Monday, February 8, 2016

Archive: August, 2012

POSTED: Tuesday, August 21, 2012, 8:23 AM

There’s a basic rule in basketball that you defend the baseline, the area closest to the hoop, because it’s an easy path to a score.

Mitt Romney is driving baseline with a new video ad on his claim that President Obama wants to “gut” work rules for welfare recipients, a claim universally labeled false by a variety of fact-checking news organizations and non-partisan watchdog groups.

Romney first jumped on the issue last month with a broadcast ad but now restricts the complaint to references in front of friendly GOP audiences and with this new online video, "Only in America," aimed squarely at his base.

POSTED: Monday, August 20, 2012, 9:20 AM

Results of a new survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press show an onoing decline in believability in the news media -- just in time for a presidential election.

Very depressing.

The survey of 13 news organizations finds an overall believability of 56 percent, down six points from 62 percent just two years ago and down 15 points from 71 percent in 2002.

POSTED: Friday, August 17, 2012, 8:43 AM

The battle over Mitt Romney's tax returns has returned to the campaign fray with new information from Mitt and a new challenge from the Obama camp.

On Thursday, Romney said he paid at least 13 percent of his income in taxes in each of last 10 years.

The Associated Press, citing the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, reports middle-income families making $50,000 to $75,000 pay an average of 12.8 percent.

POSTED: Thursday, August 16, 2012, 8:54 AM

As state Republican House Leader Mike Turzai's name continues to spread across the political landscape, the controversy over voter ID and questions about its actual impact, one thing is clear: he is not changing his tune.

No matter what he was asked Wednesday during an impromptu press conference in the state Capitol newsroom, he stuck to the lyric of the law, saing it's about protecting the principle of "one man, one vote" and "the integrity of each and every valid vote."

He sang this chorus when asked if maybe he should not have offered (or differently phrased) his now-famous assertion that passing the law will "allow" Mitt Romney to win Pennsylvania and that it was part of the GOP legislative agenda that can be labeled as "done."

POSTED: Wednesday, August 15, 2012, 8:49 AM

There's a tasty little item in this week's Harrisburg Patriot-News about how PennDOT publishes guides to some Philly cheesesteak restaurants that kinda makes one wonder about, you know, core functions of government.

The agency of highway cones, potholes and dilapidated bridges operating in an administration constantly criticized for failure to enact badly need transportation-related repairs offers a two-page "Philadelphia Cheese Steak Guide" for free at its welcome centers in the southeastern part of the state.

Agency officials swear the guide is not advertising despite the fact it lists only six of Lord know how many cheese steak places in the city.

POSTED: Tuesday, August 14, 2012, 8:34 AM

You won't see this often, especially from someone who daily growls about the state of our politics, but there's a nice piece of political news related to both national coventions.

Craftsman Tools, in cooperation with a bunch of other companies, is heading up an interesting effort to build a house for a deserving military veteran; it's to be built in parts, one half at the Republican convention in Tampa, the other at the Democratic convention in Charlotte.

The program is called a "House United" and offers a starkly different approach than our national political parties offer.

POSTED: Monday, August 13, 2012, 8:37 AM

Despite Gov. Corbett's avowed advocacy of transparency in state government, there is further evidence that exactly the opposite is administration policy.

Last week, in a column about the administration going to court to prevent public access to state employee work email addresses and work phone numbers, I noted Corbett as a candidate and as governor has pushed openness, including asserting in his January 2011 inaugural address that, "We must restore transparency."

I suggested spending taxpayer resources to legally battle right-to-know requests to government assets such as work emails and phone numbers, paid for by taxpayers, seems an odd path to such restoration.

POSTED: Saturday, August 11, 2012, 8:17 AM

So Romney picked Ryan and the GOP ticket is R and R.

The pick, announced Saturday morning, makes me dead wrong on two counts: I thought it would be Portman and I thought it would Tuesday.

My reasoning was Portman's home state of Ohio (with 18 Electoral College votes) is critical to victory in November, and Portman, a former House member, former White House top aide and now a Senator, would greatly help Mitt's chances of carrying the state.

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

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

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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