Thursday, April 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Pat Toomey #1?

Sen. Pat Toomey says in a fundraising letter that he's "the #1 target of the Democratic establishment." Really?

Pat Toomey #1?

I understand that fundraising letters from politicians aren't really written by politicians but by well-paid pros who know how to shake the political base for precious campaign dollars.

I get that.

But sometimes, come on, a politician's credibility is just slightly endangered when he or she allows fundraisers to stretch the truth.

Take a fundraising letter now making the rounds on behalf of GOP Sen. Pat Toomey.

While begging for bucks the letter notes "it's a tall order for any conservative to win re-election in Pennsylvania -- a state Barack Obama easily carried in 2008 and 2012."

It goes on: "But it's even more difficult when you're the #1 target of the Democratic establishment. And that's exactly the position in which I now find myself. The Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) has painted a big red target on my back and is already laying the ground work for an all-out campaign to defeat me."

Couple things.

The DSCC stands for Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, not "Democrat" Senatorial Campaign Committee. Why do Republicans insist on calling the Democratic Party the Democrat Party? And why does Toomey's letter first refer to the "Democratic establishment" but then the "Democrat" committee? It's a GOP mystery.

Also, Toomey isn't up for reelection this year or next year or the year after that. He's up in 2016.

And the national press secretary for the DSCC, Justin Barasky, says "there is no such ranking" of GOP targets listing Toomey as #1 or listing Toomey at all. Barasky says the committee rarely discusses people likely to run in two or three elections down the road, adding, "We are focused on maintaining our majority" in the Senate in 2014.

Now, to his credit, Toomey does not wave the usual red meat in front of conservative donors. There's no reference, for example, to Hillary or Nancy Pelosi or gay marriage. The only outside reference is to Obama and Harry Reid running up the national debt. And that's fair game.

But any notion that Toomey is right now the #1 target of Democrats is, well, something more than a stretch.

 

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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