Strickland Melts Down When Confronted With His Offensive Rhetoric

Ted Strickland
Ted Strickland / AP

Former Ohio governor and Democratic senate candidate Ted Strickland melted down on Wednesday when incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R.) confronted Strickland about offensive comments he made in the past.

Portman confronted Strickland when they, along with Green Party candidate Joe DeMare, appeared before the editorial boards of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com on Wednesday. Portman distanced himself from Donald Trump's offensive rhetoric, pointing out that Strickland has a history of making similarly offensive remarks. Strickland did not handle Portman’s criticism well.

"Well, governor, I stood up when he said these things that I found objectionable consistently," Portman said. "You did not stand up when Hillary Clinton called a million people in Ohio plus ‘deplorable,’ ‘irredeemable,’ ‘racist.’"

"You are the person who has said during this campaign that you thought that when Antonin Scalia died that it was a political issue," Portman continued. "You actually celebrated his death for political purposes."

"No, I did not!" Strickland loudly interrupted.

"Yes, you did," Portman said.

"Senator, you are accusing me of celebrating the death of Justice Scalia," Strickland said.

"Yes, that's what you did," Portman said.

Strickland was caught on audio in August joking about Scalia's death to a loud, cheering crowd at an AFL-CIO event. Portman then turned to an incident in July when Strickland and Ohio Democrats distributed fortune cookies that criticized Portman’s support for trade deals with China.

"When you came to Cleveland for the convention, you used the political gimmick of fortune cookies which offended Asian-Americans all over Ohio," Portman said. "You never apologized for that."

"I did not do that!" Strickland said again. "The Ohio Democratic Party did that. I did not do that, senator."

"Oh, you handed them out, Ted," Portman said.

Finally, Portman turned to recent comments by Strickland that Ohio taxpayers had been "raped" by charter schools.

"Just last week, you made an offensive comment about rape," Portman said. "Somehow equating rape with the way people are treated by charter schools."

Strickland again denied his prior remarks and attempted to clarify them for the editorial board.

"We need to be accountable for our own words," Portman said.

The segments in question begin at approximately 57:26 in the video.