Skip to comments.Strickland wishes he could take back refugee remarks
Posted on 02/20/2007 5:16:38 AM PST by Loyal Buckeye
Gov. Ted Strickland says he has learned an early lesson in office the hard way: When the chief executive of a large state speaks, people listen.
Strickland, on the job for six weeks, is being slammed nationwide in newspaper editorials and Internet blogs for supposedly being heartless because of comments he made last week about Iraqi war refugees.
When asked whether he thinks any of the 7,000 Iraqi refugees that the Bush administration plans to allow into the United States this year should come to Ohio, Strickland, who opposed the war as a congressman, said no.
"I think Ohio and Ohioans have contributed a lot to Iraq in terms of blood, sweat and too many tears," Strickland told the Associated Press. "I am sympathetic to the plight of the innocent Iraqi people who have fled that country. However, I would not want to ask Ohioans to accept a greater burden than they already have borne for the Bush administrations failed policies."
Those comments prompted several Ohio newspapers to criticize Strickland in editorials, and USA Today said yesterday in an opinion piece complete with a grimfaced picture of the governor that Stricklands answer on Valentines Day was "as thoughtless as it was heartless."
One blogger even suggested that refugees get rooms in the governors Bexley residence.
Strickland said yesterday that although a governor doesnt dictate where refugees locate, he was expressing his frustration about the Iraq war and would welcome Iraqi refugees if they came to Ohio.
And although he doesnt think hes heartless, he said he wishes he would have chosen his words more carefully.
"It was just a question that I got from a reporter and I expressed an opinion, and suddenly it has become a lot more than that," Strickland said. "Its one of those incidents out of many (when) Ive said something inartfully and conveyed something that I did not wish to convey.
"I guess it means that when youre a governor, people seem to be interested in what you say, which is fine, but I think everything has a context."
Strickland said what he was trying to express was that the Bush administration created the refugee crisis by launching the war and that allowing a relative handful of refugees to the United States is "a Band-Aid" and "not something that I think Ohio should have to deal with for the president."
"It is true that Ohio has paid a big burden," Strickland said. "I was expressing frustration about all this, but I dont think I came across as a very nice person."
The White House press office would not comment on Stricklands remarks yesterday, a federal holiday.
Its the federal government and church or civic groups that usually determine where refugees locate, said Angela Plummer, director of Community Refugee and Immigration Services in Columbus.
States may be involved with public benefits and other services, but refugees typically are sponsored or settled in areas based on factors that dont involve state governments, Plummer said.
For example, it is unlikely many Iraqi refugees would come to central Ohio because the region already is home to a large contingent of Somali refugees, she said.
Even so, Plummer and others who dont support the war say Ohio should welcome the refugees because it is everyones responsibility to help Iraqis whose lives have been shattered.
"I would hope that Ohio would be leading the nation in regard to how this situation would be handled," said Adnan Mirza, executive director of the Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Strickland says he understands those sentiments and hopes to do a better job making his views clear.
"I have to live with myself and my efforts to communicate who I am and what I believe to people, and over time I hope to convince any doubters out there that I am not cruel and hard-hearted," he said.
Who would have guessed?
From the party who's second great religion (after 'climate change', nee 'global warming) boils down to a "Love One Another" bumper sticker!
Actually, regime change for Iraq has been U.S. policy and U.S. law since 1998 when President Clinton signed the IRAQ LIBERATION ACT of 1998 calling for the overthrow of the Hussein regime. But since you are a simple minded Bush-hater you wouldn't know that, now would you Mr. Moron!
Governor.....we know who you are! You made it abundantly clear and no amount of spinning can change our view.
Iraqi refugees.......or reinforcements for the "sleeper cells" we keep hearing about.
THe US taxpayer is already funding a MASSIVE welfare prograqm in iraq, why not keep all of the iraqis right where they are?
send them home, send them ALL home.
How do you know he's a democrat? I don't see his party listed anywhere in the story :-)
I agree with you. I'm wondering why we're even thinking about taking in Iraqi refugee's considering we'e supposed to be winning the war and all.Now that victory in Iraq is so close according to the President,why would these people not want to stay in their new democratic country ???
I agree with you. I'm wondering why we're even thinking about taking in Iraqi refugee's considering we'e supposed to be winning the war and all.
I guess this is what the administration means by bringing the war home?
And the Mexicans too.
Refugees? I thought that was a term for people fleeing a nation that is being over-run by killers. I can't see where the term fits here. Iraq has a duly elected government. Shouldn't these 'refugees' stay where they are and help re-build their post-Saddam nation?
Of course they should. Let's spend the money on providing some R & R for our troops.
Most likely 'cause they're Sunnis and Ba'athists, and their fellow Iraqis would kill them if they went back home.
Which also the guy talking about "reinforcements" for the Islamcist sleeper cells is probably correct, too.
Anybody have any comments from Gov As***** concerning illegal aliens in Ohio?
Why! Why! Why did this good state make this guy our Governor? I can stomach some of the other losses we took in November, but seeing Strickland defeat Blackwell is just nauseating. Blackwell would have been a breath of fresh air for this state. Strickland is going to cause me to buy CASES of duct tape.
Uninformed voters SUCK!
I prefer Gov Dumba$$ to Gov A******. I truly beleive that he is mildly retarded! I am a highschool teacher and he spoke at our Honor America assembly three years ago. What an idiot! I was embarrassed for him! We had three WWII vets walk across our stage and present the American and Ohio flags. The third vet carried a rifle. Teddy commented in his speach that the vets were so old that he was afraid that they were going to trip and fall during the presentation of the flags.
LOL! Ok, you win. Gov Dumbass.
That's the clue. If he was a Republican, it would have been in the headline.
How many Iraqi refugees have you adopted?
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