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 LUCEYluceyc@phillynews.com 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 jotoole@post-gazette.com 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

PennLive.com: 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: http://www.pacomeback.com/

Lynn Swann for Gov.: http://www.swannforgovernor.com/

Panyard4Gov: http://www.panyard4gov.com/"

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 LUCEYluceyc@phillynews.com 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."

AP Wire | Erie (Pa.) Times-News calls Santorum Campaign "absurd"

AP Wire | 01/18/2006 | Editorial roundup: "Jan. 17
Erie (Pa.) Times-News, on Sen. Santorum and reporting in Iraq:
U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum faces a difficult re-election campaign. The Pennsylvania Republican shouldn't make it harder by making it absurd. In a speech Thursday, he attacked the media for reporting the "tragic consequences" of the war in Iraq. Focusing on them was "helping Islamic fascism win the battle."
Of course, the media report far more than tragedy. They report about military operations in the field; American efforts to establish a new Iraqi army; the trial of Saddam Hussein, including how many of its participants are murdered or threatened; political developments, for example the recent Iraqi constitution and elections; Iraqi religious factions; the speeches, interviews and press conferences on the war back home by the president, vice president, the military and gasbag commentators; and, of course, terrorist attacks. Americans aren't blind -- they notice explosions.
But do not report war's "tragic consequences"? Report its nice ones instead? Does Santorum want the American media to forget the bravery and sacrifices of U.S. troops on the ground? The media cannot report them without also reporting "tragic consequences."
Imagine the outcry of grieving families if suddenly those sacrifices were deliberately, cynically forgotten.
We know what Santorum means. Some American politicians and commentators criticize the Bush administration's conduct of the Iraq war. Some Americans -- it seems a growing number -- look at standard news reports and question the administration's competence.
Santorum wants no questions.
He asks for the moon, and expects the American media to stick their collective head in the sand."

Monday, January 16, 2006

35 WSEE - Scranton Loses Northwest by more than 1 to 3 - Campaign Turning Into A Joke

35 WSEE: "Swann Wins Republican G.O.P. Nomination

The Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania was nominated this past weekend after Northwest Pennsylvania Republican Caucus voted, and their final choice was Lynn Swann. Swann ended up with a vast majority of the 29 votes, he won 22, while Bill Scranton III came out with 7. Next month the complete Republican State Committee will convene to discuss and vote on its future endorsement. The primary election is scheduled for May 16th, and that winner will move on to face Governor Ed Rendell in the upcoming fall election. "

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Action News 24 - Swan Takes the Vote from the Northwest P republican Caucasus

Action News 24: "Saturday, January 14, 2006
Swan Takes the Vote

Swann Leaves Scranton in the Dust at the state farm show

Swann out-sprints Fast Eddie at the state farm show - PittsburghLIVE.com: "Swann out-sprints Fast Eddie at the state farm show

Sunday, January 15, 2006
Not a bad weekend at all last week for Lynn Swann, the Steelers Hall-of-Famer and GOP gubernatorial candidate.
Swann not only triumphed in a Republican party caucus vote, easily besting former Lt. Gov. Bill Scranton. He also reportedly got Democrat Gov. Ed Rendell hopping mad at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg.

Seems two TV cameras that were following Rendell around the farm show abruptly left the governor to begin taping a Swann campaign kegger at the event. Rendell's campaign staff is rumored to have felt the governor's full wrath over Swann stealing the show.

Swann also benefited from Republican state Sen. Jeff Piccola dropping out of the governor's race because the former Steeler should pick up Piccola's anti-abortion supporters. Scranton is pro-choice.

About the only negative for Swann was Allegheny County Republican Committee Chairman Bob Glancy and a host of other local committee members deciding to support Scranton."

More clues on Santorum's plot to get state Rep. Jeff Habay of Shaler

Swann out-sprints Fast Eddie at the state farm show - PittsburghLIVE.com: "ANOTHER HABAY CHALLENGER. Retired Shaler police officer Randy Vulakovich officially announced last week he will run against embattled state Rep. Jeff Habay of Shaler.

Vulakovich, 55, joins Shaler funeral director Frank Perman and Mike Dolan of O'Hara, former political director of the Allegheny County Republican Committee, as those interested in unseating Habay in the GOP primary -- provided Habay is still in office.

Habay is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 30 after being convicted in December of using his staff to work on his re-election campaign on public time. Habay also faces trial next month on 21 other charges -- including witness intimidation, making false reports to police and harassment.

The race for Habay's seat could make for some interesting conversation -- and divided loyalties -- in Sen. Rick Santorum's office.

Vulakovich's son, also named Randy, is a Santorum aide. Dolan's family founded the mutual fund giant Federated Investors, whose executives haven't been shy over the years about helping fill Santorum's campaign coffers."

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Philadelphia Inquirer | 01/14/2006 | Casey and Swann not rushing to meet Lesser Candidates in debates

Philadelphia Inquirer | 01/14/2006 | Casey and Swann not rushing to meet rivals in debates: "Posted on Sat, Jan. 14, 2006
Casey and Swann not rushing to meet rivals in debatesLesser-known candidates for Senate and governor accepted dates before the party endorsements.By Peter JacksonAssociated PressHARRISBURG - Attempts to organize debates among would-be challengers to U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and Gov. Rendell before the party endorsements are running into resistance from two of the best-known candidates.
State Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr., picked by Democratic leaders in the Senate to take on Santorum, will sit out a Jan. 23 debate in Harrisburg, reducing it to a face-off between lesser-known Democrats Chuck Pennacchio and Alan Sandals.
Campaign manager Jay Reiff said Casey intended to debate his rivals after each had gathered the 2,000 signatures needed by March 7 to qualify for the May 16 primary.
"Bob has made it clear that he will debate whoever is on the ballot" at least once, Reiff said yesterday.
Lynn Swann, a former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver who declared his candidacy for governor this month, has not committed to a Jan. 25 Republican debate in Harrisburg that former Lt. Gov. William Scranton III and retired business advocate Jim Panyard have agreed to attend.
Swann remains willing to debate his rivals before the Republican State Committee issues its endorsement Feb. 11, campaign spokeswoman Melissa Walters said. "We just have yet to come to a decision" about the Harrisburg event, she said.
"We are the only debate prior to the Republican endorsement," said Paula Harris, president of a Harrisburg educational-services company that is the debate's lead sponsor. "If I was a political candidate, I would at least give a yes or a no."
If Swann decides not to participate, Scranton may pull out, said Tim Kelly, a Scranton campaign spokesman.
The Democratic State Committee is to make its endorsements on March 25.
Pennacchio, a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, accused Casey of avoiding public discussion about his positions, such as his opposition to abortion rights, that are similar to Santorum's.
"He can't reveal his true politics," he said.
Santorum, who trails Casey in independent polling, last fall challenged Casey to 10 debates. But Santorum declined the League of Women Voters' invitation to an early debate against his only known primary challenger, John Featherman, until Featherman has qualified for the ballot.
"Rick Santorum is doing what is ultimately best for his campaign," Featherman, a Philadelphia real estate broker, said yesterday. "We want to make the case that we are the [Republicans'] best chance to beat Bob Casey.""

Friday, January 13, 2006

Disappointing withdrawal (Piccola was way better than Bill Scranton)

Disappointing withdrawal: "Disappointing withdrawal
Thursday, January 12, 2006
State Sen. Jeff Piccola's run at the governorship was always a long shot, considering his limited name recognition and the fact that he hailed from a region with far less voting power than Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

But despite one's views on the issues -- and we have differed with the Dauphin County Republican's positions on more than one occasion -- it's unfortunate that the candidate among the GOP field with the most political experience and clearly the best grasp of the issues was forced out of the race so quickly.

Aware that he wasn't going to gain even a native son endorsement from the central Pennsylvania Republican caucus, and facing polls showing him well behind front-runners Lynn Swann, a Pittsburgh Steelers hall of famer, and former Lt. Gov. Bill Scranton, Piccola withdrew last weekend.

Swann, as evidenced by admiring crowds and autograph seekers during a visit to the Pennsylvania State Farm Show, has star power, but his post-playing days have been spent, well, on football as a sideline reporter on college football telecasts. Scranton, meanwhile, has virtually vanished from Harrisburg for most of the past two decades.

This is not to say that neither Swann nor Scranton is gubernatorial timber, and a case can be made for having someone from outside state government and the political skirmishes of recent years bringing a fresh perspective to the table.

But neither has yet to elaborate on the issues, and it is here that we think Piccola would have played an important role in the debate. His knowledge and experience likely would have forced the two front-runners into specific positions and would have given voters an indication of how they would govern.

We understand, however, the political and financial challengesthat Piccola faced and we respect his decision, as well as his passion for wanting a better Pennsylvania."

CAMPAIGN CONFIDENTIAL - Forward Newspaper Online

CAMPAIGN CONFIDENTIAL - Forward Newspaper Online: "Sunday Swipe: Senator Rick Santorum, the Pennsylvania Republican running for re-election this year, declared at an evangelical Christian rally Sunday that liberal judges are "destroying traditional morality, creating a new moral code and prohibiting any dissent."

At the Justice Sunday III rally, held by a consortium of Christian conservative groups at a Philadelphia megachurch, Santorum said, "The only way to restore this republic our founders envisioned is to elevate honorable jurists like Samuel Alito."

The event drew the participation of the leader of Focus on the Family, James Dobson; the director of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins; and the founder of the Moral Majority Coalition, Jerry Falwell, who last year urged Americans to "vote Christian."

Falwell's presence at the event, much noted in the Philadelphia press, drew a swipe from the campaign of Santorum's opponent, Democratic State Treasurer Robert Casey Jr.

"It's no surprise that Rick Santorum is spending time with Jerry Falwell since they have both made a career of supporting divisive ideology rather than commonsense solutions," said a Casey spokesman, Larry Smar. "After all, Falwell has said that he would vote for Santorum for president."

Smar was referring to a television interview Falwell gave to MSNBC last August in which he declared, "I'd vote for [Santorum] for president today. And put that in the bank. I like Rick. He`s a bright, young star.""

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Swann overwhelmingly won the PA GOP Central Caucus 77-31 over Scranton

Hotline On Call: Still Wants To Be A Player: "January 10, 2006
Still Wants To Be A Player
Ex-Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann might not familiar to PA political establishment like ex-LG Bill Scranton. After all, he has to compete with Scranton, who has a city named after him. (Not really.)

So maybe his campaign is trying to put him in a very familiar light. If this "Property Taxes" spot seems familiar, maybe that's because it's similar to the NFL pre-game spots announcing the starting line-up.

Note the white background, fade in/out bright spot lighting and how he crosses his arms and looks up at the end.

It's part of a larger theme: it seems his campaign wants build on his athletic/broadcaster reputation to combat his lack of juice within
PA GOP establishment.

So far it's worked: Swann overwhelmingly won the PA GOP Central Caucus 77-31 over Scranton. As Franklin and Marshall prof G. Terry Madonna told The Hotline: "This is what's giving him entree into the political community. When he travels and speaks, he gets larger audiences . . . why not embrace it and turn it into a positive?"

But Madonna is also quick to note that what works in Schwarzenegger's CA or Ventura's MN, might not for "meat and potatoes" PA, which has never had an athlete or celebrity run for office, despite, he says, GOP attempts to woo PSU coach Joe Paterno and Golf Legend Arnold Palmer. Madonna: "He's not a Hollywood celebrity type...He played for a blue collar team. I think he's trying to make a connection with a lot of working people. It's a very smart tactical move on the part of his campaign." [SHIRA R. TOEPLITZ]

Republicans Choosing Conservative Christian Swann Over Heathen Abortion Boy Scranton

Where's Swann's beef? - PittsburghLIVE.com: "Where's Swann's beef?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Star power and hokily throwing a real hat into the political ring will carry Lynn Swann only so far.
Sooner or later, Mr. Swann, now formally seeking the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania governor, will have to ditch the broad brush and paint some fine details on his proposed policies. Thus far we've seen lots of platitudes; where's the beef?

It was with slobbering national media attention that the Pittsburgh Steelers' Hall of Fame wide receiver announced his candidacy last week. In short order he handily secured the endorsement of the GOP's Central Caucus in Harrisburg. Favorite son Jeff Piccola quit beforehand to avoid chagrin.

The full Republican State Committee holds its endorsement vote on Feb. 11. Former Lt. Gov. Bill Scranton appears to have the solid support of at least two other regional caucuses. Next month's vote should be close. But Mr. Scranton says he'll stay in the race without the full committee's endorsement. Jim Panyard, former president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association, isn't seeking the endorsement; he's in for the long haul.

Should Swann not win the state committee nod, it will be interesting to see if he stays in the race; his campaign says a contested primary would be a bad thing given the deep coffers of incumbent Democrat Gov. Ed Rendell.

So, Swann is running. Whether real ideas run with him remains to be seen."

Sunday, January 08, 2006

01/08/2006 - Scranton Looking Weak in MontCo Swann Gaining Strength - Asher/Lewis Fight a Factor

Reporter online.com - News - 01/08/2006 - Republicans not taking sides: "Republicans not taking sides
JACOB FENTON, Staff Writer01/08/2006

Top Republican contenders for governor are making in-roads into Montgomery County‚ home to some of the state’s most influential donors. But with a state committee endorsement meeting slated for February‚ local party leaders aren’t yet saying publicly who they’ll support.

Both leading Republican candidates – former Steelers pro-bowler Lynn Swann and former Lieutenant Governor Bill Scranton – have ties to the county. Swann has endorsed County Commissioner Jim Matthews for lieutenant governor‚ and on Thursday‚ Scranton announced that PPL Vice President Jim Seif‚ of Blue Bell‚ would be his campaign manager.

Dauphin County State Sen. Jeffrey Piccola – who endorsed Matthews before Swann did – and former Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association director Jim Panyard are also in the race.

The party’s endorsement carries a particularly heavy weight; unendorsed Republican challengers traditionally bow out out of the race.

That’s one reason getting in touch with state committee members – as well as donors – is important early on in the race.

Raising money early in the race “sends a signal of the candidates’ strength; it’s the same as early season endorsements‚” said Seif.

Republican National Committeeman Bob Asher‚ owner of Asher’s Chocolates in Franconia‚ is one the area’s most influential fundraisers.

Seif said he’d been friendly with Asher since 1978.

“I’ve known him since then and respected him for all of that time‚ if you get my drift – all of it‚” he said.

Asher spent a year in prison on federal corruption charges in the early 1990s.

Drew Lewis‚ who served as transportation secretary under President Ronald Reagan‚ also lives in the Indian Valley. Lewis and his wife gave Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. more than $600‚000 in his doomed 2004 primary run for state Attorney General.

Asher backed Castors’ opponent in a divisive and negative campaign that’s left some insiders assuming the two will back opposing candidates this year.

“We’re kind of like family – we fight like cats and dogs behind closed doors but when we come out we’re usually together‚” said Nancy Becker‚ state committeewoman for the North Penn area.

For now at least‚ Seif said both Asher and county Republican committee Chairman Ken Davis were staying neutral on the governor’s race.

Having Matthews in the race may help unite the often fractious county GOP‚ Becker said.

If local Republican leaders are mum on their favorite candidate for Governor‚ they’re enthusiastic about Matthews for second-in-command.

“I think our main focus right now is to get behind Jim Matthews‚ who is our favorite son‚” said Becker.

Matthews gave up his chairmanship of the county commissioners this week to spend more time on the campaign trail. Last week‚ Matthews and campaign manager Josh Wilson put 1‚200 miles on a leased Ford Explorer criss-crossing the state to meet with Republican chieftains.

Having Matthews on the ticket may swing 20‚000 votes to the Republican candidate‚ he said.

And the region’s votes on the Republican state committee could be seriously helpful to either Swann or Scranton‚ though they may not go in a single block.

Both Becker and Ted Poatsy‚ a state committeeman from Upper Salford‚ said they didn’t have a preference in the race.

“We’re keeping our powder dry‚” said Poatsy.

Staying above the fray – at least for now – should increase Montgomery County’s relative clout in picking the Republican nominee‚ Poatsy said.

“We’re not going to make a commitment until February. It gives the whole Montgomery County a little more power‚” he said.

The Chester County Republican Committee has endorsed Lynn Swann‚ who waited until this week to officially announce his long-rumored candidacy.

But even as Republican gubernatorial campaigns get into gear across the state‚ some point out that Gov. Ed Rendell will be the favorite.

Incumbent governors are so often reelected to a second term there’s even a name for it: “the rule of eight.”

©Reporter online.com 2006"

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Philadelphia Inquirer | 01/07/2006 | Santorum Took Thousands and Thousands From Confessed Criminal Jack Abramoff

Philadelphia Inquirer | 01/07/2006 | Santorum donating Abramoff money: "Posted on Sat, Jan. 07, 2006
Santorum donating Abramoff moneyThe Pa. senator, seeking to "set an example," will give away contributions received from the lobbyist.By Carrie BudoffInquirer Staff WriterU.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.) will shed the remaining $9,000 of his contributions from tribes connected to lobbyist Jack Abramoff - a decision that Santorum's campaign said was prompted by his plans to take a lead in tightening lobbying rules.
"He wanted to set an example by donating all the contributions to charity," Virginia Davis, Santorum's campaign spokeswoman, said yesterday.
Santorum's move to return the money and put forward lobbying bills underscores the potential potency of ethics issues in the 2006 campaigns here and across the country.
Within hours of Abramoff's guilty plea Tuesday in a federal influence-peddling case, dozens of Republican and Democratic lawmakers started giving away campaign donations tied to the Washington lobbyist.
At first, Santorum returned only $2,000 from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, a former Abramoff client, because the tribe was specifically mentioned in Abramoff's plea agreement.
"Because we are having difficulty determining the role Jack Abramoff may or may not have had in these contributions, we are going to err on the side of caution," Davis said yesterday of the remaining $9,000, which came from two other tribes.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist asked Santorum, the No. 3 Republican Senate leader, in November to write legislation that could address some of the excesses exposed by the Abramoff case. For years, Abramoff showered lawmakers with trips, entertainment and millions of dollars in contributions.
"It is a very real possibility" Santorum could work on an agreement with Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), who already has drafted lobbying legislation, said Robert L. Traynham II, Santorum's Senate spokesman.
By involving himself in the ethics debate at a time when incumbents seem vulnerable on the issue, Santorum "can insulate himself and say he is ahead of the curve," said Berwood Yost, a Franklin and Marshall College pollster.
But already, Santorum's leading Democratic opponent, state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr., is questioning the senator's standing on the issue.
Larry Smar, Casey's spokesman, said Santorum should first sever his ties with the K Street Project, an effort led by Santorum and other GOP lawmakers to build strong ties with the lobbying community and persuade those firms to hire Republican job applicants. K Street is a Washington address favored by lobbyists.
"If you talk about lobbying reform, that is a pretty good first place to start," Smar said. "Until he ends his association with the K Street Project, he has no credibility."
Traynham said the senator would continue the gatherings, which occur as many as 10 to 15 times a year. "He has no intention to stop meeting with, bouncing ideas off of or seeking advice from strategists based in D.C. that can further advance the agenda of moving this economy forward, protecting our homeland, and helping Pennsylvania's interests," Traynham said.
It was at one of those gatherings in 2001 that Santorum apparently encountered Abramoff, according to articles that year in National Journal and Roll Call that reference a meeting between the senator and more than a half-dozen lobbyists and lawmakers.
However, Davis said Santorum, who meets with hundreds of people every week, "does not recall being personally introduced or meeting Jack Abramoff.""

Friday, January 06, 2006

Santorum's Support For Bush Policy Crumblimg

Santorum Calls for Commission on Iraq: "Santorum Calls for Commission on Iraq

Friday, January 6, 11:23 a.m.
Senator Rick Santorum, (R) PA, is calling on President George Bush to establish a commission or a panel of experts to study the progress being made in Iraq and to then, report to the American people.

Santorum is chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. In his letter to the president, Santorum said the commission should look at the current military operations in Iraq and the need to better assess and communicate how the effort to establish a stable democracy in the Middle East is progressing.

The senator said the American people deserve to know how both military and civil operations are going.

Senator Santorum has been a staunch supporter of President Bush.

Santorum's opponent in the U.S. Senate race is Pennsylvania Treasurer Robert Casey, Jr. A spokesperson with the Casey campaign, Larry Smar, said of the proposal, "Before anyone would believe that Senator Santorum has asked any serious questions about Bush's Iraq policy, Senator Santorum would have to first apologize for saying the media has been over-reporting the body count.""

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Newtown Advance - Bob Casey Jr. fights to bring funding back to Pennsylvania

Newtown Advance - News - 01/04/2006 - To serve and protect: "Community News
To serve and protect
By: BRIDGET BRIER 01/04/2006

Bob Casey Jr. fights to bring funding back to Pennsylvania
The 2006 Senatorial race between Republican incumbent Rick Santorum and the current Pennsylvania State Treasurer, Democratic challenger Bob Casey Jr., has been touted as one of the most anticipated political races of the year.
Yet despite the daily increase of national media attention, Casey took time before the 2005 holiday season to explain his intent focus is on the daily issues of the people of Pennsylvania.
Of the issues especially affecting the people of Bucks County is the current hardships of the small businessmen and women. Casey sees the lack of federal funding for health care as a direct blow to small businesses and is determined to make federal funds more accessible to the Pennsylvania people who own, operate and work for, a small business.
"One of the major challenges of any small business in Pennsylvania is the cost of health care. I think it's crippling many small businesses in our state and I've talked to business people across the state about this. I think that the answer from Washington has been just total abdication of responsibility by the federal government to do something, anything about the cost of healthcare," Casey said.
It is a priority of Casey's to force Washington's attention back to those business owners who live off of their monthly revenue. He wants to allow small businesses access to a purchasing pool of health care, thereby making it more possible for them to provide for their own families and those families who work for them.
"One thing that a lot of people in Washington have talked about but haven't done anything about it is creating a broad purchasing pool for small businesses - just like federal employees have. They have a broad purchasing pool that allows costs to stay down. And a lot of small businesses want to see that," Casey said.
Casey went on to speak earnestly of such government organizations as the SBA, which critics maintain has not seen its fair share of federal funding in the past several years.
"One agency in the federal government that's had a tremendous effect in a very positive way for small businesses is the [United States] Small Business Administrations and the SBA has been cut by a third just in the last couple of years. Under the Republican leadership in Washington, supported 98 percent of the time at least by Senator Santorum, they have supported time and again cuts for the SBA - that's wrong." Casey said.
"I think the federal government's approach to helping small businesses is central to our economic plan, my economic plan, but it's also central to the concerns that a lot of people in Pennsylvania have."
Bob Casey Jr., the son of the late Pennsylvania governor Robert Casey, can easily be referred to as a "people person." Though Casey has spent the last decade in politics (serving as Auditor General before being elected as State Treasurer), he was once a teacher and a basketball coach, and Casey clearly enjoys the one-on-one contact of meeting the people of Pennsylvania and listening to their concerns about providing for themselves, their parents, and their children.
His previous positions have made him intimately aware of Pennsylvania's fiscal past and present and now Casey wants to insure the state's financial future as well.
Especially important for Casey, is providing an adequate and accessible education. "I think the federal government has to do more that we're doing right now to invest in early learning and to take what was a good goal and a laudable objective, 'No Child Left Behind,' and actually fully fund it. Or at least begin the process of funding it in a way that's fair. Pennsylvania is hundreds of millions of dollars behind in what we should be getting under No child Left Behind, "Casey said earnestly.
"Because frankly if we don't do the job of investing in a child at a very young age, literally in the early days and weeks and months of that child's life, no education program ten or fifteen years later can save them." Casey said.
In addition, Casey wants to make higher education another top priority. "Pennsylvania is having trouble keeping up payments in investments in higher education. Our families are struggling with that. The federal government has been changing the eligibility for the PELL grant and making it harder for families and students in Pennsylvania to afford the cost of college. This is going in the wrong direction when what we need is more help not less from the federal government," Casey said.
Casey believes that the people of Pennsylvania are earnest for a change and want leadership that has their best interests at heart. "People are going to vote in 2006 for a new direction, a different path, a more helpful road, which is a road where we come together in a bipartisan way to work on the question of health care and reducing the cost and to work on reducing the deficit. We will work together on priorities like education, like early learning. We work on the challenge that we have with retirement security where more and more we are faced with with challenge of more and more American's facing retirement with no health care.
"Economic security for a lot of people is a real worry. People are frustrated, people want a change and they want Washington to reflect some of our shared values. We will try our best to lessen or reduce or somehow mitigate the economic insecurities that people feel. We're going to work very hard to earn people's vote by addressing these problems." "