Back in my native Ohio, there’s quite the tug of war developing over Marlene Quinn. She’s the great-grandmother of four-year-old Zoey, who was rescued from a suburban Cincinnati fire last November. She is featured in a 30-second commercial released October 6 by We Are Ohio, the folks who delivered well over a million signatures to put Senate Bill 5, Republican governor John Kasich’s union-stripping bill, on hold and get a repeal (Issue 2) on next month’s ballot.
For those who can’t view the YouTube, the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reports:
In the spot, Quinn credits firefighters for saving the life of her great-granddaughter and urges a vote against Issue 2, the November ballot referendum on SB 5.
The measure, Quinn says, “makes it illegal to negotiate for enough firefighters to do their job. … I don’t want the politicians in Columbus making decisions for the firefighters, the police, teachers, nurses or any organization that’s helping people.”
Vote no on Issue 2, and SB 5 is repealed; vote yes, and it stays. So how did Building a Better Ohio – the group that wants Ohioans to vote yes – strike back against We Are Ohio and Ms. Quinn? Did they put her in an ad, and criticize her take? No, because doing that to an old lady talking about the rescue of her toddler great-grandchild, I’d venture to guess, wouldn’t poll very well.
Instead, Building a Better Ohio went about building a better story, cutting an ad four days later featuring a severely edited Ms. Quinn talking as if she’s on their side:
That spot includes footage from the We Are Ohio spot in which Quinn says “If not for the firefighters, we wouldn’t have our Zoey today.”
A voice over then chimes in: “She’s right. By voting ‘no’ on Issue 2, our safety will be threatened. Without Issue 2, communities will need to lay off hard-working firefighters to pay for the excessive benefits of other government employees.”
If you hadn’t seen We Are Ohio’s original spot, you might think Quinn was in favor of upholding SB 5.
A spokesman for Building a Better Ohio says the campaign is standing by the ad above, saying they’re “entirely justified in using that same story to advocate for the reforms of Issue 2.” As you might expect, We Are Ohio is considering legal action, and Ms. Quinn is (ahem) spitting hot fire about this, saying her likeness was used without permission and demanding all area stations drop the ad.