Hundreds turned out for the Cuyahoga County Republican Party's annual fundraising Dinner Wednesday. Ideastream's Bill Rice reports, two Washington office hopefuls got a thumbs up from the party faithful.
Josh Mandel has only been in office as Ohio's State Treasurer for 3 months, but he's already been tagged as the rising star GOP activists want to run against Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown next year. A favorite among Tea Party members, Mandel - a young, well-spoken Iraq War Veteran - didn't speak to the "Draft Mandel" movement that appears to be growing, but he got plenty of applause as he reinforced his small government, anti-regulation stance in Columbus.
"You have this state bureaucracy down there - some who work in the EPA, some who work in the the Department of Taxation, Transportation, Bureau of Workers Compensation who have this attitude that businesses are guilty until proven innocent," Mandel says. "Well, we're gonna change that. We're gonna change the culture in Columbus."
But the biggest crowd-pleaser was former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, the first in a long Republican A-List to come out of the gate with an exploratory committee for a run for President. Pawlenty says he's the one who can appeal to the entire spectrum of GOP supporters - from Tea party activists to disaffected blue collar workers. Talking up his own blue collar roots, Pawlenty took direct aim at Barack Obama, saying the President has failed to reign in the deficit and keep America competitive.
"The President of the United State, knowing full well that a big part of this issue is structural reform, won't touch it, won't speak to it, won't address it, doesn't have the courage to tell the people the truth, to look them in the eye and give them a constructive, hopeful solution forward," Pawlenty says. "He has whiffed, he has ducked, he is afraid to address these issues, and we need to kick him out of office."
Republican Presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty, speaking Wednesday at the Cuyahoga County Lincoln day dinner Wednesday.