POLITICS

How to buy votes in Ohio, Obama-style

By |
Politics,Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins

The Washington Post has a handy story today laying out the various ways in which the White House is lavishing taxpayer dollars on the state of Ohio through various federal programs. Ohio also just happens to be a crucial battleground state that President Obama needs to win in the upcoming election if he is going to get a second term:

As the administration was distributing stimulus money, the president noted in a 2010 town hall meeting near Cleveland that Ohio “received more funds than just about anybody in order to build on that clean-energy economy.’’

In fact, the state’s portion of the $2.3 billion in clean-energy manufacturing tax credits was tens of millions of dollars more than the slices that went to other swing states.

In high-speed rail, another administration priority, Ohio also fared well. The White House in 2010 awarded the state $400 million to resume passenger train service between Cincinnati, Cleveland and other cities, a service that had ended four decades earlier.

The announcement highlighted nine “major corridor” projects, serving up to 11 states. The only two that benefited a single state were in Ohio and Florida. Both states rejected the money after electing Republican governors.

Administration officials said the tax credit and rail funding were awarded on merit.

In one case, the administration’s fondness for Ohio appeared to lead to a sudden about-face to save jobs. When Obama visited Mansfield in August, media outlets and Republicans in the state pointed out that he would be flying into an Air National Guard base where his budget had proposed cutting a fleet of aircraft and about 800 positions.

By day’s end — after base officials vowed to position the threatened planes so Obama could see them from Air Force One — the White House said it would “find a mission” for the guard unit. A White House spokesman said Monday that Obama remains “absolutely” committed to finding that mission.

Obama has held the lead in all but one poll in the state in the last month, according to RealClearPolitics.com.

 

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