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The Edge 

Master of understatement; Missed appointments.

In the continuing saga of Mike Versus The Plain Dealer, we found the mayor once again defending his honor last week. This time, our hero felt attacked by an innocuous PD story that said Cleveland's decade-long drop in crime appeared to be leveling off. In an apologetic tone, the master of understatement began a hastily called press conference by noting, "It would appear I spend an abnormally inordinate amount of time responding to stories in The Plain Dealer." He went on to say that his data showed crime continuing to fall.

The latest festivities came only a week after Mike squashed a pitch to change a portion of Superior Avenue to Plain Dealer Plaza. The name-change, which came at the paper's request (feeling a little self-important, aren't we?), was vetoed the same day The PD ran a story on White's management style. The article -- which should have been headlined "Look at This Juicy E-mail We Found Through Rather Mischievous Use of the Freedom of Information Act" -- depicted Mike as a zealous micromanager. But it also showed him to be a Stand-Up Guy of the People who makes sure even the smallest neighborhood problems are fixed.

The only thing troubling The Edge was the startling revelation that -- gasp! -- the mayor drinks zinfandel. (Memo to Mike: This is Cleveland, pal. Grab yourself a shot of whiskey and lose the Tommy Hilfiger drinks.)

Don't expect the fray to settle down soon. Word is the mayor despises Christopher Quinn, a City Hall reporter who co-authored the e-mail story. After a year of covering the guy, Quinn still hasn't had a sit-down with Mike. And as of last week, the mayor's office had stopped sending its press releases to The PD.

Grand Old Party honchos know that the rare black Republican makes for valuable window dressing. But while Son of Poppy was handing out cabinet appointments, opportunistic Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell waited for his phone to ring. One of only two black Republicans in the country to hold statewide office, Blackwell appears to have pissed away his chance for a post because (A) He was chairman of Steve Forbes's creepy presidential run and (B) his publicity-hounding turns off even some Republicans, like Governor Taft.

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