Volunteer Fired from Ohio State Fair for Making Fun of Rob Portman's Hair

Smoky, in the wood.
  • Smoky, in the wood.

Day in and day out politicos line up before a firing squad of criticism and complaint. For such a flak-filled profession, you'd think they'd have developed the skin of the larger pachyderm set. But it seems someone deemed a low blow aimed at Rob Portman — delivered in the voice of a cartoon bear, no less — was too much dig for the US senator to handle.

This all went down at the Ohio County Fair. The Columbus Dispatch deals out the specifics. For 10 years, retired-teacher Paul Hammock has volunteered at the annual event in a special capacity: he enlists his vocal chords to do the voice of the 14-foot Smokey the Bear statute that lords over the proceedings and shouts out to people in the audience. Other fair workers would pass him names and info on who was close to the bear, and Hammock, from a hidden booth, would knock out quips in between reminders that only you can prevent forest fires.