Josh Mandel Argues With Radio Host Ron Ponder On Air

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel, left, speaks during a round table discussion at the Country Inn Restaurant, Thu
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel, left, speaks during a round table discussion at the Country Inn Restaurant, Thursday, July 5, 2012, in Georgetown, Ohio. Mandel, hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, said Thursday the federal health care overhaul is a pivotal issue in their campaign. (AP Photo/David Kohl)

The Republican nominee for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat, state Treasurer Josh Mandel, was cut off by a local radio show host after he and the host ended up debating the questions Mandel was being asked.

Mandel challenged Canton radio host Ron Ponder Thursday morning on Talk 1480 WHBC after Ponder started asking Mandel about a series of reports on hiring practices in the treasurer's office that said Mandel gave state jobs to college friends and political associates. Mandel accused Ponder of working for his Democratic opponent, Sen. Sherrod Brown.

"Well, first of all, Ron, I thought I was going on the Ron Ponder show, not the Sherrod Brown campaign show," Mandel said.

Ponder refuted Mandel's allegation that Brown's camp had planted the questions.

"I’m asking you questions that people have asked you, and I’m just trying to get answers," Ponder said. "I’ll do the same thing with Sen. Sherrod Brown, so don’t accuse me of being a lackey for Sherrod Brown. I’m just asking you questions that my listeners want to know."

Mandel and Ponder continued to debate, while Mandel tried to focus on his record in the treasurer's office. He defended his staff as "financial professionals" and dismissed allegations about his hiring practices as a "bunch of hogwash."

Ponder eventually tried to end the interview, saying that he did not want Mandel debating him and using the show "as a foil to get out your campaign material."

"Hang up on this dude, man," he said, presumably to a producer in his studio.

As Ponder was ending the segment, Mandel tried to get the last word in: "Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for listening to the Sherrod Brown for U.S. Senate radio."

Mandel's spokesman, Travis Considine, did not return a call for comment.

The radio exchange comes days after the Youngstown Vindicator released video of an editorial board meeting with Mandel. Board members are seen debating the Republican about his position on the auto bailout. In the exchange, one of the editorial board members responded to Mandel's accusation that the board was "putting words in my mouth" by saying "someone's got to put words in your mouth, all you do is talk in circles."

Brown's campaign criticized Mandel for the exchange on the radio show.

“Josh Mandel is willing to lie about any topic under the sun to avoid talking about how he doesn't show up for work, hired unqualified political cronies and opposes the auto rescue that helped protect 850,000 jobs in Ohio," Brown spokeswoman Sadie Weiner said in a statement.

CORRECTION: This post initially misspelled Ron Ponder's first name. We regret the error.


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