Critz gets Teamsters nod

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Mark Critz keeps piling up union assists in his Democratic primary bid against fellow incumbent Jason Altmire in the redistricted PA12. The latest is from the Pa Conference of Teamsters, covering Western Pa and Northern West Virginia.

Full statement after the jump:


Daily Santorum: War on Porn!

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Hold everything. Under the increasingly likely (or at least for the first time imaginable) Santorum administration Internet porn would be illegal. From the Daily Caller:

Santorum says in a statement posted to his website, "The Obama Administration has turned a blind eye to those who wish to preserve our culture from the scourge of pornography and has refused to enforce obscenity laws."

If elected, he promises to "vigorously" enforce laws that "prohibit distribution of hardcore (obscene) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops and through the mail or by common carrier."

Although the idea of Santorum vanquishing Internet pornography may seem far-fetched, a serious effort to combat online smut might actually be successful, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh told The Daily Caller.

"If the government wanted to aggressively move against Internet pornography, it could do so," explained Volokh. "Here's the deal: In most parts of the country, a lot of pornography on the Internet would plausibly be seen as obscene."

This presumably is a big deal with evangelical Christian athletes, not to mention metal gods. A week after Chargers QB/Alabama native Philip Rivers (above) endorsed Santorum, the campaign is hoping to repeat the magic in Puerto Rico with former Major Leaguer Carlos Baerga. His statement:

"I support Rick because he is a Christian and has fought for the people of Puerto Rico for many years, and stands behind the people on the issue of statehood."

Yeah, statehood. That's only going to happen if PR adopts English as its official language, he said yesterday in advance of its Sunday primary. That may not play well with Hispanic voters but it appeals to the conservative base -- speaking of, what about the theory that Santorum would gobble up that whole base if Newt Gingrich dropped out of the race? There's reason to think that's not the case, since Rick needs Newt to keep Romney from sailing to the nomination, says ABC:

Given Santorum's significant delegate deficit, his best hope of consolidating the more conservative vote — and more importantly, the resulting delegates — is to have Gingrich stay in the game all the way to the convention floor in Tampa, Fla.

So while waiting on the Lord may be an option for Team Santorum, ganging up with Gingrich is likely the better play. If the former Speaker's campaign keeps amassing delegates, Gingrich could accrue enough support that, when coupled with Santorum's, the total meets or exceeds that of the current frontrunner.

"The key to Santorum's strategy is to keep Romney's delegate count low and keep Santorum close," says GOP strategist Soren Dayton, who worked with a number of current Santorum advisers on the McCain campaign in 2008. While Santorum would rather go it alone in some winner-take-all states like Wisconsin and Maryland (April 3), having Gingrich in the running supports the broader strategy.

Santorum clearly feeds off being the underdog, and polls (such as those in Mississippi that never showed him in the lead) have been consistently off this year. Nate Silver looks at why.

Full public schedule (with a move to Missouri and Illinois) after the jump:


Feinberg: cut fed depts, adopt gold currency

Published by Tim McNulty on .

The U.S. government as 18th District Republican challenger Evan Feinberg sees it would look a lot different -- there would be no departments of education, housing, commerce, energy or environmental protection; a single 17% flat tax would be levied on businesses and individuals; and gold & silver could be used as alternate currency.

Feinberg, the challenger to GOP incumbent Rep. Tim Murphy of Upper St. Clair describes those plans and more in a 21-page economic plan his campaign released today. It would cut spending by $661 billion the first year and balance the federal budget in three years, the campaign says.

Major parts of the plan (including defense and health care changes) follow proposals from Feinberg's supporters and former bosses Tom Corburn and Rand Paul.


Thurs heds: Voter ID, Orie & Biden

Published by Tim McNulty on .

St Pats parade

In case you missed it . . .

Gov. Tom Corbett swiftly approved the state's voter I.D. bill, making Pa one of five states requiring voters to show identification at polls. (Karen Langley)

The prosecution in the Jane Orie corruption case put the outside counsel for the Senate Republican caucus on the stand yesterday to show somebody with Orie's username tampered with documents on the Senate computer system after her first trial. The DA's office is set to rest their case today. (McNulty)

Traffic will be a nightmare in Downtown Pittsburgh Saturday when the NCAA Tourney meets a good-weather St. Patrick's Day parade crowd -- and Joe Biden's motorcade. (Jon Schmitz)


Q poll: Corbett's approval dips

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Gov. Tom Corbett's approval rating is down amid questions of his handling of the state budget and funding for higher education, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll (full results here).

From the main site:

Voters in Pennsylvania are split evenly on the job Gov. Tom Corbett is doing, but his approval rating is down significantly since early December, a poll released this morning shows.

The Quinnipiac University poll, which surveyed 1,256 registered voters from March 7 through Monday in the state, showed voters give the governor a 41-41 percent approval rating. It is a significant drop from a 47-34 percent approval rating Dec. 8.

This is Mr. Corbett's lowest approval rating since a 39-38 percent score in a June 14, 2011, poll.

Women showed a marginal disapproval of the governor's job by 39-38 percent, down from a 44-36 percent approval in December. Men approve 45-42 percent, down from 51-32 percent in December.

Democrats give the governor a negative approval by 65-23 percent, compared to a 43-36 disapproval in December.

Voters disapprove by 49-36 percent of Mr. Corbett's handling of the state budget and disapprove 53-27 percent of the way he is handling funding for the state's public universities. Voters oppose, 65-28 percent, of cutting funding for public universities, with 72-20 percent disapproval among women and 58-36 percent disapproval from men.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.