Ted Strickland, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio, appeared on MSNBC Monday to discuss the debate over whether President Obama should nominate the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s successor.
During the interview, a rare nationally-televised appearance for Strickland, the 74-year-old former governor of Ohio called news anchor Chris Hayes by the wrong name. Strickland’s Senate campaign has heavily promoted the "All In with Chris Hayes" appearance on social media.
Strickland used the airtime to bash incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio), who he will likely compete against in the general election for the Senate seat, for arguing that a new lifetime member of the U.S. Supreme Court should not be appointed until after the 2016 presidential election. Portman and other Republican senators have supported Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) in calling for the new Supreme Court confirmation to be delayed until after President Obama leaves office.
"The constitutional phrase here is ‘advice and consent’ from the Senate, of course, to presidential nominees," Hayes pressed Strickland. "What about the argument that the advice the Senate majority is giving is, ‘Don’t nominate anyone’?"
"I think that’s rather silly," Strickland replied. "What we’re seeing here, Steve, is just crass, partisan, political maneuvering."
Hayes raised his eyebrows when Strickland addressed him as "Steve," but neither one of them addressed the mixup during the interview. The clip has been published on the Strickland campaign’s YouTube account and posted multiple times on Twitter.
This is not the first instance of Strickland misidentifying another person. During a speech at the Hamilton County Democratic Party fall dinner last October, the former governor and congressman identified Rob Portman as "Bob."
"I am running for the Senate because I think I am the guy who can beat Bob–Rob Portman," Strickland told the crowd.
Strickland’s appearances throughout his campaign have largely been limited to local television or radio station interviews. He has managed to stay out of the spotlight, refusing to debate his challenger for the Democratic nomination, 31-year-old Cincinnati city councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, despite increasing pressure from local media outlets.
While Strickland has won support from the Ohio Democratic Party and several local party officials and lawmakers, Sittenfeld received a significant endorsement from former Ohio Gov. Dick Celeste last week. Celeste announced his endorsement on a press call with reporters Thursday during which one listener asked whether Strickland’s age was a vulnerability. Strickland is 14 years Portman’s senior.
"I don’t think age is the issue. I think it is a frame of mind that is an issue," Celeste said. "We have a candidate [Sittenfeld] that is young and wise at the same time."