Building a Better Ohio spokesman Jason Mauk finally issued a response on behalf of the campaign on their misappropriation of Cincinnati great-grandmother Marelene Quinn, who has politely asked the campaign to cease and desist their use of her in their ad since it creates the impression that she supports Issue 2, when the footage was taken from a We Are Ohio ad where she supports defeat of Issue 2.
In short, Mauk told the great-grandmother from Cincinnati to go jump in the Ohio River:
"We’re certainly not taking the ad down," Mauk said. "We absolutely stand by it and our right to air those arguments. Opponents of Issue 2 used a personal story to make a political argument, and we believe we’re entirely justified in using that same story to advocate for the reforms of Issue 2." [Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer]
The PD also reports that Mauk claims that at least some of the eight reported stations who have indicated that they will stop airing the misleading ad have reversed course after being contacted by the Building a Better Ohio campaign. However a source close to the We Are Ohio campaign denies that any station has reversed course.
Look, it’s one thing for Building a Better Ohio to say, we disagree with Grandma Quinn that Issue 2 hurts the ability of firefighters to do what they did to save her relatives lives, and we instead think NOT supporting Issue 2 does that. But that’s not what this ad conveys. It suggests that Quinn herself believes that passage of Issue 2 is necessary to continue the ability of fire departments to save people in the future.
Mauk should have said we disagree with her, but we’ll honor her request. That would have been the gentlemanly to do. Instead, he’s essentially called her misguided and suggests the corporate interests backing Issue 2 know better than her and the firefighters who saved her relatives lives what policies will keep people save.
What could have been just an one-day negative news cycle gets more shelf life. I cannot believe Building a Better Ohio is this politically tone deaf and stupid while early voting by seniors and others are already underway and the election is four weeks to tonight.
This is just dumb. Now it’s up to the media to ask Governor John Kasich if he supports Building a Better Ohio’s decision. Ask Senator Jones. Batchelder. Niehaus. They own Jason Mauk and Building a Better Ohio’s decision to tell an elderly grandmother publicly to go pound sand in what any objective person familiar with the situation would call an entirely reasonable and honorable request.
So far, the only station in Columbus that hasn’t reportedly agreed to pull the ad is WBNS Channel 10 in Columbus… which just happens to be the only station owned by the Dispatch Printing Company. [UPDATED:] We received word from multiple reliable sources that WBNS has now, in fact, agreed to pull the Better Ohio ad as well.
Building a Better Ohio could have changed course for the high road. Instead, they’ve opted to go from the low road to the stupid one.