Friday, September 30, 2005

mcall.com - Bush's plunging popularity bodes ill for Santorum

mcall.com - Bush's plunging popularity bodes ill for Santorum: "Bush's plunging popularity bodes ill for Santorum
Being aligned with president not a good thing, poll finds.

By Jeff Miller
Call Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON | President Bush's falling approval ratings are casting a shadow over Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's bid for a third term, a new Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll found.

Among the 54 percent of Pennsylvania voters dissatisfied with Bush's job performance, only 9 percent intend to support Santorum while 57 percent back his likely Democratic challenger, Bob Casey Jr.

Overall, Casey leads Santorum, 37 percent to 29 percent, with 31 percent undecided.

Santorum is the third-ranking Republican in the Senate and in charge of shaping the message for his caucus. As such, he has been closely aligned with Bush on major policy initiatives, including tax cuts, the war in Iraq and personal accounts for Social Security.

But recently, Santorum criticized the White House strategy for building support for Social Security reform. He was also a plaintiff in a successful lawsuit against the administration to keep an Air National Guard unit at Willow Grove.

''It will be a significant challenge for Santorum to show a divide between him and the White House,'' said Christopher Borick, director of Muhlenberg's Institute of Public Opinion, which conducted the poll.

The telephone survey of 477 voters was conducted between Sept. 18 and 25 and has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

Opinions about Santorum, a leading conservative voice, were strongly divided.

Forty percent of voters have a favorable view of him and approve of the job he's doing. But 37 percent were unfavorable, and 36 percent disapproved of his job performance.

Twenty-nine percent of voters had a favorable view of Casey, while only 12 percent were unfavorable. But 57 percent were neutral toward Casey, and 3 percent had not heard of him at all.

Casey being a blank slate with most voters could work in Santorum's advantage as the campaign goes on and voters learn more about the challenger, Borick said.

But Santorum has work to do among seniors and Independents.

Casey leads 38 percent to 28 percent among voters 55 to 64 years old and 42 percent to 30 percent for those 65 and older.

Among Independents, Casey leads 33 percent to 14 percent.

The poll also found mixed results toward the candidates among voters with strong views on abortion.

Both candidates oppose abortion rights. Democrats courted Casey to run in hopes of neutralizing Santorum's advantage with anti-abortion voters. But the strategy also risked turning off abortion-rights supporters, a core Democratic constituency.

The poll found Santorum leading among abortion opponents, 41 percent to 26 percent, with 44 percent undecided.

Conversely, Casey is leading among voters who support abortion rights, 48 percent to 14 percent, with 36 percent undecided.

Borick said the result shows Santorum is the preference of most anti-abortion voters but not dominating the demographic. And while Casey is ahead among abortion-rights supporters, Borick said the numbers don't guarantee that they will be energized by his candidacy to turn out to vote.

Chuck Pennacchio of Bucks County, who is challenging Casey for the nomination, was not named in the poll. Pennacchio, a University of the Arts professor, supports abortion rights.

jeff.miller@mcall.com

202-824-8216 "

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Forward Newspaper: Santorum becomes Embroiled in Child Sex Scandal - What did he do - When did he do it?

Forward Newspaper Online: Philly D.A. Feuds With Church Over Abuse: "News
Philly D.A. Feuds With Church Over Abuse
By E.J. KESSLER
September 30, 2005

Philadelphia's "tough cookie" Jewish district attorney is feuding with the Catholic Church over a report her office issued last week alleging five decades of child sexual abuse by priests in the local archdiocese.

The district attorney, Lynne Abraham, released the 418-page grand jury report, the culmination of a 40-month investigation, at a September 21 press conference. The report did not charge any individual priests with crimes, noting that the statute of limitations had expired, but it described in graphic detail how at least 63 priests and perhaps many more abused "hundreds of child victims." It also charged that a "cover-up" by archdiocese officials at all levels led to abusive priests being "left quietly in place or 'recycled' to unsuspecting new parishes — vastly expanding the number of children who were abused," in addition to hindering prosecutions.

"[I]n its callous, calculating manner, the Archdiocese 'handling' of the abuse scandal was at least as immoral as the abuse itself," the report asserts.

The Philadelphia Archdiocese, at a press conference the same day, pushed back ferociously, with an attorney for the church, William Sasso, calling the report "incredibly biased and anti-Catholic."

The abuse report also is proving embarrassing for Pennsylvania's junior senator, Rick Santorum, a Republican. Santorum, a staunchly conservative Catholic, has spoken out strongly against priest pedophilia in liberal states such as Massachusetts.

In 2002, Santorum published an opinion article claiming, among other things, that the liberalism of the Boston area had contributed to the epidemic of sexual abuse among priests in Massachusetts. "Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture," Santorum wrote in the column, which appeared on the Web site Catholic Online. "When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm."

Last month, Santorum, who is running for reelection next year, defended and amplified those remarks, saying in a television appearance on ABC News's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" that Massachusetts's two liberal Democratic senators, Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, "did nothing" and "sat by and let [the abuse scandal] happen" in their state.

This week, however, the senator had little to say when asked about the Philadelphia scandal. Asked Tuesday to respond to the report from Abraham's office, Santorum's spokesman, Robert Traynham, said that "as a Catholic" the senator was "deeply concerned" about the crimes described in the report. He declined to comment further on the senator's behalf, saying the senator had not read the document.

Jay Rieff, a spokesman for the campaign of Santorum's Democratic opponent, Robert Casey Jr., who also is Catholic, said of the report, "People of all faiths should be deeply troubled. There should be zero tolerance for abuse of any kind."

Elsewhere, the controversy was drawing mixed reactions.

The president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, William Donohue, stopped short of endorsing the archdiocese's claim. "I don't know if the driving force behind the report was anti-Catholicism," he said. Still, he said, "It is sport in certain circles to beat up on the Catholic Church." Abraham, he said, was "grandstanding."

Observers in Pennsylvania said that it was unlikely that the church's charge of anti-Catholicism would stick to Abraham, who, early in her career was dubbed a "tough cookie" by Philadelphia's legendary tough-on-crime mayor, Frank Rizzo. During her 15 years as district attorney, Abraham has earned a reputation as an avid crime fighter and advocate of the death penalty.

G. Terry Madonna, a pollster at Franklin and Marshall College, said the anti-Catholic charge would not gain traction because "the Catholic Church has problems with its own members" on the issue. Abraham, who faces only token Republican opposition in November's election, is unlikely to suffer politically, said Madonna, who is Catholic.

"Does anyone in the church believe the church should not be more vigorous in ferreting out this problem?" Madonna asked. "Politically, it's going to take more than the district attorney to make things happen. It's going to take public officials at all levels to get anything resolved."

In recent years, anti-Catholic charges have figured prominently in the political pushback surrounding some of President Bush's anti-abortion federal judicial picks. In 2003, for example, the head of New York's Conservative party, Michael Long, accused Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, of having "an anti-Catholic bias when it comes to the principles, traditions and beliefs of the Catholic Church." Long said that Schumer wanted to make sure any Catholic "can't advance in the judicial system." Those charges resurfaced in muted form in the jockeying around Bush's nomination of Judge John Roberts for Supreme Court Justice, as conservatives admonished senators to temper their questions about the nominee's abortion views. Several Catholic Democratic lawmakers found themselves fending off charges of anti-Catholic bigotry from conservative activists.

During several recent high profile, religion-laced controversies involving Jews and Catholics, the religious identity of the Jews involved has become an issue. Burt Siegel, the director of Philadelphia's Jewish Community Relations Council, said, however, that he had not heard Abraham's religion brought into any discussion of the report.

Siegel said he is "sympathetic to the profound embarrassment and pain" Catholics feel about charges that the church leadership did not stop the abuse, but that the idea that the report was motivated by anti-Catholic animus did not hold up in light of the fact that many of the grand jury's members were Catholic.

The archdiocese, however, seemed undeterred by the makeup of the jury.

In a 69-page rebuttal to the report from Abraham's office, the church described the grand jury as "inquisitors." The rebuttal also singled out the district attorney for opprobrium, saying her office had "abused its power."

"By focusing only on salacious details and the Catholic Church, the District Attorney does a public disservice in creating the misperception that sexual abuse of minors is a 'Catholic' problem, rather than a social problem," the rebuttal stated. "The sexual abuse of minors is not limited to any one group. Yet, the report does not even mention any other organizations — religious or otherwise — besides the Philadelphia archdiocese."

The archdiocese excoriated the report as the "lopsided" result of a "discriminatory" investigation characterized by "exceptional hostility" and "insidious pre-judgments" that it linked to centuries-old anti-Catholic bigotry.

"The insidious tone and negative assumptions made about the Catholic Church are reminiscent of the days of rampant Know-Nothingism in the 1840s in Philadelphia and elsewhere in the Northeast," according to the rebuttal. In those days, clergy members were killed and churches destroyed in rioting. Interestingly, the second Jew to serve in Congress, Lewis Charles Levin, was a member of the nativist Know-Nothing Party representing Philadelphia. He was tried and found not guilty of inciting a riot.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney said she was not giving any interviews. A spokeswoman for the archdiocese did not return calls seeking comment.

In its 30-page response to the church's rebuttal, Abraham's office asserted that the archdiocese was engaging in "gamesmanship, denial and disparagement of the grand jury process.""

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Santorum Out-Bushes Bush Team on KILLING SOCIAL SECURITY

The Raw Story | White House ire as conservative senator keeps going on Soc. Security: "White House ire as conservative senator keeps going on Soc. Security
RAW STORY

Senator hits White House on failure to sell Social Security plan

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), who has established his credentials as a conservative Republican from a moderate state, is beginning to wear on the White House's patience, according to a report Tuesday in Roll Call, RAW STORY can reveal.

Santorum has been a vitriolic critic of President Bush's now all-but-defeated plan to privatize Social Security. Now, it seems, White House allies are pushing back.

“The president did essentially what [Santorum] was talking about. I don’t know why he’s pinging the White House,” a GOP source with knowledge of the administration’s thinking told the Capitol Hill paper.

The paper's headline? "Santorum Out-Bushes Bush Team on Social Security."

Roll Call notes Santorum told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last week that he didn’t understand Bush’s decision to take on “the sacred cow of the [political] left” so soon after the 2004 election.

“You’ve just defeated your opponent, and you know, you take a 3-iron to the beehive,” he told the Gazette. “You go out there and whack the beehive, and you wonder why all these bees are buzzing around your head. And not only do you whack the beehive, but then you don’t do anything more for two months.”

GOP insiders defended the administration by telling the paper that Bush did hit the ground running after announcing his intent to push Social Security privatization the day after the November 2004 election."

New Poll Shows "Gay Bashing" Santorum On The Ropes

Empire Information Services: News Story: "DC GOP WEBSITE: TIME FOR SANTORUM TO GET OFF THE ROPES, OFF THE DEFENSIVE

By Gordon Hensley, DCspectator.com

WASHINGTON, DC -- (09/27/2005; 0930)(EIS) -- While the news from Iraq, rising gas prices and Hurricane Katrina are all high profile world and national events contributing to President Bush's dip in the polls, another political drama has unfolded over the spring and summer in Pennsylvania: day by day, week by week, and month by month, incumbent GOP Senator Rick Santorum has been sinking in electoral quicksand.

Through a combination of bad political judgment, inept news management, and the failure to articulate a coherent rationale for his reelection, Santorum has made a tough re-election against State Treasurer Bob Casey still more difficult.

To be sure, Santorum and his campaign staff are dealing with a problematic in-state generic political environment that would be cause for concern even if running a flawless campaign. But despite a robust, successful fundraising effort, Santorum has spent the entire summer on the run and on the defensive -- largely of his own making.

Columnist Robert Novak, recently noting the "negative political fallout" from Santorum's new book, "It Takes a Family", summed up the situation by recently reporting, "Republican insiders in Washington fear that Sen. Rick Santorum. is in serious danger of losing his seat next year to his Democratic challenger because of a poorly planned and ill-conceived campaign." And after debating himself in the media for the better part of the summer as to his presidential aspirations, the Senator and his campaign are coming to terms with polling data, from a variety of sources that show Casey hovering close to or slightly above 50%, while Santorum sits between 38-42%.

A private poll conducted for a Pennsylvania business interest over the past two weeks that has not been made public has the race at 45-40%. But the poll's internals are still troubling. Asked what they have read, seen or heard about Santorum, respondents volunteer answers such as "gay bashing," the "anti-Hillary, anti-woman book," "Terry Schiavo," and other emotional, hot button topics that drive opposition intensity.

As his team looks over the political field of play, one of Santorum's most pressing challenges will be to elevate his numbers among GOP and independent-leaning women in the Philadelphia metro area.

Leslie Gromis-Baker, widely regarded as the most seasoned GOP political organizer in Pennsylvania, says "The biggest challenge as well as the biggest opportunity for Rick is to get back southeastern Republicans who have voted Democrat in the last several statewide elections. One thing we learned in Pennsylvania from the 2004 presidential election is that a candidate can get virtually every vote west of Chester County and still lose the state if you lose the Philadelphia media market in a landslide".

Despite the lingering unhappiness and unease among Republicans about Santorum's chances, there is finally a sense the campaign is attempting to turn the corner, and understands "the urgent need to recalibrate," as one DC-based GOP pollster gingerly put it."

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Times-Tribune - News - 09/22/2005 - “scumbag!” Fundraiser featuring Cheney postponed

The Times-Tribune - News - 09/22/2005 - THIS MORNING: "“scumbag!” Fundraiser featuring Cheney postponed

SHAVERTOWN — U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum’s Luzerne County fundraiser with Vice President Dick Cheney has been postponed.

The appearance, set for Friday, was postponed so the vice president could concentrate on helping deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, said John Brabender, spokesman for Mr. Santorum’s re-election campaign. The event will likely take place in mid-October, he said.

The vice president was scheduled to appear at the Shavertown home of Ron and Rhea Simms for the $1,000-a-person fundraiser. Mr. Santorum is the presumptive Republican nominee. The leading Democratic contender is state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr. of Scranton."

The Times-Tribune - Santorum Fundraising Woes Continue - Cheney Postponed

The Times-Tribune - News - 09/22/2005 - THIS MORNING: "Fundraiser featuring Cheney postponed

SHAVERTOWN — U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum’s Luzerne County fundraiser with Vice President Dick Cheney has been postponed.

The appearance, set for Friday, was postponed so the vice president could concentrate on helping deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, said John Brabender, spokesman for Mr. Santorum’s re-election campaign. The event will likely take place in mid-October, he said.

The vice president was scheduled to appear at the Shavertown home of Ron and Rhea Simms for the $1,000-a-person fundraiser. Mr. Santorum is the presumptive Republican nominee. The leading Democratic contender is state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr. of Scranton."

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Under Santorum Gay Bars Fare Better Than Senion Citizens

Pa. Politics: York Pa's Premier Gay Club Got 9/11 Federal Loan - Santorum supports Snowe's efforts: "Local 9/11 loans: $1.3M - York Daily Record: 'It's not apparent how the Velvet Rope, which markets itself as York's 'premier gay club,' was affected by the terrorist attacks or how it used the money. The nightclub was approved for a $410,000 STAR loan.

Chuck Lambert, the Velvet Rope's owner, declined to comment.

The SBA would not answer any questions concerning why the Velvet Rope was approved for a STAR loan."

Santorum Renews Attack on Social Security -The Washington Times,

Social Security reform revisited�-�Nation/Politics�-�The Washington Times, America's Newspaper:

How does Rick Santorum Plan to destroy Social Security. A little bit at a time. JBOC

"Social Security reform revisited
By Amy Fagan
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
September 19, 2005

Sen. Rick Santorum, in an attempt to revive the Social Security debate in the Senate, is pushing a new strategy to combat Democratic criticism and calm seniors' fears by legally guaranteeing that those born before 1950 will receive their promised benefits.
The chairman of the Senate Republican Conference soon will introduce legislation guaranteeing that people 55 and older will receive their monthly Social Security benefit check and an annual cost-of-living adjustment.
"It's basically a bill that attempts to take a step towards resolving uncertainty," the Pennsylvania Republican said. "No more scaring seniors. It's in the law."
President Bush has promised that his Social Security proposal wouldn't affect people 55 and older, and congressional Republicans have followed suit. But Democrats and outside groups such as the AARP have proven to be powerful adversaries.
Republicans haven't been able to win that public relations battle, so Mr. Santorum's bill aims to assure seniors that their benefits won't be cut.
Mr. Santorum said his bill will allow the debate to move forward. "I think we clear a political hurdle," he said.
His idea is to combine it with a bill from Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, that would create voluntary Social Security private accounts for individuals using the system's current surplus.
Mr. DeMint said the bills are "two simple first steps" and that combining them is good strategy.
The bills are narrower than Mr. Bush's proposal, which would allow workers to divert 4 percent of a person's Social Security payroll tax into an individual account.
Critics of Republican efforts said Mr. Santorum's new bill wouldn't stop future Congresses from simply changing the law, so it doesn't really protect anything. And they said seniors have rejected Republicans' private-accounts idea largely because they feel it will be bad for their children and grandchildren.
"Tinkering around the edges isn't going to change people's minds," said David Certner, director of federal affairs at AARP.
Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, said the new bill doesn't change the fact that private accounts would weaken the system and eventually cause deep benefit cuts, massive debt increases, or both.
"The Republicans keep trying new gimmicks to save their flawed privatization scheme, but the American people will not be fooled," he said.
Sen. George V. Voinovich, Ohio Republican, will add yet another bill to the mix today when he introduces a Social Security lockbox measure.
One glitch for Mr. Santorum's bill could be the White House -- a Santorum aide said they were told the White House would oppose it.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, California Republican, is scheduled to attend Mr. Santorum's Social Security task force meeting this week. Mr. Thomas is crafting a broad retirement-security package that is likely to include a proposal similar to Mr. DeMint's accounts bill."

Monday, September 19, 2005

"Katrina Classic" Campaign Fundraiser Golf Tournement

Friday, Aug. 26: Gov. Kathleen Blanco declares a state of emergency in Louisiana and requests troop assistance.

Saturday, Aug. 27: Gov. Blanco asks for federal state of emergency. A federal emergency is declared giving federal officials the authority to get involved.

Sunday, Aug. 28: Mayor Ray Nagin orders mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. President Bush warned of Levee failure by National Hurricane Center. National Weather Service predicts area will be "uninhabitable" after Hurricane arrives. First reports of water toppling over the levee appear in local paper.

Monday, Aug. 29: Levee breaches and New Orleans begins to fill with water, Bush travels to Arizona and California to discuss Medicare. FEMA chief finally responds to federal emergency, dispatching employees but giving them two days to arrive on site.

Tuesday, Aug. 30: Mass looting reported, security shortage cited in New Orleans. Pentagon says that local authorities have adequate National Guard units to handle hurricane needs despite governor's earlier request. Bush returns to Crawford for final day of vacation. TV coverage is around-the-clock Hurricane news. Ricky Santorum Hosts the "Katrina Classic" Campaign Fundraiser Golf Tournement

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Philadelphia Inquirer | Santorum's Sleazy Fund-Raising - Terri Schiavo Death Watch Fundraiser and Hurricane Katrina Golf Tournament

Philadelphia Inquirer | 09/18/2005 | Katrina forced candidates to cut fund-raising: "Duffy was referring to Santorum's March trip to Florida, when he prayed with Terri Schiavo supporters outside her hospice. He canceled a Social Security town hall meeting in deference to Schiavo's family but was criticized by Democrats for attending his fund-raisers.

Bickhart said Santorum began assessing the fund-raising landscape Aug. 30, as the situation in New Orleans grew more dire. The campaign went ahead that day with a Pittsburgh golf tournament that collected $225,000 but decided to pull two mailings to 47,000 donors and stop ongoing national calls. One of the mailings was sent last week.

The campaign expects to raise $1.65 million by close of the quarter Sept. 30, Bickhart said, much less than the $3.5 million from the last report.

"The third quarter is sluggish," Bickhart said, adding that Santorum took two weeks for vacation and another two weeks to promote his book, It Takes a Family. "We were counting on September. But there is no way to predict Katrina.""

York Pa's Premier Gay Club Got 9/11 Federal Loan - Santorum supports Snowe’s efforts

Local 9/11 loans: $1.3M - York Daily Record: "It’s not apparent how the Velvet Rope, which markets itself as York’s “premier gay club,” was affected by the terrorist attacks or how it used the money. The nightclub was approved for a $410,000 STAR loan.

Chuck Lambert, the Velvet Rope’s owner, declined to comment.

The SBA would not answer any questions concerning why the Velvet Rope was approved for a STAR loan.

“I cannot sit, three years later, without paperwork and justify the loan,” said Michael Stamler, spokesman for the SBA’s Washington, D.C., office. The SBA’s database did not include the banks that made the STAR loans."

Iranians to weave world�s largest carpet for UAE mosque

Iranians to weave world�s largest carpet for UAE mosque: "Iranians to weave world’s largest carpet for UAE mosque
TEHRAN, Sept. 18 (MNA) -- Iranians are to weave the world’s largest hand-woven carpet for the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque in Abu Dhabi, the Persian service of the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on Sunday.
The weaving contract was signed between the managing director of Iran’s Carpet Company, Mohammad Ali Karimi, and the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Municipalities and Agriculture Department, Khalfan Gaith Al Muherbi, in the presence of Dr. Mohammadali Hadi, the Iranian ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, and some Iranian and UAE officials.

About 1000 skilled weavers will weave the 6000-square-meter carpet in three carpet workshops in Khorasan Razavi Province, Karimi said.

“The carpet will take two years to complete,” he added.

He stated that five Iranian traditional flower patterns in 25 colors will be woven on the carpet, which will require 15 tons of cotton and 30 tons of wool.

Karimi explained that the carpet is to be woven in 15 separate parts, which will be woven together after being transferred to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.

“It is estimated that the carpet will weigh about 45 tons,” he noted.

Iran’s Carpet Company produces over 50,000 square meters of carpets each year, exporting about 50 percent of them.

The company previously wove a 4343-square-meter carpet for the Sultan Qaboos Mosque in Muscat, Oman."

Philadelphia Inquirer | 09/18/2005 | Santorum's fund-raising Slows (as his poll numbers plummet)

Philadelphia Inquirer | 09/18/2005 | Katrina forced candidates to cut fund-raising: "Posted on Sun, Sep. 18, 2005

Katrina forced candidates to cut fund-raising
By Carrie Budoff
Inquirer Staff Writer
U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum stood to earn almost $300,000 tomorrow on a three-stop fund-raising tour.

The problem is, the Pennsylvania Republican's reelection campaign would have collected the cash in the hurricane-ravaged South, starting with breakfast at a downtown New Orleans restaurant followed by lunch in Austin and an evening reception in Houston.

"They have a lot going on over there," said Robert Bickhart, Santorum's finance director. "The last thing we need is to be taking major donor money."

Just as campaigning and fund-raising slowed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, politics has not proceeded as usual while Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama rebound from Hurricane Katrina and the rest of the country, particularly Texas, appears focused on recovery.

Although his leading Democratic opponent has not changed his fund-raising schedule, Santorum postponed events, including one Friday with Vice President Cheney, and halted direct-mail and phone solicitations. The campaign's estimated loss tops $1 million, accounting for more than a third of what Santorum expected to collect in the last three months, Bickhart said.

Santorum resumed fund-raising Friday with a Harrisburg luncheon, a Lancaster baseball game, and a Philadelphia reception, Bickhart said.

Other candidates and political committees across the country have taken similar steps, curtailing political activity out of respect or, in the case of Santorum's New Orleans fund-raiser, necessity. The senator was to have joined U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R., La.) at a downtown club, which remains closed with the rest of the city.

Cheney postponed a fund-raising appearance Monday with Sen. Jim Talent (R., Mo.), and Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R., R.I.) canceled an event Sept. 9 with Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. Last week, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush questioned why state legislators were holding fund-raisers as evacuees were pouring into the state and Americans were being asked to fund the recovery effort.

The Pennsylvania Republican Committee suspended its telemarketing calls, as did the national Republican senatorial and congressional committees. The Democratic National Committee canceled its meeting in Phoenix last weekend.

Democrat Robert P. Casey Jr. has not slowed his fund-raising. He collected more than $500,000 at a private Philadelphia luncheon Monday with Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.) and traveled to events in Pittsburgh and New York in the last two weeks. He will attend a dozen more before the Sept. 30 fund-raising deadline, said Jay Reiff, Casey's campaign manager.

"The vast majority of our fund-raising is taking place in Pennsylvania and in areas not affected by the floods," Reiff said. "We are certainly not doing any fund-raising in the areas impacted."

John Brabender, Santorum's media consultant, still questioned Casey's decision to continue raising money.

"The Santorum campaign made the good judgment to suspend fund-raising during this time, while the Casey campaign not only continued fund-raising, it even tried to profit off the Katrina disaster," Brabender said.

Last week, Santorum denounced the Casey campaign for an e-mail to supporters that criticized the senator for remarks he made about the hurricane and included an Internet link to a fund-raising page. Casey denied that the e-mail was a contribution pitch.

Reiff, dismissing the criticism, said: "I would question whether they were using the hurricane as an excuse for a lackluster fund-raising quarter."

Reiff referenced a Sept. 9 Santorum e-mail alerting potential donors of the Houston event, a sign the campaign was still trying to build support for the fund-raiser 10 days after Katrina hit. Reiff also asked whether the cancellation of Cheney's scheduled fund-raiser in Wilkes-Barre on Friday had more to do with elective surgery he's scheduled to undergo that weekend.

Bickhart said the hurricane forced Cheney to cancel, and the Sept. 9 e-mail simply reflects how the decision to postpone the Texas events evolved over time.

"If I am Santorum, I err on the side of caution," said Jennifer Duffy, a Senate analyst with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. "An incumbent will always be held to a higher standard in times of crisis. Given some recent history for Santorum, I think Democrats would seize upon this immediately."

Duffy was referring to Santorum's March trip to Florida, when he prayed with Terri Schiavo supporters outside her hospice. He canceled a Social Security town hall meeting in deference to Schiavo's family but was criticized by Democrats for attending his fund-raisers.

Bickhart said Santorum began assessing the fund-raising landscape Aug. 30, as the situation in New Orleans grew more dire. The campaign went ahead that day with a Pittsburgh golf tournament that collected $225,000 but decided to pull two mailings to 47,000 donors and stop ongoing national calls. One of the mailings was sent last week.

The campaign expects to raise $1.65 million by close of the quarter Sept. 30, Bickhart said, much less than the $3.5 million from the last report.

"The third quarter is sluggish," Bickhart said, adding that Santorum took two weeks for vacation and another two weeks to promote his book, It Takes a Family. "We were counting on September. But there is no way to predict Katrina."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Contact staff writer Carrie Budoff at 610-313-8211 or cbudoff@phillynews.com."

Saturday, September 17, 2005

TheWGALChannel.com - News - Latest On-LinePoll Numbers Bob Casey 70% - Rick Santorum 30%

TheWGALChannel.com - News - Santorum Talks To News 8 About Katrina, Upcoming Election "
Who would you vote for?
Choice Votes Percentage
Rick Santorum 30%
Bob Casey 70%
Thank you for voting in our WGAL survey.
"

Robert D. Novak: Senate Republicans DO NOT SUPPORT SANTORUM

Santorum Defense League: "by Robert D. Novak
Santorum Defense League
September 17, 2005 12:01 AM EST

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Elizabeth Dole, the Senate Republican campaign chairman, has assigned fellow Republicans to defend Sen. Rick Santorum from increasingly harsh Democratic attacks on the floor as he faces a tough re-election in Pennsylvania.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy have led political attacks on Santorum that formerly would not have been possible in a less combative Senate. Sen. Hillary Clinton has sniped at Santorum's new book, "It Takes a Family."

Although Santorum is third ranking in the party's Senate hierarchy as Republican Conference chairman, his colleagues have not risen to support him. Under Dole's plan, a designated Republican senator will take the floor in Santorum's defense whenever needed."

Friday, September 16, 2005

Philadelphia Daily News | Latest Poll Shows Growing Santorum Weakness

Philadelphia Daily News | 09/16/2005 | Disapproving state: "Posted on Fri, Sep. 16, 2005

Disapproving state
Rendell, Santorum lagging in new poll
By DAVE DAVIES
daviesd@phillynews.com

THE VOTERS are restless.

The latest Daily News/CN8 Keystone Poll finds Pennsylvanians economically stressed and angry about legislative pay raises, resulting in weak numbers for Gov. Rendell and U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum as they seek re-election, and wretched ratings for President Bush.

"There's a real uneasiness out there," said poll director Terry Madonna at Franklin & Marshall College. "Whether this translates into a full-scale anti-incumbent revolt is unclear, but if you're an officeholder, you have to look at this with a wary eye."

Among the polls findings:

• The news is worst for Santorum, who now trails his Democratic challenger, state treasurer Bob Casey, 50 percent to 37 percent.

"He's gone from a margin of one point, to seven, to 13 just this year," Madonna said. "That's moving in the wrong direction for an incumbent, and that's as he's been speaking out on a lot controversial issues."

"His seat is now in jeopardy," Madonna said."

WorldNetDaily: Santorum. Who's to blame? The victims! Katrina Heartless Awards

WorldNetDaily: Katrina brings out the best ... and the worst!: "But the heartless grand prize goes to Pennsylvania's Sen. Rick Santorum. Who's to blame? The victims! "I mean, you have people who don't heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings," said cruel Little Ricky. "There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out." Way to go. No car? No money to buy a bus ticket? Throw them in jail! "

WGAL - News - Pa. Voter Poll - Casey UP Santorum Down, Swan UP Screanton Showing Weekness - Rendell Steady

TheWGALChannel.com - News - Pennsylvania Voter Poll Shows President Slipping, Senate Race Heating Up: "Pennsylvania Voter Poll Shows President Slipping, Senate Race Heating Up

POSTED: 2:53 pm EDT September 15, 2005
UPDATED: 4:09 pm EDT September 15, 2005

The following is a poll of 1,200 likely voters in Pennsylvania over 18 years of age. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 points. It was conducted Sept. 10 to 12 by Strategic Vision LLC.

The following information is for the exclusive use of WGAL and thewgalchannel.com until 7 a.m. Friday morning. Copying is prohibited.

Presidential Issues

The results of the poll showed that 39% of those polled approved of President Bush’s overall job performance, with 51% disapproving and 10% undecided. When asked to rate the President’s handling of the economy, 40% approved; 50% disapproved; and 10% were undecided. On the issue of Iraq, the poll found 47% approved of the President’s handling; with 45% disapproving; and 8% undecided. On the issue of Hurricane Katrina, 35% approved of the President’s handling of the response to Hurricane Katrina; 55% disapproved; and 10% were undecided.

Pa. Senate Race

In the United States Senate race, which is expected to be one of the most competitive in the nation, the poll found that 45% approved of Sen. Rick Santorum’s job performance; 40% disapproved; and 15% were undecided. In a match-up against potential Democratic nominee Robert Casey, Jr., Santorum trails, 52% to 38%; 3% for another candidate with 7% undecided.

Rendell's Standing

The poll showed that 46% of the respondents approved of Governor Ed Rendell’s job performance; with 40% disapproving; and 14% undecided.

When Republican voters were asked their choice to challenge Rendell, 39% selected former Pittsburgh Steeler player, Lynn Swann; 30% selected former Lieutenant Governor Bill Scranton; 10% selected State Senator Jeff Piccola; and 21% were undecided.

In a match-up between Governor Rendell and Swann, the results were Rendell 48%; Swann 43%; and 9% undecided. In a match-up between Rendell and Scranton, the results were Rendell 47%; Scranton 42%; and 11% undecided. In a match-up between Rendell and Piccola, the results were Rendell 50%; Piccola 34%; and 16% undecided.

Roe V. Wade

When asked if they wanted to see the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, 39% said yes; 56% said no; and 5% were undecided.

Iraq

When asked if they would support an immediate withdrawal of United States troops from Iraq, 34% said yes; 57% said no; and 9% were undecided.

Expecting A Terrorist Attack

When asked if they expect a terrorist attack within the United States in the near future, 55% said yes, 28% said no; and 17% were undecided.

Specter's Approval

Pennsylvania’s senior Senator Arlen Specter received a 52% job approval; with 35% disapproving; and 13% undecided.

Rendell For Prez?

When asked if they want Gov. Rendell to run for President, 11% said yes; 50% said no; and 39% were undecided. When asked if they want Senator Santorum to run for President in 2008, 9% said yes; 56% said no; and 35% were undecided.

Drawing Party Lines

When Democrats were asked their choices for President in 2008, the results were New York Senator Hillary Clinton 40%; former Vice President Al Gore, 17%; Massachusetts Senator John Kerry 10%; former North Carolina Senator John Edwards 6%; Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell 5%; Delaware Senator Joe Biden 3%; former General Wesley Clark 3%; Virginia Governor Mark Warner 2%; Indiana Senator Evan Bayh 1%; New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson 1%; Iowa Governor Tom Vilsak 1%; Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold 1%; California Senator Barbara Boxer 1%; and 9% undecided.

On the Republican side, the choices for President in 2008 were former New York Mayor Rudy Guliani 41%; Arizona Senator John McCain 27%; Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist 6%; Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney 4%; Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum 3%; New York Governor George Pataki 3%; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich 3%; Virginia Senator George Allen 1%; Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel 1%; and 11% undecided.

When asked if they would like to see Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice run for President in 2008, 39% said yes; 30% said no; and 31% were undecided.

With Rice included in the Republican field the results were, on the Republican side, the choices for President in 2008 were former New York Mayor Rudy Guliani 37%; Arizona Senator John McCain 22%; Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice 12%; Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist 5%; Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum 3%; New York Governor George Pataki 2%; Governor Mitt Romney 2%; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich 2%; Virginia Senator George Allen 1%; Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel 1%; and 13% undecided.

Pa. Right Way?

When asked if they thought Pennsylvania was going in the right direction, 38% said right; 49% said wrong; and 13% were undecided."

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Santorum Backs AIDS Scam - calls Aids part of "War on Terror"

U2 Neophobia - U2 Vertigo Tour 2005: "The Millennium Challenge Account, announced with such fanfare, now proceeded to sink to the bottom of the administration's priority list. Only in early 2004, two years from the announcement, did the president sign the law creating the body. The first executive director, Paul Applegarth, was a complete unknown who impressed scarcely anyone. Congress appropriated only $1.3 billion for the first year and $1.5 billion for the second. This year President Bush asked for $3 billion rather than the $5 billion he had once promised; and Congress may appropriate little more than half that. Why should legislators do otherwise? Since the corporation has disbursed a grand total of $400,000 to date, there's no evidence that it works.

Administration officials and legislators give various explanations, none terribly persuasive, for the dilatory pace. Senator Rick Santorum, who has been one of Bono's key conservative allies, says that he has tried to persuade White House officials that the M.C.A. is "part of our war on terror" and should be financed accordingly. But when Santorum tries to push the budget director, Joshua Bolten, he says, he hears "the 'Jerry Maguire' answer: 'Show me the money.' " Bolten is another White House Friend of Bono, and he, too, speaks of aid as "an integral part of the national-security strategy." But when I asked him what happened to the Millennium Challenge Account, he said that it fell between budget cycles."

Casey widens gap over Santorum to 14 points (Little Ricky Starting to Crumble)

Casey widens gap over Santorum to 14 points: "Casey widens gap over Santorum to 14 points
By Peter Savodnik

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) is losing ground to his Democratic challenger, state Treasurer Bob Casey, a GOP poll to be released today shows.

The Strategic Vision survey, conducted Saturday through Monday, gives Casey a 14-point lead over the second-term senator, with the Democrat at 52 percent and the Republican at 38 percent. Seven percent of the 1,200 likely voters interviewed were undecided.

A poll released in early August by the same firm showed Casey leading Santorum by 11 points.

As more people have heard about Santorum’s book, It Takes a Family, and as the senator has come under attack for comments he made about Hurricane Katrina, a negative impression has begun to congeal, Strategic Vision CEO David Johnson said.

“The good thing for him is it’s happening now,” Johnson said.

Johnson suggested the Santorum campaign hone its message, stressing tax cuts and less government regulation, and shift the public’s attention away from the senator and toward Casey, who has said little about his own positions so far.

Johnson also reiterated a point that Santorum campaign aides, who have taken to calling Casey “Bobby,” seem to agree with: The senator must distinguish between Casey Jr. and his father, the late two-term governor whose legacy remains a fixture in Pennsylvania politics.

“A lot of people are mistaking Robert Casey for his father,” Johnson said.

Santorum’s media consultant, John Brabender, warned against paying too much attention to polls 14 months shy of the election, given the daily and weekly fluctuations of the news cycle. He added that the senator’s campaign has yet to run a television ad and that it just hired its campaign manager, Vince Galko, a former executive director of the Pennsylvania Republican Party.

Many Republicans are voicing confidence in Santorum.

Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.), whose 3rd District encompasses Erie, in the northwestern corner of the state, said the senator spent the August recess laying the groundwork for his campaign, raising money and meeting with activists in hard-to-reach communities.

English also dismissed concerns, raised by many Republicans in Washington, that Santorum’s book — called a celebration of the traditional family by fans and a misogynistic rant by foes — would jeopardize his campaign, particularly in suburban, swing districts.

But English, with Daniel Daub, chairman of the Republican Party of Schuylkill County, a critical battleground in eastern-central Pennsylvania, did suggest President Bush might be creating problems for Santorum.

“We have to watch that very closely,” Daub said of the president’s poll numbers. “I still believe in the president. I think he’s doing a great job, but I do think there will be some correlation” between Bush’s support and Santorum’s.

The Strategic Vision poll gives President Bush a 39 percent overall job approval rating, with 51 percent disapproving and 10 percent undecided. Forty percent of respondents back Bush’s stewardship of the economy, and 35 percent support his handling of Katrina.

English said Pennsylvanians have at times been ticket splitters, citing the reelection of Republican Sen. Richard Schweiker in 1974, the same year Democratic Gov. Milton Shapp (D) coasted to reelection and President Nixon was forced to resign over Watergate.

Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.), whose Philadelphia-area 6th District will be home to one of the few competitive races next year, added that Santorum’s flagging poll numbers are hardly cause for concern in his own race.

“I think voters are very discerning,” Gerlach said. “They’re going to look at each office that’s up for election. … I don’t think there’s coattail effects one way or the other.”

Casey’s campaign manager, Jay Reiff, meanwhile, attributed Santorum’s summer slide to the “stupid things” he’s been saying — most recently, criticizing hurricane victims for not having left New Orleans before the storm.

He also dismissed GOP officials who say Casey is running a negative campaign devoid of substance. “We adhere to the rule that if your opponent is digging a hole, you don’t take away his shovel,” Reiff said.

While Democrats say they are unlikely to raise as much money as Santorum, they add that they will have enough to compete next year. Reiff declined to say how much cash Casey would have in the bank by Sept. 30, the end of the third quarter. But he did note that the Democrat reeled in more than $500,000 at a fundraiser Monday featuring Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), and he said the campaign is planning a series of fundraisers in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Scranton.

Brabender, Santorum’s media consultant, said that as the media spotlight is trained on Casey the candidate’s numbers would begin to slip. Dan Ronayne, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), recalled that Casey had been 17 points ahead of Ed Rendell in the Democratic gubernatorial primary in 2002 but that Rendell ultimately beat Casey by 12 points. “So polls this far out obviously don’t mean much,” Ronayne said.

Still, the Casey campaign is content to be ahead — and pulling away from Santorum. “This is going to be a long campaign,” Reiff said. “From a challenger’s standpoint, it’s better to be ahead than behind, but we’re not going to rest on our laurels.”"

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Philadelphia Inquirer | 09/11/2005 | Tom Ferrick Jr. | Santorum barks but has no bite

Philadelphia Inquirer | 09/11/2005 | Tom Ferrick Jr. | Santorum barks but has no bite: "Posted on Sun, Sep. 11, 2005

Tom Ferrick Jr. | Santorum barks but has no bite
By Tom Ferrick Jr.
Inquirer Columnist
I hope Sen. Rick Santorum's staff isn't still trolling LexisNexis for their boss, looking for quotes where he questioned the Bush administration's policy in Iraq.

If they are, I wish them bon voyage, because they ain't coming back.

LexisNexis is a splendiferous online database that contains an ocean of information: the contents of hundreds of newspapers, magazines, specialty journals, legal briefs, transcripts of TV news shows, congressional hearings, etc.

Santorum sent his staff scurrying there last month after he was criticized by Bob Casey Jr., his Democratic opponent in next year's Senate race in Pennsylvania.

Casey (gently) chided the Republican incumbent for not using his leadership position in the Senate to ask "tough questions" of the Bush administration about the conflict in Iraq.

Not true! Santorum replied.

He had been generally supportive of the Bush policy in Iraq, he said, but had expressed concerns about aspects of it "publicly and privately."

Trouble was, no one could find those statements. Not the Casey campaign. Not the reporters who went looking. Not even Santorum's staff after days of LexisNexis diving.

Santorum's response to this?

"I do a lot of interviews on TV, on radio, with print reporters who don't happen to write everything I say. The fact that it hasn't turned up in print doesn't mean I haven't said it."

Can you hear me now?

Which opens up these possibilities:

One. Maybe he was out of cell phone range when he said it and no one could pick it up.

Two. Maybe he thought he said it, but only dreamed it. (That's happened to me. Has it happened to you?)

Three. Maybe he said it, but reporters who heard it thought: a Senate GOP leader criticizing the administration on Iraq? That's not news.

Four. Maybe he never made any critical statements but didn't want to admit it because he would look like an administration lapdog. Weef! Weef!

You pick one.

Finally, LexisNexis came through. Santorum's staff found a statement he made in 2004 in response to reporters' questions about a decision to turn over security in Fallujah to poorly trained Iraqi troops after U.S. troops had taken the city.

"There are concerns - I have concerns - about tactics and decisions that were made," Santorum said. "I think you'll find a lot of Republicans who are very willing to second-guess our tactics in Fallujah, for example."

He added: "And, in my opinion, it was not the right call, but you know what? That's not my decision."

Weef! Weef!

John Brabender, Santorum's media consultant, said: "This shows he is not afraid to stand up to the administration, or to say things could be better."

Ruff 'n Tuff

I'm not making that up. Brabender really said that.

Santorum's problem here is a political one. He has supported the administration's policy in Iraq and has not criticized any significant aspect of it. In short, he has been a loyal soldier.

But he faces a tough reelection campaign. He sees the opinion polls that show the public turning against the war. He knows others have raised legitimate questions over strategy, tactics and progress of the war.

So he's doing the waffle.

If it were Arlen Specter, we'd all shrug and say: Well, what else is new?

But this is Rick Santorum, the guy who has made his rep as a no-nonsense, straight-talker.

There's no mistaking Santorum's usual style, his take-no-prisoners prose. Want a sample?

Here's a Santorum statement criticizing the President for "once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell Congress how much this operation will cost. And, he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home."

That's not Santorum on Bush and Iraq in 2005. It's Santorum on Clinton and Kosovo in 1999.

But that was then, this is now.

Weef! Weef!"