Santorum announcement Friday

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Rick Santorum will make a "big announcement" about his future come Friday. From ABC News:

Longtime Santorum adviser John Brabender tells ABC News Santorum will announce what he's doing next after his failed presidential bid, but he wouldn't reveal much more. The former presidential candidate has written in fundraising emails to supporters that he will let them know what's next for him as soon as he is able to retire his campaign debt. After the last reporting period, the Santorum campaign owed $2.2 million.

Brabender said Santorum will not announce that he's running for another elective office.

Two other insiders familiar with Santorum's thinking said the announcement could have more to do with the issues that Santorum plans to pursue through his political action committee.


DeWeese and his familiar roommate

Published by Laura Olson on .

Our friends at Capitolwire are having a good week already: first they broke news (even to legislators) about a proposed lucrative tax credit for Shell Oil Company, and hours later on Monday, they had an even better bombshell for state political junkies:

Former state House Speakers Bill DeWeese and John Perzel currently are roommates at Camp Hill State Prison.

Yup, the Greene County Democrat and the Philadelphia Republican, both convicted in the attorney general's Bonusgate probe for misusing state dollars for campaigning, are awaiting their final placement among the state's correction facilities.

In the meantime, the once-powerful duo are bunking together and cracking jokes in the dining hall. Capitolwire notes that's an improvement for DeWeese, who was initially rooming with Mike Manzo, his former chief of staff and a prosecution witness against him during his January trial:

State Corrections Department spokeswoman Sue Bensinger confirmed the two and Manzo are at Camp Hill and housed in the same 120-prisoner unit. The prison system, understandably does not saying who is cellmating with whom.

Asked why Manzo would be paired with DeWeese, when his testimony helped imprison the former Speaker, Bensinger said it would not happen with violent criminals but sometimes would with non-violent offenders.

Asked if it wasn't odd to have two ex-Speakers rooming together, Bensinger said: "It's an unusual occurrence to have this many former lawmakers there at the same time. Very unusual."

DeWeese is reportedly in high spirits and has not lost the charm that made him popular in Harrisburg (on his way into prison, he stated his goals were to obey the rules, stay in shape and make new friends):

Another reason might be moments like a recent trip to the prison dining room, where a guard teased DeWeese: “Here comes Sticky Fingers.”

DeWeese roared with laughter, as he tells the story and responded: “I’m Sticky Fingers?”

He pointed at himself: “They accused me of [misusing] $100,000.”

He pointed at Perzel: “They accused him of $10 million! He’s the Sticky Fingers!”

Perzel, guards, other inmates crack up.

Photo: PoliticsPA


Corbett attacked in new anonymous ad

Published by Tim McNulty on .

A mostly anonymous non profit is back with another ad attacking Gov. Tom Corbett, this time over his appointment of a coal industry exec (and GOP funder) to head the Department of Community and Economic Development.

Starts the ad:

Our eyes are wide-open, Governor Corbett.

We saw you take money from a former coal executive whose company polluted our drinking water. And then we watched you appoint him to a position that polices environmental permits.

The spot from Democratic consultant Bud Jackson is set to run through the rest of the week. In a statement released with the ad Jackson criticizes Corbett for appointing Walker and other contributors to state positions:

"The perception is pay to play with some of these appointments," said AWF Action Fund chair, Bud Jackson. "How could it not be? You give his campaign over $100,000 and – poof! – you are a former executive for a company widely reported as a polluter and now you are in charge of environmental permits for the entire state. Alan Walker's appointment wasn't an isolated incident. Corbett has established a record or rewarding donors and cronies. It's time to shine the light on it."

But Jackson himself still will not shine a light on who is funding his ad campaign. "Social welfare" 501c(4) non profits can run political education ads under IRS rules while keeping their funders anonymous, and the only known person besides Jackson involved in his American Working Families fund is fellow Democratic strategist John Balduzzi.

How can a related fund that had only $118 (yes, one hundred and eighteen) in its coffers as of April 15 (according to Open Secrets) pay for "several hundred thousand dollars" worth of advertising two years before Corbett faces reelection? Welcome to the Wild West of campaign advertising circa 2012.


In battleground lite Pa, ad spending lags

Published by Tim McNulty on .


Put another nail in the coffin of Pennsylvania's battleground state status this presidential year. Ad buying data from a leading political ad tracking firm (the Campaign Media Analysis Group) show spending in the state was a not-bad $4.1 million from April 10 (the day Rick Santorum dropped out) through the last week of May. But that's only half the spending next door in Ohio and head-to-head with states that have fewer big, expensive markets.

Charlie Cook looks over the data today at National Journal (emphasis added):

CMAG figures look at all broadcast and cable, national, and local television ads in each of those 210 media markets. They are analyzed by CMAG's staff and divided by the number of Electoral College votes that each state has. Nevada ranked first with $677,332 per Electoral College vote. Iowa came in second with $496,088, and Ohio was third with $467,068. In fourth place was Virginia with $331,680, followed by Colorado with $313,653. New Hampshire came in sixth with $283,342, and North Carolina came in seventh with $237,329. In eighth and ninth places, respectively, were Pennsylvania at $204,670 and Florida at $101,107. These data potentially call into question the Romney campaign's seriousness about contesting Pennsylvania and about how long Democrats plan to compete for Florida.

Graphic: National Journal/Kantar Media's CMAG


Crossroads: New debt attack on Obama

Published by Tim McNulty on .

The Karl Rove-tied SuperPAC CrossroadsGPS is back with another issue ad hitting President Barack Obama, this time on the national debt. The TV spot starts running statewide today in a new $727,000 ad buy.

From Crossroads:

“Stopwatch” portrays the cumulative impact of the Obama Administration’s failure to address the national debt, ignoring even President Obama’s own deficit-reduction panel. The television buy includes network affiliates in Pennsylvania as well as Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia.  It is the third spot in a national issue advocacy effort which totals $25 million.

The group's last ad in the state was launched two weeks ago in a $1.1 million buy.

UPDATE: From the DNC's Rapid Response team:

Karl Rove's newest deceptive ad reminds us of what he and Mitt Romney have in common – zero credibility when it comes to debt. Because of the policies of the last administration-massive tax cuts that weren't paid for, two wars that weren't paid for, and the effects of the recession—President Obama entered office facing the largest deficit relative to the economy since World War II. That's why he slowed federal spending growth to its lowest rate in nearly 60 years, enacted $2 trillion in deficit reduction, and proposed a balanced plan to reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next decade. Following the playbook of his Republican allies in Washington, Mitt Romney ran up the debt as Governor of Massachusetts – increasing it by 16 percent over four years and leaving the state with the largest per capita debt in the nation. And now he wants to do it again by bringing back the same policies that crashed the economy and devastated the middle class: budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthiest on the middle class' dime and letting Wall Street write its own rules. Romney Economics didn't work then and it won't work now.