Thursday, December 25, 2014

He Speaks!

Tom Corbett holds his first press conference and actually speaks.

He Speaks!

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: He speaks!

BE: Who does?

JB: Thomas W. Corbett, former high school civics teacher, township commissioner, U.S. Attorney, state Attorney General and 46th governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

BE: And this is news because?

JB: It was his first press conference since taking office last month, only his second since he was elected in November.

BE: What did he say?

JB: He said he wants long-time colleague and campaign contributor Linda Kelly from the U.S. Attorney's office in Pittsburgh to succeed him as state attorney general, something that was reported by Pete DeCoursey at capitolwire.com last week.

BE: So this was a news conference without any news.

JB: But better than nothing. He also took questions on where's he's been, how that budget thing is going and whatever happened to his "Bonusgate" investigation of the state Senate.

BE: What else?

JB: Been busy going through the budget "line by line;" still thinks he can balance it without new taxes or fees, "but it won't be easy;" says ask Kelly about "Bonusgate" after she gets sworn in, assuming the Senate confirms her whenever the Senate gets around to it.

BE: Was there anything remotely interesting?

JB: He poked the Big Dog. When asked about transportation funding, he said the state doesn't spend enough on infrastructure because it "wasn't a priorty of the prior governor."

BE: That's odd. Rendell was always yapping about infrastructure.

JB: In fact. the prior governor begged the Legislature for more transportation money, formed a national effort to push infrastructure funding with Mayor Bloomberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger and continued to push as recently as December in South Carolina.

BE: Corbett didn't paint the whole picture.

JB: But he did offer some imagery: He compared his rapid intake of info from transition papers and budget data to "drinking from a fire hose;" and said his office, while seemingly gliding quietly along, is like a duck gliding across a pond -- "the feet are moving very fast."

BE: Colorful analogies.

JB: And something else. He held the press conference in the Capitol media center usually used by lawmakers instead of in the governor's reception room right outside his office where governors always hold press conferences. He walked to a different wing of the Capitol for this.

BE: Maybe he wanted to keep his feet moving very fast.

JB: Maybe his wife Sue is redecorating the reception room.

BE: Maybe you should give him a break.

JB: Grrrr.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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