Black, who spoke along with the other Democratic candidate, Dr. Victoria Wulsin, a Cincinnati physician, at the regular monthly meeting of the Scioto County Democratic Party, said there needs to be a well-planned exit for U.S. troops.
"It's a question of using our diplomatic resources to provide cover for our troops as we withdraw them," Black said. "We need to get the neighboring countries and the U.N. involved to allow us to get out of Iraq and not expose our troops any more than they've been exposed to the warfare there."
Black said he is the one Democratic candidate in Ohio's 2nd District who can defeat 2nd District Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, (R-Miami Township), and take her seat in U.S. Congress.
"I'm the Democrat who can beat Jean Schmidt," he said. "I can go out there and earn the votes of the Independents, and talk straight and show everyone I'm a solid, honest politician. And I think I can really make a difference and beat Jean Schmidt when the time comes. I think the Democratic Party is going to be very welcoming of that fact."
Both candidates, Black and Wulsin, spoke to about 75 people who appeared ready to listen to the two candidates.
Wulsin said she outperformed two of the state's top vote-getters in the 2nd District in the last election.
"I don't know if you know, but I actually outperformed (Ohio Gov.) Ted Strickland and (U.S. Sen.) Sherrod Brown in our district, because frankly, we had a very popular congressman for many years - Rob Portman - and people got used to putting an 'R' behind their names," she said. "And I'm glad that people are more and more looking at the individual rather than the party."
Wulsin lost the last election to Schmidt by only 1 percent of the vote, and she said things are different this time around.
"I think people are just more and more aware of how Washington is not listening to us. It's not taking care of our families. As the people of the 2nd District see that there is an alternative to our current representative, those last few hundred are going to come all the way over," she said.
In the previous election, Schmidt's success in Cincinnati was considered to have made the difference.
Does Wulsin see Cincinnati as an uphill battle?
"Is Cincinnati hard? Absolutely," she said. "And I just have to tell you, I got 54 percent last year. I can do better this year."
Scioto County Democratic Party Chairman Randy Basham said residents understand the importance of Ohio in the 2008 election.
"We usually average around 70 to 80 people at a monthly meeting," he said. "If Super Tuesday doesn't declare a winner in the Democratic Party, it looks like Ohio is going to be the main dog, and there will be a lot of people showing up here before long. So hopefully, we can get it started for the new year and be successful in what we're attempting to do."
Black listed the issues he considers most important as bringing an honorable end to the war in Iraq, universal health care, jobs and the economy.
"This area has twice the unemployment rate as the national average, and the poverty rate here in Adams, Pike and Scioto counties is way above the state average," he said. "We need improvement in our economy, our jobs. We would like the federal government to participate in a program that brings more prosperity to southern Ohio."
Wulsin also talked about employment issues in southern Ohio.
"Jobs, the economy. People are losing their jobs. Other people are working two jobs to try to make ends meet, and we've got this great governor," she said. "We know we can actually invest in jobs and turn around the economy if we have the will to do it, and stop subsidizing the corporations and the big money interests; and put investments right here with the people."
Does Wulsin favor repealing the Bush tax cuts?
"I think we need a fair tax system. Right now, too much of the burden is on ordinary middle-class families, and that's just not right," she said. "The corporations keep getting the tax giveaways, and they're not paying their fair share."
Black said the Ohio Democratic Party does not get involved in the endorsement process before the primary on March 4.
"The state party doesn't get involved in the state primary. They're going to take a hands-off position and see what the voters want," he said. "We're going out there and we're talking to the Democrat primary voters. I'll be going door-to-door in the different parts of this district as I am now, and I'll be talking to people. We're going to have a very voter-sensitive campaign."
Basham said he sees some pressure being applied to Ohio in the primary election, specifically southern Ohio.
"I think it will be contingent upon us because Ted Strickland is a hometown boy here, and Ted has endorsed Hillary," he said. "So it's going to be interesting. We normally, as a party in the primary, let them fight it out, and then we endorse the candidate. I haven't heard of anybody from up north calling me and saying, 'We need to do X, Y and Z, but I'm sure it will be coming before long.'"
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.