Yesterday we posted a video of Josh Mandel in an elevator manhandling a tracker’s camera.  Dispatch reporter Joe Vardon was riding with Mandel and he reported on the event this way: “Mandel approached the tracker, called him loudly by name, and at one point grabbed the monopod attached to the tracker’s camera.”

During a press event today Marc Kovac, Dix Capital Bureau Chief and master of all things #Pero, asked Mandel about the incident.   Josh responded that “Joe [Vardon] and I have a different recollection, but (the tracker) made the initial physical contact with me, which is inappropriate.”

Shorter Josh Mandel: What Joe Vardon wrote in the Dispatch yesterday was a lie.

Now we all know Josh Mandel is not known for being the most honest politician in Ohio. Politifact has rated eleven of his statements to be untrue, including six PANTS ON FIRES.

And we know Mandel already had a bad relationship with the Plain Dealer.  After he was called out by the PD for continuing to repeat pants-on-fire lied,  Mandel lashed out at the Plain Dealer’s staff and “vowed to repeat the assertion ‘again and again'” claiming he “sees no downside” to repeating false claims.

But for Mandel to stand up, at a press conference, in front of the Dispatch’s Joe Vardon, and call him a liar – knowing that everyone in attendance had likely seen the video of the event – seems almost pathological.

With Sherrod Brown’s campaign picking up multiple endorsements last week, and with the tension between Mandel and the PD, The Dispatch seemed like Mandel’s last best chance for a glowing endorsement from a big city newspaper.  And he may have just blown it.

The elevator incident would have been very short-lived non-story.  It was buried at the end of a Dispatch piece and likely would not have been picked up by any other news outlets.  Even Plunderbund’s readers thought our coverage of it was unnecessary with one commenter saying “Sorry, non issue.”

All Josh had to do was pivot: “I don’t want to get bogged down in these silly personal issues- this campaign is about jobs (or changing Washington or whatever his message is now).”  Better yet, he could have laughed it off, apologized to the tracker and moved on.

Instead Mandel stood there, in front of a half dozen people who watched the video and one who was actually there, and lied to them.  He couldn’t help himself.

You can read Vardon’s no-holds-barred follow up piece here.   I know we’re always picking on the Dispatch for their slanted and deceptive headlines, but this time they really hit the mark with this instant classic:

Mandel’s account of confrontation differs from evidence” 


Here’s the video of the elevator incident:


Here’s Kovac’s video of Mandel calling Vardon a liar: