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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: May, 2013

POSTED: Friday, May 24, 2013, 8:52 AM
Gov. Corbett (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Okay, we all know Tom Corbett has a penchant for drawing the attention of social media then regular media, allowing detractors, Democrats and now potential election opponents to suggest things he says show insensitivity to women, the unemployed and, most recently, Latinos.

Whether you think these things are taken out of context, blown out of proportion or represent attitudes less than admirable in one holding high office, you pretty much have to agree they demonstrate a lack of political skill.

And that's the trouble with Tom.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 8:28 AM
Pennsylvania Auditor General and candidate for governor Jack Wagner listens to a question during a 90-minute debate Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at Harrisburg Area Community College in Harrisburg, Pa. Six candidates running for Pennsylvania Governor in the May 18th primary election participated in a debate focused on issues of good government including campaign finance and election reform, ethics and redistricting. (AP Photo/Jason Minick)

Former state Auditor General Jack Wagner lost his bid Tuesday to become Pittsburgh's next mayor -- he was handily beaten by City Councilman Bill Peduto -- but given Wagner's long record in public office and his penchant for seeking public office one wonders whether he could shake up the 2014 race for governor?

The long-standing rule in PA politics is that in a large Democratic primary field a Western PA candidate has an edge. This is due to historic regional allegience western voters hold for western candidates, and the idea has been bobbing around lately since all Democratic candidates lining up to challenge Gov. Corbett are from the eastern side of the state.

Wagner, 65, a decorated Vietnam veteran, has served on Pittsburgh City Council, in the state Senate and for two terms as state auditor general.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 8:48 AM

Harrisburg residents are voting Tuesday in a contested Democratic primary for mayor that features an embattled incumbent and offers the winner a chance to preside over a Capital City deeply in debt and facing the prospect of bankruptcy.

The four-way race seems torn from the pages of a bad TV sitcom.

One candidate, Lewis Butts, was just charged with criminal mischief for defacing campaign signs of another candidate. That candidate's name is Eric Papenfuse. Butts is accused of using black spray paint to change the name on signs to "Papenpuss."

POSTED: Thursday, May 16, 2013, 8:47 AM
Pennsylvania Auditor General and candidate for governor Jack Wagner listens to a question during a 90-minute debate Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at Harrisburg Area Community College in Harrisburg, Pa. Six candidates running for Pennsylvania Governor in the May 18th primary election participated in a debate focused on issues of good government including campaign finance and election reform, ethics and redistricting. (AP Photo/Jason Minick)

Here we go again.

Remember back in 2007 when then-candidate Michael Nutter broke through in the Democratic primary with a TV ad featuring his daughter Olivia?

The spot, in which Olivia, then in middle-school, spoke to camera about her dad, was widely credited with winning the nomination for Nutter.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 8:51 AM

Following Monday's Daily News column in which I recommended a 5-step plan for poll-challenged Gov. Corbett to get on a path to reelection, I got a bunch of reaction from both sides of the political spectrum and one great idea to add to the list from a reader.

The column, in short, suggested Corbett act quickly to stop the bleeding in popular opinion by, among other things, appointing a woman to the state Supreme Court vacancy sooner rather than later and by getting some Internet political ads up to counter his characterization as someone solely interested in big business.

You can read the 5 ideas here.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 8:43 AM

The United Food and Commercial Workers union, a staunch opponent of privatizing Pennsylvania's booze system, claims that a main proponent of privatization, the Commonwealth Foundation, pulled an online poll on the issue after poll numbers started showing opposition to the change.

"According to a screen shot taken taken before the Foundation `disappeared' the poll, 53 percent of respondents said they opposed privatization. Only 45 percent supported it," the union's statement issued Monday says.

Union chief Wendell Young IV added, “We’re happy that a majority of the Foundation’s web users agree with us and with a majority of Pennsylvanians...it‘s taken awhile for the Foundation to understand it, but, as I’ve said many times, the more people learn about privatization, they less they like it.”

POSTED: Monday, May 13, 2013, 9:00 AM

And now a little tale about using social media to make one's case.

Last week, in a "Baer Growls" blogpost about our esteemed Legislature, I suggested it is "hunting for progress" in the wrong places. I noted that while it appears unwilling to act on tough issues such as curtailing the costs of public pensions -- costs that are eating tax dollars at escalating rates, impacting all citizens -- it seems perfectly content to push lesser issues impacting a few.

As one example, I cited scheduled votes on a measure to allow leashed dogs to track and recover wounded white-tail deer.

POSTED: Friday, May 10, 2013, 9:09 AM

With the death of former PA Gov. George Leader, a York County Democrat revered during his time in office in the 1950's and until his death Thursday at the age of 95, the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) is offering a fitting tribute.

It's Website -- pcntv.com -- includes a film of Leader's inauguration day, January 18, 1955, that PA history buffs will enjoy.

It was sponsored by a union, the Glass Bottle Blowers Association of United States and Canada, and is striking for a number of reasons.

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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