I think Lee Fisher is getting his groove back.

Today, Lee Fisher challenged former Bush Trade Representative Rob Portman to seven debates throughout Ohio: Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus, Youngstown, somewhere in Appalachia, Cleveland, and Toledo.

Here’s a snippet from Fisher’s letter to Portman:

Just last week I met with workers in the Mahoning Valley. And it’s there you can see the choice voters have this November – the choice between going back to the failed trade policies that sent our jobs overseas and the investments we need to make in creating new jobs right here in Ohio.

At Delphi, thousands of hardworking men and women have lost their jobs and pensions due to no fault of their own. But just down the road, the GM-Lordstown plant has restored its second and third shifts, creating hundreds of jobs and the fuel-efficient cars of the future. And for the first time in three decades, a new steel plant is opening at V&M Star.

I’m running for the Senate because I believe Washington is broken. I believe Ohio’s middle class families can’t afford to go back to the same failed policies and the same failed politics that got us into this economic mess in the first place.

While you and I have proposed vastly different plans to get our economy moving forward again, we both have a responsibility to share our plans for creating jobs directly with Ohioans.

Lee is basically saying: you can call me “Job Czar” all you want, but all you’re offering is more of the same mess I’ve been trying to clean up in Ohio since 2006.

I’d like to see these kind of regional debates just like the gubernatorial candidates did in 2006 that revealed that outside of his broad-based ideological platitudes, Ken Blackwell really didn’t know much about the regional issues like how the business incubator was an important program in Youngstown, for example.

The only downside is that there will be the inevitable “process” stories about how Fisher’s tune on debates have changed now that he’s the financially underdog and how he actively avoided having joint appearances with Brunner be considered debates.

However, I think like in the Governor’s race, the media is more concerned with the lack of any policy discussion in the Senate race and how both seem to be nothing more than two camps playing the Washington blame game in Ohio, so they might be willing to give Fisher a little slack.  After all, we’re talking about one of the most nationally competitive races that Ohioans have little idea even exist.

Debates will cut through that fog.  Consider signing Fisher’s petition.  I know I will.

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