Friday, October 26, 2001

Fuller responds to his critics

'I'm willing to take a character test'

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Courtis Fuller said Thursday he's perfectly willing to have voters compare his character to that of his opponent, Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken.

        In his first news conference since he won the Sept. 11 primary, Mr. Fuller answered questions about his financial background and his education.

        He said he was a victim of a “complicated bureaucracy” of child-support enforcement when his ex-wife sued him in 1990.

        His subsequent bankruptcy, he said, was a perfectly legal way for him to get out of a financial rut.

        And Mr. Fuller acknowledged that he never graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, as some have reported.

        He was 30 credits shy of a degree, he said, when his career took him in another direction.

        “Not once have I ever stated to anyone I ever graduated from Marquette,” he said. “Certainly I would understand how someone, based on my successful career, might assume that.”

        Mr. Fuller questioned why stories on his background appeared 12 days before the election, and not earlier — when there were four candidates in a primary race.

        “I've seen reports about Bill Broadberger, Michael Riley, and now Courtis Fuller,” he told his former colleagues in the local media. “I have not seen a report on Charlie Luken, and you have to ask yourselves why.”

        Mr. Fuller declined to cite any specific issues in Mr. Luken's background that ought to be reported.

        But he said: “On this day or any day, I'm willing to take a character test with Charlie Luken. You can go back 15 years or 15 days.”

        Mr. Luken responded Thursday night that, while character is important, he's more interested in debating issues.

        “I had nothing to do with the story (about Mr. Fuller's child support and bankruptcy). I had nothing to do with the story about his college degree. I'm more concerned about his failure to debate me on the issues than any of this stuff,” Mr. Luken said.


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