Originally published in The Akron Beacon Journal
HEY, I'M RUNNING AGAIN...
U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Lorain, was surprised to find a WJW-TV (Channel 8) camera crew at his news conference at the Hospice of Medina County yesterday afternoon.
He didn't expect his announcement to run for a fourth term would make the 6 o'clock news.
TV wasn't interested in the congressman's campaign. The reporter only wanted Brown's reaction to the firestorm in Washington about allegations that President Clinton pressured a White House intern to deny they had an affair.
"I don't know enough about it to comment," Brown said.
The television crew immediately packed up and departed.
If they had stayed, they would have learned that Brown, the ranking Democrat on the House's Health and Environment Subcommittee, plans on stressing the need for improved medical care during his campaign.
Five of his seven goals Brown vowed to work toward if re-elected involved medical insurance, health care and food safety. No. 1 on his list was "protecting and expanding Medicare."
Brown's choice of sites within the sprawling 13th Congressional District to announce his re-election bid also reflected his emphasis on health issues.
Before coming to Medina, where he spoke at the Hospice of Medina County, he was at the Free Clinic in Lorain. Today he is scheduled to appear at the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, in Portage County.
-- DAVID KNOX
DEMOCRATIC HOPEFULS AVOID FRAY
PUBLIC OPINION POLLS NOT ENOUGH TO PERSUADE CANDIDATES TO USE A KEEP-CLINTON PLATFORM IN ELECTION. CANDIDATE THINKS IT'S BEST JUST TO STAY AWAY FROM SEX ISSUES
Pollsters report two-thirds of Americans want President Clinton to serve out his term of office - the furor over the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal notwithstanding.
Despite that, Republicans in Congress are pressing for impeachment.
So why aren't Democrats beating that drum in their campaigns for House and Senate seats?
The pitch would seem straightforward enough: "If you don't think Clinton should be thrown out of the White House, do something to stop it. Vote more Democrats into Congress."
"Nobody is saying that yet," said U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Lorain. "What I'm saying publicly is we should censure him, probably fine him, and move on."
Brown has good reason for steering clear of the Clinton-Lewinsky mess. He doesn't need a new campaign issue. The three-term incumbent in the 13th House District is expected to easily defeat challenger state Sen. Grace Drake, R-Solon.
But what about less blessed Democrats such as Mary Boyle, the former Cuyahoga County commissioner? Polls show she is running well behind Gov. George Voinovich in the race to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. John Glenn.
For Boyle, a save-the-president-from-a-Republican-coup campaign would seem a natural since Clinton would face trial in the Senate if the House votes to impeach.
Brown said that never occurred to him, but allowed it was an interesting idea.
The most likely explanation why Democrats aren't taking the offensive in the impeachment issue is that they are as mystified as the Republicans over the public's apparent lack of outrage over the Lewinsky affair. Sex scandals are supposed to be the kiss of death to a political career.
Brown inadvertently provided an insight into how sensitive politicians are about sex earlier this week.
Brown was at a Drug Mart in Brunswick to unveil a study that showed drug makers were charging the elderly nearly twice as much for prescription drugs compared to big health care outfits and insurance companies.
To provide an appropriate backdrop for any television cameras that might show up, Brown had set up in the back of the store, near the pharmacy counter.
Then he noticed something.
"Mind if we don't do this in front of the condom display?" Brown said.
Yes, Brown was smiling when he said that. Yes, the reporters laughed and offered jokes like "what's the problem with safe sex?"
Still, the news conference was moved down a couple aisles.
-- DAVID KNOX
© Copyright 1998 The Akron Beacon Journal