Update: Audios are up. Get them here. Have fun!

Yesterday was really fun. I got 14 of 16 picks right in the first day of the NCAA Tournament – I mention that yet? Like 87.5% or something like that? OK, good. There was that, and then there was Meet The Bloggers – Columbus Scotty McBean Style. I made an attempt to live-blog it, but found that difficult to do while you attempt to listen to other questions, responses, and formulate your own line of questioning.

So here are my thoughts on the evening. You’ll be able to hear the whole thing soon and can replicate our MTBathon yourself in the comfort of your own sweats and slippers.

John Swords (US Congress OH12): John is a young guy (25), with a great deal of energy and drive. He’s a bright law school student and appears to be very knowledgeable for a kid his age (I’m nearing 40, guess I can refer to him as a kid). I think John is in over his head in this one, though. He doesn’t have the money to compete in a race like this, which shows up in his website that (to be kind) is not adequate.

John also needs time to develop some fresh, original angles on running for an office. He continued to talk about Dems needing “ideas”. When pressed to give us one idea, he said universal health care. Queue Eric tuning out…that is important stuff, but not unique, fresh, or inspiring. It is the type of thing that puts voters to sleep. John talked alot about getting back to the way Clinton governed. I got the feeling he was ripping on someone elses riff when he needed his own.

I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing the guy…I liked him! But I think he needs more time at a lower level than US Congressman before he will become a viable candidate for such. I hope he stays engaged and runs and wins something – we need guys like him! But you need a better reason to run than because Ted Strickland told you “might as well kid”.

Zack Space (US Congress OH18): I was really, really impressed with Zack. He is articulate, passionate, relatively smooth, and a good looking guy. He was very comfortable talking with us and it appeared he really wanted to engage. He has a good and principled position on Iraq and was able to articulate it well. He made the point that we were there based on lies, but proceeded to make the point that we can’t just jump out. He seemed to have spent a great deal of time thinking about his position and I appreciated it, even though I might not agree fully with it.

He gave a very personal and moving (to me) talk about stem cell research as it relates to the abortion debate. He has a child who might benefit from stem cell research and he is obviously very passionate about it – and very loving of his kid. I found his seriousness and thoughtfullness to be refreshing. Again, he has obviously spent a great deal of time thinking about this one. He appears to take the Clinton position that abortions should be safe, legal, and rare. He made the great point – and one that should be made more often – that the Christian Right should be more focused on preventing unwanted pregnancey to solve their moral dilemma with abortion.

I did not particularly like the way he handled the question about loss of manufactuing jobs in Ohio and globalization. I did not come away feeling like he had a real solution to the problems we face with globalization and the loss of good manufacturing jobs here in the states. I hope he will spend some more time on it and really focus on it.

Overall I think Zack is an outstanding candidate and I look forward to seeing him continue to represent Dems in Ohio and take on Ney. I came away liking Zack, and in politics that is sometimes all it takes!

Bob Shamansky (US Congress OH12): Can I just say I love Bob Shamansky? I love this guy! Bob is an older gentleman. I do mean gentleman. He is 79 – or near it, and is one of the most endearing, likeable people I’ve met in a long time. He’s super to listen to – he has a TON of great stories. While he talked, I looked around the room and most all of us were smiling. That smile that said we were happy just listening to this old guy talk. You know, the way you were happy to sit and listen to your grandpa talk back in the day. “Boy, let me tell you about the time…” – that kind of smile.

Bob is also very smart and knows what is going on today and wants to step up and change it. He has represented this district before back in the early 80s. Yes, that makes his candidacy seem improbable. But like Bob says when asked will age be an issue: “God I hope so!”. Bob Shamansky in a nutshell right there. He says alot in a little space…sometimes so that you have to think a bit before getting it.

Yeah, that kind of smile. He has the kind of sense of humor that just puts you at ease with him instantly. He has some very good ideas on the economy, health care, and civil rights. He made a really funny point about gays in the military.

Bob knows the inside dealings of what is happening today and is uniquely positioned within the Democrat party to help change it. He is a successful businessman and could really just spend a nice quiet retired life. But Mr. Shamansky is unwilling and apparently unable to do that. He’s about to step up huge and I am personally very happy to see it. I live in OH12 and will be proud to call Bob my congressman. I just hope he returns the calls!

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