Sunday, April 26, 2015

POSTED: Saturday, January 24, 2015, 10:38 AM

DES MOINES, Iowa - It was late, getting on midnight Friday, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie arrived, purple tie loosened, collar open, a leather garment bag hanging on his shoulder in the lobby of the downtown Marriott here.

Journalists – Christie’s Greek chorus, his foils and his inquisitors – gathered around and he bantered. First he ripped WNYC’s Matt Katz (a former Inky colleague) for remarks he made on NJTV before the governor’s state of the state address recently. “You’re pre-game was terrible,” Christie said. “Pathetic.”

“What are you going to say tomorrow?” somebody said, referring to Saturday’s Iowa Freedom Summit where Christie, a likely candidate in the 2016 presidential campaign, was scheduled to speak.

Thomas Fitzgerald @ 10:38 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, January 19, 2015, 9:26 AM
Gov.-elect Tom Wolf added to his cabinet Saturday. (DAVID SWANSON / Staff)

On the eve of Democrat Tom Wolf’s inauguration as governor, a new Mercyhurst University poll finds most Pennsylvania voters optimistic about his ability to solve the state’s problems, with broad support for his policy agenda.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents to the survey by the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics say they have confidence in Wolf’s leadership ability, and 65 percent express confidence in his ability to solve the problems of the state – a smaller majority, 52 percent, says Wolf will be able to effectively work with the Republicans who control both houses of the legislature.

Fifty-eight percent favor a progressive state income tax, with those who make more money paying at a higher rate; 35 percent are opposed. Wolf advocated the change during his campaign. The income tax rate is currently a flat 3.5 percent for all income groups. Pennsylvania’s constitution has a uniformity clause that mandates sameness in tax levies.

Thomas Fitzgerald @ 9:26 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, January 14, 2015, 5:19 PM

In this political environment, it almost doesn’t seem natural: A Democrat and a Republican working together, as partners. By choice.

Former Pennsylvania Democratic Chairman T.J. Rooney and former Republican Chairman Alan Novak, partisan antagonists in other times, Wednesday announced they were joining together in a new government-relations enterprise.

RooneyNovak Group LLC will help clients navigate divided government in Harrisburg and Washington, the two men said in a news release.

Thomas Fitzgerald @ 5:19 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, January 6, 2015, 4:06 PM
Former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, file)

Former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum met with top state Republicans and supporters in Harrisburg Tuesday to discuss a possible 2016 campaign for the White House, the latest sign that he wants another shot after finishing second to GOP nominee Mitt Romney three years ago.

The private conclave at the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association was arranged by Frederick W. Anton, the advocacy group’s president and a pillar of the state Republican establishment.

In a letter inviting attendees, Anton wrote that Santorum and his “senior team” would lay out what a 2016 campaign could look like. “His message of fighting for working Americans, manufacturing, and our conservative values resonated – and still does – with voters all over the country,” Anton wrote, adding that he was urging Santorum to run.

Thomas Fitzgerald @ 4:06 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 12:46 PM

At this point, the Republican 2016 presidential field is an undifferentiated mass with none of more than a dozen possibilities garnering over 10 percent support for the nomination, according to a national poll released Tuesday by Monmouth University in New Jersey.

The poll also finds that U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the GOP’s vice-presidential nominee in 2012, and Mitt Romney, his running mate at the top of that ticket, are viewed most favorably by Republican voters among a list of party bold-faced names.

Contenders receiving support include Mitt Romney (8 percent); physician and pundit Ben Carson (7 percent); New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (7 percent); former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (6 percent); Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (5 percent); Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (5 percent); former Arkansas Gov. and minister Mike Huckabee (3 percent); Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (3 percent); Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (2 percent); Texas Gov. Rick Perry (2 percent); Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (2 percent); and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (1 percent).

Unlike many polls, respondents were asked to name their preference without being prompted with a list of options. Less than 1 percent of them chose Ryan, despite his top favorability rating. Thirty-seven percent of Republicans said they had no preference at this point.

Thomas Fitzgerald @ 12:46 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, December 15, 2014, 2:36 PM
FILE - In this Dec. 3, 2014 file photo, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at Georgetown University in Washington. (AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster, File)

A national poll from Monmouth University released Monday finds that Hillary Clinton is the top choice of Democrats as the party’s 2016 presidential nominee, though a substantial number also think she should be challenged in a primary.

When asked who they’d like to see as the party’s candidate, 48 percent of respondents volunteered Clinton’s name, to 6 percent for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and 2 percent each for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Vice President Biden.

“When nearly half of Democratic voters volunteer the name Hillary Clinton as their choice for 2016, it’s hard to deny that she is the clear front runner,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, N.J.  “At the same, time Democrats do not want to the nomination process to be a coronation.”

Thomas Fitzgerald @ 2:36 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 5:27 PM
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, file)

No, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum did not actually announce his second campaign for president in an interview Tuesday with The Washington Post, aides said.

But the runner-up for the 2012 Republican nomination sure sounded like a man who’s all but certain to run.

“America loves an underdog. We’re definitely the underdog in this race,” Santorum told Karen Tumulty. He said his campaign would be better than the guerilla effort that gave him a filament-thin victory over Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucuses and enabled him to keep fighting into the spring. (In the end, Santorum one 11 nominating contests, finishing a distant second to Romney in the delegate count.)

Thomas Fitzgerald @ 5:27 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, December 5, 2014, 8:41 PM
President Obama and Tom Wolf on the campaign trail. Wolf, along with six other newly elected state chief executives, met Friday with President Obama about jobs and the economy after a day of talks with cabinet members and other administration officials. (CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer )

Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Tom Wolf, along with six other newly elected state chief executives, met Friday with President Obama about jobs and the economy after a day of talks with cabinet members and other administration officials.

Wolf was joined by governors-elect from Alaska, Illinois, Texas, Maryland and Massachusetts- all Republicans - as well as fellow Democrat Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island.

As the incoming governors settled in around the Oval Office shortly before 5 p.m., Obama said they “represent a variety of states,” but have “a common interest" in promoting economic opportunity for their people, according to print pool reporter David M. Jackson of USA Today.

Thomas Fitzgerald @ 8:41 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
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Inquirer staff writer Thomas Fitzgerald blogs about national politics.

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