|FILE - This Sept. 25, 2012, file photo shows Republican Josh Mandel speaking to supporters in Cleveland. The GOP candidate for Senate in Ohio, Mandel, drew murmurs of approval from southern Ohio Republicans during his discussion of budget and energy issues _ and plenty of laughs with his jokes about his boyish appearance. The 35-year-old Mandel, he looks 19, is a onetime city councilman, state legislator and Marine veteran of Iraq. His opponent is a 59-year-old populist Democrat, first-term Sen. Sherrod Brown. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)|
In Ohio, Mandel's Senate bid faces Dems' scrutiny
‘‘When I go to Washington, I will work in a bipartisan way to save Social Security and Medicare. Thus far I have not endorsed anyone’s specific plan,’’ Mandel said in an interview.
Mandel does express strong support for legislation by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to cut off U.S. aid to Egypt, Pakistan and Libya, and skewers Brown for voting against the legislation late last month. He seems unaware that Senate Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly opposed the legislation in part because it jeopardized assistance to the United States’ strongest ally in the Middle East, Israel.
The bill would cut off U.S. assistance to countries with diplomatic missions that are attacked any time after Sept. 1, 2012.
The measure ‘‘is broadly drafted so it would potentially affect aid to any American ally (including Israel) should terrorists decide to attack, trespass or breach U.S. diplomatic facilities there,’’ the American Israel Public Affairs Committee wrote in a Sept. 21 letter to all senators urging them to oppose the legislation.
During Senate debate on the measure, a top Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, vigorously spoke out against the bill, warning of its damaging effects.
The vote was 81-10.
Asked about the legislation, Mandel said he backs it. Questioned about the impact on Israel, he said: ‘‘I think we need to support the U.S.-Israel relationship, but I think support for Israel should be separated from support to countries like Pakistan and Egypt.’’
Mandel said when he entered the race he was the ‘‘sacrificial lamb,’’ but it’s Brown who has been quartered and roasted by some $19 million in negative ads from Republican-leaning groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Karl Rove-backed American Crossroads and its sister advocacy nonprofit group, Crossroads GPS.
The onslaught began in August 2011 and has continued unabated, the most spent against an incumbent in any Senate race this cycle since the Supreme Court ruling opened the door to corporations and unions to spend money on elections. Labor and environmental groups have responded with ads criticizing Mandel, while the candidates have aired their own spots.
After all the charges and countercharges, Mandel and Brown will face each other in three debates within a 10-day span — Oct. 15 in Cleveland, Oct. 18 in Columbus and Oct. 25 in Cincinnati. Early voting is already under way in Ohio.