On Wednesday, Republican Josh Mandel, who's hoping to defeat Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) this November, took the stage alongside Mitt Romney in the tiny village of Beallsville in the eastern Ohio coal belt. In a brief speech, Mandel blasted President Obama for having "waged war on coal" and for buddying up with "people in California and New York City who think coal is a four-letter word, who never stepped foot in Appalachia Ohio and don't understand coal."
Mandel's talking points weren't new. His delivery, however, certainly was. Backed by a phalanx of coal miners, Mandel soaked his speech with a distinct southern accent, a drawl never before heard from the candidate. Mandel, a former US Marine and now Ohio's state treasurer, is no southerner. He hails from the Cleveland area, in northern Ohio, where he still lives with his wife. He attended college at Ohio State University in Columbus and law school at Case Western in Cleveland. Neither qualify as southern cities—not even close.
As this video from the Ohio Democratic Party shows, Mandel has delivered almost identical remarks elsewhere on the campaign trail—with no trace of a southern accent:
Strange, right? Just to be sure, we dug up three more interviews with Mandel. Spoiler alert: No drawl.
June 2012 Interview with OhioCapitalBlog
March 2012 Interview with Toledo's WTVG
January 2012 Interview on Fox News' "Fox and Friends"
As PolitiFact Ohio's reigning "Pants on Fire" champion, having spouted more false statements than any other major Ohio pol, Mandel's campaign has faced plenty of criticism about running fast and loose with the facts. His newfound southern accent could be another headache for Mandel.