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[Promoted from the diaries by DavidNYC. I've been interested in the special election in Ohio's second district ever since the seat was vacated. This is an excellent diary about that race, and tells us quite a lot about the two candidates. The juxtaposition is terrific.]

On the last play from scrimmage in the 3rd quarter, Cincinnati Bengals running back Rudi Johnson took the handoff from Carson Palmer and scampered 36 yards to the end zone giving the team a comfortable 20-10 lead.  The Bengals would not look back, presumably to the delight of Jean Schmidt and the 65,806 fans at Paul Brown Stadium watching Cincinnati's first Monday Night Football game at home in a decade a half.

In Iraq, Marine Corps Major Paul Hackett and the men in his unit were en route by military transport helicopter from Ramadi to Fallujah where they served as gatekeepers for supplies coming in and out of the city notorious for some of the worst violence seen in the war.

October 25, 2004 was a defining day in the lives of the two candidates running for election in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District.  For Major Paul Hackett, the Democratic candidate in the special election, the day began his critical work in stopping any untoward supplies from entering the city, keeping the military and Iraqi civillians from further harms way.

For Jean Schmidt, the Republican candidate, her evening about town is now the focus of a Ohio ethics investigation for her failure to disclose gifts accepted from a global bio-tech lobbyist.

More after the jump.

The evening started out nice enough for Representative Jean Schmidt.  She and several Ohio Republican lawmakers, along with a Columbus lobbyist, ate a nice dinner at Nicola's Ristorante in Cincinnati.  The food and drink was paid for by a representative from Chrion, a company whose dirty flu vaccine was banned by the British government.  By all accounts, Nicola's is a tremendous restaurant with wonderful food and atmosphere:

Start with bruschetta e crostini--toasted bread crowned with a delicious assortment of toppings, like salmon, capers and onions, tomato tartare with Gorgonzola and olive tapenade. Cannelloni a modo mio is Nicola's signature version of Italian crepes, with ground veal, Bolognese and alfredo sauces. [...]

Amazing everytime. Nicolas features a seasonal menu that re-invents itself every 3 months. The menu is a bit pricey but worth every dime.

You won't find anything Major Paul Hackett ate that evening on the menu of Nicola's, nor was the atmosphere quite as friendly.  But as any Marine will tell you, the age-old "Meal Ready to Eat" (MRE) does a great job of filling you up--and stopping you up.  And while you will never find a review of MREs in Cincinnati's fine dining guides, here is what one veteran has to say about the MRE pictured to the right.    

Grilled Beefsteak with mushroom gravy MRE Entree YUM, YUM, YUM!

Back to Cincinnati...

Dinner was just the start of the evening for Jean Schmidt.  After a fine meal, her and her colleagues traveled to Paul Brown stadium to watch the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Denver Broncos--entertained in the prestigious luxury box seats, again, paid for by Chiron.  

[E]verything about a Private Suite is designed to make your clients and friends feel truly valued. Your Suite Ambassador ensures that all your needs are met and your every wish is satisfied. The Private Suite is customized for those who entertain at the highest levels.

There is simply no better way to entertain--and yes, impress special clients than the Private Suite experience

Unfortunately for Schmidt, Ohio law calls for legislators to disclose gifts accepted from lobbyists in excess of $75.  Schmidt, did not; her campaign aides claimed that she didn't know the seats (her daughter was also a beneficiary of Chrion's largesse) were valued at more than the allowed amount. Ebay lists the private suites at $549 dollars for a pair.

Meanwhile, back in Iraq, Paul Hackett sat in a helicopter, thousands of miles away from his family, not knowing for sure whether or not he would ever get to see them again--fighting a war that Hackett volunteered to serve in, despite his belief that the invasion was "a misuse of our military that damaged our credibility throughout the world and squandered our political capital."  If elected, Paul Hackett would become the first Iraq War veteran to serve in the United States House of Representatives.  If elected, Jean Schmidt would join the growing list of sitting legislators part of the Republican "Culture of Corruption" in Ohio.  There are quite a few differences between the two candidates running for Congress in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District; October 25, 2004 simply encapsulates them.

The lobbying group for the global biotech corporation that paid for Schmidt's evening on the town "stressed the importance" of Senate Bill 250.

Jean Schmidt ultimately co-sponsored the bill.

(Photo Credits: Nicola's Ristorante, The Cincinnati Bengals, Hackett for Congress, and

(Cross-posted from Grow Ohio.)

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 11:28 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If you are in Ohio... (3.98)
    Please consider coming out to Hackett for Congress HQ to help with GOTV the weekend before the election and on election day (Aug. 2).

    We will be covering the race closely and getting people involved at Grow Ohio.

    Another great resource is the OH-2 blog.

    Contact Hackett for Congress HERE.


    Join Sherrod Brown and "Grow Ohio" from the grassroots.

    by ttagaris on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 09:15:14 AM PDT

  •  Jesus (3.83)
    You're good.  Boil this down and get it into a 30 second TV spot.  Just cutting between a photo of that restaurant spread and the MRE.  Priceless.

    George W. Bush -- It's mourning in America.

    by LarryInNYC on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 09:16:42 AM PDT

  •  proud to recommend (none)
    great diary!
    •  excellent diary (none)
      notice the quote above my signature.  It was uttered in response to coin-gate, but damn if he wasn't dead-on about the Ohio GOP in general.

      "One-party rule has made the Republicans much more sloppy in their corruption," -- Ohio State Senator Marc Dann

      by sgoldinger on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 12:00:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Niiiiiice job (none)
    As always, a nice job.

    I thought I detected a brainstorm in my neighborhood last night.  Now I know it was you, researching this story.

    "I'm tired of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're going, and hook up with 'em later" - Mitch Hedberg

    by Jeff Seemann on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 11:29:09 AM PDT

  •  Print this up and pass it 'round the district... (4.00)
    Make this into a brocure and stick it on every car with a Bush sticker in your district. Hell, stick it on every car in the district. Hell, stick it on every car in every district.

    This is a great brochure, needs to printed and distributed in your district. Anyone running against a fat cat Rethug in any district should find a day and compare and contrast in this manner with their candidate.

  •  SB250 (none)
    was a bill to sponsor cystic fibrosis awareness. that really does not sound that nefarious to me. sure, the biotech has interests in it, but who the hell thinks this bill is an indication of corruption?
    •  What? (4.00)
      The bill itself is not being called into question.  The fact that the biotech firm paid for it, and the Congresswoman failed to claim it is illegal.  No one would deny that there should be more funding for all diseases, but everyone must follow the rules.  What we have here in Ohio is a credibility problem.  This is one of many instances in Ohio where the appearance has been given that the legislature is for sale.  A pay-to-play atmosphere has been created by the Republicans in charge.  It starts with many local officials and state reps and goes all the way through the US Reps' offices, Senators' offices, the Governor's mansion, and now, it appears, maybe the White House as well.  There are many great places to read about all these scandals in Ohio.  GrowOhio has links t omany.  The best comprehensive report is from the Toledo Blade. Please don't confuse the fuss here.  It is certainly not against a certain bill or cause.  I tis a in Ohio legitimate rant about corruption and cronyism politics.
  •  Nice article... (none)
    I just dropped 20$ in Major Hackett's tip box, and a 4.0 in yours.  Thanks for the excellent write-up, TTagaris, and thanks taking the fight to the Repugs, Major Hackett.
  •  Wonderful writing -- (none)
    Hmmm...I hear the NYT has a reporter in the slammer, maybe they need a replacement?

    The juxtaposition of the everyday life of Hackett (and indeed, of every working class person) and the privileged Schmidt, was classic. I wish we could make the same juxtaposition for every government official that takes favors from the powerful.

    Recommended...even though it's already front paged...

    "It's an unnerving thought that we may be the living universe's supreme achievement and its worst nightmare simultaneously." -- Bill Bryson

    by Cali Scribe on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 11:35:39 AM PDT

  •  This race is a big deal! (4.00)
    It definitely deserves the attention of this community.  Hackett has a very real chance of winning because of a combination of reasons:

    --the Ohio GOP's ethical challenges, which extend to Jean Schmidt
    --the war in Iraq, which Hackett has huge credibility on
    --general discontent with this administration
    --Hackett's general strength as a candidate

    Please support him!  We can win this!

    2006 midterm analysis and more here

    by lorax on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 11:40:12 AM PDT

    •  Indeed (4.00)
      Hamilton County, where Cincinnati is located, is a pretty darn conservative district, and people there are pretty knee-jerk about voting Republican. That being said, someone with Hackett's background has a decent chance of taking the seat. People can look at Hackett, and see that he's the one they've been "supporting" for several years now with those magnetic ribbons on their cars.

      In loving memory: Sophie, June 1, 1993-January 17, 2005. My huckleberry friend.

      by Paul in Berkeley on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 12:13:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  On the ground in Hamilton County, Ohio. . . . (none)
        the Hackett yard signs are out, precincts never canvassed before are being canvassed, house parties and letter writing campaigns are taking place nightly,  and we are gearing up to win this county.  

        As you move East in the district, there is a natural affinity for a Marine vet like Paul, and he will do well in Brown, Pike and Scioto Counties, in the foothills of the Appalachians.

        The key to victory is Clermont and Warren Counties, strong counties for Bush in 2004.  

        This is where television and the money for ads is important.  Turnout will be very low--about 20% of the electorate.  Just reaching the hard core Demo base--the people who would go out and vote Dem in the middle of a nuclear holocaust--and then doubling that and we win.  So we have to reach a bunch of people who don't think about elections occurring on August 2, and have to be educated that there is one.  These people are clustered in Warren and Clermont.

        The DNC has said it will bring in bucks if Hackett raises significant money himself.  Don't be distressed by the on-line numbers--money is coming in via the mail.

        But Hackett needs every Kossack dollar you can spare.  Hit the Paul Hackett Link and help a worthy candidate out.

        Thanks to Tim at Grow Ohio for a great diary--and to whoever decides these things for not letting it scroll into oblivion.  I have been watching my pitiful efforts die on the vine for weeks.

        What rough beast, its hour come round at last/Slouches toward Bethlehem waiting to be born?

        by cova1 on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 06:23:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Jean thinks less than $75 for an NFL luxury box? (3.88)
    I've got to go shopping with that woman.  $2000 Mercedes! $50 40 inch flat screen plasma TV set! Just like outta star trek! Say, maybe she can even get me a discount on Republican Politicians.  5 cents per indescretion instead of the usual 50.  Holy Schmidt.
    •  Jean clearly doesn't have to think about cost (none)
      if lobbyists are always this generous with her.

      The only word for the lot of you is chutzpah - Armando

      by thief on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 11:53:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  $75... (none)
      Was probably the cost of gas for what was surely a limo to pick them up, drive them to dinner, the stadium, and then back home all in traffic.

      ...Whirlpools whirl, and dragnets drag...

      by dss on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 12:05:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The name sounds VERY familiar... (4.00)
      I recognize Jean Schmidt! She's the one who wrote a nasty letter to Runner's World to protest them putting John Edwards on the cover. Said how the magazine was becoming a shill (the word she used was "platform") for the Democratic Party... typical GOPBorg-speak.

      She also said how she's a MUCH better runner than Edwards, and so is Bush, so there.

      I wrote her a letter back. A page and a half, really quite genteel, essentially asked her if she'd wanted to be interviewed/photographed by a running magazine anyway. First requirement of being featured in a magazine, is that you WANT to be in it. I never heard back from her.

  •  Many thanks for the diary (none)
    Just sent $20 to Hackett. Hope other Kossacks will do the same.
  •  Great work! (none)
    This is a very compelling story told in less than 20 inches. Get your resume and writing samples over to the Plain Dealer. They really could use you right now.

    One day we ALL will know the truth about the 2000 presidential election. God help us all.

    by CocoaLove on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 12:18:07 PM PDT

  •  I gave $20.00 (4.00)
    as well. Read about him over at MYDD yesterday.
  •  Great contrast (none)

    Great contrast. I hope you can get every voter in the distrct to read it.

    Of course, you realise that the precedent has been set. Serving in combat is passe'; the true patriot puts a magnetic ribbon on his SUV.

  •  The real story? (none)
    Of course Hackett claims to have been in Fallujah that day.  But Fox News has learned from the ILV*, that on that date, Hackett was behind the lines in the "Green Zone," enjoying a delicious dinner of stuffed grape leaves, camel kebab and goat's milk creme brulee, while watching a closed circuit, 84" Plasma TV telecast of the game.

    *"Iraq Lying Veterans"

  •  This race (4.00)
    This race exemplifies who the two parties are, and what the vote in 06 is all about.

    So, which party will be in the majority in the House in 06? Because we want to consider who might be in the WH should we see Bushco impeached.

  •  Are Dean & the DNC helping out? (3.33)
    Was listening to Ed Shultz yesterday and a woman called in who claimed to be close to or with the Hackett campaign. She claimed that the DNC hasn't provided a dime to the Hackett campaign and she was asking Ed to try and speak with Howard Dean about it. Is the DNC providing financial support? Or do they figure they'll skip the races in the solid Republican districts?

    Noticed today on that they have a blog entry about the Hackett campaign. That's great, just hope there's some financial support behind it.

    •  Awesome diary btw... (none)
      ... kudos and a big fat 4 for you.
    •  That kind of support = preaching to the choir (none)
      Who logs onto the Democrat's website except for Democrats?  What we need is real money to run real ads that will reach independents and Republicans and tell this story.  Paul Hackett can win, but to do this he has to get support from people who have in the past done virtually nothing to support Democrats running races in Ohio.
    •  give and get the DNC involved (none)
      from following Hackett posts for the past few weeks, my understanding is that the DNC wants to see some serious financial interest in this campaign before they get involved, see previous post

      but just how well is he doing? I have been following his donations on his ActBlue page since its easy to track.  Friday afternoon I posted a plea to help get his total over $15,000, 5 days later and he is at $25718.90.  This obviously does not include all the money being given on his site, which is the link all the posts I see are providing.

      There is only one Congressional race this summer, and it ends in three weeks.

  •  I gave yesterday (none)
    Hopefully he will get enough money to run some ads. The Democratic Party needs to get in here big time and support Hackett . . . I think you just provided the text of the campaign ad.
  •  Hope repubs there vote for best candidate (none)
    and not just vote for the already corrupted candidate just because she is republican. Maybe an ad comparing her dining activities with corporate monies, to Tom DeLay's similar transgressions will motivate some of the voters there to do the right thing. I just contributed and really wish victory for Hackett.
  •  You and Hackett's Site Convinced Us... (none)
    to give turkee to Capt Hackett. Thanks for the heads up; we wouldn't otherwise have known about this race.  Might be helpful to let readers know what the polls show.

    Also, as a "bond holder", I wrote to the DNC asking why this candidate and this race aren't being featured. We can scream about rove and the criminal enterprise in the WH all we want, but until we get a lot more honorable men and women in Congress, we will be on the outside looking in. Great campaign post.

    Democrats: The Ass You Save Is Your Own.

    by vetfordean on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 01:32:07 PM PDT

  •  Can some clever republican (4.00)
    package up some Camo-colored TUMs to hand out at Jean's next rally. It is never to early to start the "Smear the Veteran" campaign.

    Also order up some MREs for the Ohio Republican Representatives so they can all attest to how "plush" Marine Corps Major Paul Hackett had it while having the "luck" to serve his country.

    Hey. And I'll bet he didn't mention, He got PAID to travel to Iraq on the TAXPAYERS dime!!! Did HE?

    It is sad to get so snarky. Just going through the weekly "Republicans can Excuse Anything, Can't They!" phase. It will pass.

    Great Diary. Recommend. Do I have to donate though? Fighting impulse...wallet throbbing.

    Crap. I'm an addict.

    •  Wow (none)
      You're a sick bastard - but of course, deadly accurate. You've managed to replicate their thinking perfectly. Hell, I need a shower after reading that.
      •  Argh. (none)
        Still fuming after the purple heart adhesive bandage "joke" at the Republican Convention.

        I suppose I should turn the negative energy around. Maybe Hackett could send some "demi-tasse silver spoon" baby shower party favors to Jean's next get together. Something with a little White Elephant on the handle.

  •  Vote for Hackett at DFA (none)
    for their list of candidates to support
  •  Anyoen happen to have some funsraising numbers (none)
    for Hackett and Schmidt?  I couldn't find anything over at the FEC site.
  •  From one vet to another (none)
    Wish I could vote for him. I'll settle for sending him money when I get paid tomorrow. At roughly the same time as everyone in the military gets their mid-month paycheck.

    Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal. - Martin Luther King Jr.

    by jabbausaf on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 04:33:09 PM PDT

  •  How Low-Budget Campaigns can work (none)
    How many voters/households are in that district???

    I do graphic design, and I know of several places around the country that will do full color, 8.5x11, say 25000 for around $1000. if you want something double sided, like a 8x5.5 mailer on heavy cardstock, maybe same price. Then you get someone to donate design work, and you have something really catchy for super cheap.

    Do candidates take advantage of stuff like this, or do the "consultants" sell them up the creek? For some reason this just popped into my head...

  •  Wonderfully done. Can I pick two nits? (none)
    This is a fabulous presentation.  If you make it into a brochure (and I really hope you do) I noticed two minor typos:

    1.  The bio-tech company name is spelled two different ways in the text -- Chrion and Chiron.  I am pretty sure the latter is correct.  

    2.  The paragraph towards the middle which starts:  

    Dinner was just the start of the evening for Jean Schmidt.  After a fine meal, her and her colleagues traveled to Paul Brown stadium ...

    should read:

    Dinner was just the start of the evening for Jean Schmidt.  After a fine meal, she and her colleagues traveled to Paul Brown stadium ...

    These are not significant, but in such beautifully well-written prose a minor blemish can be a distraction.  

    And now I must go check my finances and see if I can squeeze out a few bucks for this campaign.  This is an opportunity to really "support the troops" and I don't want to miss it.

  •  30 second TV ad. (none)
    That 30 second TV ad featuring the two meals next to each other is a great idea - can we get this off the ground?
  •  You Will Contribute . . You Will Contribute . . . (none)
    My God, I don't believe it!  After weeks of discouragment and frustration, it's finally happening.  DNC & DCCC are finally up; and Hackett news is all over, even with Rovegate in the spotlight.  More and more people are tuning into Hackett vs Schmidt.

    What a Difference a Day Makes is a work of art that can hit everyone right where they live.

    The only way to overcome the tragically Republican demographics is either to get more Democrat / Independents out, or actually convince Republicans that they need to vote for Paul Hackett this time.  He's got what it takes to make them switch.  We've got to get money to the campaign Now Now Now so they can make media buys and bring in some DNC battleships.  This thing CAN happen; it IS happening; and it WILL happen if we can keep this critical mass building.  I'm going onto local San Francisco blog sites and doing some Hackett posting.  How about posting where you live?

  •  Schmidtmeisters (none)
    Think that term has any redeeming features?
  •  My vote (none)
    Let me be clear right from the beginning. I will vote for a fellow man in uniform over anyone else.

    Now that I have said that, let me flop a little bit. I have been in the USAF enlisted corp for 8 years before separating. I am a proud independent thinker that believes in voting for the person and NOT the party. Why? Because I believe in voting for the most able bodied person be he a democrat, independent, or a republican.

    Now, throughout the 8 years I served in the military, I have had only 2 really good OICs(officer in charge). The rest were lazy and just dumped most of the work on us enlisted. Now, with the Iraq/Cuba prison scandals, it is not surprising that the only folks who really got in trouble were from the enlisted corp. As they say, shit rolls down from Capitol Hill. We just happen to be at the bottom of the friggin hill.

    My question is this: Has anyone actually checked this guy's OPR(Officer Performance Report)? I would love to know what type of a person he really is. Why?

    We tend to romanticize everything . We romanticize about our forefathers creating the constitution to give "everyone" freedom when we know for a fact that the "freedom" they defined was really only for rich, white, male, landowners only. You romanticize the military so much when we are the number one sex slavery customers in Osan AFB South Korea and we have fathered many bastards abroad.

    Anyway, let me get off my high horse and ask again if anyone has a record on this guy. If none, I guess this is the time that I will vote blindly only because he is a fellow man in uniform.

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