Democrats stress unity, duck questions after sit-down

Pennsylvania Democrats gather at a "unity" breakfast at the Oregon Diner in Philadelphia. From left: U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, former Gov. Ed Rendell, Tom Wolf, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, state Democratic chairman Jim Burn, (blocked) Katie McGinty, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. and state Treasurer Rob McCord.

The three Democrats easily bested by Tom Wolf in Tuesday's Democratic primary election for governor are now unified behind the victor.  Just don't ask them any questions about it.

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady invited the candidates, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, state Treasurer Rob McCord and former state Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty, to breakfast with Wolf this morning at the Oregon Diner in South Philly.  The media was invited too but not allowed to listen in on the table talk.

Former Gov. Ed Rendell joined in and later insisted repeatedly that nobody present would answer any questions about the discussion.

"Campaigns are tough, rough business," Rendell said. "So this is a first step. It's a process that's going to take some time."

Brady, asked if the tone of the Democratic primary came up during breakfast, said no.

"Nothing. Zero. Zip," said Brady, who tipped $100 on a $150 bill. "We're not looking in the rear-view mirror. We're going forward, not backwards."

The state Republican Party issued a news release during the breakfast, suggesting the Democratic candidates now want voters to "forget everything we said about Tom Wolf!"

McCord threw the hardest primary punch, accusing Wolf of failed leadership for serving as chairman of the reelection campaign for the mayor of York, who was charged in 2001 and later of acquitted on a murder charge for a 1968 race riot death.

McCord arrived 15 minutes late to the breakfast, a table of Democrats waiting for him before they ordered.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. and state Democratic Chairman Jim Burn also attended.  Casey said he "became an expert at bringing people together for party unity" after he lost the 2002 Democratic primary election for governor to Rendell.

Casey's father, the late Gov. Bob Casey Sr., defeated Rendell in the 1986 Democratic primary election for governor.

"So we're all sharing our experiences in doing that after a tough primary," Casey said.

Wolf was the only candidate on Tuesday's ballot who spoke after the breakfast and he kept it brief, calling the other candidates "among the most talented people I've ever had the privilege of working with."

He said the breakfast was about "pulling back together" to defeat Gov. Corbett in the Nov. 4 general election.