Friday, November 9, 2012


Republican United States Senate candidate Josh Mandel should have had a premonition after his October 11th radio interview (LINK - for full interview) with WHBC1480 's Ron Ponder (Points to Ponder) that November 6th was not going to go all that well for him.

Mandel's responses were "political spin" all the way and NOT responsive to Ponder.

While Ponder actually asked a number of questions (e.g. "how's the campaign going," Mandel's auto industry bailout viewpoint, et cetera), the interview from the perspective of the SCPR really boiled down to Mandel avoiding Ponder's pointed questions:
  • in talking over Ponder, and 
  • in trying to force a redirection of the dialogue from the question asked to Mandel campaign political propaganda points.
But Ponder was having none of it.  He ended up directing his Points to Ponder assistant Stephon King to hang up on Mandel.

The focal point of the redirection effort was on the question of allegations that Mandel has full blown political cronyism going on in his office.

An example.

“[Ponder to Mandel] Joe Aquilino, I believe you pronounce his name, a former campaign aide, was named director of debt management, paid $90,000, had no experience in finance and you sent him to a beginner’s course in the subject. How do you answer those charges?"

This specific Ponder question was one of a line of questions that had to do with Mandel's 2010 (campaign for Ohio treasurer) statement that, if elected he would have qualified financial professionals manning the state treasury.

Other questions had to do with:
  • Mandel's 27 year old former campaign manager (the Mandel for Treasurer campaign) getting a $100,000 position; having worked for Mandel as a legislative aide at $13.85 hourly), and
  • Seth Metcalf, a Mandel college buddy, being paid $150,000 as a member of Mandel's treasury staff as general legal counsel and chief financial officer.  (Metcalf ran Mandel's campaign at The Ohio State University in his quest to become student government president).
Mandel's response?

Talking points, that's what:
  • "we've (the treasurer's office) earned the highest rating on our bonds,"
  • "we've earned the highest rating on our investments," et cetera, and
  • "you talk about someone who has served himself, talk about Sherrod Brown ... ."
Ponder comes back:
  • "the question is Josh, it's a pretty simple question, when you were running against Kevin Boyce you accused him of filling the treasurer's office with his friends and cronies,"
  • "now the Democrats are accusing you of the same thing, so I am just asking you the question about the salaries and the folks you have hired ... ."
Mandel responded not with specific answers to the Aquilino, Lord and Metcalf and whether or not they represent cronyism in the Ohio Department of the Treasury, but with the political-spin-talking-points answer of guess what?

"We have qualified financial professional in our office."

Here is the reduced version (to the cronyism question) of the Ponder interview of Mandel that went viral on YouTube:

A SCPR "hats off" to Ponder.

Ponder maintained control of the interview and thereby put Mandel on notice that some journalists will ask probing questions and will not allow a spinmeister candidate such as Mandel to twist an exchange into a spewing of political propaganda.

Ohioans and Stark Countians should be pleased that Josh Mandel was not elected U.S. Senator from the great state of Ohio.

Brown is 59, Mandel is 35 and the difference in maturity showed big time in their respective interviews with Ponder.

It is distressing that the "not wet behind the ears" Mandel (as described by Sherrod Brown), who announced mere months after taking office as treasurer that he was running for the Senate, could garner the support of 45% of Ohioans and Stark Countians.

But when you have upwards of $40 million of campaign finance resources (direct and indirect) to wage a campaign with, "you are going to be able to fool some of the people some of the time."

The good news is that there were enough Ohioans savvy enough about what Josh Mandel is really about to turn back the unseemly Ohio treasurer from achieving higher political office.

The bad news is that he is only 35.

Undoubtedly and unfortunately, we have not heard the last of Josh Mandel.

But maybe, just maybe, Ron Ponder's interview (a portion of which went viral on YouTube) went a long way towards wising Ohioans up as what Josh Mandel is all about.

And just what is that?

Josh Mandel and only Josh Mandel many times.

He is a prime example of being an aspiring politician consumed with himself!

The sooner Ohioans catch on to what Mandel is all about, the better of we will all be!

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