Wednesday, May 24, 2006

West Branch Manufacturers: Swann fumbled

Williamsport Sun-Gazette: "West Branch Manufacturers: Swann fumbled

Republican gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann canceled a keynote speech to the West Branch Manufacturers’ Association 11 days before its annual dinner, citing a conflicting campaign stop in Erie with former Gov. Tom Ridge.

The group canceled Tuesday’s event and will plan a dinner in the fall with a different speaker, according to Executive Director Michael J. Sharbaugh.

“His chief scheduler contacted William J. Metzger Sr. and said Swann was cancelling to go to Erie,” Sharbaugh said, adding Metzger was contacted Friday.

With more than 270 reservations for the event and more coming in Tuesday morning — another company called requesting a table for 10 — many were disappointed to hear the news, Sharbaugh said.

“I was going to vote for him but now I won’t,” Sharbaugh quoted several people as saying.

“It’s hard to understand,” he said. “It makes you wonder, if he were going to be governor, would he keep his commitments?”

Sharbaugh said the association would have understood if Swann had had to cancel for “a legitimate reason — like he had to have emergency surgery — but not just because he got a better offer.”

Meanwhile, plans must be canceled for a long-planned event.

“The Genetti has graciously agreed to let us out of our contract. We really do appreciate that. Bill Metzger is refunding funds raised,” he added.

Metzger, a member of the group’s board and this year’s dinner chairman, explained the process of coordinating a speaker with a dinner date.

“We started discussions with Mr. Swann’s chief scheduler Jan. 25. We sent a letter putting the request in writing. We left it open to two months for them to pick the date,” Metzger said.

“The dinner is generally held in May or June of each year. We float the date according to the keynote speaker. His camp picked the date.”

To get Swann as a speaker, the group had to agree to raise funds for his political campaign, Metzger said.

“Politicians running for office have a significant need to raise money for campaigns,” he said. “One way to get them to speak at events is to hold a fundraiser,” he said.

The campaign manager will usually suggest a figure that should be met by the fundraiser, Metzger said. In this case, the amount was $10,000.

“We raised in excess of $15,000,” he said.

Funds raised specifically for Swann’s campaign were made out to “Swann for Governor.”

“I returned those checks to each of the donors. It’s the donor’s choice now” whether to give the money to Swann’s campaign, he said.

The funds raised were through “a VIP reception in support of Lynn Swann,” which also was going to be Tuesday.

As of May 1, Swann reportedly raised $3.3 million statewide, compared with the $17.2 million raised by Gov. Ed Rendell.

Swann had other commitments in Pittsburgh in the morning on Tuesday, but “we had arranged for a private, two-engine plane to pick him up in Pittsburgh and bring him to Williamsport. We had arranged for a suite at the Genetti for him to freshen up,” Metzger said.

The VIP reception would be at the Ross Club, followed immediately by the group’s reception and dinner.

“He had asked and we had agreed that he would speak before the dinner so he could get home not too late,” he added.

Metzger said he was particularly angry that Swann had canceled not only so close to the deadline, but also that the association had already re-arranged its plans several times to accommodate Swann’s schedule.

“Originally, he had committed for May 30, he’d leave Pittsburgh mid-morning and we’d have a luncheon reception at the Williamsport Country Club. Then his campaign called and said that was not feasible. The real point is that we re-arranged several times to suit his needs, to be as conciliatory as we can reasonably be,” Metzger said.

When Swann’s campaign contacted Metzger, they offered an alternate speaker in the form of Swann’s running mate Jim Matthews, he said.

“I advised her that people had committed to this event to hear Lynn Swann speak on his opinions on the office he was running for, not Jim Matthews’. The only options were to rearrange or that he bring Ridge,” he continued.

“I was told that was not possible,” he said.

“The facts are the facts and people can draw their own conclusions,” Metzger said, regarding Swann’s receipt of a better campaigning offer.

“We regret the campaign’s need to postpone our long-awaited appearance before the association to a later date. We appreciate their understanding and we look forward to sharing our vision of change and reform for Williamsport as soon as possible,” Melissa Winters, spokeswoman for Swann’s campaign, said to the Sun-Gazette."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Voters Send Mike Long's Cronies Packing - Jubelier Brightbill and Zug bite the big one - Yahoo! News

Voters Send Incumbents Packing - Yahoo! News: "Voters Send Incumbents Packing Wed May 17, 1:11 AM ET

Voters sent a very clear message to their lawmakers Tuesday, one that left incumbents tasting bitter defeat in a historic day at the polls.

It appears the pay raise of 2005 played a role in the defeat of major state Senate leaders, including Senate majority leader David Brightbill and Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer.

Pay Raise Payback

In the Susquehanna Valley, only one lawmaker who voted for the pay raise survived the primary election, Rep. Adam Harris, of Adams County.

Sen. Brightbill, of Lebanon County, Rep. Stephen Maitland, of Adams and Franklin counties, Rep. Roy Baldwin, of Lancaster County, Rep. Pete Zug, of Lebanon County and Rep. Patrick Fleagle, of Franklin County all voted for the pay raise, and all were defeated Tuesday.

Rep. Gibson Armstrong of Lancaster County was also defeated. Although he didn't vote for the pay raise, critics pointed out that he did vote for the rules change that allowed the vote to happen." Mike Long Screwed Chip Brightbill and then covered Capitol Ideas with John L. Micek : Dateline: Altoona.: "March 31, 2006
Dateline: Altoona.
Total People in Discussion: 0
Categories: Current Affairs

We're Just Back ...
... from two days of campaign travel in the wilds of Western Pennsylvania. It's always good to get out of the office for a while to find out what actual people who actually work for a living think about the goings-on here in the seat of power.
The only downside to leaving is the towering pile of paperwork and the dozen or so phone messages we had to wade through when we arrived at Capitol Ideas World Headquarters this morning

There's more on our trip after the jump.

We Started Our Swing ...
... in scenic Pittsburgh on Wednesday, where we attended the annual conference of the National Society of Black Engineers.
The group bills itself as the largest student-run organization of its kind in the country, and is specifically designed to encourage more black students to pursue careers in math and science.
To drop the cynical facade for a moment, it was pretty inspiring to see all these kids (from all over the country, no less) so jazzed up. That's doubly true when you consider that all this excitement was over math and science.
We have enough trouble balancing our checkbooks. Can't even imagine spending a week debating the finer points on the structural integrity of bridges and stuff..
But in the midst of all this hoopla, Gov. Ed had his own little Bush43/NAACP moment.
Either by accident or design, the Rendellies decided to give the conference's opening ceremonies a pass.
Carl Mack, NSBE's executive director (and a very tall man who we wouldn't want to have mad at us) wasted little time ripping the current occupant of the governor's office.
"For the governor of the state not to have an interest in 10,000 African-American students (in Pittsburgh) ... don't give me rhetoric about education reform. For him to skip was an insult."
This is also the place where we point out that Rendell's Republican rival, Lynn Swann, did manage to find his way over to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, where NSBE held its conclave.
Bad move, Gov. We've seen your poll numbers out West.

Thursday Found Us ...
... in Altoona, where we (along with Capitolwire's Pete DeCoursey) spent the day tagging along with state Senate President Pro Tempore Robert C. Jubelirer, R-Blair.
We spent the best part of the day in Hollidaysburg, Blair County, where Jubelirer spent about two hours knocking on doors in his first spring primary since 1974.
For those of you not in the know, Jubelirer faces a particularly tough primary challenge from Blair County Commissioner John Eichelberger, who is kind of the Joker/Riddler/Penguin to Jubelirer's Batman. There's not a lot in the way of lost love between these two guys.
Anyway, the reaction from voters was fairly genial, except for the one guy who decided to rip Jubelirer's face off over last year's legislative pay raise.
The guy wasn't much interested in explanations -- not even when Jubelirer tried to tell him that he'd voted to repeal the hated raises.
On Thursday night, former Gov. Tom Ridge swung in for a fund-raiser at a baquet hall in the shadows of the Altoona Curve's ballpark.
There, the former Commissar for Homeland Security offered his unqualified endorsement for his "good friend, Bob Jubelirer."
We've got to hand it to Ridge. He was looking about as tanned and rested as we've ever seen him,
Then again, if the biggest security threat you had to think about these days was how to handle a particularly difficult Par 4 at the Lake Shore Country Club in Erie, you'd probably look that good, too.
During a press conference before the fund-raiser, Ridge initially tripped over a question on whether he intended to offer an equally enthusiastic endorsement for another Senate GOP leader who's having some trouble these days: Senate Majority Leader David J.Brightbill, R-Lebanon.
"I haven't talked to Sen. Brightbill yet," Ridge said. "I'm here for Bob Jubelirer."
Later that evening, Ridge, at the urging of Senate GOP campaign czar/Brightbill brother-in-law Mike Long, clarified his remarks:
"I'll work with Chip, if I'm asked," Ridge said, likely to the relief of Long, who was no doubt contemplating six months worth of awkward Sunday dinners if he failed to deliver the former Guv for Brightbill.
"We just had so much trouble scheduling this. The people who helped me, I'm obligated to support. And he's one of them," Ridge concluded, thus also saving Long from the kids table at Thanksgiving.

One More Note On That Ridge Press Conference ...
After dealing with stunned silence from the local press when he asked if there were any questions, Ridge fielded one or two queries about his feelings on the ... er ... immigration reform fever that's sweeping Washington these days.
In short, he's not a fan.
"Right now, the decibel level is not conducive to a thoughtful approach," he said. "We have every right to defend our borders ... But the notion that you can send 11 million people back, these legislators have got to get a grip."
Instead, Ridge advocated a more sensible guest worker program to help accomodate the Mexicans and Central Americans who want to "lay asphalt in Phoenix in 120-degree weather," and do other jobs that most Gringos try hard (and shouldn't) to avoid.
And when he was asked about the lightly armed couch potatoes who now consider it their patriotic duty to play cop along the border, Ridge said, "I appreciate their interest, but if they really want to help, they can volunteer to do clerical and back office work so that customs and immigrations officers can do the enforcement."

Of Course, There Was Other Stuff ...
... going on whilst we were gallivanting across the state. Here's a quick look at what's left:

We Wish We Knew This Yesterday Dept.
The Tribune Review's Brad Bumsted and Deb Erdley hit one out of the park this morning, revealing that a political action committee controlled by the famously anti-gambling Jubelirer, and run by aide Long, was largely financed by a leading contender for a slots license in Scranton.

State Rep. Mike Diven, R-Pittsburgh ...
... has spoken out on the forged signatures that forced him to withdraw fromf the spring ballot this week.
Diven said he didn't circulate the bad petition, and that "we believe someone sat down and wrote (the petition) out from a street list."
Diven won't say who in his camp ciruclated the document. He also apologized for including dead people on his petitions.
We used to live in Chicago.
Just because they're dead doesn't mean they can't vote, Mike.

Hordes of Young Conservatives ...
... descend on a Hilton in suburban Harrisburg this afternoon for the annual Pennsylvania Leadership Conference.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann gets things started at 2 p.m. Our Rick is the dinner speaker at 6 p.m. MSNBC screeching head Joe Scarborough is also slated to speak.

In The Blogosphere:
Keystone Politics on the red-hot 6th Congressional District race; GrassrootsPA is all over that Jubelirer/PAC story; Young Philly Politics reminds readers that the state House is slated to vote next week on the gay marriage amendment; A Smoke-Filled Room has a daily media round-up; Above Average Jane has some things to do; What is the sound of one mouth talking? Bill Bostic interviews Gene Stilp; Tony Phyrillas says Berks County is scraping the bottom of the legislative barrel; PennPatriot isn't a big fan of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board; If you look hard enough for media bias, you'll find it anywhere (sigh), and we wrap up with Wonkette's daily briefing.

On The Capitol Ideas iPod This Morning:
To help combat the lingering fatigue we're feeling from all that PA Turnpike travel, we've got The Replacements' messy, but still tons of fun, 1982 EP Stink blasting at a paralyzingly loud volume right now.

Friday's Final Gratuitous Soccer Link:
In which we close out the week with The Guardian confirming what the rest of the world knows already: the comically behind-schedule Wembley Stadium will not open until 2007.
And more good news for fans in the Bernabeu, David Beckham has decided he wants to stay at Real Madrid.

That's it for this week. See you all on Monday."

Philadelphia Inquirer | 02/07/2006 | Mike Long Cost Jubelirer His Seat with O'Berry's Help

Philadelphia Inquirer | 02/07/2006 | Group alleges legislature, court colluded: "Posted on Tue, Feb. 07, 2006email thisprint thisreprint or license thisGroup alleges legislature, court colludedBy Mario F. Cattabiani and Angela Couloumbis
Inquirer Staff Writers
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania's leading watchdog group alleged in a lawsuit yesterday that the highest ranks of the legislature traded millions in state aid to the courts for favorable decisions dating to 1999 - and possibly culminating last summer in generous pay raises for more than 1,000 judges.

A state Supreme Court spokesman called the accusations "preposterous."

The allegations were laid out in a revised federal court challenge in Harrisburg to last summer's legislative pay raise, in which Common Cause of Pennsylvania contends that there has been political "back scratching" between top House and Senate members and the state Supreme Court for years.

At the heart of the new allegations is the contention that, seven years ago, legislative leaders negotiated with the high court to fund the state's judiciary, fearing that if they did not, the justices would rule against them on two suits involving constitutional challenges.

Given that history, Common Cause alleges it is more than likely that last summer's unpopular pay raises were the result of a similar deal between Chief Justice Ralph Cappy and legislative leaders.

"What we are telling the court is that this may not be a unique instance, that this may have been going on at various levels for quite a few years," said Barry Kauffman, executive director of Common Cause. "We are asking the [federal] court to get to the bottom of it. If it is going on, it needs to be stopped and the federal courts need to put the hammer down."

Speaking on behalf of Cappy, Tom Darr, deputy court administrator of Pennsylvania, said: "It is regrettable that an organization like Common Cause, which has always stood for the principles of good government, would file such a frivolous lawsuit."

He added: "A preliminary reading shows the allegations to be preposterous, baseless and reckless and the relief sought ridiculous."

The suit provides as evidence conversations held behind closed doors between Republican members of the House in June 1999.

During that internal caucus meeting, then-Majority Leader John M. Perzel (R., Phila.), now speaker of the House, allegedly told colleagues that they were moving ahead with the court funding because "we cannot afford to have the courts rule against us" on the two suits. One suit involved workers compensation, the other an increase in the state tax on gasoline for highway-improvement projects.

Perzel's comments came after members of the caucus complained that the legislature should not give in to "blackmail" by the court, the suit contends.

Former Rep. Ed Krebs, who was at the meeting, attested to the allegation in an affidavit filed with the amended suit. In it, he also alleges that then-Speaker Matt Ryan told fellow Republicans that another member, J. Scot Chadwick, had acted as a negotiator with the Supreme Court on the matter.

In an interview yesterday from his Lebanon County home, Krebs said, "To me, it meant that if we didn't give them the money for the courts, we would lose the cases. It was a quid pro quo."

Krebs retired from the House in 2002 after serving 12 years.

Chadwick, a former Republican representative from Bradford County, told the Associated Press that he did consult with court officials over the 1999 legislation, but that the meeting was informational, not a quid pro quo negotiation.

"I think that would be very wrong," he said. "I am an attorney by training and that would raise a red flag with me immediately."

The high court wound up ruling in favor of the legislature in both cases.

That wasn't the only instance of possible collusion, according to the suit.

Last summer, the suit alleges, Cappy lobbied the legislature hard to implement the pay raise, which increased legislative salaries as well as those for judges and other state officials. It was rescinded in November by a contrite legislature that had been whipped in public-opinion polls.

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to both the pay raise and the legislature's move to overturn it. Cappy has recused himself from hearing the case.

That lawsuit quotes an August e-mail about the pay raise that was allegedly written by Republican Senate employee Suzanne O'Berry to Matthew Brouillette, head of the Commonwealth Foundation, a conservative think tank.

"I watched the formulation of all this up close with my 'special connections' to certain offices, and it was much more unsavory than a lot know," O'Berry wrote, according to the suit. "... I will say that family dining debate has become much more exciting."

O'Berry is married to Mike Long, a top aide to Senate President Pro Tempore Robert C. Jubelirer (R., Blair). Jubelirer is among the defendants named in Common Cause's suit.

O'Berry told the Associated Press that she does not recall the e-mail and had no other immediate comment.

Just last week, Perzel asked Cappy and the court for guidance in crafting a lobbying disclosure bill that would withstand legal scrutiny.

Attempts to reach Perzel and Jubelirer were unsuccessful yesterday.

The Common Cause lawsuit asks the federal court to declare unconstitutional private conversations between judges and members of the executive or legislative branches about legislation that might come before them.

Joining in the lawsuit with Common Cause are the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania and state Rep. Greg Vitali (D., Delaware) among others. The defendants include top legislative leaders of both parties in the House and Senate, as well as Gov. Rendell and state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr.

Contact staff writer Mario F. Cattabiani at 717-787-5990 or"

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Slime Politics By Lambro the hack in The Washington Times, Rev Moon's Newspaper

Lead projected to slip for pro-life Democrat�-�Nation/Politics�-�The Washington Times, America's Newspaper: "Lead projected to slip for pro-life Democrat
By Donald Lambro
March 10, 2006

Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the Republican Party's most vulnerable incumbent, trails state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr. by 10 to 15 percentage points, but the race will tighten when Democrats learn more about Mr. Casey's pro-life views, pollsters and campaign advisers said yesterday.
Mr. Casey's pro-life position has angered pro-choice Democratic activists and could bring into the race Kate Michelman, former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. Should that happen, it would split the Democrats and turn the November election into a competitive contest, independent polls indicate.
"If there were a third-party candidate on the ballot who is pro-choice, that candidate could draw heavily from Casey backers among liberal Democrats, enough to make it a close race," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, whose surveys show that Mr. Casey is vulnerable on the abortion issue with pro-choice Democrats.
"If Michelman gets in, I think you would see Casey's support drop," Mr. Richards said.
Both Mr. Santorum and Mr. Casey are pro-life. The big difference is that the two-term senator receives strong support on his position from the Republican Party base, while Mr. Casey represents a party that is overwhelmingly pro-choice in a state that has some of the most conservative abortion laws in the nation.
An earlier Quinnipiac poll found that when voters were told about Mr. Casey's pro-life position, many Democrats reacted negatively to his candidacy. Such a development could spell trouble for Mr. Casey when the race heats up later this year.
"A significant number of Casey supporters still do not know that Casey is opposed to abortion. There are a significant number of pro-choice voters whose entire opinion swings on that one issue, and unlike other single-issue voters, they will use their vote on just that one issue, even it if hurts the candidate they are otherwise philosophically attuned with," Mr. Richards said.
Other developments angered pro-choice Democrats and complicated the party's campaign to unseat Mr. Santorum.
Gov. Edward G. Rendell, a Democrat, and Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, pressured pro-choice candidate Barbara Hafer to drop out of the race to clear the way for Mr. Casey's nomination in the May 16 party primary.
Also, Mr. Casey said he would have voted to confirm Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s nomination to the Supreme Court. The announcement further alienated Democrats who opposed the pro-life jurist.
"For me and for many people across the country who care about women's rights, that was the straw that broke the camel's back," Ms. Michelman said, hinting that she may enter the contest. "I have become a vehicle for people who feel they have to take action at a time of crisis."
Until now, the Santorum campaign has been unable to draw out Mr. Casey on the issues in what Republicans call a Democratic "stealth campaign."
"When people start to find out what Casey believes, it will affect his support," said Santorum campaign spokeswoman Virginia Davis.
Casey campaign officials declined to talk about Democratic reaction to his pro-choice views or about Ms. Michelman's political aspirations. "I'll leave that to the pundits. We'll wait and see if she gets in the race," said Casey spokesman Larry Smar."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Sentinel Online - Editorial - Casey scores in pay grab lawsuit

The Sentinel Online - Editorial: "Casey scores in pay grab lawsuit

By The Sentinel, March 08, 2006

Nobody likes being sued. Anytime a person is called upon to respond to a lawsuit, he can be expected to file the most thorough argument he can muster in hopes the suit will be dismissed.

State Treasurer Bob Casey was named as a defendant in the lawsuit filed by anti-pay grab activist Gene Stilp, who is trying to head off arguments of several state judges that the now-repealed pay grab bill must be reinstated. They argue the state’s constitution specifically prohibits the reduction of any judge’s pay while in office, and that means the pay raise can’t be repealed.

Casey’s response to the lawsuit was released this week — and it looked an awful lot like Stilp’s lawsuit. Casey’s brief asserted the Legislature “repeatedly violated Article III of the state Constitution” in passing the pay-grab bill, and since the bill was unconstitutional on its face, the judges’ salary raise never really existed.

And that neatly cuts the legs out from under the various judge-filed lawsuits to reinstate the pay grab — if the state Supreme Court concurs with that reasoning.

Now we happened to notice that there’s a U.S. Senate election in Pennsylvania this year — and that Casey is the leading Democratic challenger in that race. So we’re alert to the notion that Casey responded when opportunity knocked.

Certainly this has occurred to Republicans, who claim Casey had plenty of time before this to register any objections he might have had to the pay grab.

That Casey has suddenly gotten religion as his Senate campaign ramps up is a point worthy of debate. He might have gotten away with simply ignoring the issue on the grounds that a court case was already proceeding.

But the need to file a response to Stilp’s lawsuit forced him to take a stand. He could have, like Gov. Ed Rendell did previously, simply assert that the constitutional violations took place outside his field of influence.

Instead, Casey took a course that puts him in opposition to the much-derided Legislature and in line with majority thought on the pay grab. And it puts him way out front of the guy he’s challenging, Sen. Rick Santorum, who previously asserted that statewide issues don’t affect his candidacy.

We’ll see if Santorum is eventually proved right. For now, Casey takes the point."

Monday, February 27, 2006

Santorum's charity spends 60 percent on overhead, Santorum's Staff Personally Benefited!

Senator's charity spends 60 percent on overhead, some to campaign aides: "Senator's charity spends 60 percent on overhead, some to campaign aides

WASHINGTON A charity run by Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is supposed to promote "compassionate conservatism" by giving grants to small non-profit groups, including religious groups.

But the charity has actually donated just 40 percent of the one and a-quarter (m) million dollars it spent during a four-year period. The rest went for overhead. And some of that overhead money went to Santorum campaign aides who were on the charity's payroll.

The 40-percent donation rate is well below the standards of the Better Business Bureau, which advises giving to charitable organizations that spend at least 65 percent of their total expenses on program activities.

The treasurer for Operation Good Neighbor defends its spending practices. She says the charity doesn't have the same ability as the Salvation Army or the Red Cross "to raise money without spending much money to do so."

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed."

Friday, February 17, 2006

Casey Could Defeat Santorum in Pennsylvania: Angus Reid Consultants

Casey Could Defeat Santorum in Pennsylvania: Angus Reid Consultants: "Angus Reid Global Scan : Polls & Research
Casey Could Defeat Santorum in Pennsylvania
February 16, 2006
(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey maintains the upper hand in the United States Senate election, according to a poll by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. 51 per cent of respondents in the Keystone State would support the Democrat in a head-to-head contest against Republican incumbent Rick Santorum.

Casey has been Pennsylvania’s state treasurer since January 2005, and previously served as the state auditor general for eight years. Casey is the son of former Keystone State governor Robert P. Casey, and lost the 2002 Democratic primary to current governor Ed Rendell.

Santorum was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994, and earned a second term in 2000, defeating Democrat Ron Klink with 53 per cent of all cast ballots. He had previously served for two consecutive terms in the House of Representatives.

Support for Casey fell by one point since October, while backing for Santorum increased by two points to 36 per cent. The U.S. Senate election is scheduled for Nov. 7.

In a state in which one in five residents is over 60 years old, Medicare is expected to become a major campaign issue. Virginia Davis, a spokesman for Santorum’s office, said in a statement to that "it is senator Santorum’s priority that Pennsylvania’s seniors have access to quality, affordable prescription drugs."

Polling Data

If the 2006 election for senator were being held today, and the candidates were Bob Casey Jr. the Democrat and Rick Santorum the Republican for whom would you vote?

Feb. 2006
Oct. 2005
Jul. 2005

Bob Casey Jr. (D)

Rick Santorum (R)

Someone else

Would not vote

Not sure

Source: Quinnipiac University Polling Institute
Methodology: Telephone interviews to 1,661 Pennsylvania voters, conducted from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, 2006. Margin of error is 2.4 per cent."

Santorum wants to have his cake and eat it, too. - Christianity Today Magazine

How Not to Influence People - Christianity Today Magazine: "Home > Christianity Today Magazine > Culture & Technology > Books

Christianity Today, February 2006

How Not to Influence People
Rick Santorum's It Takes a Family is an example of how not to fight the culture wars.
by John Wilson | posted 02/16/2006 09:15 a.m.

Conservatism and
the Common Good
by Rick Santorum
464 pp.; $25

Every Christian on the front lines of the culture wars should read this book—as an example of how not to go about it. Santorum, a two-term Republican senator from Pennsylvania currently engaged in a tough battle for reelection, is a devout Roman Catholic who was named by Time magazine as one of "The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America." As one of the strongest conservative voices in the Senate, he has taken leadership on a number of key issues, including abortion.

We urgently need leaders who unapologetically defend traditional family values in the context of the common good. At times, It Takes a Family achieves this goal, with well-reasoned policy recommendations and telling anecdotes. But from the start, this book has a divided heart. Santorum's contemptuous references to "liberals," "village elders," and "the Bigs" (this from a candidate who boasts Wal-Mart as a major donor) are pitched to the right-wing choir. One moment sneering in full talk-radio mode, the next moment sanctimoniously quoting Tocqueville, Santorum wants to have his cake and eat it, too.

It didn't surprise me when (on page 296) Santorum came to the obligatory reference to Andres Serrano's Piss Christ—"a piece of 'artwork,' funded by the National Endowment of the Arts"—that he referred to Serrano as "José." Santorum and his researchers can't even be bothered to get the name of one of their favorite villains right. We expect more than this from one who styles himself a champion of the common good.

Copyright © 2006 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
February 2006, Vol. 50, No. 2, Page 99"

Santorum's Goons Use Dirty Politics to Attack Casey

Casey's Abramoff-linked donations draw flak from GOP, Santorum: "Casey's Abramoff-linked donations draw flak from GOP, Santorum
Thursday, February 16, 2006

By Maeve Reston, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

WASHINGTON -- Republican officials and Sen. Rick Santorum's campaign yesterday accused Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate candidate, state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr., of hypocrisy because Mr. Casey's campaign does not plan to return contributions from two former associates of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The controversy is part of the struggle between Washington's Democrats and Republicans to avoid the taint of the Abramoff scandal after the ex-lobbyist pleaded guilty last month to tax evasion, fraud and conspiracy to bribe public officials resulting from a federal investigation into his activities promoting Indian tribes.

As Democrats have tried to brand the GOP as a corrupt party because of Mr. Abramoff's dealings with prominent Republicans including former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, Republicans have retaliated by scouring Federal Election Commission records to find contributions to Democrats from Mr. Abramoff's associates or the tribes for which he lobbied.

That exercise this week has turned up two contributions to Mr. Casey from lobbyists who worked closely with Mr. Abramoff while he was at the firm of Greenberg Traurig LLP. Officials of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee and at Mr. Santorum's campaign are making an issue of $5,500 that the Democratic challenger received last year from two former employees of that law firm: Michael Smith and Edward Ayoob.

Even though the contributions by both men were made more than a year after Mr. Abramoff was pressured to resign by Greenberg Traurig and at a time when both were working for new firms, the Republican campaign committee and Mr. Santorum's campaign yesterday said Mr. Casey was applying a double standard for contributions to his campaign and those to the senator's.

Earlier this year, Mr. Casey's campaign pounded Mr. Santorum for not immediately returning contributions from several of Mr. Abramoff's tribal clients. Within the week of Mr. Abramoff's guilty plea, Mr. Santorum decided that he would donate the tribal contributions to charity because his campaign said it was virtually impossible to determine whether the money was related to Mr. Abramoff's lobbying activities.

"[Mr. Casey] is basically saying one thing and doing another," said Santorum campaign spokeswoman Virginia Davis. "Both of these gentlemen were part of Abramoff's team, and there are reports of their close connections with Abramoff. ... For Casey to not contribute these contributions to charity or return them is completely hypocritical."

Mr. Smith, who gave Mr. Casey $4,000 last June and is now a lobbyist at Cornerstone Government Affairs, declined to comment yesterday.

Mr. Ayoob also declined to comment, other than to say he was frustrated that contributions he made more than a year after he last spoke with Mr. Abramoff were being used for what he views as obvious political purposes. Mr. Ayoob, who donated a total of $1,500 on June 29 and Sept. 19 of last year, is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and the Duquesne University law school who worked with Mr. Abramoff after his time as a senior aide for current Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Mr. Ayoob now works for the firm of Barnes & Thornburg LLP.

Mr. Casey?s spokesman Larry Smar emphasized that neither Mr. Ayoob or Mr. Smith had been accused of wrongdoing and said the back and forth was "nothing more than a smokescreen by Santorum to try to cover up his ethical problems with the K Street project and his weekly meetings with lobbyists."

(Maeve Reston can be reached at 202-488-3479"

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Patriot-News: Casey adds to lead over Santorum, poll shows - Santorum Tanking

Casey adds to lead over Santorum, poll shows: "Casey adds to lead over Santorum, poll shows
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Of The Patriot-News
WASHINGTON - A new poll could diminish Republicans' confidence that the U.S. Senate election is narrowing.

Democrat Robert P. Casey Jr. widened his lead over U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., by 3 percentage points, to 51 percent to 36 percent, over the last two months, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday.

The poll of 1,661 Pennsylvania voters shows that one Republican in five labels Santorum's views "extreme," and the same proportion says that he does not deserve to be re-elected.

"Sen. Santorum opens the election year a solid 15 points behind Bob Casey and facing serious opposition from a significant number of members of his own party," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

The poll was conducted from Jan. 31 through Feb. 6 and has a 2.4-percentage- point margin of error. A Patriot-News/WGAL-TV Keystone Poll released last week that was conducted over nearly the same period showed Casey leading Santorum by 11 points.

Forty-three percent of voters approve of Santorum's job performance, but 42 percent disapprove. Only 15 percent said they don't know enough.

While Casey's unfavorable ratings are at 6 percent, 38 percent say they don't know enough about the state treasurer to make up their mind, more than those who have a favorable opinion (34 percent).

The bottom line for Santorum is that 44 percent still say he does not deserve to be re-elected, compared with 41 percent who say he does.

Casey, who is expected to win the Democratic nomination, is favored by 70 percent of Democratic voters surveyed.

BRETT LIEBERMAN: (202) 383-7833 or"

Monday, February 13, 2006

Philadelphia Inquirer | 02/13/2006 | Casey Raising More Money Than Anticipated - Santorum Losing "Incumbent's Edge"

Philadelphia Inquirer | 02/13/2006 | For Santorum and Casey, fund-raising is constant: "Posted on Mon, Feb. 13, 2006
For Santorum and Casey, fund-raising is constant Each must juggle his duties with the scramble for money in what analysts consider the year's premier Senate race.By Carrie BudoffInquirer Staff WriterIn December, State Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr. went into the office just seven days.
With a crucial fund-raising deadline looming, the Democratic Senate candidate swept through Los Angeles, Atlanta and St. Louis and spent as many days in Philadelphia - raising money and working on his campaign - as he did in the treasurer's office in Harrisburg.
Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum stayed closer to home, attending 11 fund-raisers in 15 days across Pennsylvania and in New York and Washington. After missing four votes, and the possibility of a fifth on the Patriot Act, Santorum cut short a trip to Texas and Arizona.
That December snapshot highlights the intense pace of fund-raising in what political analysts consider this year's premier U.S. Senate race. With the candidates preparing to battle not only each other but special-interest groups, the need to bank millions of dollars won't relent until Election Day.
Santorum is the Senate Republicans' No. 3 leader, but he is the Democrats' No. 1 target - for his conservative politics as much as for his Senate leadership position and his potential presidential aspirations. Democrats, hungry for a high-profile win, have funneled $6 million to Casey. Republicans have countered with $10 million for Santorum in the last year.
The money pressures have led Casey to spend the majority of his time on 91.5 of 211 workdays on his campaign from March through December, according to an abridged schedule provided by the treasurer's office. Casey, who entered the Senate race six weeks after being sworn in as treasurer, spent more than half of June, September and December out of the office. The common thread: Each month preceded a quarterly fund-raising deadline, a pivotal benchmark that shapes perceptions about a candidate's ability to win.
Santorum did make 96 percent of his Senate votes between March and December - the key indicator for determining a senator's whereabouts. But that tells only part of the story.
Santorum spent a portion of 97 of 211 work days at fund-raisers, weaving 154 events throughout his Senate schedule, routinely juggling floor votes with donor luncheons at Washington restaurants, according to a list provided by his campaign. The mixing of public business and fund-raising has come under scrutiny since lobbyist Jack Abramoff's guilty plea in a bribery investigation that magnified the clubby relationships between lawmakers and lobbyists.
Although much attention is paid to the amount that candidates raise, less is known about the methods and time that fund-raising demands. The schedules, which are not public records, were provided at The Inquirer's request, offering a more complex view of fund-raising in a cash-infused race.
Santorum and Casey say their official duties remain their priority; fund-raising is secondary.
Still, Barry Kauffman, executive director of Pennsylvania Common Cause, a government watchdog group, called the campaign interference "a huge, huge problem."
"When public officials are distracted from their jobs because they have to raise enormous amounts of money, and they spend four or five hours a day dialing for dollars with wealthy people, they don't have time to talk to the regular people," Kauffman said.
"It all comes down to, Who is going to own the election?"
By all accounts, Casey had never thought much about the Senate. The governorship was his ambition.
That all changed when he won the treasurer's office in 2004 with more votes than any other candidate in any race in state history, and in areas where Democrats usually fared poorly. The national party came calling.
When Casey entered the Senate race on March 4, political observers asked: Would the party's big liberal funders invest heavily in this antiabortion, anti-gun-control Democrat?
Eleven months later, Casey has overcome much of the skepticism by crisscrossing the state and the nation, making contacts and collecting checks - mostly behind closed doors.
Casey left the East Coast for the first time to raise money in June. But his first stop wasn't a liberal money capital like Los Angeles or San Francisco.
It was Dallas.
After flying on a private jet owned by the law firm of Baron & Budd, Casey dined with donors at the Crescent Club, a private club at a five-star hotel. He also was host at a cocktail reception for younger professionals in the Uptown district.
"He hasn't been a national politician," said Frederick M. Baron, a prominent Dallas lawyer who served as chairman of Democrat John Kerry's joint fund-raising committee for his presidential campaign in 2004. "It was really important for him to go around and start introducing himself and start networking."
Baron said he met Casey through Austin, Texas, native Paul Begala, an adviser to former President Bill Clinton who helped propel Casey's father into the Pennsylvania governor's office in the late '80s.
As a past president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Baron said, he has since asked his national network of lawyers to raise money for Casey, which they have done in San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles. For them, Santorum's defeat ranks at the top of the political to-do list.
Unlike Casey, Santorum favors limiting jury awards in malpractice cases and establishing a federal asbestos trust fund. In a 2002 interview with the Financial Times of London, Baron vowed a "jihad" against lawmakers who worked to restrict tort cases.
Casey flew out of Dallas with more than $71,000, including $28,000 from Baron & Budd employees.
He returned to Texas in September as part of a money-raising sprint that kept him from the office on 16 of 21 workdays.
For the month, he cleared $1.5 million, or roughly $50,000 a day, exceeding analysts' expectations. The month's highlights: Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.) helped raise $500,000 at a Philadelphia luncheon, and a former ambassador to Portugal, Elizabeth F. Bagley, feted the state treasurer in her Georgetown home in Washington.
The demands of a statewide campaign - this is Casey's third in four years - have not gone unnoticed in Harrisburg.
Within days of Casey's entering the race, Republicans sensed a political soft spot. They began portraying him as a political opportunist, flitting from office to office and using his family name to advance.
At a budget hearing in March, Casey told state lawmakers he could handle the dual responsibility. "I am confident in the system we have in place and the team we have in place."
The treasurer, who earns $134,140 a year, serves as custodian of $100 billion in state-agency and public-pension funds. The office cuts checks, audits spending, administers the state's college savings plan, and oversees $12 billion in investments.
While he might be out of the office, Casey remains in "constant contact," Treasury spokeswoman Karen Walsh said.
She said he has gone beyond his job description by creating new loan programs - $20 million for energy loans to homeowners, and $50 million for hospital improvements. He performed a "top-to-bottom review" of state Treasury contracts for cost savings, expanded fraud investigations, and hired Moody's to rate the college savings plan for the first time to encourage more investment, Walsh said.
"I can't stress enough that he is running this department," Walsh said.
The pressure to raise mounds of cash stems, in large part, from Santorum.
The two-term senator estimated a year ago that he would collect $25 million, or an average of $1 million a month, putting him on track to break the Senate record in Pennsylvania of $21 million, set by Republican Sen. Arlen Specter in 2004.
Observers didn't question the goal. Santorum, who earns $162,000 a year, has established himself as a prolific fund-raiser.
His schedule reflects that reality. He has traveled to more than a dozen states, once holding five events between Georgia and Texas in one day.
A Georgia fund-raiser netted $12,750 from 15 doctors with Resurgens, an orthopedic practice. Workers and executives of Alcon Laboratories, a Texas eye-products company, poured $17,600 into his campaign.
A July weekend trip to Colorado coincided with more than $25,000 in contributions from prominent conservatives, such as billionaire financier Philip Anschutz and retired cable executive John V. Saeman Jr., who said he supports Santorum's "pro-family, pro-life values." Like Casey on his Texas trip, Santorum got there by corporate jet - this one from BellSouth.
"We all recognize that Rick is a marked man," said Saeman, who, along with his wife, gave the maximum donation of $4,200. "The Republicans were able to unseat Tom Daschle, and this is the Democrats' hot-button designated seat for payback."
Consider Santorum's long Veterans' Day weekend.
On Nov. 10, a Thursday, he attended two fund-raisers and cast two votes in Washington. Later that day, he traveled to Ohio for a third fund-raiser, missing three votes. Over the next three days, he jumped from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, delivering speeches and federal funds for local programs. He was back in Philadelphia that Monday, leading a town-hall meeting and hitting two more fund-raisers before a 5:25 p.m. vote in Washington.
"There is a real incumbent advantage, because the line between campaigning and Senate duties is very thin," said Larry Noble, president of the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington.
Nowhere is this more apparent than Washington.
Santorum has held more than a third of his fund-raisers there, more than in any other city and, on several occasions, has held as many as three in a day.
Moving among votes, hearings and constituent meetings, Santorum drops by a donor breakfast or luncheon, typically for half an hour. The events are built around his official duties, said Virginia Davis, his campaign spokeswoman.
"Sen. Santorum is committed to carrying out the responsibilities associated with his official role as a U.S. senator," Davis said. "His remaining time is balanced with the priorities of his family and the challenge of running statewide."
Those commitments "often limit his ability to travel outside of D.C. for fund-raising," she added.
Newt Gingrich, the Republican former House speaker, has called it unnecessary. "Too many politicians are scheduling the people's business around their fund-raising opportunities," Gingrich, a potential 2008 presidential candidate, said in a commentary last month on National Public Radio. "There is no good reason to raise money in Washington, D.C., and this practice should be banned. Period."
Unlikely to happen, political observers say. For Santorum and Casey, the amount of money from Washington area donors is second only to that from Pennsylvanians.
"The members can't afford it," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "The people who are most interested in their campaigns are people with interests in Washington."

Contact staff writer Carrie Budoff at 610-313-8211 or
How this article was reported
Work schedules are not covered by Pennsylvania's public-records law, but the state Treasury Department provided an abridged version of Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr.'s whereabouts on workdays at the Inquirer's request.
It included city location by date and whether the Democratic candidate spent the majority of the day on Treasury business or on his campaign - a determination made by the Treasury's communications director. The schedule did not detail his daily meetings or activities after work hours or on the weekends.
His work schedule was then matched against his campaign-finance reports to determine where he was and from whom he raised money as he traveled. The Casey campaign would not provide a list of his fund-raisers by date and city.
Republican Sen. Rick Santorum's campaign did provide a list telling where and when he held fund-raisers.
Santorum's schedule was initially pieced together through his roll-call votes, public events, and a review of his campaign-finance filings. The fund-raising list compiled by his campaign, which detailed the number of events he held in each city, filled in the gaps.
The review covered 10 months last year, from March 1 through Dec. 31. Casey entered the race March 4, and Dec. 31 was the end of the most recent campaign reporting cycle.

Carrie Budoff"

Friday, February 10, 2006

Analysts ponder dynamics of campaign teams

Analysts ponder dynamics of campaign teams: "
Analysts ponder dynamics of campaign teams
Friday, February 10, 2006
Of Our Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - There's East vs. West, Democrat vs. Republican, Black vs. White. And, of course, Steelers fans vs. Eagles fans.

But the Republican Party's expected endorsement of Lynn Swann for governor tomorrow morning sets the stage for what might prove to be one of the most interesting pairings in state politics.

The teaming of Swann and U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., against Gov. Ed Rendell and state Treasurer Robert P. Casey, Santorum's expected opponent, creates a match-up of big names with big regional bases that might prove key to their running mates.

If Swann, who is black, can draw support from black voters who have traditionally eluded Republican candidates, it could be the edge Santorum needs to nick away at Casey.

"I don't know about the political dynamics of those things," Santorum said.

"But I do think we make a good team, we've got a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm," he said. "I think we'd make a pretty good quarterback, wide receiver pair. I've been working on my arm. I figure I might have to throw some long passes to him."

Or Casey, who is running much stronger than Rendell in parts of the state such as Allegheny County, could help the governor overcome his administration's inability to win over voters west of Valley Forge.

"There are certain positions and values that Bob Casey has stated that definitely appeal to the West," said Penny Lee, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association and a Rendell confidante.

It remains uncertain, however, how helpful Swann and Santorum will be for each other -- or Rendell and Casey, whose different positions on abortion and gun control might lead to a lot of ticket splitting.

"I don't think this election hinges on a coalition ticket being able to ratchet up the vote for both partners," said pollster G. Terry Madonna of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.

Republicans, however, are hoping to turn conventional wisdom on its head.

By reaching out to black candidates such as Swann, they hope to draw more support from minorities. Santorum has had some success drawing support from Philadelphia blacks by aggressively reaching out to them since his 1994 election, but the impact has mostly been marginal, party leaders said.

They hope Swann can deliver a few more black votes for Republicans, including Santorum.

History is against them.

"We've yet to see an African-American Republican candidate take a whole lot more of the African-American vote than they would normally get. It just doesn't happen that way," said Jennifer Duffy, an analyst with the Cook Political Report, a respected non-partisan publication that tracks elections across the country.

"I'm not a believer that Lynn Swann will be able to attract those votes, and then I don't believe there will be any tangential effect of Rick Santorum being able to attract those votes," agreed one Republican operative.

But some good news for Santorum in the latest Keystone Poll is that he is running close to Casey in southeastern Pennsylvania, where both have struggled to attract support from moderate voters who frequently support abortion rights and gun control.

Even if he doesn't turn out black voters for Republicans, Swann could energize Republicans, particularly if they sense a tight race against Rendell as the latest Patriot-News/WGAL-TV Keystone Poll suggests.

Swann might also bring in casual voters, said Ray Zaborney, Swann's campaign manager.

BRETT LIEBERMAN: (202) 383-7833 or"

American Prospect Online - The Keystone Race

American Prospect Online - The Keystone Race: "The Keystone Race
The Pennsylvania Senate race could again pave the way for a Clinton presidency.
By Terence Samuel
Web Exclusive: 02.10.06

Anger management consultant Ken Mehlman, who moonlights as chairman of the Republican National Committee, was in Southeastern Pennsylvania Wednesday talking about how frustrated some African Americans with being taken for granted by Democrats, and how much Hispanics wanted the country to deal with immigration issue.

He hung out at Lincoln University, the historically black university which counts among its alumni, Langston Hughes, Thurgood Marshall and Kwame Nkrumah. Then Mehlman did an event in Kennett Square described by one reporter as a pep rally with Hispanic leaders. Both events were in Chester County, in Philadelphia’s western suburbs, which has seen a boom in its immigrant population partly to retain its title as "mushroom capital of the world." “One thing I hear a lot from people is that a lot of folks think that Democrats take the African-American vote for granted,” Mehlman told The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Ben Lowe. The chairman also allowed this observation: “What I picked up at the Latino event is that people recognize the importance and need of fixing the immigration system.”

But Mehlman, who earlier in the week had described Hillary Clinton as too angry to be elected president, may be having a little emotional crisis of his own. His mere presence was a huge show of anxiety about what will happen in November, because the real reason Mehlman was in the Brandywine Valley is what Republicans are picking up in the polls. In the particular case of Pennsylvania, their two-term incumbent senator and onetime wunderkind, Rick Santorum, is trailing badly in the polls, down by a double-digit margin to State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr., whose fervent pro-life position dismays a lot of Democrats, but completely robs Santorum of the issue he has used most often to separate himself from the opposition.

Elected to the Senate in 1994 at age 34, Santorum is the absolute embodiment of the modern conservative movement and its hold on the GOP. Casey is the son of the late governor, Bob Casey Sr., whose anti-abortion stand is often blamed for the controversial decision by Bill Clinton to deny him a speaking role at the 1992 Democratic convention. And even now the younger Casey is likely to take as much heat from some in his own party as he does from the GOP, but the great debate about where Casey fits in as a Democrat, is the essential interior debate that Democrats are having with themselves these days.

What all of this adds up to, is that the Pennsylvania Senate race will headline the contest for control of the Senate this fall, and for now, Mehlman can’t like what he’s picking up there, or anywhere else for that matter: In the three big three industrial swing states --Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania -- GOP incumbents are trailing or in tight races, suffering at the hands of poor approval ratings for their president.

But Pennsylvania is a special problem because over the last four presidential elections it has become increasingly Democratic, which will make it difficult for Santorum to rely on President Bush to help get him over the top. Mehlman says that the RNC will have 20 full-time staff in the state working on the Santorum race and the contest for governor, which is shaping up as a face-off between former Pittsburgh Steeler wide-receiver Lynn Swann and the incumbent Democrat, and former DNC chair, Ed Rendell.

For Republicans to have any chance of winning statewide in Pennsylvania, they have to offset the huge deficit they face in Philadelphia. Bush lost Pennsylvania in 2004 by 144,000 votes out of 5.7 million cast. He lost Philadelphia by 412,000.

The way Republicans have traditionally offset the Philadelphia Effect is to focus on the Philly suburbs, particularly the Republican strongholds like Chester and Bucks counties. The problem is that a lot of the GOP’s suburban support was driven by an anti-Philadelphia grievance that is no longer as intense as it once was.

Rendell was so popular as a reform mayor of Philadelphia, even in the ‘burbs, that he managed to overcome the intense statewide antipathy to the big, troubled city to win the governor’s race in 2002, one of the only things Democrats had to cheer about that year. So having Rendell on the ballot this November, even though he’s been in trouble with voters for some tax initiatives, is not going to aid the GOP strategy in the western suburbs. Which means Santorum is running uphill the whole way, and that is hard to do from behind.

And the last time a Republican senate candidate faced such restless electorate in Pennsylvania was in 1991, when President George H.W. Bush’s attorney general, Dick Thornburgh, resigned the Justice post to take on Senator Harris Wofford, appointed by the elder Casey after the death of John Heinz.

Wofford talked about healthcare as his main issue and thumped the better-known Thornburgh. And many believe, set the stage for the Clinton win over Bush 1992, if only because James Carville and Paul Begala managed that campaign.

What if another GOP Senate loss in Pennsylvania paves the way for yet another Clinton presidency? Angry will probably not even begin to describe Mehlman then.

Terence Samuel is a political writer in Washington, D.C.

© 2006 by The American Prospect, Inc."

Thursday, February 09, 2006

York Dispatch - Liberal Republican Bemoan Scranton's Withdrawl

York Dispatch - York Today: "Article Last Updated: 02/08/2006 11:05:00 AM

Swann stands alone
Scranton ends his campaign for governor

Bill Scranton dropped out of the governor's race yesterday, four days before state Republican leaders were expected to endorse former Pittsburgh Steelers star Lynn Swann in the GOP primary.
In a statement, Scranton said he determined his chances of success were minimal.

"While I am confident in our hopeful message of reform and renewal, I am less convinced in our ability to win with the all-important precinct-by-precinct battles against the operational resources of the state party," he said. "Our campaign is
strong, but not strong enough to defeat a candidate who has received the near unanimous backing of state and national party leaders."

Scranton also said he is committed to support the nominee who emerges in the May 16 primary.

"I think that I'm not surprised," said Rep. Stan Saylor, R-Windsor Township. "I thought (Scranton's withdrawal) would happen when the Republican committee decided on the endorsement. I think this is good because it would unify the party behind Lynn Swann.

"Now we can get behind one dynamic candidate instead of trying to decide between two dynamic can-didates."

Scranton's exit leaves Swann uncontested for the Republican State Committee's endorsement. Another Republican candidate, Jim Panyard, is not competing for the party's backing. Also seeking the governorship is York attorney and Green Party candidate Marakay Rogers.

Disappointment: Rep. Ron Miller, R-Jacobus, said he is more disappointed in Scranton's withdrawal than surprised. Though it was clear that Swann would get the endorsement, he said, Scranton's campaign could have helped keep the Republican candidates' names in the forefront.

"Whenever you're trying to garner a race against an incumbent, you need to get name recognition," Miller said. "Having a primary race would have helped the challenger keep his name in front of the voters. It gives more reason for the media to cover them.

"(Swann) will have to work harder to get his message out there."

However, Rep. Bev Mackereth, R-Spring Grove, said she did not expect Scranton to call it quits. She said the last she heard was that Scranton wouldn't end his campaign.

"I thought he was a very good candidate," she said. "He's a very bright man, and he does know the issues. With property tax reform, he knows how it affects different regions and what's needed to be done to correct it. He also knew about the business climate and the economy."

Rep. Keith Gillespie said he didn't recall that Scranton or Swann had presented a solution to property tax issues. However, he said Scranton was an articulate candidate who was abreast of some of the issues.

"I guess maybe he thought it wasn't his time," Gillespie said. "It sounds like the table has been set for Mr. Swann. This would be an opportunity for him to unite all the committee people and move forward."

Formidable: Scranton would have been a "very formidable opponent" for incumbent Gov. Ed Rendell, said Rep. Steve Stetler, D-York City. He said he was surprised that Scranton quit, considering the Republican candidate's political history.

Scranton, the son of a former state governor, served two terms as Gov. Dick Thornburgh's lieutenant governor, from 1979 to 1986.

"He's a moderate Republican, and I truly believe that the Republicans need some moderates," Stetler said. "He brings a lot of experience and talent. I think that any challenger to the governor has an uphill battle."

Last month, Scranton held a town hall meeting in Dallastown, where he discussed his "Road to Reform" policy agenda, including his plans for property taxes, economic and small business growth, and education reform.

The event marked the beginning of Scranton's campaign's statewide town hall meeting tour.

Campaign trouble: His campaign ran into trouble two weeks ago when he fired his campaign manager for saying Swann is "the rich white guy in this campaign."

Scranton, who is white, fired James Seif -- an old friend who was a member of former Gov. Tom Ridge's cabinet -- shortly after Seif made the comment on a televised call-in show.

Scranton has tremendous courage and clarity of convictions, two qualities needed for running for statewide office, said Republican State Committee Chair Eileen Melvin in a news release.

"His dedication to the people of Pennsylvania and his commitment to improving life in this state were beyond reproach," she said.

Scranton is an honorable man who ran an admirable campaign, said U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in a news release.

"I believe that his message of reform not only resonated with many Pennsylvanians, but will also have a positive impact on our state for many years to come," he said.

Santorum also said he looks forward to campaigning with Swann.

The state representatives said they are eager to hear more from Swann about his plans for the state.

Saylor said Swann -- who was criticized by Scranton for declining to participate in a debate prior to the Republican endorsement meeting Saturday -- now has an opportunity to develop his policy initiatives on various legislative issues. Both Gillespie and Mackereth said they're interested in Swann's ideas for property tax reform.

"We hope to work with him and educate him about the issues affecting our area, York County," Mackereth said. "He's from Allegheny County, and different areas are affected in different ways."

-- Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at 854-1575 or

The Associated Press con tributed to this report."

Santorum's US Senate staff mucking with Wikipedia entries | Betterhumans > News

US Senate staff mucking with Wikipedia entries | Betterhumans > News: "US Senate staff mucking with Wikipedia entries
Rating: None/5 | Comments: 1
Print 02.08.2006 @01:37 PM
Contributed by Simon
Edited by Simon

US Senate staff members have edited Wikipedia entries, including removing facts, according to a Wikinews-led investigation examining IP addresses.

Wikinews reports:

Using the public history of edits on Wikipedia, Wikinews reporters collected every Senate IP which had ever edited on Wikipedia as of February 3 and examined where the IPs came from, what they edited, and of what those edits consisted. IP, or Internet Protocol, addresses are unique numbers electronic devices use to communicate with each other on an individual basis.

The Wikinews report examines several instances where Senate staff appeared to have painted Senators in a more favorable light. It notes:

Wikinews reporters also discovered that a handful of miscellaneous vandalism edits had been made to some Senators' articles. Vandalized articles included those of Tom Coburn and Harry Reid. The edits to Reid's were made three times, while the Coburn vandalism was made two times, after it had been restored to a prior version. An edit to an article about a controversy over Senator Rick Santorum's statements about Constitutional rights to privacy with regards to sexual acts, seemingly coming from Rick Santorum's staff members, removed a reference to an effort to redefine Santorum's last name as a neologism meaning "the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.""

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Swann Close to GOP Endorsement for Gov. - Yahoo! News

Swann Close to GOP Endorsement for Gov. - Yahoo! News: "Swann Close to GOP Endorsement for Gov. By JOE MANDAK, Associated Press Writer
Wed Feb 1, 10:39 AM ET

MONROEVILLE, Pa. - Former Pittsburgh Steelers star Lynn Swann appears to have locked up enough support to win the Republican Party nomination for Pennsylvania governor.

In the last regional GOP meeting before state Republicans meet to endorse a candidate, the NFL Hall of Famer on Tuesday picked up 33 unofficial commitments from party representatives. If they all follow through, he will have just over the 180 votes needed to win the party's official endorsement on Feb. 11.

Swann, 53, is seeking to become Pennsylvania's first black governor. Though he has revealed little about his political philosophy, he has said the Democratic Party has "taken the African-American vote for granted."

Supporters say his high profile and charisma make him the best candidate to take on Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, who is expected to seek a second term.

Swann's leading opponent for the GOP nomination, former Lt. Gov. Bill Scranton, 58, has sharply criticized Swann's qualifications and promised to stay in the race through the May 16 primary with or without the party's backing.

Scranton's deputy campaign manager, Mike DeVanney, sought to downplay the significance of the straw voting Tuesday. "This was a divided caucus. There's not clear support for Lynn Swann's candidacy," he said.

Swann was a wide receiver for the Steelers from 1974-83 and led his team to four Super Bowl victories. After retiring from football, he worked as a commentator for ABC Sports."

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Philadelphia Daily News | 01/31/2006 | Rizzo's not joining Rick's ethnic battle

Philadelphia Daily News | 01/31/2006 | Rizzo's not joining Rick's ethnic battle: "Posted on Tue, Jan. 31, 2006
Rizzo's not joining Rick's ethnic battleRefuses to send letter blasting Sen. ReidBy CATHERINE 215-854-4172U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's efforts to demonize Sen. Harry Reid for making what his camp calls "anti-Italian-American" statements hit a bit of a snag in Philly last week when Santorum came up against another Italian-American Republican.
None other than City Councilman Frank Rizzo Jr.
The controversy began two weeks ago when Reid, D-Nev., Senate minority leader, interviewed on "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," said:
"Having Senator Santorum talk about reform is like having John Gotti talk about doing something about organized crime," Redi said.
Santorum quickly lashed out, accusing Reid of ethnic slurs and demanding an apology.
He even got his dad to write a letter to supporters condemning the remark.
And as they rallied support last week, Santorum's camp reached out to Rizzo.
The campaign gave him a pre-written statement filled with lines like:
"It is inexcusable to compare a prominent Italian-American like Senator Santorum to a criminal, murderous Mafioso."
They asked Rizzo to send it out in his name.
But Rizzo wouldn't sign off on it. He said that Reid had not actually compared Santorum to the late Gotti but that he had made a poor analogy.
"They were trying to suggest that Santorum was being compared with John Gotti. That's not what's said here," Rizzo said.
"I think he stepped over the line, but not that far."
So Rizzo released his own, milder statement. "Senator Reid suffered a failure of judgment in choosing an Italian-American crime figure for an analogy applied to an Italian-American political figure," it said.
He also asked Reid to retract the statement and apologize.
So far, Reid has not apologized.
The Democratic Sentatorial Campaign Committee, which had a statement on its Web site calling Santorum "the Godfather," has removed it.
Reid's spokeswoman, Rebecca Kirszner, said that Reid's comments were about K Street - which refers the culture of lobbying in Washington, D.C. - not to Santorum's background.
"Rick Santorum's association with the K Street Project has nothing to do with his ethnicity and everything to do with the culture of corruption that Republicans have brought to Washington," she said."

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Scranton Campaign Racist Attack On Lynn Swann

Transcript of exchange that led to firing of top Scranton aide: "Transcript of exchange that led to firing of top Scranton aide
Friday, January 27, 2006

By The Associated Press

Excerpt of the discussion Wednesday on the Pennsylvania Cable Network call-in show in which James Seif, chairman of Bill Scranton's gubernatorial campaign, made a racially charged remark that got him fired from the campaign.

The comment came after a caller, "Peter from Lancaster," criticized Scranton for defying the Republican State Committee and calling for an open primary instead of one in which a candidate will carry the GOP's official endorsement.

Representing candidate Lynn Swann was Ray Zaborney, executive director of Swann's campaign.

CALLER: Does Mr. Scranton have any principles that don't eventually give way to his own political expediency?

SEIF: I gotta hand it to you, Ray -- you got all your callers on tonight. All these calls from Lancaster are a pretty good indication.

ZABORNEY: Our campaign isn't the one that sent out an e-mail saying to call in, so.

SEIF: Bill Scranton has -- and I've known him for 30 years now -- as much integrity as any person I've ever known. And that means intellectual integrity as well. His decision on the primary was made after a great deal of thought, a great deal of anger that one of the candidates had been captured by Senate leadership, by the party, by others, and directed into pretending he had the victory sewn up and pretending that he was the outsider. In fact, the rich white guy in this campaign is Lynn Swann. He's the one that hangs around the, uh.

ZABORNEY: That's one of the most ridiculous and insulting things that I think I've heard in politics. You're two-for-two tonight -- two of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard in politics. Lynn Swann is the outsider, and Bill Scranton's the guy who's been in Harrisburg before, who's been around the trouble before. He's the guy whose administration supported two pay raises. He's the guy whose administration supported a bigger PIT (personal income tax) increase than (Democratic Gov.) Ed Rendell. He's the insider. Lynn Swann's the outsider."

Scranton Draws only 2 Dozen At Major Campaign Event - Stick a fork in him, He is done

Scranton looks to regain momentum after firing aide for Swann remark: "Scranton looks to regain momentum after firing aide for Swann remark
Candidate apologizes for campaign manager's racially insensitive comment
Friday, January 27, 2006

By James O'Toole, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

KITTANNING, Pa. -- Bill Scranton, his gubernatorial campaign woozy from weeks of bad news, was in Dizzy Lizzie's restaurant yesterday trying to find his political balance.

A day after firing his campaign manager over a racially insensitive remark about his rival, Mr. Scranton was chasing the momentum that appears to have shifted away from his campaign since Lynn Swann's official entry into the GOP race three weeks ago.

James Seif, Mr. Scranton's second campaign manager, was banished after stating on a PCN television call-in show the previous evening that "the rich white guy in this campaign is Lynn Swann.''

In a year of unprecedented grass-roots unrest over the Harrisburg establishment, Mr. Seif's remark came in the context of the two campaigns' running argument over who can legitimately claim the title of political outsider.

Mr. Scranton almost immediately called for his associate's ouster while issuing a statement apologizing to his opponent. Mr. Scranton said he had also tried to call Mr. Swann to apologize personally, but hadn't yet been able to reach him.

The embarrassing distraction was one in a series of setbacks for the former lieutenant governor.

Mr. Swann's entry into the race in the first week of the new year attracted publicity that far surpassed the attention to Mr. Scranton's official debut months earlier. Then, Mr. Swann scored quick victories in two regional caucuses of the state committee members who are scheduled to endorse a candidate next month, a designation considered a significant asset in the primary campaign.

The positive early news for Mr. Swann continued with the release of a series of public polls showing the former Steelers wide receiver in a virtual tie with the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Ed Rendell. Each of those surveys showed Mr. Scranton trailing Mr. Rendell.

Then, in what was seen as a tacit admission that he was trailing in the state committee arena, Mr. Scranton called for an open primary, asking GOP leaders to forgo an endorsement vote.

Mr. Scranton anticipates some good news in the next few days as the schedule of caucus votes shifts to his home ground. Tomorrow, caucuses in the northeast and northeast/ central sections of the state are expected to vote on the race. Next Tuesday, state committee members from the southwest, including Allegheny County, will vote.

"It's home; we should do well in the caucuses this weekend," Mr. Scranton said after greeting supporters in Kittanning. "It remains to be seen whether they will support an open primary. We're still trying to figure that out.

"I'm pretty sure the northeast caucus will. We'll see about the north central, and I know there's support in the southwest for an open primary. We'll wait and see how strong it is.''

Speaking to an audience of about two dozen in Dizzy Lizzie's, a restaurant in the shadow of the Armstrong County Courthouse, Mr. Scranton renewed his criticism of Mr. Swann for avoiding formal debates before the state committee meeting and suggested that the positive response to his rival's candidacy wouldn't survive prolonged scrutiny.

While praising Mr. Swann's record as a football player, he said, "Celebrity is very powerful in our culture, but celebrity also has its downside. If there isn't something more substantial under that, it will fade in the glare of the sunshine. ... I have challenged him to a debate before the Republican Party endorsement and he has refused. My belief is that if we make a mistake in choosing a candidate, we will lose this once-in-a-generation opportunity to change Harrisburg."

The two candidates have appeared before the same audiences in several forums over the months that they have been campaigning, but Mr. Swann declined to take part in a debate that had been scheduled for this week in Harrisburg. His campaign has said that there will be time for debates before the primary.

In addition to Mr. Swann and Mr. Scranton, James Panyard, a former executive of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association, is seeking the GOP nomination, although he has never been a contender for the party endorsement.

In a statement released yesterday, Mr. Panyard called Mr. Seif's remark "stunningly ill-advised."

"It is apparent, given this incident, and Bill Scranton's recent call for an open GOP primary ... that Mr. Swann will [win the endorsement]," Mr. Panyard said.

"It also seems that the 'wheels are coming off' the Scranton campaign wagon," he said.

Ray Zaborney, Mr. Swann's campaign manager, issued a terse statement saying that the campaign intended to remain focused on issues.

Mr. Scranton dismissed the long-term significance of his aide's departure.

"This thing that happened last night, no one could have predicted it," he said. "These things happen in campaigns. You just deal with it; you move on and you just keep going ... surprises always come in a campaign and one of the things it does is test you."

At least for the time being, Mike DeVanney, the deputy campaign manager, presides over the Scranton team.

"We've got depth. We've got a plan and we'll continue to carry it out," a smiling Mr. Scranton said.

According to a running compilation of state committee strength by Capitolwire, the Internet news service, Mr. Swann is rapidly approaching a majority in the endorsement sweepstakes.

While continuing to hold out hope that the party will choose an open primary, Mr. Scranton said he was determined to remain in the race through the primary.

(Politics Editor James O'Toole can be reached at or 412-263-1562.)"

::.Angus Reid Consultants.::Casey Keeps Edge Over Santorum in Pennsylvania

::.Angus Reid Consultants.::: "January 27, 2006
Casey Keeps Edge Over Santorum in Pennsylvania

latest news and polls

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Democrat Bob Casey is still the top senatorial contender in the Keystone State, according to a poll by Strategic Vision. 50 per cent of respondents in Pennsylvania would support Casey in a head-to-head contest against Republican incumbent Rick Santorum.

Casey has been Pennsylvania’s state treasurer since January 2005, and previously served as the state auditor general for eight years. Casey is the son of former Pennsylvania governor Robert P. Casey, and lost the 2002 Democratic primary to current governor Ed Rendell.

Support for Santorum is at 40 per cent. One per cent of respondents would vote for other contenders, and nine per cent are undecided.

Santorum was first elected to the United States Senate in 1994, and earned a second term in 2000, defeating Democrat Ron Klink with 53 per cent of all cast ballots. He had previously served for two consecutive terms in the House of Representatives.

On Jan. 24, Casey said he supported the confirmation of Samuel Alito to serve in the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision has drawn criticism from several abortion rights groups, which usually support the Democrats.

The Democratic Party has not elected a Pennsylvanian to a full term in the U.S. Senate since 1962. The election is scheduled for Nov. 7.

Polling Data

If the election for United States Senate were held today, and the choice was between Bob Casey, Jr., the Democrat and Rick Santorum, the Republican, whom would you vote for?

Jan. 2006
Dec. 2005
Nov. 2005

Bob Casey, Jr. (D)

Rick Santorum (R)



Source: Strategic Vision
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,200 registered Pennsylvania voters, conducted from Jan. 20 to Jan. 22, 2006. Margin of error is 3 per cent."

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Racist Undercurrent Explodes to the Surface in Scranton's Failing Campaign NewsFlash - Bill Scranton fires manager for calling Swann 'rich white guy': "Bill Scranton fires manager for calling Swann 'rich white guy'
1/26/2006, 4:49 p.m. ET
The Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Scranton fired his campaign manager for saying his opponent Lynn Swann is "the rich white guy in this campaign."

Swann, the former Pittsburgh Steelers star, is seeking to become Pennsylvania's first black governor.

Scranton fired James Seif, an old friend who was a member of former Gov. Tom Ridge's cabinet, shortly after Seif made the comment on a televised call-in show Wednesday night. He said Seif's remarks "in no way whatsoever reflect my views or those of my campaign."

Scranton, who is white, comes from the wealthy family that gave its name to the state's sixth largest city. He served two terms as lieutenant governor in former Gov. Dick Thornburgh's administration and his father was governor from 1963 to 1967.

In a brief statement Swann said he was "disappointed" by Seif's comment.

"It is important this campaign be waged on a higher level of dignity and character," Swann said. "We will continue to move forward with our positive message for Pennsylvania."

Seif made the comment while trying to portray Scranton as the outsider in the race and Swann, a sports celebrity with no experience in public service, as the choice of the GOP establishment.

The one-hour show on the Pennsylvania Cable Network also featured Ray Zaborney, a top official in the Swann campaign. Zaborney interrupted Seif and called the remark "ridiculous and insulting."

"Last night, I attempted to reach Lynn Swann to apologize to him, his family and supporters and PCN viewers for inappropriate and irresponsible comments made by my campaign manager, Jim Seif," Scranton said Thursday at a news conference on another subject in Erie on Thursday.

Seif commended Scranton for acting "quickly, decisively and correctly," and said "that's one of the reasons he'll be a great governor."

Scranton declined to be interviewed and his campaign aides refused to elaborate on his statement.

In recent weeks, both candidates had been vying for support among the more than 350 members of the Republican State Committee, whose endorsement can be a crucial stepping stone toward the nomination.

Swann, a pro football Hall of Famer, has built momentum in informal voting among some state committee members, and Swann's aides say they expect he will win the endorsement.

"Scranton didn't need this kind of flap," said Thomas Baldino, a political science professor at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre.

On Monday, Scranton said he would stay in the campaign through the primary election on May 16, regardless of who wins the Republican State Committee endorsement. He called on the state committee to endorse an open primary.

Scranton seized the offensive after Swann made it clear that he would not debate Scranton and a third candidate, Jim Panyard, until after the endorsement vote.

Seif, who also held key positions in Thornburgh's administration, quit his job as a vice president of Allentown-based PPL Corp. to lead Scranton's campaign. He served as the state's environmental protection secretary under Ridge.

Wednesday night's exchange was ignited by a caller who asked whether Scranton has "any principles that don't eventually give way to his own political expediency."

Seif said Scranton has "as much integrity as any person I've ever known." Scranton decided to call for an open primary because he was angry that party leaders had directed Swann "into pretending he had the victory sewn up and pretending that he was the outsider," Seif said.

"In fact, the rich white guy in this campaign is Lynn Swann," Seif said.

Zaborney cut him off.

"That's one of the most ridiculous and insulting things that I think I've heard in politics," Zaborney said. "Lynn Swann is the outsider, and Bill Scranton's the guy who's been in Harrisburg before, who's been around the trouble before."

Panyard, the retired head of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association, said the incident is an indication that Swann will capture the party endorsement and that "the wheels are coming off the Scranton campaign wagon."

Panyard, who said he was not invited to participate in the PCN program, said he has never heard either Seif or Scranton say anything that was "even remotely racist in nature," but that Seif's comment was "stunningly ill-advised."


On the Net:

Scranton 2006:

Lynn Swann for Gov.:


Scranton Campaign Makes Racist Attak on Swann on TV - Yahoo! News

Pa. Gubernatorial Candidate Fires Manager - Yahoo! News: "Pa. Gubernatorial Candidate Fires Manager By PETER JACKSON, Associated Press Writer

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A gubernatorial candidate challenging pro football Hall of Famer Lynn Swann in the Republican primary fired his campaign manager after the man told a televised call-in show: "The rich white guy in this campaign is Lynn Swann."

Bill Scranton, a former lieutenant governor who is white and comes from a wealthy family, also issued an apology to Swann after his campaign manager's comments Wednesday.

The remarks by James Seif "in no way whatsoever reflect my views or those of my campaign," Scranton said. "I want to apologize to Lynn Swann, his family, supporters and PCN viewers for the offensive and disturbing comments made on my behalf."

Swann, a former Pittsburgh Steelers star, is seeking to become Pennsylvania's first black governor.

His campaign spokeswoman, Melissa Walters, declined to comment about the remarks Thursday morning.

Seif, who is white and previously served in Gov. Tom Ridge's cabinet, made the comment while trying to portray Scranton as a political outsider and Swann as the candidate favored by the GOP establishment. He did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Swann campaign official Ray Zaborney also appeared on the show and called Seif's comment "one of the most ridiculous and insulting things I've ever heard in politics."

Swann was a wide receiver for the Steelers from 1974-1983 and led his team to four Super Bowl victories. He spent several years as a sports commentator for ABC and serves on the boards of the H.J. Heinz Co., Wyndham International Inc., and Hershey Entertainment and Resorts.

Scranton was lieutenant governor for two terms under former Gov. Dick Thornburgh. Seif quit his job as a vice president of energy company PPL Corp. to lead Scranton's campaign.

The primary is May 16."

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Philadelphia Daily News Links Santorum To The K Street Scandal

Philadelphia Daily News | 01/23/2006 | Abramoff & K Street, Santorum and Casey: "Abramoff & K Street, Santorum and Casey What lobbying scandal means to you By CATHERINE 215-854-4172

Scandal, corruption, dirty-dealings - it's just a regular day in our nation's capital, right?

Still, you might have noticed that the reports of skulduggery have been heating up lately, with D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleading guilty to bilking his clients, bribing at least one congressman and evading the law.
This case now has people buzzing about how the Republican Party and lobbyists are entwined in Washington. It's likely to be an issue in the campaign battle between U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and Democrat Bob Casey Jr. this year.
Here's a primer on Jack Abramoff and the current Washington lobbyist scandals:
Q. Who is Jack Abramoff?
A. Abramoff was a high-flying Washington lobbyist, who owned a restaurant for entertaining clients.
Q. What did he do wrong?
A. Earlier this month he pleaded guilty to conspiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion. Abramoff admitted to giving perks to politicians, including boxes at sporting events and trips to Scotland, in an attempt to curry favor for his clients. He also copped to making off with client money, misusing charities and lying on his income taxes.
Q. What politicians are affected by Abramoff?
A.So far the two in the hottest water are Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Tex., and Rep. Robert Ney, R-Ohio.
Ney - who has stepped down as chair of the House Administration Committee - is accused of taking a golf trip to Scotland, dinners and other favors in exchange for supporting Abramoff's American-Indian tribe clients in Texas. He says he has done nothing wrong.
DeLay - who has stepped down as House Majority Leader - is accused of taking a trip to Scotland and of using Abramoff's skybox at a Washington arena. He's also already in trouble for a conspiracy to violate campaign finance law in Texas.
Q. Did Santorum get any favors from Abramoff?
A.No. In fact, his spokeswoman told the Lebanon Daily News that he did not know Abramoff. Santorum did receive $11,000 in contributions from Abramoff clients, which he has donated to charity.
Q. Was Santorum involved in this K Street thing I keep hearing about? What's K Street?
A.K Street is the street where many Washington lobbying firms are located. The K Street Project was an operation launched by DeLay and neo-conservative activist Grover Norquist in 1994 to push lobbying firms seeking access to hire Republicans.
Q. What was Santorum's involvement?
A. Santorum apparently was brought into the K Street effort in 2000 after the GOP gained the White House. According to the Washington Monthly, he held regular meetings with lobbyists to discuss corporate and trade association jobs for Republicans.
Q. I don't understand. Would corporations get in trouble if they didn't hire Republicans?
A. It seems that way. The Motion Picture Association of America got punished with they hired a former Clinton cabinet member as its new boss, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The House retaliated by removing $1.5 billion in motion picture industry tax cuts from an upcoming bill.
Q. What does Santorum say about all this?
A.He admits to having held meetings, but says they were above- board, calling them a "good-government thing."
Q. Is K Street going to get in trouble?
A.There is a corruption investigation under way, which Abramoff is cooperating with. GOP leaders have also said they plan to to pass legislation that would further reign in lawmakers by banning lobbyist gifts and favored travel to politicos. Santorum is leading the GOP reform effort, which has Bob Casey Jr. crying foul.
Q. What does Casey have to say?
A.Casey is asking supporters to sign a petition on his Web site asking that the K Street Project be shut down and that Santorum not supervise reforms. But Santorum's camp insists that he has been involved in no wrongdoing and that he's the man for the job.
Q. What's going to happen next?
A.The hubbub over K Street sure isn't going away. And with a Senate election in November, you're going to hear a lot more from Casey and Santorum about it."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Philadelphia Daily News | At Last, Some Hack (John Baer) Writes a Pro-Scranton Article

Philadelphia Daily News | 01/19/2006 | John Baer | Why is Swann ducking a Scranton debate?: "Posted on Thu, Jan. 19, 2006
John Baer | Why is Swann ducking a Scranton debate?LET ME MAKE this as plain as possible.
It is wrong for Lynn Swann not to debate Bill Scranton prior to the state Republican Party endorsement Feb. 11.
And it is wrong for the state Republican Party not to encourage, promote or sponsor such a debate.
The biggest question about Swann is whether he knows anything.
By declining to appear at a scheduled Harrisburg debate next Wednesday with Scranton and businessman Jim Panyard (a GOP candidate not seeking party backing), he doesn't answer the question.
Instead he says one, two or three things:
1. I have more momentum than Scranton, maybe even sewed up the endorsement, and don't want to screw the pooch now.
2. I've gotten this far on glitter, grip and grin, so no need to change game plans.
3. Everyone's right, I know nothing, but I know enough not to show it.
As one insider put it, "Better for folks to see an empty chair than to see an empty suit."
Scranton campaign manager Jim Seif says, "It's a Rose Bowl - I mean a Rose Garden strategy."
He's right. Swann (who played in two Rose Bowls) is acting like an incumbent with a lead rather than a challenger with a question mark.
He offers little but football stories and his own celebrity with a few bromides about "making all of Pennsylvania better."
He should offer more. He should demonstrate substance.
True, he proposes three debates after the endorsement, but that's like saying I'll take the test after you give me my grade.
His position is defenseless and invites assumptions that he's clueless.
GOP members have a right to see Swann in action before they commit to his candidacy.
That commitment (unlike that of the state Democratic Party) means actual resources that are invaluable in a primary election and is worth too much to be given without full and fair appraisal.
Why isn't that happening?
When I ask state GOP executive director Scott Migli why the party doesn't push a debate, he says, "There's no precedent."
Well, now's the time to set one.
It seems to me Republican State Committee leadership is bowing to Republican National Committee efforts to extend appeal to minority voters by embracing an African-American candidate for major office.
Such national efforts are understandable, even laudable - they just shouldn't be determinative in selecting state candidates.
And I say all this despite the fact (even though I worked for Scranton when he lost the '86 race to the real Bob Casey) I think Swann is the more interesting challenger to Ed Rendell this year.
But Swann serves neither his cause nor his party by ducking a debate. If he isn't ready for Scranton now - after a year on the campaign trail - how will he ever be ready for Eddie?
Swann shows charisma, leadership qualities, intelligence and, from what I've seen, is pretty good on his feet. There's no need for handlers to shelter him.
There's still time for a debate before the endorsement. Swann should make that happen. To take a pass is a disservice to the 354 members of the GOP state committee and an insult to Republican voters."