When the former leader of the free world comes to town, you expect a lot: cordoned-off streets, Blackhawks above on a circle pattern, snipers capping the roofs of nearby buildings — all the Hollywood fixings. That, however, was not the case downtown today. Except for around 75 onlookers and media types hanging along West 6th through the lunch break, former President Bill Clinton rode into town unnoticed, sans pomp and fanfare.
In town to prop up the sagging campaign prospects of Governor Ted Strickland, 42 was scheduled to host a luncheon at downtown hot spot Barley House. From the street, the club looked normal except for the festoon of red, white and blue balloons across the front and a pair of Secret Service types mounted by the door. Traffic flowed freely on West 6th, and as a small crowd of television crews set up near the front entrance, a truck with three big screens parked up the street from the bar and began running a continuous loop of attack ads on Republican challenger John Kasich. A steady trickle of suits passed through the club’s front door, money and power types leaving SUVs and luxury cars idling at the curb for the valets to collect. Cuyahoga County Persecutor Bill Mason was in attendance.
Across the street cameras and camera phones were poised and waiting to catch a Facebook-worthy snap of the former president. Finally, a police car rounded St. Clair followed by two black SUVs. The small-scale caravan passed by and then turned up into the Barley House parking lot. As the cars darted by, you could catch a glimpse of Clinton in the middle vehicle, his frosted elder statesman’s coiffure visible through the car glass. He entered through a back entrance, and spectators on the street didn't get a shot at a better photo-op.
Bubba was in the house.
Later in the day Clinton appeared at a Tri-C rally.
"I don't think this is rocket science. So if the answer is what do we need and who's more likely to do it. The answer in Ohio is Ted Strickland," the former president told the crowd, according to 19ActionNews. Clinton is now on his way to Columbus for another Strickland event before this evening gubernatorial debate.