The first of four scheduled debates between Ohio gubernatorial candidates Ted Strickland and Ken Blackwell was took place at noon today, airing on the Ohio News Network and streaming live on WFMJ. It will air again on ONN tonight at 11 p.m.. I have posted the full text of both candidates closing remarks here, but I think an interchange that took place after the official closing remarks was the most telling…

Moderator: Before we leave, I have a quick question. Jerry Springer's going to be on the show Dancing with the Stars. Would either of you be interested in competing? (Laughter)

Ken Blackwell: Like his brother Ted, the only thing Jerry's good at running is his mouth. (More laughter).

Ted Strickland: Well, that was sort of a nasty thing to say. I just would like to end by thanking my worthy opponent for participating in this debate. … Some "crosstalk" can be heard between the moderator and Blackwell, stepping on the end of Strickland's remarks. I could hear more laughter, "Thank you sir" and "Appreciate it", and then Blackwell's voice saying "I was talking about Jerry."

Nice save, Ken–not! Ken Blackwell simply can't stop himself from being a petty namecaller, which was evident throughout the debate. That he chose to answer this light, joking question from the moderator in, as Ted Strickland said, such a nasty way, only serves to highlight this truth about Blackwell.

So, which of these two men has the necessary character "to work to pull Ohioans together, Republicans, Independents and Democrats alike, to move our great state forward"?. I think Ken Blackwell just answered that question for us.

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