What They’re Saying: Strickland Wins First Debate

COLUMBUS, OH -- On Friday in Youngstown, Ted Strickland won a decisive victory over Senator Rob Portman, calling out Portman for championing job-killing trade deals, selling out working people and seniors, and allowing special interests to bankroll his campaign so he can continue doing their bidding in Washington at the expense of Ohio families.

Here’s what they’re saying:

From Saturday’s Plain Dealer:

Cleveland.com: Ted Strickland attacks Rob Portman on Trade in Strong Debate Performance

  • “The former Ohio governor came out swinging, effectively framing the debate in such a way that his opponent, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, had to defend his staunch support for free-trade deals, a political liability in this electoral climate.”

  • “Strickland criticized Portman for expressing support for raising the retirement age of Social Security for future recipients, a reform that does poorly in polling, but one which Portman and other backers say is necessary to keep the federal retirement program solvent. Strickland described himself as someone with a blue-collar upbringing, and said Portman looks out most for the rich and powerful.”

Columbus Dispatch: Rob Portman, Ted Strickland argue over records, presidential nominees in Senate debate

  • “Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland fired off a series of sharp attacks against Sen. Rob Portman in the first of three debates in the race for the U.S. Senate.”

  • “Strickland, a Democrat who hopes to unseat Portman, spoke of his working-class background and told voters that Portman’s story was one of “wealth, power and privilege.” He repeatedly hit Portman for supporting trade agreements NAFTA and CAFTA, saying Portman never met a trade deal he didn’t “cheerlead.”

Toledo Blade: Strickland, Portman argue records

  • “Mr. Strickland, the Democratic nominee, said Mr. Portman, the Republican, should ‘get down on his knees and apologize’ to Ohioans for supporting ‘job-killing trade deals’ that sent Ohio jobs to China and other lower-wage countries.”

  • “Noting Mr. Portman’s history as former U.S. trade representative, Mr. Strickland recalled that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said the people who negotiated America’s trade deals are ‘stupid.’”

  • “Mr. Portman said, ‘we have a trade surplus with those countries we have a trade agreement with. We have a big trade deficit with countries we don’t have a trade agreement with.’ However, an analysis of trade balances with Canada and Mexico provided last week to The Blade by U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) showed a continuous trade deficit in goods traded with Mexico and Canada since NAFTA began in 1993, totaling about $180 billion in 2013.”

  • “‘I applaud the senator calling attention to this terrible scourge of drug addiction,’ Mr. Strickland said. ‘But I also think it’s fair to point out he voted against funding his bill. He sent out 14 news releases taking credit for things — NASA-Glenn funding, cleaning up Lake Erie — and he voted against the funding because he didn’t have the courage to actually bite the bullet and support the things he thought were important.’”

WFMJ-TV Youngstown: Portman and Strickland talk Trump, Clinton, and NAFTA in first debate

  • While both candidates attempted to picture themselves as fighters for the middle class, Strickland said his opponent is someone who billionaires are spending millions to keep in office. 

Youngstown Vindicator: Jobs and trade deals dominate debate 

  • “‘He has participated in sending our jobs out of this country,’ Strickland said of Portman, who was trade ambassador under President George W. Bush and voted for NAFTA as a congressman.” 

Cincinnati Enquirer: Smackdown in Youngstown 

  • “Ted Strickland accused Portman of expecting others to ‘carry his water’ on tough issues and said the GOP senator showed ‘cowardice’ in only withdrawing his support for Donald Trump after the GOP presidential nominee became so toxic than other Republicans were dumping him in droves.”

  • “Strickland noted the GOP incumbent has towed a partisan line on a number of hot-button issues—including refusing to allow a vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. The Democratic challenger highlighted his modest upbringing--reminding the Youngstown audience that his father was a steelworker and that he was the first in his family to finish college. By contrast, he said, Portman's life story has been one of ‘wealth, power and privilege.’


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