Always Right with Bob Frantz: Heated Senate Debate Between Josh Mandel and Mike Gibbons

Always Right with Bob Frantz on WHK Radio in Cleveland talked to U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel, a politician who served as the 48th treasurer of Ohio from 2011 to 2019, to comment upon the confrontational Senate debate last Friday night.

Frantz: I want to welcome back to our program Josh Mandel, who, of course, is a candidate for the United States Senate. For a good portion of this primary campaign period, Josh was in the lead in this race. Mike Gibbons has in recent weeks overtaken him in most of the polling if not all of the polling.

And in fact, that’s how they squared it yesterday. Last night at the end when they allowed closing statements to be made in reverse order, Josh went second to last, Mike Gibbons went last. And Josh and Mike famously had a little bit of a confrontation on Friday night.

And he’s here to respond to that and the state of the race as he sees it right now. Fresh off of that televised debate last night, Josh Mandel, welcome back to our program. How are you, sir?

Mandel: Hey, Bob. Always good to be on. And I appreciate everything you do for the cause of liberty.

Frantz: Thank you very much. That’s exactly what it’s all about. We are all on the same side for that. So, Josh, I’m going to ask you about last night’s event here in a few minutes, but obviously, everyone wants to hear from you directly about what happened on Friday night. Just to refresh everyone who has not heard it here’s the confrontation on stage with Mike Gibbons from Friday night.

(Gibbs and Mandel clip plays)

Frantz: That was the bulk of what happened between Josh and Mike Gibbons on Friday on the face-off. Josh, last night on the debate the moderators on Fox gave you a chance to explain 30 seconds in your words what happened. And this is what you said.

(Mandel clip plays)

I’m a fighter, I’m a Marine, and I’ll never back down from a fight. The problem in Washington is that we have all these squishy RINO Republicans. They’ve taken a knee for the Democrats and they’ve taken a knee for the media. And when I go to Washington, I will be the worst nightmare of the radical left and of the squishy, RINO Republicans as well. We can’t afford to send weak and soft Republicans to Washington. Now is the time for fighters. I will fight like heck to defend you when I’m in the U.S. Senate.

Frantz: All right. That was last night at the Fox 8 News start of the debate. So, Josh, you spent the majority of your 30 seconds talking about what you would do in Washington as a fighter. And we don’t need soft, squishy people in Washington.

Was that your way of saying that Mike Gibbons would be a soft, squishy person if he is in Washington? And can you give us more of the part about what happened on Friday considering again, you spent most of that time just saying that you’re a fighter. But specific to the altercation with Mike Gibbons, can you give me more than what you gave there?

Mandel: Sure. I think Republicans, especially America First Patriots and pro-liberty Patriots like you and me and others that we know throughout northeast Ohio and throughout the state, we’re sick of deal cutters.

We’re sick of Republicans who say they’re going to fight for the Constitution, say they’re going to fight for the America First agenda and then they get to Washington and they cut deals with Schumer, cut deals with Pelosi, cut deals with Biden, and they cut deals with the Republican Party bosses as well.

And so I see Mike as just a deal-cutter, and he gets pulled in that room by the Republican Party bosses. He’s going to do whatever they say. And that’s not me, Bob. It’s just not me. I’m the opposite of that. When John Kasich was governor, I took Kasich on at every turn.

When Kasich was trying to do the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, I took them on. I said we shouldn’t be facilitating a culture of dependence on welfare. We’re supposed to be facilitating people off of welfare.

When Kasich was trying to do the Common Core educational standards, basically federalization of education, I said, heck no. We should put moms and dads in charge of what their kids are learning, not some faceless bureaucrats in Washington.

When Kasich was trying to do everything he could to stop the heartbeat bill and actually vetoed the heartbeat bill, I was the first statewide official in Ohio to have the guts and the courage to stand up for the heartbeat bill to stop abortion.

And so time and time again in Columbus, I took on Kasich and, you know, the time I took them on, when I put the state of Ohio’s checkbook online, Kasich didn’t want that.

He tried to stop it. And I said the taxpayers have a right to know how the tax money is being spent. And I put the entire state of Ohio’s checkbook online. And politicians hated it, but I didn’t care.

Frantz: I remember interviewing you about that actually, I had you on another station that I was on at the time, and we talked about that. And then I absolutely applauded and supported that. It was a great thing to do.

I don’t mean to interrupt, Josh, but I want to go back again specifically to Friday just to kind of get this behind us and get a clear statement from you, as I got from Mike yesterday. Now, I asked Mike yesterday if there was ever any acrimony or animosity between you two before, and he said no.

He said he supported your campaign for treasurer and he had always viewed you as a really nice guy until the incident on Friday. What about from your end? Did you ever have any issues with Mike before, any personal animosity or anything like that?

Mandel: No, I still don’t. None of it’s personal. I will say, I think he definitely married up. I think Diane is awesome, and his family seems like a great family. None of it’s personal. Listen, we’re running for the United States Senate.

The U.S. Senate is at a 50/50 deadlock. This isn’t personal about me or my opponent. This is about the 11.7 million people of Ohio. This is one of the most important positions in our country. And the voters, I believe, have a right to know every single piece of background on the candidates.

And there are certain parts of Mike’s background where he made a lot of money off of shipping jobs to China and investing in China that I think the voters have a right to know about. And so it’s not personal. It’s a political campaign.

Frantz: Did it get personal, though? Because I agree with you, your question is fair, and allowing him to answer to that would be fair, too. But did it get personal? Let me rephrase: What made you so upset when you took your seat?

He had the floor because you were standing when you were talking. And then it was his turn, so he got to stand and you sat down. When he took the floor and then responded to you and talked about perfect fit and talked about Shanghai Shenda, or whatever it was called.

I certainly don’t own the stock because I can’t afford the stock. But Josh, when he started to respond, you sprung back up again. And that’s when you walked toward him.

What upset you so much that made you spring to your feet and walk toward him? And then, of course, that devolved into the nose-to-nose. You better back off, no, you back off nonsense.

Mandel: I think you just played the recording. When he says that someone like me, Marine veteran, did two tours in Iraq, he said, I “don’t know squat.” Hey, wait a second, Mr. Gibbons. When I was serving in the Marine Corps overseas, putting my life on the line for our country, you were back here making millions off of shipping American jobs to China.

Who do you think you are telling me and veterans all throughout this state and country that they didn’t work for a living? And I don’t know if you saw, Bob, but there was a group of 15 veterans yesterday that put out a letter because they were so outraged and appalled by Mike Gibbons’s statement that Gibbons essentially said that veterans haven’t worked for a living or haven’t had a real job.

Frantz: Josh, let me jump in here. I don’t play that way. And I don’t think you should either, because we’re conservatives and we’re liberty lovers and we’re believers in doing things the right way. You and me both. That’s why we get along.

He didn’t say veterans. He didn’t say all veterans. He didn’t say anything of the sort about your veteran status. He said you haven’t worked today in the private sector.

He didn’t say you haven’t worked in your life. And I did see that letter, but in fact, I played your opening statement from last night, too. He tried to clarify that too in his opening statement. Let me get you to respond to this, Josh.

(Mike Gibbons clip plays)


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