called women pigs and worse. He stood by Donald Trump when he mocked a disabled person,’ Strickland declared.” 

Toledo Blade: Strickland scoffs at Portman’s record

  • On guns, Mr. Strickland twice said Mr. Portman has refused to vote for a bill drafted by a fellow Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, to prohibit people on the no-fly list of suspected terrorists from being able to buy guns.

  • “‘The world was watching. Senator Portman voted no. He has sold his soul to the [National Rifle Association]. That’s why they’ve spent nearly $2 million trying to defeat me in this senate election and I’m proud of their opposition,’ Mr. Strickland said.”

  • “Mr. Strickland said his opponent voted against bills to provide more Pell grants to college students and cap their student debt.” 

  • “‘Senator ... your nose seems to be growing,’ Mr. Strickland said. ‘The fact is you have consistently opposed allowing Ohio students to refinance their debt at a lower interest rate.’”

WCPO-TV Cincinnati: Strickland questions Portman’s commitment to bipartisanship

  • Strickland, however, questioned Portman’s commitment to bipartisan efforts. He called Portman out for not considering Obama’s Supreme Court pick. Strickland also chided Portman for being too lax -- and too in line with the National Rifle Association -- on gun regulations. ‘When you hear independence and bipartisanship, remember this: He is the great pretender,’ Strickland countered.”

Dix Communications: Strickland recounts humble beginnings, slams Portman

  • Strickland recounted his humble beginnings in Appalachian Ohio and how that affected his subsequent years of public service. ‘I learned at an early age what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck and how just one bad break could cause real hardship,’ he said. ‘And that's why I've spent my life as a minister, a teacher, a psychologist, a congressman and as your governor fighting for working people. And that's who I'll fight for in the Senate.’” 

  • “Strickland said his opponent's background was ‘a story of wealth, power and privilege. It's a story about a man who says one thing in Ohio and goes to Washington and does something else. Like Donald Trump, Rob Portman wants to overturn Roe vs. Wade. He's voted to defund Planned Parenthood. He's pushed legislation to allow a boss to tell a female employee that she should not have access to birth control.’”

WYTV-TV Youngstown: Portman has blocked Judge Garland for months

  • Strickland thinks Portman was too late in denouncing Trump. ‘It wasn’t until it was in his political calculation to try to disassociate himself, that at the last minute shortly before this election, he said, ‘Well, I can’t vote for Donald Trump.’” 

  • “According to Strickland, Portman did not support providing those resources in the past, saying he ‘didn’t have the courage to cast a vote.’”

  • “Strickland countered by saying that Portman claims to be independent and bipartisan, but blocked President Obama’s nominee, Judge Garland, for months.”

Cleveland.com: Strickland ties Portman to Trump 

  • Strickland tied Portman to Trump, citing the billionaire's controversial remarks about women and disabled people.” 

  • “‘Donald Trump is not fit to be president,’ Strickland said.”

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