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Political notebook: Raese stumbles with some names

Republican U.S. Senate John Raese has a way of mangling the names of national Democrats.

So far this year he has misfired on the names of at least three top Democrats.

On Tuesday, he called U.S. Sen. Carte Goodwin, D-W.Va., whom Raese is seeking to replace, "Clarke Goodman" in an ABC News interview.

Last month, he struggled over U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's name.

"Was it Sarah Manor, Sarah Manorgan, Sarah Morgan?" he was quoted as saying by a monthly publication based in Shepherdstown.

In an appearance several weeks ago in St. Mary's, Raese called U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu by at least two different Asian-sounding last names.

The campaign brushed this off.

"You got him -- John's not too good with names," said campaign spokesman Kevin McLaughlin.

"He's pretty good with numbers, though, and he understands that the Manchin-Obama Washington agenda spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much."

Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin's campaign said the name lapses showed Raese was "out of touch."

"His arrogance and disrespect for people, especially West Virginians, is clearly on display every time he opens his mouth," said Manchin campaign spokeswoman Lara Ramsburg.

In an obviously intentional slight, Raese referred to Manchin as "Gov. Soprano" in an interview earlier this year.

Asked at the time why he would hint at Manchin's Italian heritage by comparing him to a fictional mob boss in the former HBO series "The Sopranos," Raese said, "The trouble with America here today is that we've lost our sense of humor."

 ***Goodwin unknown entity

Most West Virginia voters don't know what to think of Sen. Carte Goodwin, D-W.Va., according to the latest survey of West Virginians released Tuesday by Public Policy Polling.

The poll showed 20 percent approve of the temporary senator's job performance, while 25 percent disapprove. The rest, 55 percent, said they weren't sure how Goodwin was doing.

Gov. Joe Manchin chose Goodwin to fill part of Robert Byrd's unexpired term. Because he is serving only until a new senator is elected on Nov. 2, Goodwin may not return to the Senate after the current recess.

Goodwin, who took office July 20, has introduced one bill, given one floor speech and cast 33 votes.

  ***Firefighter ad questioned

Area firefighters who appear in an ad supporting Gov. Joe Manchin may have done so illegally, said the chairman of the state Republican Party.

The ad, paid for by the national International Association of Fire Fighters union, shows three firefighters from Charleston, Dunbar and Huntington criticizing Republican candidate John Raese and expressing support for Manchin.

State law prohibits a member of a paid fire department to, "Use any official authority or influence, including, but not limited to, the wearing by a member of a paid fire department of his or her uniform, for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the nomination, election or defeat of any candidate or the passage or defeat of any ballot issue."

The firefighters in the commercial were apparently wearing their official gear.

GOP Chairman Mike Stuart said "shame" to whoever used the men in the ad.

But he did not blame the firefighters. First, he blamed the Manchin campaign, before being told the union, not the Manchin campaign, paid for the ad.

"If it was a union ad, even worse, because the union leadership should have some sense of what they can do, right or wrong," Stuart said.

A spokesman for the union did not immediately comment on the allegations.

A Manchin campaign spokeswoman said, "I'll defer to others regarding state code issues, but whatever the attire of these firefighters, they are clearly real West Virginians speaking in support of Joe Manchin and not paid Philadelphia actors, which is an important distinction."

The ad, in fact, was apparently part of an effort to continue stoking the flames of last week's brouhaha over a casting call for an anti-Manchin ad.

That call was for actors to appear in an ad paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. It sought actors with "a 'Hicky' Blue Collar look" and was written by a talent agency hired by the committee.

The committee, like the firefighters union, is an outside group that is not supposed to be affiliated with any candidate's campaign.




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