Mayor Richard L. "Ike" Stage, at Tuesday's 19th annual fundraising breakfast for Boy Scouting, had just asked the featured speaker to confirm he was an official candidate for Ohio attorney general when a cell phone went off loudly.

Mayor Richard L. "Ike" Stage, at Tuesday's 19th annual fundraising breakfast for Boy Scouting, had just asked the featured speaker to confirm he was an official candidate for Ohio attorney general when a cell phone went off loudly.

Richard Cordray, Ohio's treasurer and the Democratic-endorsed candidate for attorney general, plucked the offending phone from his pocket and sheepishly ducked down to take the call.

It was, Cordray told the audience gathered at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church for the Grove City Mayor's Breakfast, not one he could avoid: The caller was his 90-year-old father Frank who, with his beloved Cincinnati Reds not doing so well this season, has become deeply interested in his son's unexpected run for a different statewide office from the one he won in 2006.

Richard Cordray, a 49-year-old native of Grove City, did not touch upon his attorney general candidacy in his remarks.

However, a speech concentrating as his did on character and the importance of adults providing young people with role models took on a whole new meaning in the wake of his being tabbed to replace the disgraced Marc Dann, who resigned May 14 as sexual harassment and other scandals rocked his office.

Programs like Scouting make the United States a special country, enabling young boys to grow into young men and eventually into community leaders of the future, according to Cordray.

"It is really an inspiring thing to see," he said. "Above all, Scouting is about character."

Cordray credited his parents, both of whom volunteered extensively to help people with mental retardation, with instilling in him a desire to be of service to the community.

"How we contribute to our community, how we find the time to help others, is really very important," Cordray said.

He praised adult leaders who volunteer in Scouting.

"What a wonderful thing you do in our community," the attorney and, in his younger days, five-time "Jeopardy" champion said.

Finally, Cordray stressed that all adults, whether they're professional athletes or ordinary citizens, are always teaching young people about character by the examples they set.

"That's a responsibility we all bear," Cordray said. "We all are role models."

Cordray jumped into the race to replace Dann on June 11 when he received the backing of Gov. Ted Strickland. He was unanimously backed for the attorney general's post by the Ohio Democratic Party on June 21.

"Richard Cordray has the skills, the judgment and the experience to be one of Ohio's greatest attorneys general," party chairman Rick Redfern said in the endorsement announcement.

The Republicans have yet to settle on a candidate for this fall's special election.