Ohio Democratic Party

TO: Interested Parties FROM: Senator Sherrod Brown; Ohio Democratic Party Chair Chris Redfern DATE: February 19, 2008 RE: John McCain and the Ohio Economy

The economy is the top concern of Ohio families and the number one issue on their minds as they consider the presidential race. That’s bad news for Senator John McCain, who is uniquely out-of-touch with Ohio when it comes to the economy. Senator McCain’s difficulties stem in large measure from his desire to continue the destructive Bush administration economic policies that have done Ohio’s economy incredible harm. However, for the Arizona senator, the problem also goes far deeper. Senator John McCain has demonstrated a deep economic pessimism, a seeming indifference to bread-and-butter economic issues and an inability to connect with voters who care about the economy, all of which will plague him in Ohio during the general election. It is no exaggeration to state that the severity of Senator McCain’s weakness on economic issues, particularly in key swing states like Ohio, may cost him the presidency.

John McCain’s Unique Weakness on the Economy
John McCain has repeatedly admitted that he does not understand the economy. Senator George Voinovich, a former two-term governor and steward of Ohio’s economy himself, has raised grave doubts about McCain’s ability to manage and “run things.” • McCain: “I'm going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated.” [Wall Street Journal,

• •

McCain: "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should," McCain said. "I've got Greenspan's book." [Boston Globe, 12/8/07] Voinovich: McCain Sorely Lacking in Management Experience. Ohio Senator George Voinovich said, “McCain keeps saying, 'we need a leader; I can hire managers,' but we need a leader who understands management.” He continued, “There are big differences between being a mayor or a governor and being a legislator. We are facing some serious issues in this country. We need somebody who knows how to run things."
[Cincinnati Enquirer, 2/4/08]

John McCain failed to stand up for working families when he skipped a recent vote to rebuild the economy. McCain was the only senator who failed to show up to vote on the economic stimulus package designed to boost the country’s shaky economy as well as promote job creation, sending a clear message to Ohioans about where their top issue stands on his list of priorities.
Paid for by the Ohio Democratic Party, Chris Redfern, Chair 340 East Fulton St, Columbus, OH 43215

McCain Skipped Economic Stimulus Vote. John McCain was the only U.S. senator to miss a vote on an economic stimulus package aimed at bolstering the national economy. The bill would have made 20 million seniors and 250,000 disabled veterans eligible for rebate checks as well as expand unemployment benefits and home heating subsidies for the jobless and poor. [Associated Press, 2/6/08; HR 5140, Vote #8, 2/6/08]

John McCain’s loss in the Michigan primary revealed his inability to connect with voters who care about the economy. John McCain’s economic pessimism – telling laid-off Michiganders that their jobs “are not coming back” – was loudly rejected by Michigan voters. McCain severely underperformed amongst voters who rated the economy as their top issue. Of the 477,000 voters who cited the economy as their top priority, McCain lost by 338,670 votes. • McCain to Michigan Workers: Your Jobs are Gone for Good. John McCain and Mitt Romney used two very different approaches when speaking with Michigan voters about the economy. McCain told laid-off workers that their assembly line jobs have been lost for good while Romney promised the right policies could bring good jobs back to Michigan. “I've got to give you some straight talk: Some of the jobs that have left the state of Michigan are not coming back," McCain told voters in Grand Rapids. "They are not. And I am sorry to tell you that." [Boston Globe, 1/14/08] McCain Lost Badly Among Voters Who Considered Economy the Top Issue. According to exit polling, Michigan’s Republican voters had one thing on their mind - the economy. A majority of GOP primary voters (55 percent) said the economy was the most pressing issue facing the country. Of the 55 percent of voters who cited the economy as their biggest concern, 42 percent cast their ballots for Romney while only 29 percent voted for McCain. GOP voters turned out in greater numbers than they had in the 2000 presidential primary, which McCain won. [NY Times, 1/16/08; Rasmussen Reports,

Continuation John McCain: A Continuation of Bush Economics
With no substantive plan or comprehensive knowledge of the economy, the only thing John McCain is guaranteed to deliver is a third Bush term. Under seven years of the Bush administration, Ohio has experienced the loss of manufacturing jobs, rising energy costs, a growing housing crisis, and unaffordable health coverage.

The Impact of President Bush’s Policies on Ohio’s Economy
Ohio’s Median Household Income Decreased By 6.6 Percent. Since President Bush took office, only wealthy households in the top fifth percentile saw any real income gains. In Ohio, real median household income averaged $45,776 over the 2005-2006 period, compared with $49,031 over the 1999-2000 period. [U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, “Ohio Economic Snapshot,” http://jec.senate.gov/State%20by%20State/January%202008/OH.pdf, 1/13/08]

Paid for by the Ohio Democratic Party, Chris Redfern, Chair 340 East Fulton St, Columbus, OH 43215

Ohio Lost Over 200,000 Manufacturing Jobs. In Ohio there has been a net loss of 178,600 new jobs since Bush took office as compared with the creation of 737,700 new jobs under Clinton. Trade policies enacted by the Bush administration have jeopardized American jobs, leaving U.S. businesses and workers at an unfair disadvantage by providing incentives to move jobs to low-cost offshore labor markets. The manufacturing sector has been hit hard, with payrolls nationwide declining by 3.2 million jobs between January 2001 and December 2007, and by 224,300 in Ohio over the same period. [U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, “Ohio Economic Snapshot,” 1/13/08] Rising Energy Costs Burden Ohio’s Families. The Bush administration’s energy policies have rewarded oil and gas companies with tax breaks and record-breaking profits while skyrocketing energy costs make it more difficult for Ohio families to stretch their household budgets. In January 2001, the average retail price per gallon of gasoline in Ohio was $1.48; by January 2008, the average price rose to $2.96 per gallon. As winter sets in, Ohio families will see home heating costs rise by 12.1 percent compared to last year. [U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, “Ohio Economic Snapshot,” 1/13/08] Health Care Premiums Increased by Over 40 Percent in Ohio. The Bush administration has done little to ease the high cost of health care, protecting wealthy insurance companies instead of providing children and working families with affordable health benefits. In 2005, the average inflation-adjusted health care premium for family coverage in Ohio was $11,010, a 42.6 percent increase from 2000, while the average premium for individual coverage was $4,056, an increase of 34.6 percent since 2000. Nationwide, the inflation-adjusted average monthly premium for family health coverage in the United States rose by 39.7 percent from 2000 to 2005, as median household income declined by 2.7 percent over the same period. [U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, “Ohio Economic Snapshot,” 1/13/08] Subprime Mortgage Crisis Threatens Ohio Homeowners. Under the Bush administration’s watch, unregulated mortgage originators were given financial incentives to sell risky, unaffordable subprime mortgages to vulnerable borrowers. As these adjustable rate mortgages reset to higher rates, the number of families unable to afford their payments and threatened with foreclosure is skyrocketing. In Ohio, mortgages in delinquency have increased from 96,700 in the third quarter of 2005 to 140,700 in the third quarter of 2007. According to a recent report published by the Joint Economic Committee, the number of subprime foreclosures in Ohio will total 82,200 between third quarter 2007 and the end of 2009. [U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, “Ohio Economic Snapshot,” 1/13/08] Iraq War Will Cost $36,900 Per Ohio Household. According to the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee’s report, the direct and indirect costs of the Iraq War will be massive, especially if the Bush administration continues to keep large numbers of troops there. Even assuming significant force reductions, the cost of the Iraq War will total $97 billion for Ohio taxpayers by 2017; the total cost to the country will be an estimated $2.8 trillion. [U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, “Ohio Economic Snapshot,” 1/13/08] 1.2 Million Ohio Residents Have No Health Insurance. A growing number of Ohio residents are living without health insurance. During the 2005-2006 period, an average of 1.2 million Ohio residents—10.7 percent of the state’s population—had no health insurance; this was 72,000 more than during the 1999-2000 period. Furthermore, 6.7 percent of Ohio’s children had no health insurance. In 2007, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland passed a bipartisan budget that provided health care access for all Ohio’s children using the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. The Bush administration denied the state’s proposal to expand eligibility, leaving thousands of low-income children at risk of no coverage. [U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, “Ohio Economic Snapshot,” 1/13/08; Governor Ted Strickland press release, 6/27/07; Columbus Dispatch, 12/22/07]

Economic Messages that Work: Lessons from 2006
In 2006, Sherrod Brown and Ted Strickland demonstrated the kind of robust economic message that works in Ohio. Sherrod Brown placed standing up for Ohio’s middle class at the heart of his
Paid for by the Ohio Democratic Party, Chris Redfern, Chair 340 East Fulton St, Columbus, OH 43215

campaign and drew stark contrasts with his opponent Mike DeWine, an incumbent who listened to special interests instead of ordinary citizens. Multiple polls showed that the economy and having a government willing to stand up for the middle class were far more important than the social wedge issues that dominated previous Ohio elections. Sherrod Brown was the first Democrat elected to represent Ohio in the U.S. Senate since 1992. In 2006, Senator Brown defeated incumbent Mike DeWine by nearly a half million votes (over 12%). Brown carried 45 of Ohio’s 88 counties, 30 more counties than John Kerry won in 2004. BROWN (D) 2,257,485 56.16% DEWINE (R) 1,761,092 43.82%

Votes Percentage

[Ohio Secretary of State website, 2006 Election Results]

Democrats Offer Much Needed Alternatives
Unlike John McCain, the Democratic hopefuls for the U.S. presidency offer solid solutions to fix the nation’s economy, focusing on high-wage job creation and education, tax relief for middle class families, fair and balanced trade policies, and a comprehensive solution to the mortgage crisis. Senator Hillary Clinton on Rebuilding the American Economy: • “It's time for a President who believes that leading an economic comeback is a full-time, hands-on job. Who renews our commitment to a strong and prosperous middle class and brings business, labor and government together to restore America's competitiveness in a fast changing world. A president who has a vision for a twenty-first century economy based on shared prosperity. Where we measure our success not by the wealth at the very top but by how broadly wealth is shared.” [Clinton campaign speech,


Senator Barack Obama on Rebuilding the American Economy: • “I won't wait to raise the minimum wage every ten years - I will raise it to keep pace every year so that workers don't fall behind. I'll take on the credit card companies who are profiting by driving working families into debt. And I'll make sure that CEOs can't dump your pension with one hand while they collect a bonus with the other. That's an outrage, and it's time we had a President who knows it's an outrage.” [Obama campaign
speech, Greenville, SC, 1/22/08]


Paid for by the Ohio Democratic Party, Chris Redfern, Chair 340 East Fulton St, Columbus, OH 43215