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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

OH-02's Rep. Jean Schmidt: Egg On Her Face?

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt just put out a statement boasting that the American economy "has grown faster than any other industrialized nation over the past four quarters." The SW Ohio Republican proudly noted that the national unemployment rate was down to 4.5%.

Meanwhile, in Columbus state officials at about the same time were releasing some gloomy data about Ohio -- the state Schmidt represents -- showing unemployment rose to 5.6% in December, up from 5.4% in November.

In all, there were 335,000 Ohioans looking for work. The congresswoman didn't address the state's situation, nor did she mention that some of the Appalachian counties in her district look bleak, perhaps even desperate. Two have jobless rates nearly double the 4.5% figure Schmidt touted for the nation. Four others are higher than the national average.

For example, Pike County in her district had a 9.7 percent unemployment rate, Ohio's second worst. Adams County in her district had an 8.3% unemployment rate. Brown was at 7%. Schmidt's home county, Clermont, exceeded the national average, too. The jobless rate there was 5.1%. And Ford Motor Co. is closing a transmission plant, the county's biggest employer.

But Schmidt said the GOP was "keeping the economy on track." She noted: "Did you know that more than 7.2 million jobs have been created since August of 2003?"

The congresswoman's upbeat economic statement might be seen as a slap in the face to some of her out of work constituents. Consider that it came out on the same day as this.

Schmidt has plenty of critics, within her party and without. And she sure has a knack for handing them ammunition.

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