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GOP ads to hit Critz on health care, Medicaid

Published by Tim McNulty on .

It's going to be a long, tough slog between PA12 Democratic incumbent Mark Critz and GOP challenger Keith Rothfus.

Earlier today we noted how the conservative Club For Growth is going to bat for Rothfus, and now Dan Hirshhorn at The Daily reports Republicans will start hitting Critz tomorrow with an attack ad on Obama's health care reform bill. It's thought that the attack will ward off Critz's continued use of Medicare/Social Security as a campaign issue.

The NRCC says the ads will run for at least two weeks in the Pittsburgh market on Fox News.

From Dan:

Two years ago, House Republicans hit the airwaves tying Pennsylvania Democrat Mark Critz to a "bad health care bill" that "liberals rammed through" Congress. Tomorrow, their campaign committee will take flight with a new TV ad, obtained early by The Daily, that similarly hits the first-term congressman for opposing "efforts to repeal or defund Obamacare 20 times."

If it seems familiar — ominous imagery equating Democrats with Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, knocks on the party's stimulus package and health care law — welcome to the House GOP's 2012 campaign, a syndicated repeat of the 2010 campaign.

In battleground districts across the country, the National Republican Congressional Committee and other GOP groups have aired or are planning to run TV spots that come straight from the same playbook that won them control of the House two years ago.

Critz of course is not a health care reform supporter, though Republicans will note he voted against a GOP effort to repeal the bill. The charge (made often in 2010) that Democrats would cut $500 million from Medicare has been questioned by fact-checkers who say the cuts would be in future growth of the entitlement, not current spending.

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Club For Growth endorses Rothfus

Published by Tim McNulty on .

No surprise here, but the Club For Growth today announced its endorsement of Republican Keith Rothfus in the PA12 congressional race against incumbent Mark Critz. The free enterprise/anti-tax group supported Rothfus in 2010 and was formerly headed by Pat Toomey, another Rothfus supporter.

We'll be watching whether the club advertises in the race, as it did for a while against US Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair.

Here's the club's statement:

"The Club for Growth PAC strongly supports Keith Rothfus for Congress," said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. "Keith will be an ally of Senator Pat Toomey and will fight to cut spending, limit government, and increase economic freedom. Congressman Mark Critz is nothing more than a rubber stamp for the failed Obama agenda that has cost western Pennsylvania thousands of jobs. The Club's PAC is proud to support Keith Rothfus – a pro-growth fiscal conservative who will repeal ObamaCare and fight the liberal agenda in Washington."

UPDATE: The Critz camp (echoing a certain other Democrat) says Rothfus and the Club are all about shipping jobs overseas:

Keith Rothfus was endorsed by the Club for Growth because of his support of free trade agreements that ship American jobs overseas. The Club for Growth advocates increased trade with China and opposes any attempt to end China's unfair policies that are killing American manufacturing jobs. In a petition to Congress, the Club called increased cheap imports from China "marvelous" and urged Congress to oppose any attempt to protect American jobs by leveling the playing field.

"Mark Critz opposes unfair trade agreements that ship jobs to countries like China while Keith Rothfus is on the record supporting them," Critz spokesman Mike Mikus said. "China's unfair policies like their currency manipulation are killing American jobs yet Keith Rothfus and his allies call these policies 'marvelous'. The only thing this endorsement demonstrates is that Mark Critz fights to create jobs here and that Keith Rothfus will fight to ship our jobs to China."

UPDATE: Remember how we said Democrats would "try to paint Mr. Rothfus as an extremist" through the fall? That's exactly what the (Critz supporting) AFL-CIO does in its statement on the Club nod (in full after jump):

The Club for Growth is an organization that advocates an extremist economic agenda on behalf of the Wall Street bankers that finance the group. In return for taking extreme economic positions they funnel large amounts of money in to elections for radical politicians. The Club for Growth spent $2.7 million in 2010 to elect Senator Toomey and he received a 97 (out of 100) on their score card last year.

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Romney fundraises in Philly burbs

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Mitt Romney is in suburban Philadelphia for a fundraiser tonight (co-starring former Gov. Tom Ridge and GOP honcho Bob Asher), on the same day the Obama camp has released an attack ad in Ohio and elsewhere hitting Romney for supporting "companies that ship jobs overseas." It ends with: "It's just what you'd expect from a guy who had a Swiss bank account."

Reponded the Romney campaign:

"President Obama is trying to distract Americans from the real issues with a series of sideshows. Unable to defend his failed record of 23 million Americans struggling for work, wasteful boondoggles like Solyndra, skyrocketing national debt, and unacceptably high energy prices, President Obama has once again resorted to attacking Mitt Romney. The American people have suffered enough over the last three years and deserve better."

Ad script after the jump:

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Next door: Org labor vs GOP

Published by Tim McNulty on .

We had a story Sunday looking at labor vs the GOP in Pennsylvania this fall. The Wall St. Journal today previews the same fight next door in Ohio, which is still roiled by an overturned Republican effort to strip bargaining rights from public employees:

Last year's fight over public-employee unions was waged when Ohio's unemployment rate was around 9%. Since then, though, it has dropped to 7.5%. One political debate will be whether the Republican Gov. John Kasich—the man at the center of the union fight—or the Democratic president, Mr. Obama, gets credit if the state's jobless rate continues to fall.

Democrats think the fracas reopened the door for supporters who have slipped away in recent years: white, working-class, Republican-leaning voters who disliked the GOP move to shrink the power of public-sector unions, to which many remain loyal. During the fight last year, Mr. Obama lashed out against Ohio's collective-bargaining law and a similar law in Wisconsin.

Republicans, however, are optimistic the core debate over the size of government—including pay and pensions of public employees—will energize their base and pull financially pressed swing voters in their direction.

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Tues: Voter ID suit; Manchin cruising

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Karen Langley has the story on a state suit seeking to overturn Pa's voter ID law:

While voters were asked for photo identification at the primary elections last week, they were allowed to vote without it. Starting in November, they will have to show a photo ID issued by the state or federal government or a Pennsylvania college, nursing home or county or municipal employer.

The suit will ask for an injunction against the law while the case is being decided as well as a final ruling that the law is unconstitutional, said Jennifer Clarke, executive director of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, one of the groups organizing the lawsuit.

David Gersch, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said the state cannot justify the new ID requirements without demonstrating that voter fraud is taking place.

"In order to take away somebody's right to vote, there needs to be a real problem they're addressing," he said. "The state hasn't shown that there's a problem with people showing up at the polling place and saying they're somebody who they're not."

At Politico, Charlie Mahtesian translates John Brabender's comments yesterday to Robert Costa at National Review. First up is endorsement talk:

What he meant: We think we’ve been clear that there isn’t going to be an endorsement yet. That will come in time, but we won’t be rushed. First, Rick wants to get acquainted with the governor and size him up outside the glare of the spotlight. Let’s face it: Nearly everyone who ran against Mitt in 2008 or this year loathes him. We’re no different. But we’re willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. We’re pros, we get that primaries can be bruising affairs. Still, we’d like to hear a little more about the thinking behind that Pennsylvania ad they cut near the end. A ‘historically embarrassing’ loss in 2006? ‘Lost his home county by 30 points’? That was below the belt.

In West Virginia, a R.L. Repass poll has Romney up 17 points on Obama (54-37%); Dem US Sen Joe Manchin crushing GOP foe John Raese (74-22%); and incumbent Dem. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin beating GOP foe Bill Maloney (60-32%). The state's primary is May 8 but there are few contested races. (Daily Mail)