CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Ken Blackwell is now working the phones for John McCain. The robo calling -- in the wake of the dust up with Bill Cunningham -- pits a genuine Cincinnati social conservative, Blackwell, against the publicity addicted radio talk show host. Blackwell is urging Republicans to "please join me in voting for John McCain" on primary day, March 4. Cunningham says that he won't vote for the Arizona senator, who apologized publicly Tuesday for Cunningham's bombast at a Cincinnati campaign rally.
[UPDATE: 2/28/08 7:20 a.m -- A Republican I know well and see often just sent an e-mail: "Bill, what the heck does the "J." in J. Kenneth Blackwell stand for. Is he hiding something?" Of course, the note was was meant tongue-in-cheek to play off the Barack "Hussein" Obama flap. But what the heck does Blackwell's first initial stand for -- Jeb, John, Jehosophat, Jesus, Joshua, Janice, Jill? In nearly 30 years of covering the guy, I have to confess I have no idea.]
Blackwell says McCain represents the values of Ronald Reagan. Here's the script:
"Hello, this is Ken Blackwell calling for my friend John McCain with a special message for all Ohio Republicans. On Tuesday March 4, please join me in voting for John McCain. Like me, you want a president who is a solid Ronald Reagan conservative who will cut taxes and eliminate wasteful spending, who supports our values and has the military and national security experience to best lead our country in the war against radical Islam. John McCain is that man. He will never waiver in his commitment to conservative principles. His character, honor, and integrity are unmatched. Join me and thousands of other Republicans in voting for John McCain."
The campaign paid for the Blackwell calls. No mention of Cunningham, but the timing should help McCain neutralize any damage that the righty talker could inflict. Blackwell, who served two terms as Ohio's Secretary of State, was the GOP gubernatorial candidate in 2006. He is out of office but serves in conservative and religious right think tanks.