Sunday, February 14, 2016

Archive: March, 2012

POSTED: Friday, March 30, 2012, 11:49 AM

And now, as the nation watches the U.S. Supreme Court and waits for a determination on the health law at the center of the race for president, comes a different sort of health care fight from the steel city of Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports in detail on the strange case of Highmark boss Dr. Kenneth Melani, his mistress, his fistfight, his arrest and his oh-so-fat, overly obese annual salary.

In sum, Melani, 58, hired 28-year-old social friend and golfing buddy Melissa Myler last October-and three weeks later they began an affair. Melani's wife finds out and contacts Myler's 49-year-old husband, Mark Myler, in January.

POSTED: Thursday, March 29, 2012, 10:44 AM

In an apparently coordinated attack on "Obamacare," state and national Republicans are blasting away at the controversial issue -- and the president's signature domestic inititative -- which is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Thursday, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus scheduled a Harrisburg news conference with GOP-endorsed Senate candidate Steve Welch (he's vying to be the nominee to challenge Democratic Sen. Bob Casey) and state Chamber of Business and Industry boss Gene Barr to "discuss" the negative impact of Obamacare.

The RNC also released a TV ad in Harrisburg called "Higher Cost" (you can watch it by hitting the replay sign in the lower left-hand corner of video box) that slams the president on health care.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 10:11 AM

It looks like President Obama can thank Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santorum for boosting him in key swing states, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released Wednesday.

Poll findings in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida show the President leading Rick and Mitt Romney overall and leading among women by a range of 6 to 19 points in the three states, any two of which are regarded as critical to winning the presidency.

This is unquestionably a reaction to the recent focus by the right, especially Limbaugh and Santorum, on issues directly related to women such as reproductive health. The poll says most matchups among male voters are too close to call.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 10:46 AM

Pennsylvania Congressman Todd Platts, a Republican from York County, announced recently he will not seek re-election this year.

The 50-year-old father of two is a rarity.

He's the only member of Congress who has never taken special interest PAC money and the only member who has never run a paid TV campaign ad -- this in era when the Supreme Court expanded the role of special-interest cash in politics.

POSTED: Monday, March 26, 2012, 10:42 AM

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

JB: Boss, didya see your boy Rick finally came up with a great idea?

BE: On education? Contraception? Islamic radicals in Latin America? Women staying home? Oh, wait, I know, on Romney being "the worst" Republican?

POSTED: Thursday, March 22, 2012, 10:33 AM

Not to depress anyone, but a scan of the state these days paints a pretty bleak picture of our current and former leaders and iconic institutions.

Former Philly and state political power John Perzel gets up to five years in jail for stealing tax dollars to help Republicans win campaigns, a story that draws attention from the international news service Reuters and runs, for example, in the Chicago Tribune.

In Pittsburgh, state Sen. Jane Orie's ongoing trial on charges she used taxpayer resources for campaigns, including her sister's (state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin), gets a surprise witness who testifies he saw campaign work going on in the senator's office in the senator's presence. The AP story gets broad play, including in the New Jersey Herald.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 10:18 AM

Rick Santorum's sorry showing in Illinois on Tuesday should speed the end of his upstart and unlikely quest for the presidency.

He lost to Mitt in the Land of Lincoln by 12 points, 47-35, reaffirming his pattern of only doing well in smaller rural or southern states.

And he lost after polling just a week ago showed him competitive with Mitt in Illinois. But the combination of getting killed on the air by the Romney money machine and saying things such as the race is not about the economy proved too much to overcome.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 20, 2012, 9:57 AM

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

JB: Okay, boss, your boy Rick faces a big test today in Illinois. What's your prediction?

BE: A stunning, come-from-behind strong showing that keeps him in the race.

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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