At the opening of the Capitolbeat conference in Columbus, Ohio Gov. Bob Taft (R) stopped by to welcome the good-natured gathering of Statehouse reporters from around the country. Taft, of course, came under withering fire from his home state press, particularly the Toledo Blade. Last year, Taft pleaded guilty for taking free dinners, golf outings and other gifts from lobbyists without disclosing it.
That said, Taft seemed in good spirits while needling us reporters. He contemplated the stories the press could've written about his trip to the Ohio State Fair.
One misstep in the beef barn, and the headline would've been "Governor steps in shit in the beef barn." Then I made an elephant ear and I sold an elephant ear to some young kids. Fortunately, I made change correctly. Otherwise it would be "Elephant ear scandal: Governor cheats kids at fair." We went to the dairy barn and got the ice cream. Fortunately, I paid for the ice cream. Otherwise, it's "Governor gets freebie at the dairy barn."
He went on to say, if reporters saw him taking the pledge with Smokey the Bear not to play with matches, the headline would've been "Playing with fire: Governor swears at Smokey the Bear." Also at the State Fair are cannons that shoot confetti. "Here's how that would be written up such as this: Governor shreds documents at the fair. And then spending the night at the fair, that would be: Governor spends night at fair, taxpayers foot the bill."