Liberal media joins OhioGOP to target Strickland on guns

By Chad D. Baus

Ohioans are being treated to a rather uncharacteristic display of negative press aimed at a Democratic political candidate. For the second time in as many weeks, the Dayton Daily News has taken issue with Ted Strickland's supposed flip-flopping on the issue of gun control.

A little over two weeks ago, the DDN's Martin Gottlieb attempted to document Strickland's "evolving" position on gun rights. This week, it was DDN Washington D.C. staff writer Jessica Wehrman's turn...

Strickland says his mind changes as bills are tweaked

Less than two weeks after the Ohio primaries, releases from the Ohio Republican Party started filtering into e-mail in-boxes.

Citing voting records and quotes, the releases charged that U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland of Lisbon, the Democratic nominee for governor, was "consistently inconsistent" on issues ranging from guns to immigration to casino gambling in Ohio.

"He's a flip-flopper," said John McClelland, spokesman for the state Republican Party.

Strickland's voting record in Congress is sure to provide partisan fodder for the fall campaign, for supporters and opponents alike.

A look at the record shows that, while he has been unflagging on many key Democratic issues, Strickland also has a number of issues where he strays from the party line.

He voted against the war in Iraq and a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and woman, but he also has opposed additional gun control, voting against the Brady Handgun Bill and background checks for gun sales at gun shows.

The article goes on to document a number of apparent changes of position on other social and economic issues, before addressing the issue of firearms:

In mid-May, the Ohio Republican Party took Strickland to task as a flip-flopper on guns, sending out a quote from Strickland where he said he personally did not like guns, then describing him as turning around and taking more of a pro-gun stance.

In the press release, McClelland called Strickland a "political opportunist" who took that stance simply to win votes.

"He will do a few things to appease the people of the 6th District, but if you look at his overall record, you'll see where his heart really lies," McClelland said in a recent interview.

Strickland expresses exasperation at the charge he's inconsistent on guns.

He said he does not own a gun, nor does he consider himself a "gun person," but, "I believe in a citizen's right to own a gun."

He said that's been a long-held position and the quote in the GOP release was part of a larger comment defending the rights of gun-owners.

While some gun owners may find this article interesting in that Strickland tipped his hand as to having borrowed a shotgun for his infamous 2004 goose hunt photo-op with John Kerry (who also had to borrow a gun that day), it remains to be seen if a quote that was, according to Strickland, taken out of context from a 30 year-old campaign piece that actually spoke in favor of gun rights, will be enough to create a sense of doubt about the NRA "A"-rated Strickland.

In my opinion, it is going to be a serious challenge for the Bob Bennett GOP to cause doubt among gun owners for a man who may have once paid lip service to not personally favoring guns, but who has consistently voted to protect gun rights, while at the same time trying to get people to forget Bob Taft, a man who has paid lip service to gun rights, but consistently fought legislation aimed at protecting it for his entire two terms in office.

No matter what tricks Strickland's opponents try to pull on gun owners, the fact remains that for the first time in a great while, pro-gun voters in Ohio who Vote Freedom First have two major party choices at the top of the ballot come November. Aside from being a significant victory for grassroots gun owners, I believe this presents Democrats with a unique opportunity to win back pro-gun members of their party who have, in recent years, been forced to vote Republican.

This is no time for Republicans to take gun owners for granted, which is why the Ohio Senate should pass Amended HB347 in the next scheduled session and send the bill to the Governor.

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