Sunday, October 30, 2005


Groucho parrots the wrong song - "SCRANTON, SWANN SHORE UP STAFF. Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Scranton has tapped Pittsburgh attorney John Pierce to be his campaign manager.

Pierce, 33, is affiliated with the Downtown law firm Cohen & Grigsby. He was the Republican nominee for Allegheny County treasurer in 2003, losing to Democrat incumbent John Weinstein.

We're betting Pierce's taking on this task severely crimps his close friendship with one Ray Zaborney. He happens to be the campaign manager for Scranton's top rival for the GOP nomination next year, former Steelers great Lynn Swann.

Speaking of Swann, the campaign has added Trip Oliver, a one-time aide to former Allegheny County Chief Executive Jim Roddey, as Southwestern Pennsylvania political director."

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Santorum Hiding on Face of Libby Indictment - Rick has ties to Republican Corruption

Democrats pound GOP for a culture of corruption: "Democrats pound GOP for a culture of corruption
Saturday, October 29, 2005

By Maeve Reston, Post-Gazette National Bureau
WASHINGTON -- As Republicans urged Americans to withhold judgment on the indictment yesterday of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff I. Lewis Libby, Democratic leaders used the five-count indictment to make the broader case that the Republican Party is mired in a culture of corruption and that the Bush administration has not been truthful with the American people.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., Congressional Democrats and Howard Dean, chairman of Democratic National Committee, immediately sought to draw out the links between Mr. Libby's alleged crimes and what they view as the faulty intelligence the Bush administration used to justify its invasion of Iraq.

Mr. Libby's indictment on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements were all in the context of his attempts to find out information about a critic of the Bush administration's rationale for the war, former U.S. ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. Mr. Libby disclosed to reporters that Mr. Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA, according to the indictment.

Mr. Kerry said the indictment and the continuing investigation of White House senior adviser Karl Rove are evidence of "corruption at the very highest levels, far from the 'honor and dignity' the president pledged to restore to Washington just five years ago."

As an architect of the Iraq war, Mr. Kerry said Mr. Libby "used access to national security information not as weapons against our nation's enemies, but as weapons against someone who dared to ask tough questions of a dishonest policy."

"Not only was America misled into war, but a Nixonian effort to silence dissent has now left Americans wondering whether they can trust anything this administration has to say," Mr. Kerry said.

Mr. Dean said the indictment showed "an abuse of public trust" and illustrated that Americans need to hold their leaders "to a higher standard."

"We can't ignore the glaring questions this case has raised about the rationale the Bush administration used to send us to war in Iraq," said Mr. Dean, noting that more than 2,000 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq as of this week.

The Libby indictment comes at a difficult time for a White House struggling with sinking poll numbers for its handling of the war -- but it also is just the latest in a string of legal troubles for top Republican officials.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been accused of money laundering and conspiracy in relation to a campaign finance case in Texas. Officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission, along with federal attorneys in New York, are investigating whether Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist had any insider information when he ordered the sale of his stock holdings in the company his family founded, HCA Inc., just before their value fell earlier this year. Both Mr. DeLay and Mr. Frist have said they are innocent.

Many Republican senators and congressmen were largely silent yesterday; those who released statements noted the seriousness of the charges but urged a presumption of innocence for Mr. Libby. But others including Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., appeared to be keeping their distance from a weakened White House yesterday.

Mr. Fitzgerald did not announce the indictments yesterday until after many lawmakers had left town for the weekend -- meaning they were safely out of reach of reporters. Aides to Frist, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and House Majority Whip Roy Blunt -- the Missouri Republican who became interim House Majority Leader after Mr. DeLay was indicted in late September -- all said the leaders would have no comment.

In fact, the top House Republican to release a statement appeared to be Jack Kingston, R-Ga., who is vice-chairman of the House Republican conference and was aboard Air Force II with Mr. Cheney.

Mr. Kingston, along with other Republicans including U.S. Rep. Melissa Hart, R-Bradford Woods, said Mr. Libby's resignation was the right thing to do. Mr. Kingston said "the vice president and the White House can now move forward."

A spokesman for Mr. Santorum, who is chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said the senator was unavailable for questions because he was traveling.

Mr. Santorum, who is facing a difficult re-election campaign that could be compounded by the problems of the Bush administration, released a decidedly neutral statement saying any indictment was "a serious matter" and that he had confidence the legal system would provide a "thorough review of the facts and evidence and render a fair and deliberative decision in this case."

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., also would not agree to be interviewed. He said in a statement that Americans "should not forget that a person is still presumed to be innocent even after being indicted."

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman issued a statement criticizing the Democrats: "While some Democrats have acted irresponsibly in regards to this matter from the beginning, the president and Republicans in Congress have and will continue to focus on the American people's priorities: strengthening the economy, winning the War on Terror, lowering energy costs and improving our schools."

But that was not the view of Democrats like U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Swissvale, who said the confluence of troubles had "stripped [Republicans] of the ability to govern" and provided Democrats with an opportunity.

"We have a vacuum in leadership right now in this country," he said. "And it's incumbent on the Democratic Party is to move forward and give Americans a clear picture of what this will look like under new leadership."

(Maeve Reston can be reached at 202-488-3479 or"

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Sentinel Online : Santorum Looks Weak at the Cumberland/Dauphin Republican Committee Fall Dinner

The Sentinel Online : Local News: "Santorum in for ‘tough’ fight

By John Hilton, October 27, 2005

If Wednesday’s appearance at the Cumberland/Dauphin Republican Committee Fall Dinner is any indication, U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., is prepared for the fight of his life.

While never mentioning his probable opponent by name, Santorum acknowledged, “This is going to be a tough one.” Early polls show Santorum is a 15-point underdog to state Treasurer Robert P. Casey, a Democrat, for the 2006 general election — still 13 months away.

Santorum is already in full campaign mode. “I’ve worked and I’ve accomplished,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. ... This race is going to be the biggest race in the United States of America.”

Barclay sends plane

Wednesday was a work day in the Senate for Santorum, who made five votes on bills that were scheduled at 4:15 p.m. Cumberland County Commissioner Bruce Barclay saved the day by sending his private plane to ferry Santorum to the dinner at the Radisson Penn Harris Hotel and Conference Center.

A 15-minute film prior to Santorum’s remarks fired up the crowd with images of past comeback victories by the senator over U.S. Rep. Doug Walgren, D-18, in 1990 and Sen. Harris Wofford, D-Pa., in 1994.

Santorum, who seeks a third Senate term, wasted no time going after Casey. The two appeared together last week for the first time as candidates at the annual meeting of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. They did not appear side-by-side, but gave separate speeches to the group.

“He says he wants to raise taxes,” Santorum said Wednesday. “I know he’s told us he’s some sort of new Democrat, but that doesn’t sound like a new Democrat to me. He says he wants to increase taxes on the wealthy and we know what he means by ‘the wealthy’ — everybody who pays taxes.”

Speaking in Philadelphia, Casey delivered an economic plan that included more funding for the Small Business Administration and the repeal of tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. He said Washington decision-makers, including Santorum and the Bush administration, are fiscally irresponsible and too focused on ideology rather than the economy.

Santorum said he did not think it made sense to tax small business owners to fund the Small Business Administration.

Casey low-key

Casey has made very few public appearances this summer and surged in the polls. Meanwhile, Santorum’s popularity nosedived after he went on a state speaking tour in support of Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security — an unpopular plan that appears dead.

A Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University poll last week had Santorum, a two-term incumbent, lagging 18 points behind Casey, the son of the popular late governor.

Santorum, the No. 3 Senate Republican, said he has visited every county in Pennsylvania in his 11 years in the Senate and has delivered for the state on issues ranging from farm preservation to poverty. “I have a record of accomplishments that I will match with anyone,” he said.

Accomplishments cited

Barclay cited the senator’s work on the federal transportation bill passed this summer. The $286 billion bill initially made Pennsylvania a “donor state,” getting 97 cents back for every dollar it contributed. Santorum said he filibustered the bill until he got Pennsylvania between $1.13 and $1.19 for every dollar of federal gas tax it collects through 2009."

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Times Leader | 10/22/2005 | Only 200 Show For Cheney's Visit - For some people it was nothing more than a headache.

Times Leader | 10/22/2005 | Cheney�s visit causes a stir: "Vice president in Jackson Twp.

Cheney’s visit causes a stir

He was in the area Friday for Sen. Rick Santorum’s $1,000-a-head fund-raiser.


“They went by too fast.”

Mary Nice Cheney observer

JACKSON TWP. – For some people it was nothing more than a headache.

As Vice President Dick Cheney was ushered to a $1,000-a-head fund-raiser for U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, traffic snarled.

Led by a phalanx of motorcycle cops on cream-colored Harley Davidsons, Cheney’s motorcade swerved off of Route 309 onto Sutton Road. A pale hand waved from behind the tinted glass of the second of two black limos.

“Excuse me,” said a woman from the driver’s side window of her truck. “You know what’s going on? I got off 81 and like every exit is blocked.”

The disrupted traffic had disrupted her day, and she was taking five in the parking lot of the Sheetz gas station.

A fund-raiser?

“Oh I got an invitation to that. I’m not going,” she said. “You had to come up with like $1,000.”

Even after the limos, SUVs and police cars cleared the intersection and the traffic light flashed green, cars stood still.

A man yelled from his pickup, “What’s going on?”

The vice president?

Leaning halfway out the window, Dave Hook made a hand gesture indicating he couldn’t care less.

It was just after 11 a.m. and Hook was halfway between Noxen and his job in Wilkes-Barre. He was wearing a tie. He was smoking a small cigar. And he was late.

“I was supposed to be at work like half an hour ago.”

For others it was nothing more than a spectacle.

Bernie and Andrea didn’t have to be at work. They stood near Sutton Road waiting for the road show to pass them by.

The married couple – they declined to give their last names – were on the first a day of a vacation. They weren’t going anywhere, just kicking around the house.

Then they heard vice presidential chatter on their police scanner.

They had a passing interest in Cheney, but they were more captivated by the sight of it all.

“This is the stuff we like to see,” Bernie said pointing to the cops stopping traffic.

“It’s amazing to see how one human being can create so much …,” he trailed off searching for a word.

The low thump-thump-thumping of a helicopter briefly preceded the motorcade.

“Here it comes,” Bernie said.

“This is awesome,” said his wife with a hint of sarcasm. “This is what we do on vacation.”

On Sutton Road, about a mile from the palatial home of Rhea and Ron Simms, where Cheney was to speak, a mother and two daughters sat on their front porch just a few feet from the pavement.

“They went by too fast,” said 63-year-old Mary Nice. “I thought he’d stop and shake my hand.”

Nice had promised her son-in-law and her grandson in Georgia that she’d do her best to catch a glimpse and take a picture.

She’d spent the night at her mom’s house and had been on the porch since 9 a.m.

“Well, Mary, was it worth camping out all night here?” her mom, Aneila Cummings, asked.

“That state trooper wasn’t bad-looking,” she answered.

That seemed to be the consensus with Aneila, Mary and her sister Helen Cummings: The best part of it all was the handsome state trooper who stopped for a moment in their driveway.

At the secluded Simms home, a wooded lot partially concealed the white tents erected for the fund-raising event.

Santorum, a two-term Republican senator, faces Democratic challenger Bob Casey Jr., the state treasurer and son of former Gov. Bob Casey.

The 2006 race between the third-ranking Republican senator and the man whose family name is synonymous with Pennsylvania politics is expected to be expensive and difficult.

Guests at Friday’s event, estimated by a Santorum volunteer at more than 200, paid $1,000 a plate at lunch and could get a photo taken with the vice president for $5,000. A representative of Santorum’s campaign said $300,000 was raised.

The event was previously scheduled and then postponed in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, said a spokesperson for Santorum’s campaign.

Guests said Cheney and Santorum spoke for a total of about 20 minutes. Cheney was at the home for about an hour and left shortly after 12:30 p.m. the same way he came, waving slowly from the back of a black limo."

The Citizens Voice - News - 10/22/2005 - Cheney's Negative Downer For Santorum Only Raised $300,000

The Citizens Voice - News - 10/22/2005 - Cheney helps raise $300,000 for Santorum: " The Citizens Voice home : news : news : top stories

Cheney helps raise $300,000 for Santorum
By:Tim Gulla and Tom Long 10/22/2005
Vehicles under $40,000 were in short supply on Sutton Road in Jackson Township on Friday.
BMWs, big model Mercedes and even a Bentley were common sights in the upscale neighborhood that played host to a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser for U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.
While the day was meant for Santorum, it belonged to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, who came to the Back Mountain community as a drawing card for the event.
The fundraiser raised about $300,000 for Santorum's campaign chest, and more than $200,000 for a statewide Republican election fund, said John Brabender, Santorum's media consultant.
Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta said he didn't know the fundraiser's exact goal, but believed it exceeded expectations. Barletta serves as a regional campaign coordinator for Santorum.
Cheney's visit was short, roughly one hour, yet it made a strong impression on attendees, including Lackawanna County Commissioner Robert Cordaro.
"He's a straightforward guy," Cordaro said of Cheney. "He says it as he sees it."
Cheney met with a small group of community and business leaders for a brief roundtable before addressing a crowd estimated at 300.
The private fundraiser was held in the home of Ron and Rhea Simms and was not open to the public or media. Large tents were set up on the side of the Simms' home, and dozens of police officers and Secret Service agents guarded the home and its two driveways. Guests parked in a grassy field roughly two miles away and were chauffeured in a small fleet of vans and limousines.
Cheney's address was wide-ranging and attendees said the vice president talked about Iraq, terrorism, avian flu, the economy and oil prices.
The festive crowd roared when Cheney entered the tent.
"It was like a victory rally,'' said U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood.
Cheney's visit said a lot about the campaign, Barletta said.
"I think this was a pretty good indication of what we can expect; for the vice president of the United States to come this early (in the campaign). It's an indication there will be plenty more to come," the Hazleton mayor said.
Cheney told Cordaro that Santorum's Senate race is regarded as the most important in the country.
The campaign staff of Santorum's key challenger, state Treasurer Robert Casey Jr. of Scranton, wasn't awed by Cheney's invite-only visit.
"Sen. Santorum is obviously worried about Cheney's approval rating,'' Casey's campaign manager Jay Reiff said.
Adam Helfrich, of Wilkes-Barre, favors neither Democrats nor Republicans but took a break from a fall motorcycle ride in the country to see Cheney's arrival. He attended campaign stops by both President Bush and Sen. John Kerry last year.
"I'm not really into it (politics),'' he said. "It's just something (to see the people running the country)."
Dozens of local police officers participated in security details along the vice president's travel route, including the entire 10-man Jackson Township Police Department.
Transporting the vice president is complicated. Jackson Township Police Chief Jerome Leedock said police from every jurisdiction along the motorcade route met Monday with Secret Service and state police to review the details.
Putting extra manpower on the road will represent some extra costs to Jackson Township, but Leedock didn't know how much.
Jackson Township Supervisor Chairman and Roadmaster Jay Wilkes didn't attend the fundraiser. He was out with the township's road crew helping on traffic detail.
He didn't mind the work, though. "This is a first for the community ... that we had the vice president visit one of our residents," he said. "We took pride in that."
Road crews cleaned up Sutton Road prior to the vice president's visit, but Wilkes said the work wasn't necessarily out of the ordinary.
Wilkes did not know how much the vice presidential visit will cost Jackson Township, or whether it will be reimbursed.
"When the Secret Service approaches your community, I believe its more of a directive than a request," he said. Still, he added, "This may be a once in a lifetime event for the community."
Though the event was expensive to attend, the food wasn't lavish: Chicken salad sandwiches and finger foods. "It was more the political menu," said Kingston attorney Bob Davison."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

PA-Sen: GOoPers abandoning Santorum? - Daily Kos: State of the Nation

Daily Kos: State of the Nation: "PA-Sen: GOoPers abandoning Santorum?
by kos
Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 10:04:44 AM PDT
In my mind, Radar Magazine hasn't proven its mettle in its political rumor mongering, so apply the necessary grain of salt. But this blurb makes logical sense.

Poor Rick Santorum. A few months ago, he was being hailed by his GOP brethren as a leading White House contender. Now it looks like the gay-bashing golden boy, who is running for a third term in Pennsylvania, may not even make it back to the Senate. According to a poll published yesterday in The Hill, the devoutly Catholic candidate is now trailing Democrat Bob Casey by 16 points. But as Santorum's campaign has lost steam, Capital Hill sources say his support from RNC heavies has also evaporated. The blow-dried bible-thumper, who launched his campaign with a giant war chest, is also being deserted by the party's major moneymen, who are focusing their largesse on more competitive candidates.

"This is how the Republicans operate," sighs a veteran GOP campaign manager close to Santorum. "Even if you agree with their agenda, they'll abandon you if you're behind in the polls and move on to the next-most important race."

The problem isn't that Santorum is behind on the polls, it's that he's way behind on the polls and has done nothing to reverse course. Rather, his constant stream of outrageous statements and his wingnutty book has provided the Casey camp with mounds of solid attack ad material (like women shouldn't go to college, shouldn't work, etc). And he's pushed a radical right-wing agenda more in tune with Oklahoma than Pennsylvania. There's something to be said about representing your constituents, and Santorum does nothing of the sort.

If the story is true, then the GOP is merely being smart about allocating resources. The competitive Senate landscape doesn't suit them given their poor fundraising and candidate recruitment. And they have a greater chance of offsetting a PA loss in Minnesota or Maryland than they do of holding the Keystone State. And in any case, Santorum has a big cash lifeline from the nation's top wingnut organizations that will likely be more than happy to bankroll his campaign."

Santorum has to catch up to win again - - Chambersburg, PA

Public Opinion - - Chambersburg, PA: "Santorum has to catch up to win again

Bill Clinton and Rick Santorum have at least one thing in common — both have been known as the "comeback kid."

In Clinton's case, it's based on his near-death experience in the 1992 primaries followed by his amazing political rebound to win the Democratic nomination.In Santorum's case, the moniker is based on his supposed record of come-from-behind wins against better-known and better-financed political opponents.Supposed is the key word, because a close reading of Santorum's campaign history suggests the comeback kid persona is a myth — one perpetuated at every opportunity by the junior senator himself.

The record, drawn from Keystone Polls, shows Santorum has never been behind in any previous Senate race, the sole exception being the very early part of his 1994 race against incumbent Harris Wofford.But into early October, he had pushed his name recognition to 70% and by late October he had a 42% to 32% lead.

But then the so-called comeback kid almost blew a 10-point lead after a pair of blunders; one was the celebrated verbal exchange with Theresa Heinz, the widow of recently deceased and widely admired Republican Sen. John Heinz and a Wofford supporter. Santorum followed up by calling for an increase of the Social Security age to 70 — this in the state only second to Florida in proportion of senior citizens.
On Election Day, he limped to a two-point victory.

His 2000 opponent was Democratic Congressman Ron Klink, similarly conservative on abortion and gun control. The comeback kid never showed up for this race either. Santorum was never behind Klink at any point in the race.

He was ahead of Klink 45% to 25% in July.Klink was on the ballot, but he was never in the race. At the end of the campaign, Klink was still unknown by 42% of the voters. Yet, Santorum only won by seven points.

Is Santorum just lucky to have had weak opponents?

Santorum regularly fumbles big leads or stumbles in the clutch. To some extent he also does not wear well with voters as the campaign runs on. Much of his success has been based on running up big leads and then hanging on to win.

Santorum is a master at riding an incoming tide. His first congressional race against incumbent Democrat Doug Walgren in 1990 is illustrative. In that race, Santorum ran against the Washington establishment, anticipating a full-blown conservative revolt four years later.

By 1994, against Harris Wofford and with Gingrich Republicans sweeping into power, Santorum had become the fiery ideologue running against entrenched big spending, big government liberals.

Also worth mentioning is Santorum's sheer bravado. He believes he can be a giant killer; he is David, warring against Goliath and it's a role he clearly relishes. This aspect of his success, his willingness to fight against the odds and against the advice of his friends, explains his stands today on many of the controversial issues he champions.

But now, far behind in the polls against Robert Casey Jr. and saddled with accumulated political liabilities from 12 years in office, he really has to become the comeback kid to keep his Senate seat.

Dr. G. Terry Madonna is professor of Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College and Dr. Michael Young is managing partner of Michael Young Strategic Research.

Originally published October 20, 2005"

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Santorum Plays Politics With Food Stamps

Senate Plan to Cut Food Stamps Dies: "Senate Plan to Cut Food Stamps Dies

Associated Press
Wednesday, October 19, 2005; Page A06

Senate Republicans have dropped plans to cut the popular food stamp program, as the chamber's leaders scrambled to assemble a $35 billion spending cut measure to implement the budget plan it adopted in April.

After protests from Agriculture Committee members Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and James M. Talent (R-Mo.), panel Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) dropped more than $500 million in food stamp cuts from a farm and food subsidy measure coming to a committee vote today. The cuts could have meant a loss of benefits for 300,000 working families benefiting from more generous eligibility rules in some states.

The development on food stamps illustrates the political sensitivity of the upcoming debate over the spending cut bill, which would spread the $35 billion in cuts over five years. Various House and Senate committees are conducting behind-the-scenes talks to devise spending cut plans to implement the budget.

The conservative-dominated House plans to up the ante to $50 billion in cuts as it votes as early as tomorrow to revise the budget. The Senate has no such plans."

Santorum slips further behind Casey in reelection poll

Santorum slips further behind Casey in reelection poll: "Santorum slips further behind Casey in reelection poll
By Peter Savodnik

Democrat Bob Casey has widened his lead over Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), according to a GOP poll to be released today.

The poll, conducted over the weekend by the Atlanta-based firm Strategic Vision, shows Casey, the state treasurer, capturing 52 percent versus Santorum’s 36 percent — a 16-point gap.

Polls released by the same firm showed Santorum trailing by 14 points in September and nine points in August.

Democrats have cheered Casey’s lead in the polls, saying it shows that Santorum is out of step with a majority of Pennsylvanians and that voters are sick of the “culture of corruption” in Washington.

“There’s no doubt about it: Rick Santorum is in trouble,” Casey Campaign Manger Jay Reiff said.

Reiff also cautioned that the Casey campaign expects the race to tighten considerably.

“A two-term incumbent with $25 million is not going to lose by double digits. We expect this to be a very close race.”

The senator raised $1.7 million in the third quarter — $300,000 less than Casey did — but ended the three-month period with $6.6 million in the bank. Casey had $3 million on hand.

Republicans counter that Casey has yet to take a firm position on much of anything in public. They add that he simply has jumped from one elected office to the next.

Santorum’s media consultant, John Brabender, added that so far most Pennsylvania voters are not paying much attention to the race, noting that the senator has yet to begin running television commercials.

“There’s going to be two World Series champions crowned before there’s even another Senate [election] in Pennsylvania,” Brabender said."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

More on Santorum's U2 FRAUD ... [Media Matters]

NewsMax falsely claimed it never said that U2 c ... [Media Matters]: "NewsMax falsely claimed it never said that U2 concert was fund-raiser for Santorum

In an October 17 article, the conservative website falsely claimed that it never stated that the rock band U2's October 16 concert in Philadelphia was to be a benefit for the re-election campaign of Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). In fact, the original version of NewsMax's article announcing Santorum's presence at the U2 concert -- which has since been deleted from its website -- stated that the concert was "in support of Santorum's re-election."

NewsMax made the false denial in response to an October 14 New York Times article that described the band's move to distance itself from political fund-raisers held at its concerts. The article noted that "a web site,, reported that U2 was 'teaming up' with another senator, Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania, for a thousand-dollar-a-seat concert in Philadelphia on Sunday [October 16]," adding that "Santorum's office responded that the story was incorrect: the senator has bought only 66 seats, which supporters can repurchase for the higher price." In its October 17 response, NewsMax stated:

But here's the rub: NewsMax had never claimed that U2 or Bono were holding their concert for Santorum -- though several liberal blogs claimed as much. Apparently, the New York Times has bought into the NewsMax-Santorum-Bono conspiracy theory.

But the original version of NewsMax's October 10 article announcing Santorum's appearance at the concert, headlined "Bono, U2 in Fund-Raiser for Senator Rick Santorum," did make that claim:

Teaming up with the legendary rock group U2 for a one-night only appearance will be Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.).

The thousand-dollar-a-seat concert has been put together by Sean and Ana Wolfington and will take place at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia in support of Santorum's re-election, reports NewsMax's James Hirsen.

The article went on to explain why lead singer Bono would have agreed to do this, claiming that "[a]s in the case of Santorum, Bono's religious convictions inform his activities." NewsMax also quoted Sean Wolfington, organizer of Santorum's concert fund-raiser, as saying, "It's truly appropriate for U2, a band with a purpose, to be involved in a fund-raiser with Senator Rick Santorum, a politician with a purpose. Both men are passionate about what they believe and their faith is very important to them."

This version of the article was deleted from NewsMax's website and replaced by a new version, which accurately stated that Santorum "will hold a fund-raising event" at the U2 concert and deleted Wolfington's comparison. As of this writing, NewsMax has not issued a public correction or otherwise informed its readers that the article was altered.

CNN reported NewsMax's initial false claim about Santorum and U2 on the October 11 edition of The Situation Room, then retracted it 20 minutes later, as Media Matters for America noted."

Sunday, October 16, 2005 Santorum Attacks Bush Over Miers in Cheap Ploy to Get Votes Santorum, In Latest Move To Distance Himself From Bush, Criticizes "Trust Me" Defense of Miers: "Santorum, In Latest Move To Distance Himself From Bush, Criticizes "Trust Me" Defense of Miers
Posted by David R. Mark on October 16, 2005 10:17 AM

Americans "deserve better" than President Bush's "trust me" approach to the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) said Friday on a Philadelphia radio show.

"It is what I term the president's second faith-based initiative, which is `trust me,'" Santorum said, mimicking a line used previously by conservative pundit Pat Buchanan on NBC's Meet the Press. "I think, candidly, we deserve better than that."

Santorum added, however, that he had not decided to oppose Miers and hoped to learn more about her views during confirmation hearings.

It's the latest example of Santorum trying to distance himself from Bush -- not so much on policy, per se, but on policy presentation. Last month, Santorum took issue with how Bush had tried to rally Americans behind his Social Security privatization plan.

And let's face it, when a party loyalist like Rick Santorum distances himself from the president, that doesn't bode well for the strength of the president. To steal a line from former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY), this is a guy who has carried more water for Bush than Gunga Din, leading him to say some outrageous things about Democrats, such as May 19 on the Senate floor, when he used a reference to Adolf Hitler to describe Democratic complaints about the "nuclear option" to ban judicial filibusters.

Why is Santorum distancing himself from Bush?

Two reasons. One Santorum substantially trails state treasurer Robert Casey in recent polls in his bid for re-election next year. With Bush's own popularity tanking to new lows, it has been very easy for Casey to lump together failed presidential policies with a senator who has led the fight for those policies.

At the same time, conservatives far and wide have come out against Bush's nomination of Miers, who lacks a judicial record. Conservatives like Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Trent Lott (R-MS) have suggested they will not endorse her nomination. Conservative pundits like Bill Kristol and Buchanan have suggested Bush withdraw her nomination to replace Sandra Day O'Connor.

These are strange days indeed for the conservative wing of the GOP."

Friday, October 14, 2005

Beaver County Times Allegheny Times - News - 10/14/2005 - Bill "The Heathen" Scranton Admits Lackawana County Failure

GOP candidates criticize Rendell
J.D. Prose, Times Staff
Lynn Swann a Republican candidate for governor and a former wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, speaks with supporters after a campaign rally in Bridgewater on Wednesday.
The Times / Kevin Lorenzi

BRIDGEWATER - Three Republican candidates for governor took shots at Gov. Ed Rendell and tried to rally support for their own campaigns during a party fund-raiser Wednesday night in Bridgewater.

All three - former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann, former Lt. Gov. Bill Scranton and state Sen. Jeff Piccola, D-15, Dauphin County - hammered the issues of job growth, education and property tax reform, but it was Rendell who took the verbal beating.

Swann, a college football analyst for ABC Sports, said he was trying to become governor while Rendell, who does a Philadelphia Eagles post-game television show, was trying to start a broadcasting career.

"Let's make up our minds and give Ed Rendell what he wants, a full-time job as a broadcaster," Swann, a Sewickley Heights resident, told about 90 GOP stalwarts at the Jeffries Landing restaurant.

Scranton, a Lackawanna County resident, said Rendell has squandered the state's ability to compete for jobs and his administration has accomplished "nothing substantive in the last four years."

And, Piccola, who is the state Senate majority whip, said Rendell's solutions to Pennsylvania's problems have been higher taxes and fees, gambling and borrowing money.

The state's economy was a centerpiece of discussion, with each candidate pushing the theme of lower business taxes to fuel entrepreneurship. "We are not competing as a state," Piccola said.

Also vital is tort reform to combat "lawsuit abuse," Piccola said. Physicians bear the brunt of lawsuits, he said, but the effect stifles other areas of the state's economy.

High taxes and burdensome regulations discourage companies from moving here, he added. "We don't even get a first look," Piccola said.

Scranton played to the Beaver County crowd by saying his county is not only dominated by Democrats, but is also trying to recover from the collapse of local industries.

"I come from a 2-to-1 (Democratic), coal, iron and steel county," he said. "Sound familiar?"

Pennsylvania has remained stagnant while other states have prospered because of failed Democratic policies, such as higher taxes and bigger government, Scranton said.

"We need to change the political direction of this state," he said. "The seeds of growth are there."

The state is at the top in spending on education, but ranks at the bottom on results, Swann said. "We have to be mindful how we spend (money)," he said.

Swann said the GOP must create "a culture and attitude of winning" to defeat Rendell. The governor, Swann said, has "bigger aspirations" politically and isn't interested in managing the state.

©Beaver County Times Allegheny Times 2005 - News - Santorum, Casey In First Joint Campaign Event Friday - News - Santorum, Casey In First Joint Campaign Event Friday: "Santorum, Casey In First Joint Campaign Event Friday
POSTED: 9:17 am EDT October 14, 2005
UPDATED: 9:20 am EDT October 14, 2005
PHILADELPHIA -- Republican Senator Rick Santorum and his leading Democratic challenger, Pennsylvania Treasurer Bob Casey Junior, are scheduled to appear Friday morning for the first time at the same campaign event.
Although the race is more than a year off, it is already billed as one of the most competitive and expensive Senate races in 2006.
The two will be speaking at the annual meeting of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. They won't be appearing side-by-side. They'll give separate speeches to the group.
A Quinnipiac University poll last week had Santorum, the two-term incumbent and Number Three Senate Republican, running 18 points behind Casey. Casey is the son of the late Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey.
Santorum's spokesman said Santorun will focus today on his accomplishments in the Philadelphia area, and look at what's ahead for Pennsylvania in the next five to 10 years.
Casey's campaign manager said Casey will give an economic policy address.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Republicans declining Senate runs - The Boston Globe

Republicans declining Senate runs - The Boston Globe: "Republicans also will struggle to hold on to Pennsylvania, where recent polls show Democratic state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. with a substantial lead over two-term Senator Rick Santorum"

Monday, October 10, 2005

Philadelphia Inquirer: Casey's fund-raising Strengthens While Santorum Falters

Philadelphia Inquirer | 10/07/2005 | Casey's fund-raising in Texas brings in $18,000 post-Katrina: "Posted on Fri, Oct. 07, 2005

Casey's fund-raising in Texas brings in $18,000 post-Katrina
The likely Senate candidate's campaign manager said he didn't view the state as an "impacted" area.
By Carrie Budoff
Inquirer Staff Writer
On the same day Sen. Rick Santorum canceled a fund-raising trip to Texas because of Hurricane Katrina, his leading Democratic opponent collected $18,000 in Austin and met with prospective donors in Houston.

Robert P. Casey Jr. traveled to Texas Sept. 19, a detail the Democrat's campaign did not disclose when asked last month whether he planned to raise money outside the state before close of the quarterly fund-raising period on Sept. 30.

"The vast majority of our fund-raising is taking place in Pennsylvania and in areas not affected by the floods," said Jay Reiff, Casey's campaign manager, in a Sept. 18 Inquirer story. "We are certainly not doing any fund-raising in the areas impacted."

Reiff said yesterday that the campaign did not view Texas as an impacted area, and never found it necessary to curtail political activity in the first place.

The issue of where the 2006 Senate candidates were raising money arose after the campaigns clashed last month over the Aug. 29 hurricane and the propriety of fund-raising in its aftermath.

Casey first criticized Santorum for suggesting that people who disregard mandatory evacuation orders should face tougher penalties. Santorum then accused Casey of using the hurricane to raise money because Casey included an Internet donation link in an e-mail to supporters that challenged the senator's comments.

At the same time, Santorum estimated losing $1 million in donations after halting temporarily his national phone solicitations, postponing an event with Vice President Cheney and canceling a Sept. 19 trip to New Orleans, Houston and Austin, citing a desire to respect Texas' outsized role in the recovery process.

Houston shelters accepted more than 25,000 Katrina evacuees after the hurricane hit, while Austin took in more than 4,000. Those numbers had declined significantly by mid-September.

On Sept. 19, Casey met potential donors in Houston, but did not receive any checks, and later that day raised money in Austin, Reiff said.

"If you need a comparison on judgment, character and ethics, this is a perfect example," said John Brabender, Santorum's media consultant. "It is an example that shows both people being put in the exact same situation. One put people first and one put politics first."

Brabender said the Oct. 15 finance report would show the campaign received $31,000 from Texas in September, most of which came in before the events were canceled. Santorum had expected to raise at least $200,000, he said.

Reiff said it was "disingenuous" of Santorum, who first raised the fund-raising issue, to still accept those donations."

School Scandal Haunts Tom Delay's Ally RIck Santorum R Va

Political Affairs Magazine - Stupid Republicans in Recent News (October 7, 2005): "Sen. Rick Santorum (PA): DeLay accomplice whose approval rating in his home state has fallen to 41%. He is currently running 18 points behind his prospective Democratic opponent for 2006 elections. Some say Santorum’s unpopularity results from his rigid hatred of gay people or his distaste for civil rights in general. Others say it’s his extreme position on reproductive rights, such as his claim that birth control harms America. Perhaps it is as simple as the revelation that he had Pennsylvania taxpayers pay for his kids' private schooling while they lived in Virginia. "

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Scotland on Sunday - Top Stories - Democrats relishing signs of recovery amid mounting trouble for Bush

Scotland on Sunday - Top Stories - Democrats relishing signs of recovery amid mounting trouble for Bush: "Democrats relishing signs of recovery amid mounting trouble for Bush

THESE are strange days in Washington. For the first time since Bill Clinton was president, Democrats are happier than Republicans.

President George W Bush is discovering that he has less political capital than he had imagined. A combination of circumstances, ranging from an apparently endless engagement in Iraq to the federal government's bumbling response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina have ensured the president has no need to seek his troubles.

To the list of woes must be added the investigations into the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity by senior White House staff, the indictment of House majority leader Tom DeLay on money laundering charges and conservative unhappiness over the selection of Bush's friend Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court despite the fact she has no judicial experience. No wonder his approval rating is at 37% according to the latest CBS poll, while just 26% of Americans think the country is on the right track.

In the zero sum game of Washington politics that means one thing: it's a good time to be a Democrat. Or, more specifically, it's a better time to be a Democrat than at any point in the Bush presidency. Hope has returned to Democrats who now believe they have a chance to make significant inroads in next year's mid-term elections.

"We as a party are going to be the broom that sweeps things clean," says New York Senator Charles Schumer. Democrats intend to run on a platform of "change and reform", promising an alternative to a political culture tainted by corporate cronyism and corruption. Winning back the House and Senate from the GOP may still be too much to hope for, but if the Democrats can't chip away at the Republican's 55-44 advantage in the Senate and 231-202 majority in the House given current Republican difficulties they may not do so for the foreseeable political future.

The Miers nomination is the latest and most high-profile cause of conservative disgruntlement. "Do they [the White House] understand that beyond getting past the unhappiness with this choice, there is a profound sense of discontent within the conservative movement?" says former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

In another sign of how the Bush administration's power has weakened, only nine Republican senators heeded the White House's call to reject Senator John McCain's amendment to the defence appropriations bill that would codify the treatment of enemy prisoners held by the US military and explicitly rule out their torture. That amendment, supported by Colin Powell in a letter to McCain, was passed by 90 votes to nine. Such Congressional independence is a sign that conservative politicians on Capitol Hill are beginning to look to their own future rather than being content to carry water for the White House.

While Democrats can be counted upon to repeat their massive 2004 "get out the vote" operation next year, there may be less incentive for disillusioned Republicans to mobilise their forces. Disillusioned conservatives may prefer to stay at home. Senator Elizabeth Dole, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee admits: "If historical trends are any indication, the party of an incumbent president following re-election traditionally loses seats."

Even so, Democrats remain cautious. "We aren't losing now, but that's a far cry from actually winning," says one aide to a senior House Democrat.

Bruce Reed, formerly a domestic policy adviser to Bill Clinton, says Republican troubles "merely give Democrats an opening. We can't indict our way back to the majority. The jury we have to convince is the American people".

That may be possible. In Pennsylvania, for example, Democrat challenger Bob Casey, son of a popular former governor of the Keystone State, holds an 18-point lead over Rick Santorum, the incumbent Republican senator. Santorum, arguably the most religious member of the Senate, has been a Democrat target for some time and faces a difficult re-election bid in a state that voted for John Kerry last year.

There is encouraging news for Democrats in West Virginia too, where a prominent Republican considered and then rejected the option of challenging 88-year-old Senator Robert Byrd, essentially conceding that the veteran senator could not be beaten. Likewise, Senator Kent Conrad in North Dakota will not, as he had thought he would, face a determined Republican challenge.

These may be small signs, but they point to the fact that Democrats are in ruder health now than they have been at any point in the Bush presidency. Beating back the encroaching Republican tide remains a long-term task, but the short-term political position seems healthier for Democrats. Republican tea leaf readers are seeing worrying signs that next year's mid-terms, traditionally bad for the incumbent party, is no time to be sticking your Republican neck out.

Whether that will last is a different matter. Marshal Wittman, formerly a staffer for John McCain but now a member of the Democratic Leadership Council, argues: "There is a need for a cleansing. If the right can cast off the Bushie-DeLay establishment, there is a chance that it can re-emerge with reforming conservative leaders in time for the 2008 presidential election."

The biggest downside for Democrats right now is the idea that Republican difficulties may have come a year too soon."

Friday, October 07, 2005

::.Angus Reid Consultants.::October 7, 2005 Casey Up, Santorum Down in Pennsylvania’s Senate Race

::.Angus Reid Consultants.::: "October 7, 2005
Casey Up, Santorum Down in Pennsylvania’s Senate Race

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Bob Casey could win next year’s United States Senate election in the Keystone State, according to a poll by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. 52 per cent of respondents in Pennsylvania would vote for the Democrat in a head-to-head contest against Republican incumbent Rick Santorum.

Casey has been Pennsylvania’s state treasurer since January 2005, and previously served as the state auditor general for eight years. Casey is the son of former Keystone State governor Robert P. Casey, and lost the 2002 Democratic primary to current governor Ed Rendell.

Santorum was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994, and earned a second term in 2000, defeating Democrat Ron Klink with 53 per cent of all cast ballots. He had previously served for two consecutive terms in the House of Representatives.

Support for Casey increased by two points since July, while backing for Santorum fell by five points to 34 per cent. The U.S. Senate election is scheduled for November 2006.

The two camps had different views on the survey. Santorum’s spokesman John Brabender said, "It’s difficult to look at the polls and think it has any real relevance to what is going on in this particular race when you’re this far away." Conversely, Casey’s campaign manager Jay Reiff said voters "clearly understand that Rick Santorum is out-of-step with Pennsylvania."

Polling Data

If the 2006 election for senator were being held today, and the candidates were Bob Casey Jr. the Democrat and Rick Santorum the Republican for whom would you vote?

Oct. 2005
Jul. 2005
Apr. 2005

Bob Casey Jr. (D)

Rick Santorum (R)

Someone else

Would not vote

Not sure

Source: Quinnipiac University Polling Institute
Methodology: Telephone interviews to 1,530 Pennsylvania voters, conducted from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3, 2005. Margin of error is 2.5 per cent."

Thursday, October 06, 2005 News | Casey vs. Santorum - Peter Buttenweiser actively works for Casey News | Casey vs. Santorum: "Casey vs. Santorum
The hottest 2006 Senate race is the stuff of Democratic Party dreams. But does the anti-choice Pennsylvania state treasurer from Scranton have what it takes to unseat the Christian right's poster boy?

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By John M. Baer

July 13, 2005 | When Bob Casey Jr. won the Pennsylvania state treasurer's race last fall, he rang up 3.35 million votes, more than anyone running for any office in the state -- ever. With that decisive victory, the national Democrats came calling. They were in the market for a Democratic candidate for one of the most important races of 2006: the campaign to unseat Sen. Rick Santorum. After some lobbying from the likes of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and U.S. Sens. Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, and only four months after winning his race for state treasurer, Casey announced he was in.

And so the stage was set for the nation's next marquee Senate race, which holds the stuff of Democratic Party dreams. In Bob Casey Jr., the anti-choice son of the late Pennsylvania governor, the party sees its chance to oust the poster boy of the right who posed as saint-in-waiting on the cover of the New York Times Magazine, is a loyal supporter of President Bush, and is the No. 3 leader in the GOP Senate.

Casey, whose late father was a staple of state politics for a generation and a two-term governor, was recruited to run against the conservative Santorum primarily because of his anti-choice views. This is high irony given that the senior Casey clashed with national Democrats over his anti-choice views. But as an anti-choice Democrat capable of tapping into Pennsylvania's socially conservative rural and blue-collar vote and its urban bloc, many Democrats blissfully predict Casey Jr. will run Santorum ragged. And Democrats have some good reasons to be hopeful.

Santorum seeks reelection in a state that twice went to Bill Clinton, then to Al Gore and last year to John Kerry. A quarter of the state's population is 55 or older (only Florida has a higher percentage of elderly) at a time when the president and his Social Security agenda, which Santorum has loyally backed, slip in national polls. Early in-state polls show Santorum lagging behind Casey. A Franklin & Marshall College poll this month has Casey up seven, and a Quinnipiac University poll released July 13 has him ahead by 11 points.

One might think, from all of this, that controversial incumbent Santorum, a national leader of conservative faith-based politics -- whose new book "It Takes a Family" likens abortion to slavery -- is now too far right for Pennsylvania. One might think his days are numbered in a state with a Democratic voter registration edge of 542,000-plus. And one might think the oh-so-many who view Santorum as intolerant, cocky and self-righteous are primed for victory.

"This is a golden opportunity for Democrats. It definitely is," says Philadelphia political analyst Larry Ceisler. "Even though Pennsylvania is a blue state with red senators, Santorum's out of sync politically with the state, and he is where he is because he's always had opponents who ran bad campaigns."

Still, this race looks different from a national perspective than it does locally. For reasons including money, issues and the nature of the combatants, things aren't what they seem from outside looking in.

Casey, for example, though widely liked and admired, did not do well in a 2002 run for governor, a race far different than the three low-profile state row-office campaigns he's won. (Before his election as treasurer, Casey served two terms as auditor general, an office also held by his father, and lost a gubernatorial primary to Rendell.)

Under bright lights, Casey can be halting and dull. His campaign for governor was badly focused, an almost entirely negative race that never told voters who he is or what he believes. High expectations, based mainly on his likability and name identification, never were met. As a result, some worry about another bad campaign, and a few key in-state Democrats are hoping for evidence this campaign is different, that Casey is a different candidate, this time around. "We want to help, lots of folks want to help, but not if it's another run like the last one," says a source close to a top elected Democrat.

Santorum, on the other hand, who's been underrated his entire career, has never lost an election. He's supple with spin and quick on his feet, has killer instincts and a seemingly innate drive to survive. These two candidates might look the same on paper (both 40-something, ramrod straight pro-life Catholics with a bunch of kids), but they are not. Santorum is a polished politician with national stature and experience; Casey is a state treasurer from Scranton.

There are other snags for Casey -- on money and issues. Because he shares Santorum's basic views on abortion, guns and stem-cell research (against, for and against), hardcore Democrats worry about enthusiasm among liberal leaders and rank and filers, which translates, of course, into cash.

Peter Buttenweiser, one of the nation's major Democratic donors and fundraisers, actively works for Casey and says big-dollar givers are leery. "They're certainly concerned and they've registered concerns," Buttenweiser says. He adds, however, that he thinks that will change next year as more Democrats get excited about the prospect of defeating Santorum: "The most important thing is to keep at it and keep on it ... I think there will be fervor in this race about returning this seat to a more moderate person."

If so, the expected fervor seems to be simmering slowly.

New campaign-finance reports filed for the reporting period ending June 30 are expected to show Casey with a little more than $1 million (really not bad given the timeline). But Santorum raked in that much at one event with Bush in Pennsylvania -- to add to the $2.8 million he was sitting on after the last report at the end of March. Insiders in both camps predict vast amounts of funding from the Internet and 527 organizations in a campaign that could top $50 million. And nobody doubts Casey eventually will have enough resources to compete. But nobody doubts, either, that Santorum will outraise and outspend Casey by a lopsided margin.

A national Republican source involved in the Santorum campaign says, "Understand, this will be all hands on deck: the White House, [John] McCain, [Rudy] Giuliani, the whole lineup." And because many Republicans see the race as a referendum on the Bush presidency, gains by the right and maybe the future of the conservative movement, GOP funding and fervency are likely to hit record highs.

Even moderate Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, who, at 75 and fighting cancer, remains a formidable political force, is working hard for Santorum, especially fundraising in the Jewish community. As payback for Santorum's helping Specter win a bitter GOP primary last year, Specter calls Santorum's reelection his "No. 1 priority." Even if there's residual far-right angst about Santorum aiding Specter, Specter's help now should balance the scales.

Yet on the other side there are concerns that Casey isn't Democrat enough. Democratic sources say national fundraising efforts are drawing cool responses. Already bloggers are greeting fundraising e-mails from John Kerry with references to other potential candidates such as pro-choice Philadelphia University of the Arts professor Chuck Pennacchio. He and pro-choice Philadelphia lawyer Alan Sandals both say they'll oppose Casey in a Democratic primary. And while there's little concern about a competitive primary, an undercurrent of liberal dissatisfaction is setting up a potentially ugly scenario for Casey: Santorum drawing support from the full GOP spectrum and Casey unable to counterpunch.

"I don't expect Bobby will be getting a check from Barbra Streisand," said a Casey confidante speaking on condition of anonymity. A national Democratic source present at a private Democratic fundraiser with Hillary Clinton in San Francisco recently said the New York senator's pitch for Casey landed as "a complete dud" with the crowd of potential donors. Even strong Casey supporters, some still smarting from the '02 race, are frustrated and fearful of what lies ahead.

Donna Gentile O'Donnell, for example, a life sciences expert at the Eastern Technology Council in suburban Philadelphia, is an unofficial advisor to the Casey campaign, and she's not happy. She says efforts to move Casey left on federal support for embryonic stem-cell research as a way to appeal to liberal voters are not going well. "I'm leaving my church since it named [conservative Cardinal Joseph] Ratzinger pope, and now I'm disturbed about my party," O'Donnell says. "The anti-intellectual trend in the Catholic Church is troubling and is producing the kind of intransigent positions on stem cells consistent with Bobby's historical position." She says that position, which mirrors Bush's and allows only limited stem-cell research, hurts Casey.

"It doesn't help," says another Casey ally, "when Gov. Rendell gets up at a [recent] biotech conference and says 'anybody who's reasonable' supports more stem-cell research." Meanwhile, there's an obvious effort to mollify the left.

Pro-choice Barbara Hafer, a Republican turned Democrat who was originally recruited by Rendell to run against Santorum (she lost the 1990 race for governor to Casey's father), recently endorsed Casey in an e-mail to "35,000 activists." And pro-choice Democratic state House leader H. William DeWeese just published a letter to the editor in the Harrisburg Patriot-News pleading Casey's case: "I have been an advocate of a woman's right to choose for more than 30 years ... [but] I am fed up with the notion that Democrats must go forward in zombie-like lockstep on every single issue." He notes Casey supports public funding for family planning services and contraceptive equity for health insurance coverage.

Whether such efforts will succeed remains to be seen. Asked if he's worried about early chilly receptions along the money trail, Casey says, "It really doesn't concern me. There's a tremendous outpouring of support in Pennsylvania and beyond the state ... I thought the early months would be difficult, more difficult than they have been."

Yet, Santorum, to many, seems so gettable.

He has a habit of saying things that make folks question his acuity if not his fitness for office. His new book, in likening abortion to slavery, states: "But unlike abortion today, in most states even the slaveholder did not have the unlimited right to kill his slave." The book is supposed to "counter the worldview" of Hillary Clinton.

He has also likened Democrats to Nazis, claims Terri Schiavo was "executed," said the mainstream media lies about him, equated homosexuality with bestiality, and claimed the Catholic priest pedophile scandal in Boston was really no surprise since Boston is "a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism." Santorum enraged Bostonians this week by standing by that statement, adding: "The basic liberal attitude in that area ... has an impact on people's behavior."

Santorum also got attention this spring for showing up at Terri Schiavo's deathbed while he was in Florida raising money for his campaign. And he took a hit last year for charging state taxpayers to cyber-educate his kids even though they live with him and his wife in Virginia. (This particularly rankles those who remember Santorum won a seat in Congress in 1990 by calling then incumbent Doug Walgren out of touch because he lived in Virginia.)

In addition, Santorum faces Casey in a year that Democratic Gov. and former national Democratic chairman Rendell seeks reelection. No incumbent Pennsylvania governor seeking a second term (since successive terms were permitted starting in 1974) has lost. And Rendell's strongest draw is from the state's southeast where he was a popular two-term mayor of Philadelphia, where 32 percent of the state's voters live, and where Rendell's presence on the ballot is certain to drive Democratic turnout and thus favor Casey.

Then there's the whole Santorum-as-Bush tack. As the race takes shape, it's clear Casey will go after Santorum on Social Security and healthcare, issues on which Bush and Republicans haven't made progress, while the sub-campaign runs against, as one source puts it, "an intolerant far-right ideologue living in Virginia." And whatever might be lost from liberals upset with Casey's stand on abortion could be made up, says one Casey insider, with support from national gay groups eager to see Santorum fail.

And Santorum? Just as Casey's camp seeks to push him right, he'll no doubt try to push Casey left -- just another obstructionist Democrat with no answers, only complaints.

The race could well redefine the Democratic Party and set the stage for the '08 presidential election. Can Democrats embrace a candidate who disagrees with a fundamental party plank? Or, the race could reaffirm the power of the right. Can Republicans continue to keep conservatives in power? Either way, it's a race in the spotlight, even if the picture isn't quite in focus."

Meet Peter Buttenweiser of Philadelphia.(Democratic Contributor)

Democratic Contributor Shuns Political Spotlight: "Democratic Contributor Shuns Political Spotlight
Christopher Ruddy
July 12, 1998

He's rarely mentioned in the press, and few Americans even know his name. Yet this is a man who repeatedly gets invited to meet the president - and has repeatedly turned him down. He's one of the biggest donors to the Democratic Party nationally, and the single biggest political donor in Pennsylvania.
Meet Peter Buttenweiser of Philadelphia.

Just last month, Buttenweiser's name made a rare appearance in the press. Jon Delano, writing in the Pittsburgh Business Times, noted that "Pennsylvania's biggest political fat cats" are not to be found in the western part of the state. Delano said if you want to find the biggest donors, go east to Philadelphia.

He noted that Federal Election Commission filings show Buttenweiser, together with his wife, Terry Marek, donated $565,500 to the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates during the current election cycle.

Money is power. It can buy influence, prestige and even attention. Yet Buttenweiser has received only fleeting references in the press. Even Philadelphia's two dailies, the Inquirer and the News, have paid scant attention to him.

A 1997 news story in the Philadelphia News reported that Buttenweiser had turned down an invitation to the Clinton-Gore inauguration festivities. Instead, Buttenweiser traveled to Washington that January to attend the U.S. Senate swearing-in of Democrats Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Max Cleland of Georgia and Paul Wellstone of Minnesota.

"They're really the people I'm closest to," Buttenweiser explained to the News.

That same year, as fund-raising scandals involving the Democratic National Committee and the White House grew, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Buttenweiser had tersely rebuffed an invitation to a fund-raising luncheon with Clinton. He sent this note back to Terry McAuliffe, the president's chief fund-raiser: "Luncheon, yes. Luncheon for a contribution price, no."

Buttenweiser followed up with a letter to McAuliffe decrying the "sale" of luncheons with the president. McAuliffe later responded by calling Buttenweiser a "kook."

Save for these brief news items, and a few references to his donations and his job description as an "education consultant," not much information about Buttenweiser is readily available. Several active Philadelphia Republicans were asked to comment on Buttenweiser and his activities. They couldn't, because none knew who he was.

Much of the mystery about the man was quickly evaporated by a telephone call to his home. (His number is listed.)


He resides in an upscale enclave of Philadelphia known as Chestnut Hill. Old Philadelphia society still inhabits the neighborhood of stone and stucco homes built in the decades after the Civil War. Local landmarks like St. Martin's in the Fields Presbyterian Church and the ultra-exclusive Philadelphia Cricket Club add a distinct character to the community.

Buttenweiser is not a player in Philadelphia high society, nor does he want to be. He doesn't belong to any clubs, not the Cricket Club, not even the Union League or Locust Club downtown.

"I don't like them," he says.

At 62 years of age, Buttenweiser is a refugee from New York City who, by happenstance, found his way to the City of Brotherly Love more than three decades ago. Buttenweiser says all he knew back in the '60s was that he didn't want to live in New York City, a place he said "imposed a lifestyle I didn't want to live."

"I decided I didn't want to be a lawyer and I didn't want to be a banker and I didn't want to live in New York," he adds.

Buttenweiser hails from one of New York City's illustrious Jewish families. His grandfather, Joseph Buttenweiser, was a real estate mogul. Peter's father, Benjamin, was a philanthropist and investment banker. Benjamin married one of the Lehman girls, whose family owned the powerful Wall Street financial house Lehman Brothers.

Peter Buttenweiser's mother was also the niece of Herbert Lehman, the man who succeeded Franklin Roosevelt as governor of New York. Lehman was cut from the same New Deal mold as Roosevelt, and was later appointed to head the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency. Later, Lehman returned to New York to serve as its U.S. senator.

Buttenweiser says Roosevelt is still one of his heroes, and his family upbringing imbued him with a desire to keep alive a legacy of helping others. Unusual for someone of his background, Buttenweiser became a teacher after getting a bachelor's degree at Columbia University.

He earned his stripes by joining a program called Teachers for East Africa, which was run by the Agency for International Development and was modeled after the Peace Corps. Buttenweiser worked for two years in Northern Uganda, shortly before Idi Amin decimated the country. The experience had an enormous impact on him, he says.

Returning to the United States, Buttenweiser continued teaching, first in North Carolina and, beginning in 1967, in Philadelphia.

Along the way, he earned a master's degree at Harvard and a doctorate at Columbia's Teacher's College. Eventually he became principal of a Philadelphia school for children with special needs. He spent 10 years in the city school system before leaving to become an education consultant.

Philadelphia became his adopted home, Buttenweiser said, because he could be "fairly anonymous" and "be myself" as opposed to staying in New York City and being "stultified" by the "various interlocking families."

Since leaving the Philadelphia school system, Buttenweiser has continued his work, largely advising private foundations on the programs they fund and evaluating those programs' effectiveness.


He takes his work seriously. Buttenweiser can't meet this reporter because he is crushed for time, writing an annual report for a Boston foundation. The wealthy man finds pleasure in things ordinary. He prefers to work but enjoys his leisure time. "I play a lot of tennis and I'm active in stuff," he says.

Buttenweiser keeps busy with his family, which includes two grown daughters from his first marriage, a stepdaughter and two grandsons. Happily married to his second wife, Terry, he calls her "an important part of my life."

Terry is a social worker who also operates a Chestnut Hill business called Intermission, a specialty shop that sells masks and puppets as well as Broadway and theatrical paraphernalia.

Buttenweiser laughs at the notion that he could be on Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest people. "I'm not even close," he responds, adding that his wealth is "rather modest."

About half of his donations go to political candidates and the Democratic Party, and the other half to philanthropy. He doesn't have his own foundation, but has created his own fund within The Tides Foundation, based in San Francisco. Using his fund there he donates to AIDS hospices and groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

His heightened interest in politics began about two years ago, and his political giving since then has been largely targeted to help Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate. Buttenweiser recently started giving large "soft" money donations to the Democratic National Committee. In the first quarter of 1998, he donated $125,000.

His and his wife's personal giving in the past two years totals more than $500,000. In addition, he's helped a number of candidates by holding about five fund-raisers each year in the city, with each event raising about $35,000. Recent attendees at Buttenweiser's parties have included Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois and Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, as well as candidates Evan Bayh and Dottie Lamb, both challenging incumbents in their respective home states of Indiana and Colorado.

Buttenweiser says he doesn't pick candidates based on "litmus test" issues. For instance, he doesn't think a hypothetical candidate's position against abortion would preclude Buttenweiser support, though he happens to strongly advocate abortion rights. He points to his relationship with the Democratic Leadership Council and his strong support for moderates including Landrieu and Connecticut's Joseph Lieberman.

Like many Democrats, Buttenweiser suggests he may have shifted away from doctrinaire liberalism.

"I have become slightly more of a centrist Democrat maybe than I'd like to admit," he mused. Buttenweiser even supported the Republican-proposed welfare reform legislation that President Clinton signed into law in 1996.

"It was good for the party do that. ... I felt that the welfare system had not worked over a long period of time," he explained. "I believe in the basic principles of the Democratic Party, the Roosevelt Party. I am a moderate progressive, not an ultraliberal."

He cited one other hero in addition to FDR: Republican Colin Powell.

Though advocating pragmatism, he has strong feelings on certain matters including education. He believes Senate campaigns are the best and most strategic place for him because his donations can have impact. His help would get lost in the "massive" House of Representatives, he says.

Personality also plays a role. Buttenweiser talks of his esteem for Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. "I believe in him," Buttenweiser says, referring to Daschle as his "anchor."

OK, but what is the quid pro quo? What does Buttenweiser get in return for all of his efforts?

Apparently, very little personally.


Thomas Leonard, a Philadelphia litigator who is considered Bill Clinton's main fund-raiser and point man in Philadelphia, describes Buttenweiser as a "major, major contributor" who simply wants to "focus on issues, wants to advance an agenda broadening people's access. He's a person of integrity."

Another Democratic strategist from Philadelphia, who asked not to be identified, says the party faithful view Buttenweiser as "the purest of the pure. It's all about causes. He doesn't want a thing, he just cares about issues."

Philadelphia is an old Democratic machine town, and earlier it was a Republican machine town. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. Do the ward leader a favor, he does you one.

In this environment, Buttenweiser has caused heads to spin. He's Santa Claus.

Buttenweiser bristles at such suggestions. "I wouldn't call it Santa Claus. I would call it taking some responsibility."

And responsibility, as he defines it, is helping a party he strongly believes in, one he feels is more compassionate to people, particularly minorities and the economically disadvantaged.

His language is mellow and restrained, probably the result of a long career working with children. Even so, it is obvious he has not been happy with the fund-raising scandals that have haunted the Clinton White House and the DNC.

"The campaign finance stuff," he mentions. "I think the Democratic Party, under pressure from the president, just made some terrible mistakes." He calls the mess a "tragedy," and says disclosures about the transfer of military technology to the Chinese have also been a concern.

"It bothers me considerably," he says. "I worry about it. I'm very uncomfortable about it."

He has never accepted a White House invitation, even for an overnighter in the Lincoln bedroom, though they were within easy reach for him.

While supporting the president's policies, Buttenweiser says going to the White House wouldn't make him feel comfortable, so he hasn't gone.

Buttenweiser shuns flamboyance and the Hollywood jet set that have come to dominate the Democratic Party's image. He is busy now preparing the ground for what he hopes will be a Democratic takeover of the Senate in 2000. And he's already set his sights on Harrisburg, revealing that he is planning to help refill the state party's coffers.

This year Buttenweiser has given $10,000 to Democratic gubernatorial underdog Ivan Itkin. Buttenweiser knows Itkin's shot is a long one, but that's OK.

"He deserves some support," Buttenweiser says. "It's a David vs. Goliath thing." "

POWER 50, 2003

POWER 50, 2003: "The POWER 50 identifies Pennsylvania's 50 most politically influential personalities. In developing our list, we eliminated anyone who currently holds public office, as well as judges and state Cabinet members. This is an Insiders List. We looked at policy makers, party leaders, fundraisers, lobbyists, labor unions, businesses, the media, and associations. We have assembled the ultimate list of Pennsylvanians with clout -- with an impact on politics and government in the Commonwealth. From last year's list, gone are several GOP operatives, and other Republicans who leveraged their power on their relationship with the administration. Instead, we find more labor leaders, and Democratic power brokers and donors. Just remember that our list is purely subjective. And this list is always changing. We welcome your comments on this list or on the website.

David Cohen: Rendell's former mayoral Chief of Staff is the PoliticsPA pick for the most politically powerful unelected Pennsylvanian. Never more than a cell phone call away, Cohen is now Executive Vice President for Comcast-AT&T, and has helped deliver big for his friend Ed and his former law firm.*

John Estey: Now serving as the Governor's Chief of Staff, Estey served as Deputy Chief of Staff to then-Mayor Rendell in the City of Philadelphia. Estey was most recently a business and finance attorney at Ballard Spahr Anderws & Ingersoll. *

Mark Singel: This is one Western Pennsylvania Democrat who picked the right candidate in last year's gubernatorial primary. To quote when PoliticsPA named Singel a 2002 Winner of the Year Runner-Up: Singel came out early for the former Philly mayor and would not support the son of the former governor. He even withstood the wrath of state Senator Vince Fumo when he sent out a letter supporting Rendell during the primary. Mark Singel just might be "Pennsylvania's comeback kid." After unexpectedly losing a U.S. Senate primary race and suffering a close defeat for governor, most speculated that the popular Penn State booster's political career was over. It may well be for elected public office but that's only because he's found great success in the private sector. Expect Singel to be a major player and advisor in the Rendell administration, while he keeps his eye on Jack Murtha's congressional seat, or perhaps another statewide run. *

Dave Sweet: The attorney, former state legislator and former Rendell Campaign Manager served as Rendell's Transition Team Executive Director is respected, well liked and gets his calls returned.*

William George: The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President - Pennsylvania's top labor leader - moves up as Rendell is elected Governor. Last year, George was ranked eighth. This year, he easily comes in ahead of GOP powerhouse Asher and Republican consigliore Girard-DiCarlo. Sure, labor supported Casey in the primary, but all involved have worked hard to unite. *

Bob Feldman: The CEO and President of The Feldman Group has served as Co-Finance Chairman for Street for Mayor, Finance Chairman for McGreevey for Governor, Finance Chairman for Casey for Governor, Co-Finance Chairman for Rendell for Governor; U.S. Finance Chairman for the re-election campaign of Congressman Anibal Acevedo-Vila of Puerto Rico, and once served as Finance Chairman for Barbara Hafer. Bottom line: the man knows how to raise money, and continues to break fundraising records. This is one Democrat whose name you want on your finance committee.

Bob Asher: Asher drops a few slots on the Power 50 list as he loses his close friend, Tom Ridge, in the governor's office. But Asher remains heavily involved in the daily operations of a number of campaigns, and he has forged a close relationship with House Speaker John Perzel and many state Senators.

David Girard-DiCarlo: The attorney, Bush Pioneer, Ridge confidant, and former Fisher for Governor Chairman drops from the top slot on last year's list. He remains powerful, with a finger in the White House, the Office of Homeland Security, but does not have the same pull when he calls 717-787-2500.

Steve Froubouck: The Fox Chapel F.O.E (Friend of Ed) and highly successful businessman gave the Governor in his last campaign at least $668,000 - much of it a loan. A smart donor, he told the Tribune Reivew he simply "want[s] to be an advisor" to Governor Rendell. But Froubouck, a Democrat, understands realpolitik, and donates to Republicans as well, including: Allegheny County Executive Jim Roddey, Congressman Bill Shuster, and Governor Jeb Bush.*

Mark Schweiker: Despite being the only Republican who polls showed beating Ed Rendell, Schweiker opted for early (temporary?) retirement. He left office well liked by many in Harrisburg. As Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce President, Schweiker will retain a sizeable soapbox and earn more than the Governor.

Alan Kessler: Kessler is a valuable fundraiser for state and national Democrats, not to mention a Rendell finance co-chair. Kessler has given to Lieberman for President, Schwartz for state Senate, Carper for Senate (DE), Gore for President, and Hoeffel for Congress, among others. A partner at Wolf Block Shorr Solis Cohen, he is also a former Township Supervisor in Lower Merion.*

Steve MacNett: As General Counsel to the GOP state Senate, he is still referred to as the "51st Senator." But he drops a few places as Democrats take control of the Governor's Mansion.

Stan Rapp: Rapp's ties to Rendell and Labor help elevate him on our list, while others are forced down with the departure of a Republican administration. In the last few election cycles, Rapp has donated to Congressmen English, Murtha, Greenwood, Brady, Doyle, Bud Shuster, and Senators Specter and Santorum.

Manny Stamatakis: The former DRPA Chairman, Fisher for Governor Finance Chairman, and Philadelphia-area businessman remains in a strong position as Governor Rendell asks him to remain on at the DRPA. Stamatakis gives heavily to Republicans across the country, but has been known to donate to Democrats when needed; he's given to Democratic Senators Biden and Sarbenes, and Congressmen Murtha and Borski.

Ken Jarin: Joined at the hip with Alan Kessler, Jarin is a powerhouse in his own right. A sampling of contributions to candidates for federal office over the last few cycles: Biden for Senate (DE), Borski for Congress, Bowles for Senate (NC), Carper for Senate (DE), Casey for Congress, Duval for Congress (AZ), Fattah for Congress, Foley for Senate, Gilman for Congress (NY), Gore for President, Gormley for Senate (NJ), Hoeffel for Congress, Holden for Congress, Johnson for Senate (SD), Kirk for Senate (TX), Landrieu for Senate (LA), Lautenberg for Senate (NJ), Levin for Senate (MI), Lieberman 2000, Maloney for Congress (NY), Menendez for Congress (NJ), Pryor for Senate (AR), Rodham Clinton for Senate (NY), Rovner for Senate, Schwartz for Senate, Schweitzer for Senate (MT), Shaheen for Senate (NH), Specter for Senate, Stabenow for Senate (MI), Swett for Congress (NH), and Wellstone for Senate (MN)*

Elsie Hillman: GOP activist, major donor and philanthropist, Elsie has helped to elect every statewide GOP office holder in the past 30 years. But with the departure of Ridge, retirement of Schweiker and loss of Fisher, Hillman drops several spots from last year's list.

Henry Nicholas: The President of National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees since 1981. Nicholas, who has a knack for picking the wrong candidate (Nicholas, in 1995: "Rendell has no base."), still commands respect among state leaders.

Sam Katz: The former CEO of Greater Philadelphia First remains in the top twenty this year, but with his mayoral campaign underway, his position will undoubtedly change in time for the 2004 Power List.

Brian Tierney: The television personality and GOP strategist, is chairing Katz for Mayor campaign, and his name has floated as a potential statewide candidate in 2004.

Dick Hayden: The low-key Rendell confidant is easily overlooked by many, but should be ignored by nobody. The former state House member - who served served on the Rendell transition team as co-chair of the DEP team- will leverage key contacts for some key contracts.*

Vernon Hill: The Commerce Bank Chairman heads one of Pennsylvania's fastest growing banks, and more importantly, gets the game when it comes to politics- earning a spot on the list. Hill plays to both Republicans and Democrats, and gets what he wants.

Mark Holman: Formerly Tom Ridge's Chief of Staff, and Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security at the White House, Holman has rejoined Blank, Rome, Comisky & McCauley in the Government Relations Department. The guy still has some great contacts, to say the least.

Steve Wojdak: This lobbyist moves up in the ranks as Rendell moves into the Governor's Mansion and he acquires new, key staff.

Brian Preski: Without allies in the Governor's mansion, Perzel's Chief of Staff drops a few slots but remains the most powerful, trusted advisor ton the new Speaker of the House.

Nick DeBenedictis: The Philadelphia Suburban Water CEO, former DEP Secretary under Thornburgh and major GOP fundraiser gets his calls returned. He's close with Perzel and he's given heavily to Republicans nationally, in Pennsylvania, and New Jersey... plus Bill Bradley for President.

Bill Greenlee: Greenlee remains a powerhouse in Pennsylvania politics, with strong contacts throughout Harrisburg and the Commonwealth.

John Brabender: The President of BrabenderCox remains on the list despite the defeat of Mike Fisher, as a result of his strong ties to Hart, Santorum and Roddey, and successful open seat campaigns of Tim Murphy and Jim Gerlach.

George Burrell: Mayor John Street's right hand man, is thoroughly unapologetic and fiercely loyal to his boss. The former city Councilman and Deputy Mayor understands the business and investment community, to the benefit of the more inward-looking mayor.

John Dougherty: The Hatfield to Vince Fumo's McCoy, Dougherty is never far from the headlines. As Business Manager for IBEW Local 98, "Johnny Doc" has mastered the game.

Richard Mellon-Scaife: The conservative philanthropist and publishers drops down several slots on list with the loss of Western Pennsylvania Republicans Tom Ridge, Mike Fisher, and Barbara Hafer. With the departure of Mellon-Scaife's favorite boogeyman from the White House, he garners fewer headlines these days.

Tom Previc: Top gun for the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers, his group has an important friend in the governor's office and major influence with half the state Senate.

Steve Crawford: Now Rendell's legislative director, Crawford served as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture under Governor Casey, and is the former Executive Director the State House Agricultural Committee.*

Donna Cooper: Cooper most recently served as the Executive Director of Good Schools Pennsylvania, a public education advocacy organization. Cooper served as Deputy Mayor for Policy and Planning in the Rendell administration, and now serves as Policy Director for the Governor.

Mike Long: The State Senate GOP wunderkid helped engineer congressional redistricting to give the careers of Tim Murphy, Jim Gerlach, and Jack Murtha a boost. But with redistricting over, and Jubelirer done with his double-duty stint, Long drops a bit from last year.

Marilyn Ware: This GOP donor and fundraiser remains powerful, even with Ridge, Schweiker, and Fisher gone.

Alan Novak: Novak has guided the state GOP for many years but he doesn't have the tight control of the Party that other state chairmen have. That being said, Novak easily makes the Power 50 list for a second year.

Keith Schmidt: Rick Santorum's State Director drops from last year's position as the junior Senator focuses on national politics and Pennsylvania politics focus on the senior Senator.

Becky Corman: Top GOP grass roots operative and activist. Like Hillman, her star may be on the downward slope, albeit temporarily.

Sam Marshall: The President of the Pennsylvania Insurance Federation leader remains an influential player in Harrisburg.

Leslie Anne Miller: The Rendell General Counsel was named in a recent feature as one of Pennsylvania's most politically powerful women, and remains one of the most connected members of the political-legal community.

Holly Kinser: After her much published breakup with House Minority Leader Bill DeWeese in 1999, Kinser went into self-imposed exile, but returned to join Steve Wojdak's lobbying shop. Kinser's lobbying talent speaks for itself, and with her connections the the state's CEO, she joins the PoliticsPA power list.

Jim Nevels: As the Chairman of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, Nevels oversees the largest school system in the state. The only guy in Pennsylvania who controls more public contracts for construction, food service, banking, insurance, and real estate is the Governor himself, whose first term ends a year before Nevels' does.

Erik Arneson: The Chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Chip Brightbill, Arneson has a major say in what legislation moves through the state Senate.

Frank Sirianni: The new President of Pennsylvania Buildings and Trades is a powerful voice for labor.

Brian Roberts: The Comcast Cable CEO belatedly joins the Power 50 list with the acquisition of AT&T and David Cohen.

Terry Madonna: Pennsylvania's Pollster-Laureate remains unquestionably the most respected and quoted independent pollster in the state. When Madonna speaks, just about every power broker, media outlet, and political junkie in Pennsylvania listens.

Peter Buttenweiser: The reclusive Democrat continues to be the single biggest individual contributor to the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania, and one of the biggest in the country, having donated with his wife $565,500 in the last election cycle. Buttenweiser's stock would shoot through the roof in our listing if he exercised any of the clout he has built up.

LeRoy Zimmerman: The first elected Attorney General, Zimmerman remains a power broker in Central Pennsylvania. Managing partner with Eckert Seamans in Harrisburg, Zimmerman contributes heavily to state and national Republicans, but maintains friendly ties with the administration.

Neil Oxman: Rendell's media strategist has done well for his boss, and continues to be influential in several high profile campaigns throughout Pennsylvania. Should Oxman's candidates win, look for Oxman's rank on this list to rise.

Michael Karp: The prominent Philadelphia real-estate developer has strong ties to Perzel, Casey, and Rendell, and most Philadelphia-area legislators. He's donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Rendell in the last decade-plus, and has reaped the rewards of a close relationship. "

Power 50

Power 50: "Sy Snyder's

Power 50

The POWER 50 identifies Pennsylvania's 50 most politically influential personalities. In developing our list, we eliminated anyone who currently holds public office., as well as judges and state Cabinet members. This is an Insiders List. We looked at policy makers, party leaders, fundraisers, lobbyists, labor unions, businesses, the media, and associations and have assembled the ultimate list of Pennsylvanians with clout -- with an impact on politics and government in the Commonwealth. And we selected names based on a fairly unscientific curve: we allocated spaces on this list for a dozen different categories within our political community -- so #5 on the list of important fundraisers or donors may not make the list, but the most influential congressional staffer does. Just remember that our list is purely subjective. There are no right or wrong answers, and this list is always changing. We welcome your comments on this list or on the website.

1 David Girard-DiCarlo Attorney, Bush Pioneer, Ridge confidant, and Fisher for Governor Chairman. He is at the top of his game, with a finger in the White House, the Office of Homeland Security, and connections with both Fisher and Casey.
2 Ed Rendell Gubernatorial candidate, former Mayor & DNC Chairman. Next time, look for Rendell to disappear from the list (if elected) or to drop steeply if his candidacy fails.
3 Bob Asher GOP National Committeeman and fundraising extraordinaire. Candidates get elected with Asher's support.
4 Elsie Hillman GOP activist and major donor. Has helped to elect every statewide GOP office holder in the past 30 years and more -- not to mention a president
5 Steve MacNett General Counsel to State Senate. Referred to as the "51st Senator"
6 Dave Sanko Senior Advisor, Governor Schweiker. Has the ear of PA's Chief Executive.
7 David Cohen Democratic power broker, Rendell for Governor Chair. The brains, money, and power behind possibly the next governor.
8 William George PA AFL-CIO President. Unquestionably PA's top labor leader.
9 John Brabender President, Brabender Cox Mihalke. More than a media consultant. Has the ear of Santorum, Ridge, Fisher, and Hart, among others.
10 Stan Rapp Lobbyist, Top campaign advisor and political strategist for local races across the state.
11 Sam Katz CEO, Greater Philadelphia First and always on the short list.
12 Manny Stamatakis Chairman, DRPA and major GOP donor
13 Frank Guillan Philadelphia Teamsters President
14 Brian Tierney TV personality and strategist, and Tierney Communications
15 Brian Preski Chief of Staff to House Majority Leader John Perzel
16 Christine Toretti GOP National Committeewoman and major donor
17 Richard Mellon-Scaife GOP donor and conservative activist.
18 Kent Gates Manager, Fisher for Governor and advisor to Allegheny County Executive Jim Roddey.
19 Mark Campbell Chief of Staff to both Governors Ridge and Schweiker
20 Keith Schmidt Top Aide, US Senator Rick Santorum
21 Patricia Poprik PA GOP Treasurer, fundraiser.
22 Marty Weinberg Attorney and Former Philly mayoral candidate with close ties to Fumo
23 Mike Long
GOP Senate Administrator and reapportionment whiz. Karl Rove's favorite Pennsylvanian.

24 Marilyn Ware GOP major donor and fundraiser
25 Bill Greenlee Lobbyist
26 Dan Rooney Steelers President
27 Steve Wojdak Lobbyist
28 Leroy Zimmerman Former State Attorney General and GOP fundraiser
29 Bill Batoff Democratic fundraiser and strategist
30 John Baughman PSEA chief lobbyist in the Capitol
31 George Burrell Chief political advisor, Philadelphia Mayor Street
32 Jerry Mondesire NAACP President, Philadelphia Chapter
33 Matt Casey Campaign manager, Casey for Governor.
34 Mark Holman Chief of Staff, Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge.
35 Renee Chenault-Fattah Anchor, Philadelphia NBC-10 and wife of Congressman Chakah Fattah
36 Richard Bloomingdale PA AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer
37 Sandi Vito Top Rendell aide, former Tartaglione Chief of Staff
38 Carey Lackman Chief of Staff, Senator Arlen Specter
39 Fred Anton PMA boss
40 Anthony Joseph Bevilacqua Philadelphia-based Cardinal
41 Sam Marshall PA Insurance Federation
42 Alan Novak Chairman, PA GOP State Committee
43 Teresa Heinz Wife of US Senator John Kerry and widow of US Senator John Heinz
44 Paul Dlugolecki Top Aide to Senator Vince Fumo
45 Mark Phenicie PA Trial Lawyers Association
46 John McNichol Leader of Delco GOP War Board
47 Erik Arneson Chief of staff, Senate Majority Leader
48 Pete DeCoursey Reporter & columnist, The Patriot News
49 John Vartan Developer and major donor

50 Glenn Schaeffer President, PA Building Trades