Daily Santorum: Anti-NYT, pro-VP?

Published by Karen Langley on .

The daily on Rick Santorum is out of Racine, Wisc., where the candidate last night lashed out a New York Times reporter who asked him to expound upon a remark he'd just made calling Mitt Romney "the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama."

When reporter Jeff Zeleny repeated the words to Santorum afterward, adding, "Is that true?" the candidate appeared to become angry. 

"What speech did you listen to?" he said. "Stop lying. I said he is the worst Republican to run on the issue of Obamacare, and that's what I was talking about."

He went on: "Quit distorting my words ... It's [B.S.]."

CBS caught the exchange on tape.

Meanwhile, as Santorum blasts Romneycare outside the Supreme Court's health care lawsuit hearing, an interview he did with Christian Broadcasting Network is grabbing headlines this afternoon.

In the segment, Santorum is asked -- with the interviewer noting that he might "laugh off" the question -- if he would accept the VP nomination if asked. Santorum, who has spent most of his recent speeches referring to Romney as ill-equipped to defeat President Obama, replied that he would consider the job offer.

Here's the transcript:

David Brody: "If [Romney] for some reason asks you to be the Vice Presidential candidate on his ticket? I know, after it's all said and done. Would you even consider it?"

Rick Santorum: "Of course. I mean, look. I would do in this race as I always say, this is the most important race in our country's history. I'm going to do everything I can. I'm doing everything I can. I'm out there. In the last 10 months, I've had five days off. Two for Thanksgiving, and three for Christmas. I've been working every single day. My wife and my kids, we're just busting our tail, because we know their future and all of our childrens' future is at stake in this election and I don't want to be the guy who has to sit with my granddaughter, 20 years from now, and tell stories about an America where people once were free. I don’t want to have that conversation."

David Brody: "So, you're keeping your options open."

Rick Santorum: "I'll do whatever is necessary to help our country." 


Pres. Clinton weighs in on AG race

Published by Laura Olson on .

Ex-Lackawanna County prosecutor Kathleen Kane announced this morning that former President Bill Clinton is backing her candidacy in the state attorney general's race.

That high-profile support comes after her work for Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008 during her presidential bid, coordinating northeastern Pennsylvania campaign efforts.

In a statement released by the Kane campaign, the former Democratic president -- and one-time Arkansas attorney general himself -- said it is "important to elect someone who understands how to use the office and the legal system to protect and advance the lives of Pennsylvanians."

He described Kane as "smart and tough," and said she "understands that an Attorney General's job is to stand up for consumers and people."

The Kane camp called Pennsylvania "Clinton Country," and the candidate said in a statement that she is "energized" by the endorsement.

Meanwhile, her opponent, former Bucks County congressman Patrick Murphy was in Harrisburg this morning, joining Democrats at a morning news conference expressing concerns over the shelved ultrasound bill and other Republican policy proposals.

Murphy reiterated his opposition to the ultrasound measure, which he has said he would not enforce if elected.



Santorum, Rohrer win PLC straw poll

Published by Laura Olson on .

For those not following along in the Twittersphere, here's a quick recap of who the conservative attendees at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference selected when they cast their ballots via iPad app.

Rick Santorum was the overall first choice for president, receiving 147 of the 323 votes, followed by Romney with 91, Ron Paul with 50 and Newt Gingrich's 35 votes. 

Asked who would be their last choice for commander in chief, Ron Paul was the consensus, with 138 votes.

More interesting was the battle for the GOP nomination in the U.S. Senate race. Former state Rep. Sam Rohrer was the overwhelming favorite, with 176 votes.

Former coal company operator Tom Smith drew 60 tallies, 40 said they were undecided, and 19 chose Chester County businessman Steve Welch, who earned the GOP State Committee endorsement in January.


The Gingrich test of media eliteness

Published by Karen Langley on .

It's a question we've pondered throughout the primary season, from debates to campaign stops: Who exactly are the elite media Newt Gingrich so frequently rebukes?

So after his speech at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference this afternoon, we asked him.

"Not  you guys," the former House speaker said, to a small group that also included reporters from the Associated Press, NPR and Capitolwire.

But really, which of us is it?

“I’ll give you a real simple test,” Gingrich said. “Do you automatically assume that Obama’s right? Chris Matthews wake up every morning saying I wonder what wonderful thing Obama’s going to say today. So if you wake up skeptical and wondering --”

He returned to an example from his speech this afternoon, when he made fun of President Obama for saying the country could replace some of its imported oil with gasoline and diesel derived from algae.

“If you think that’s weird, you’re not in the elite media,” he said. “If you think, gosh, that would be wonderful, if only we could have algae, then you’re probably in the elite media. I’ll let you define yourself.”

Before leaving his questioners to consider this, he offered up a little praise: “That was a cool question. Nobody’s asked me that. I think they’re afraid I’ll say them.”



Murderers' Row

Published by Tim McNulty on .

As we wait out jury deliberations in the Jane Orie corruption case -- which are in their third day now -- we're reminded of Brian O'Neill's great column this week on legislative reapportionment in Harrisburg. He goes over how the 2001 lines splintered the district of Ross Democrat Dave Majernik into six parts after he butted heads with caucus leaders, and how that leadership is back in the news now:

Yet even by the low standards of a practice that advances representative democracy only as an afterthought or by mistake, the shafting of Rep. Mayernik stands out. So I thought of him Wednesday morning when former Republican House Speaker John Perzel was sentenced to prison for spending $10 million in state money to aid his party's campaigns.

That conviction had no direct connection with the 2001 redistricting, but Mr. Perzel was one of four lawmakers on the reapportionment commission that year. All have gone down in flames since. In addition to Mr. Perzel, there were:

• Rep. Bill DeWeese, D-Waynesburg, convicted on five corruption counts in February (although still running in the Democratic primary).

• Former state Sen. Robert Mellow, D-Lackawanna, charged in federal court last week with misusing staff and resources for political fundraising and campaigning. Mr. Mellow has indicated he will plead guilty.

• Former Senate Majority Leader David Brightbill, R-Lebanon, defeated in the May 2006 primary as voters took revenge for his role in the unconstitutional 2005 pay grab by the Legislature.