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This is probably a little far fetched, but Columbus, Ohio's weekly paper, The Other Paper, is making the case that disgraced state Attorney General Marc Dann and his tangential association with Barack Obama could cause Ohio to tip to McCain in the general election. As you know they say, as Ohio goes so goes the country.

The name Marc Dann may or may not ring a bell for Barack Obama. The two probably met at some point, perhaps when the Illinois senator addressed an Ohio Democratic Party dinner in June of 2006, when Dann was running for attorney general. Obama met a lot of people at that dinner, most of whom he doesn’t remember.

He’ll remember Dann, though. The Republicans will see to it.

Jump below the fold to see how The Other Paper thinks this could happen.

First, a bit about Dann for those of you (like myself) who don't keep up on Ohio politics. (I only know about it through my brother, who lives in Columbus.)

Dann, a Democrat from Youngstown, resigned earlier this month in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal that rocked his office. In responding to the findings of an investigation into the matter, Dann admitted to an affair with a subordinate, a lack of preparation for his job and hiring friends who were ill-qualified for their positions. House Democrats introduced impeachment charges that were dropped when Dann resigned.

"When unethical, unlawful and unprofessional behavior occurs in the office of Ohio's top law enforcement official, who are people supposed to call?" House Speaker Jon Husted, a Republican, said in a statement.

Husted said an internal investigation into activities at Dann's office, conducted by a top Dann deputy, was not handled well and Ohio should not leave itself in a position where independent investigations cannot be conducted in offices other than the governor's.

He said his chamber's proposal announced Friday is an outgrowth of the need made apparent by the Dann case.

The House bill, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Bacon, calls for the inspector general to be appointed by Ohio's chief justice rather than the governor after 2011, with confirmation required by the Ohio Senate.

David Goldberger, an Ohio State University law professor and expert in constitutional issues, said the proposal could create a serious conflict among Ohio's branches of government, which are designed to remain separate and monitor each other's actions.

"It's very difficult to set boundaries on a special prosecutor or an independent prosecutor when he really isn't under control of the executive branch, which is the proper branch to deal with criminal matters," he said. He said Special Prosecutor Ken Starr, who prosecuted former President Bill Clinton, "dragged the country through a horrendous impeachment process."

From The Other Paper:

And if that’s not enough, the state GOP is planning to link the fallen AG to every Democrat on the ballot this year—including Obama, the likely Democratic nominee for president.

At first blush, it seems like a stretch. How do you connect the personal foibles and professional incompetence of a departed state officeholder to a presidential candidate who barely knows him?

"I don’t think you aim it at Barack Obama," said Republican strategist Mark Weaver, longtime adviser to Betty Montgomery, who ran unsuccessfully against Dann in ’06.

"The effect is when Democrats are defending a scandal, independent voters who might normally be interested in turning out for the Democrats or supporting the Democratic ticket have second thoughts."

Bob Clegg, another GOP consultant, said the problem for Obama is that the general reputation of Democrats, which was so strong two years ago, has now taken a hit.

"It just tarnishes the Democrat brand in Ohio, and they took a long, long time to bring that brand up to shape," Clegg said. "It took them, what, 15 years to get it back into shape? And now it’s been tarnished in a year and a half. And so in that respect, the tarnishing of the Democrat Party here in Ohio is what’s going to hurt Barack Obama."

You know what they say, Ohio is the bellweather state and as it goes, so goes the election. Maybe 2008 could be different, but one really bad apple like Dann could spoil our presidential hopes, and perhaps cost us some House seats in Ohio too.

Read the rest of the article for more details.

Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Originally posted to Guy Noir on Sun May 25, 2008 at 07:57 PM PDT.



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