JD Vance campaign fires back at Politico Playbook: They’re acting like Tim Ryan’s ‘PR team’

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The campaign of Republican Ohio Senate candidate JD Vance is firing back at the Politico Playbook for a story it ran early Thursday after waiting until nearly midnight the night before reaching out for comment. 

Vance was the subject of the Playbook’s top story on Thursday with the headline, “The book J.D. Vance doesn’t want you to read.”

The report, co-authored by Politico reporters Ryan Lizza and Rachael Bade, promoted “THE OPPO BOOK ON VANCE” published by the super PAC “Protect Ohio Values” which included a “JD Vance vulnerability study.” It lists his ties to billionaires like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, his business dealings with Purdue Pharma and Chinese companies through his law firm, and his “Cincinnati mansion” among other pieces of opposition research his foes could seize on during the campaign. 

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“The Vance campaign did not respond to a request for comment last night, but if they get back to us we’ll include it in Playbook PM later today,” the Playbook wrote. 

Republican senate candidate JD Vance and Donald Trump Jr. host an event ahead of next month’s primary election in Independence, Ohio, U.S., April 20, 2022.  REUTERS/Gaelen Morse

Vance senior adviser Andrew Surabian shared screenshots that show Lizza reached out to the campaign at 11:40 p.m. ET for comment Wednesday night for a story that went up at 6:30 a.m. ET.

“4 part story about the lack of journalistic ethics at Politico Playbook,” Surabian tweeted. “1. Reporter reaches out for comment at 1140 PM for a story that prints at 630 AM. 2. Story says JD Vance campaign ‘did not respond’ 3. We send over an on record response. 4. Playbook refuses to run in full.”

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Surabian shared the email Vance campaign spokesperson Taylor Van Kirk sent to Lizza at 9:48 a.m. the following morning, saying it’s “ridiculous” he waited until shortly before midnight to send the inquiry, in addition to his 2 a.m.”follow up.” 

“This is not a breaking news story,” Van Kirk told Lizza. “Politico has had this information for over a week. There is no [excuse] for your waiting so long to reach out.”

Politico chief Washington correspondent and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
(Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images for Comedy Central)

Van Kirk then requested Politico Playbook publish the campaign’s full response, which read, “While it’s unethical that Ryan Lizza waited until 11:40 PM the night before publication to reach out to our campaign for comment, we aren’t surprised that Tim Ryan’s Democrat PR team at Playbook would rehash oppo, most of which has already been reported by other outlets during the primary campaign, to distract from Tim Ryan’s extremist comments endorsing late-term abortion with no restrictions on Fox News last night. Curiously, despite Ryan’s comments going viral online, Playbook did not find it newsworthy enough to report on this morning. Wonder why that is?”

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The statement referred to Vance’s Democratic rival, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who appeared on “Special Report” and was grilled on his stance on late-term abortion limits, telling Fox News’ Bret Baier, “Look, you got to leave it up to the woman.” 

U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Rep. Tim Ryan answers a question during Ohio’s U.S. Senate Democratic Primary Debate on Monday, March 28, 2022 at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. (Joshua A. Bickel/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, Pool)
(AP )

Playbook later provided an update, which read, “In response to Playbook after the item was published, the Vance campaign said that ‘most’ of the information in the book ‘has already been reported by other outlets during the primary campaign.’”

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Van Kirk told Fox News Digital, “Playbook may as well be on the Tim Ryan campaign payroll since they are acting like his PR team – covering our campaign in a journalistically unethical way, while conveniently providing no coverage on Tim Ryan’s extremist comments from last night endorsing late-term abortion, without any restrictions.”

Politico did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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