By Frank Lewis
Scioto County native and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland is getting push-back for comments he made Tuesday about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie concerning his not knowing about a top aide’s order to shut down access lanes to the George Washington Bridge.
“I’m suggesting two things, two possibilities: Either the governor knew and he is lying, or he is the most inept, incompetent chief executive imaginable,” Strickland said at a press conference arranged by the Democratic National Committee, just one block from where Christie was scheduled to give a talk to the Economic Club of Chicago two hours later.
The State Directors of Americans for Prosperity New Jersey and Americans for Prosperity Ohio are responding to recent comments made by former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland regarding Christie and Ohio Governor John Kasich.
AFP officials are referring to statements Strickland made about both men as a part of his following Christie and other Republican governors around the country. A story in PolitickerNJ quoted Strickland on statements he made about Christie and Kasich.
“One of the reasons I feel as strongly as I feel is that long before I was a politician I was a psychologist and I worked in a maximum security prison (Southern Ohio Correctional Facility),” Strickland said. “My initial impressions of Chris Christie were that he is a bully. The news clips of him pointing his finger in a teacher’s face, and calling a Navy Seal an idiot… I know some people interpreted those behaviors as a sign of strength and resolve and leadership, but I always interpreted those behaviors as those of an arrogant bully.”
Strickland, who doesn’t intend to run for governor again, said Kasich and Christie have similar characteristics.
“John Kasich called a police officer an idiot and made a threat to people that ‘you can get on my bus, and if you don’t get on this bus I’m going to take that bus and run over you,’” Strickland said. “These are two people with very similar attitudes and temperaments.”
Those comments drew a push-back from AFP officials.
“This is the politics of personal destruction 101 - when you can’t criticize someone’s policies because they’re working; you criticize them personally. Governor Strickland has a lot of nerve nitpicking one or two alleged instances regarding the personalities of two Governors who are focused on trying to get their states’ economies back on track,” Eli Miller, Americans for Prosperity Ohio State Director, said. “Strickland obviously cannot attack Governor Kasich’s polices which have been putting Ohioans back to work and improving our economy in sharp contrast to his dismal economic record as Governor. Strickland’s policies wreaked havoc on the Ohio economy, just like President Obama’s policies are currently making it difficult for people to find work and business to grow.”
Miller went on to say that in 2008 and 2009, while Strickland was Governor, Ohio lost 420,000 jobs and the state’s unemployment rate rose from 5.7 percent to 10.6 percent. In addition when Governor Strickland left office, Ohio faced an estimated $8 billion budget deficit and credit agencies downgraded its credit rating.
“With a record like Gov. Strickland’s it is clear why he has resorted to an attack like this on Gov. Christie. Strickland followed the same policies which former Gov. Corzine supported which led NJ to have an unemployment rate of 9.7 percent when Gov. Christie took office,” Daryn Iwicki, Americans for Prosperity New Jersey State Director, said. “If it weren’t for Gov. Christie holding the line against tax increases, taking steps to fix the pension, and finding ways of putting New Jerseyans back to work, then our state would be far worse off than it is today.”
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.