Pizza, pirogies on the line for Sens. Toomey, Kirk

Published by Tracie Mauriello on .

Pedro Florimon scores the game winner against the Cubs at PNC Park on Sept. 15. (Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

As if pennant race pressure isn't enough, pizza and pierogies will be on the line, too when Garrit Cole takes the pitcher's mound for Wednesday's National League Wild Card game against the Chicago Cubs.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., has a wager with his Illinois Republican colleague Mark Kirk.

If the Bucs win, Mr. Toomey will dine on two Chicago delicacies courtesy of Mr. Kirk: Lou Malnati's deep dish pizza and Goose Island's 312 beer. If the Pirates lose, he'll have to deliver Iron City Beer and dinner from Pierogi Plus of McKees Rocks to Mr. Kirk.

In addition, the losing senator must model the winning team's t-shirt on social media.

The wager came with a bit of trash talk between the senators, friends who usually find themselves on the same sides of a battle. They're currently working together to get the Senate to pass their bill to keep economic sanctions in place until Iran pays $43 billion in compensation to American victims of terrorism.

This morning's banter took a much lighter tone.

"After another outstanding season, Andrew McCutchen, Gerrit Cole, and the Bucs are about the make the Cubs walk the plank," Mr. Toomey said. "Chicago has gone 107 years without making the World Series, and in a few days, my friend Mark will see that number go up to 108. Throughout Buc Nation, we will be raising the Jolly Roger come Wednesday night."

Mr. Kirk didn't take kindly to that.

"With Joe Maddon as manger and star players like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, the Cubs have been baseball's most exciting team this year, and I look forward to seeing them get past the Pirates," Mr. Kirk said. "I'm confident that with Jake Arrieta on the mound for the Cubs, I won't be handing over any Lou Malnati's deep dish or 312 beer to Pat next week."


Report: Fetterman has some friends on the inside

Published by Chris Potter on .

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In the field of Democrats vying for the nomination in next year’s Senate race, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman -- all tattooed 6-foot-8 of him -- is pretty much the portrait of a "political outsider." But a report on an online news site suggests Mr. Fetterman has a bit of an inside game as well.

Capitolwire, a political site focused on state-level politics, reported today that Mr. Fetterman has made use of his friendship with Allyson Schwartz, a former Philadelphia-area congresswoman who Mr. Fetterman supported for governor in 2014. He was, in fact, among Ms. Schwartz’s few western Pennsylvania allies.

Or as Capitolwire pithily put it, “Fetterman, who is running an ‘outsider’ campaign, has ties to Schwartz, a consummate Washington insider.” (We’d provide a link, but it’s subscription-only.) And Mr. Fetterman rented email lists from Ms. Schwartz in a bid to scare up some financial support from her donors.

“I was inspired by Allyson's message, and now I’m running for U.S. Senate,” Mr. Fetterman said in the e-mail his campaign sent to Schwartz backers this week.

The story comes out a day after a conservative group posted footage of Mr. Fetterman suggesting another Democrat in the race, Katie McGinty, was the pick of party leaders. And indeed, Ms. McGinty has racked up a string of endorsements from Democratic officials, starting with Gov. Tom Wolf. But obviously Mr. Fetterman has a some big-name backing too … and Ms. Schwartz and Ms. McGinty competed in the 2014 gubernatorial race. 

As reported here earlier this week, Mr. Fetterman’s bid may be more sophisticated than you might expect from a candidate who has never run for an office above the borough level. He has, after all, hired a top-flight political consultant to manage his campaign. Tapping the network of an ally in Philadelphia, where Mr. Fetterman is less well-known, seems savvy too.

“Using Allyson’s list is a no-brainer,” said Mr. Fetterman in an interview. He touted her “record of accomplishment,” including her work to establishe the CHIP health-insurance program for kids in low-income families. “I see that pay dividends every day in my community,” he said. “She epitomizes the best of political pragmatism.”

But! Are you worried Mr. Fetterman’s inside connections might somehow get the better of him?

“I’m the mayor of Braddock," he said. “If you think I’m an insider, you’re probably smoking something. And you should vote for me too, because I want to make that legal.”


The good old days with Rick Santorum

Published by Mike Pound on .

Hillary Auction from Santorum for President 2016 on Vimeo.

Remember the Clintons' Lincoln Bedroom scandal? Rick Santorum does.

A new campaign ad from our former senator whisks us back to 1997, when Bill and Hillary Clinton last resided in the White House – and, perhaps not coincidentally, the last time Mr. Santorum held an elected office.

The ad purports to give us a behind-the-scenes look at a Hillary Clinton fundraiser; the event is an auction, and the "donors" are bidding thousands on a night in the Lincoln Bedroom.

The Lincoln Bedroom (Associated Press photo)The Lincoln Bedroom (Associated Press photo)

Drawing a blank on the reference? ER is here to help. The Clintons got themselves in hot water 18 years ago, when it was found that friends and supporters of the Clintons who had been invited to sleepovers in the White House's guest quarters – that would be the Lincoln Bedroom, named because Abraham Lincoln used the room as an office – also had been significant donors to the Democratic National Committee. Republicans howled about the practice, which the Clintons said was thoroughly vetted by staff attorneys ... and as was the case with most of the manufactured Clinton scandals, not much else happened after that.

The thing that's interesting? At least some of the 1997 Lincoln Bedroom guests made six-figure donations to the DNC; in Mr. Santorum's new ad, the winner gets a night's stay at the bargain basement price of $50,000. Who says money rules all in politics these days?



Supporting McCarthy (or not)

Published by Mike Pound on .

U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (L) laughs as he addresses questions about his bid to replace retiring House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (R) during a news conference after their closed Republican House caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 29, 2015. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (L) laughs as he addresses questions about his bid to replace retiring House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (R) during a news conference after their closed Republican House caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 29, 2015. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Pennsylvania's Republican Congressional delegation has lined up behind the candidacy of U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the current house majority leader, to be the next House speaker.

Well, most of them have.

Congressmen Lou Barletta, Ryan Costello, Charlie Dent, Mike Fitzpatrick, Tim Murphy, Mike Kelly, Tom Marino, Pat Meehan, Joe Pitts, Bill Shuster and G.T. Thompson all are listed has having signed off on the following statement:

There is no more important time for our nation's future than the present, and it is vital that House Republicans come together to make Washington work again. The Pennsylvania delegation believes that Kevin McCarthy is the right person to lead our conference and the House, and we endorse his candidacy for Speaker of the House.

Take a good look at that list, you'll note two omissions: Sewickley's Rep. Keith Rothfus of the 12th District, and Rep. Scott Perry, who represents the 4th District in South Central Pennsylvania. Mr. Rothfus' office pointed us to a statement he made Wednesday:

The entire GOP conference met just last night to review the state of the Conference and how we move forward. It was a productive evening, but it's just the beginning of the process. I will continue to evaluate candidates for speaker and make a decision based on whom I believe can restore regular order and put forth a legislative agenda that reflects the desires of the American people.

And Robert Reilly, Mr. Perry's deputy chief of staff, passed on the following statement this afternoon:

This isn't about Majority Leader McCarthy - Congressman Perry respects the Majority Leader and has a good working relationship with him. Congressman Perry disagrees with the decision to hold these Leadership elections next week. He believes we should have a thorough and transparent process wherein candidates can make their case for a positive, conservative governing vision for America, and Members of Congress have time to receive feedback from their constituents and make the most informed choice possible.

If it turns out that Reps. Rothfus and Perry won't support the candidacy of Mr. McCarthy, of Bakersfield, Calif., they won't be alone. It didn't take long for a Fire McCarthy group to spring up on the Internet; Paul Broun, a former Congressman from Georgia, says that while he thinks Mr. McCarthy is a nice guy, the House "can't can't afford to replace Speaker Boehner with someone who will continue to carry out his failed legacy, one that has been stifling conservative progress for six years."


Peduto heads to Italy for conferences on 'innovation, sustainability and resiliency'

Published by Robert Zullo on .

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (Julia Rendleman/Post-Gazette)Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (Julia Rendleman/Post-Gazette)

Mayor Bill Peduto left today for a pair of conferences in Italy on "innovation, sustainability and resiliency," his office said in a news release.

Today marks the beginning of the two-day USA Pavilion Innovation Summit in Milan, conducted in collaboration with the U.S. State Department. Mr. Peduto has been asked to speak about the Pittsburgh p4 initiative, a collaboration between the city and The Heinz Endowments to develop a new model of urban growth, and the city's Roadmap to Inclusive Innovation, a plan to expand access to city resources, technology and innovation. On Thursday, Mr. Peduto will be in Bellagio for the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities City Leaders Summit on Resilience. He will be among 28 city leaders from around the world "invited to learn and to share the best practices in preparing for crises, including those from natural disasters, climate change or economic insecurity," the mayor's office said.

He will spend Sunday with Italian relatives before returning to Pittsburgh.

"The mayor is attending the conferences at the request and invitation of the U.S. Department of State and The Rockefeller Foundation, and all costs during the week are being paid by event organizers or the mayor personally," a news release says.

Robert Zullo: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 412-263-3909. Twitter: @rczullo.