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January 20, 2019

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Jerry Springer (former mayor of Cincinnati) talks a little politics

<em>America's Got Talent Live!</em>

Denise Truscello/WireImage

Jerry Springer hosts America's Got Talent Live! at Planet Hollywood.

The former mayor of Cincinnati will be in town through mid-December. He’s not yet met Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, but that meeting should be arranged. It would be a summit for the ages.

“I know of him, yes,” Jerry Springer said Thursday after a performance of “America’s Got Talent Live!” at Planet Hollywood. Springer said he was familiar with Goodman’s mob-attorney background and showgirl-boosted approach to greeting the masses.

The host of one of the more explosive half-hour programs in television history, the oft-toothless, chair-heaving “The Jerry Springer Show,” is himself familiar with the political arena. Springer is a former mayor of Cincinnati. He was elected to the City Council of Cincinnati in 1971, and in 1977 (three years after surviving a visit to a massage parlor in Kentucky that offered something other than mere massages) was appointed mayor. He ran for the Democratic nomination for governor of Ohio in 1982 but fell short and turned to broadcasting. Not many fans would recognize the earliest incarnation of “The Jerry Springer Show” (check out Springer’s entertaining Wikipedia entry) in September 1991, where guests included such newsmakers as Jesse Jackson and Oliver North, and he tackled such subjects as homelessness and gun violence (some would say those newsmakers and subjects would work just fine on today’s “Springer” circus, but no matter).

Springer, who considered a run for the Senate in 2003 but relented because of, well, his nuthouse talk show, remains opinionated and informed about the issues of the day.

“I’ve never really left (politics),” Springer said as we leaned against a railing on The Mezz at Planet Hollywood overlooking the casino floor. “I’m still raising money, giving speeches. I’m active, very active. That’s what I really do, even though I make my money doing this.” Hosting TV programs and production shows, he means.

I asked him, simply, to assess President Obama’s performance since he (Obama) took office in January.

“I think he’s doing great. Have we accomplished it all yet? Of course not. But look at what he inherited and the hurdles we face. It isn’t going to happen in the first year, but things are starting to move. Look at all the issues we’re suddenly tackling. Since Harry Truman was president, we’ve been talking about fixing health care, and we’re making progress. Have we turned around some elements of the economy? Yes. Have we made a dent in unemployment? No. Not yet. We have to do better with that, absolutely. So, is the world perfect? Of course it isn’t. We aren’t going to elect a new president and have all people love each other. But, look, he’s going in there and tackling everything and doing it as a grown-up. We no longer have the crazies on either side controlling the issues. Serious people are in charge. … Obama is inviting all sides, all opinions, to talk about what to do in Afghanistan -- can you imagine (George W.) Bush inviting all sides, welcoming all opinions to talk about that issue before making a decision?”

We’re trying …

Of possibly running for public office once more, Springer said, “No. I’m 65. By the time I got any seniority, I’d be 85. I’m great doing what I’m doing now.”

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