Friday, October 20, 2006

Cincy Post Looks At OH-01 Debate

Chabot, Cranley pump up supporters

By Joe Wessels
Post contributor

It is easy to tell Election Day is less than three weeks away.

If it was not apparent on either the faces of Congressman Steve Chabot or Cincinnati City Council Member John Cranley or in the barbing comments during their second-to-last 1st District congressional debate Wednesday evening, it was in the raucous reactions of the crowd.

About 150 people, each getting tickets from the candidate's campaign they were supporting and mostly West Side residents, gasped at nearly everything when they didn't like what they heard. Or they applauded in support, even when opposing candidate attacked their candidate on an issue they supported.

Cranley asked Chabot to apologize for some TV ads running now accusing the Cranley of supporting giving Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants. Chabot, on a property rights question, said Cranley "did not know what (he is) talking about."

Thus set the tone for the approximately one-hour debate at the Delhi Township Senior Center.

Cranley is aiming to take back for the Democrats the seat Chabot has held since beating then-incumbent and former Cincinnati Mayor David S. Mann in 1994. Democrats had held the seat for 12 years prior, with Tom Luken serving 1982 through 1990, when his son and former Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken took over for one term.

"My opponent and his liberal allies have spent a lot of money attacking me," Chabot told the crowd, which included his mother, sitting in the front row, and the mother of one of Chabot's campaign workers who gasped at nearly every comment Cranley made.

When asked about his voting record - he votes for President Bush's initiatives 92 percent of the time - Chabot said he often agrees with Bush, but sometimes does not. Cranley shot back that the other 8 percent, he's more conservative than the president. Supporters of both candidates erupted into applause.

Polls have the two in a neck-and-neck race and have garnered the attention of both national political parties.

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