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Rinehart comic book generates attention

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By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- In a recent comic book the hero is Oklahoma County Commissioner Brent Rinehart and the villains are nearly everyone else in local politics.

The book's been compiled by Rinehart's re-election campaign and it could be in your hands pretty soon.

The campaign is e-mailing the comic book to hundreds of potential voters in Rinehart's district. At least three democrats in Oklahoma politics are mentioned by name and not in the most flattering light.

The 16-page black and white comic holds nothing back. It criticizes Attorney General Drew Edmondson, calling him a homosexual advocate and lampoons Corporate Commissioner Jim Roth for pushing a gay agenda. Rinehart said the book does more than just point fingers.

"It talks about my successes, it talks about the angles my political opponents have taken to ruin my political three years and four years in Oklahoma County," Rinehart said.

Rinehart admitted writing all the text and captions and calls it a novel approach to clearing up mis- information about him and getting his message out. Perhaps his most shocking allegation in the book is his criticism toward Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel, labeling him as a corrupt jail administrator who sanctions inmate beatings and spends freely.

Rinehart says that's not the message he was trying to convey and that he doesn't know whether the sheriff personally approved the beatings; he was just referring to Whetsel's management style.

"There are a lot of things in Oklahoma County Jail that I don't know if particularly Sheriff Whetsel has knowledge of," Rinehart said.

"I think it's pathetic for any kind of elected leader to put together a piece of trash and filth; a bigoted piece," Whetsel said. "He needs to be doing his job and stay out of the comic book business."

NEWS 9 political analyst Scott Mitchell said it's just politics as usual.

"Any sort of advertising in a political campaign is to do something that nobody else is doing, and this is something nobody else is doing," Mitchell said.

Attorney General Drew Edmondson declined to comment, but was quoted as saying nothing Rinehart says is worthy of rebuttal.

Corporate Commissioner Jim Roth said this is just typical Rinehart.

Edmondson filed charges against Rinehart claiming Rinehart illegally funded his last campaign. He's slated to go on trial in September.

Rinehart believes the charges may have been politically motivated.

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