State of Pennsylvania Archives: on Principles & Values


Bob Casey: Optimistic there will be debates; but won't say so on record

There are no debates scheduled between incumbent Bob Casey and his Republican challenger Tom Smith. Not one.

Sure, everyone understands busy campaign schedules. Pennsylvania is a big state to travel around, and candidates do have to hold a certain number of fundraisers and meet and greets. But no debates?

You have to wonder whether either candidate wants to be accountable and accessible to the public if they will not even take time for a debate. When The Patriot-News Editorial Board reached out to the two campaigns Thursday, their answers were unimpressive.

"The race has been tightening for the past several weeks, and we are optimistic there will be a debate. Should anything be finalized I will let you know," wrote a spokeswoman for Tom Smith's campaign in an email.

Casey's team would not speak on the record, although it, too, expressed optimism there would be a debate. The responses are not reassuring, considering there are only 26 days left before Election Day.

Source: The Patriot-News on 2012 PA Senate debates Oct 12, 2012

Tom Smith: Optimistic there will be a debate; but nothing finalized

There are no debates scheduled between incumbent Bob Casey and his Republican challenger Tom Smith. Not one.

Sure, everyone understands busy campaign schedules. Pennsylvania is a big state to travel around, and candidates do have to hold a certain number of fundraisers and meet and greets. But no debates?

You have to wonder whether either candidate wants to be accountable and accessible to the public if they will not even take time for a debate. When The Patriot-News Editorial Board reached out to the two campaigns Thursday, their answers were unimpressive.

"The race has been tightening for the past several weeks, and we are optimistic there will be a debate. Should anything be finalized I will let you know," wrote a spokeswoman for Tom Smith's campaign in an email.

Casey's team would not speak on the record, although it, too, expressed optimism there would be a debate. The responses are not reassuring, considering there are only 26 days left before Election Day.

Source: The Patriot-News on 2012 PA Senate debates Oct 12, 2012

Bob Casey: Declined to respond to League of Women Voters questionnaire

Less than four weeks until Election Day, Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate candidates have yet to even agree on the terms of a debate in a low-profile campaign that is being waged largely through TV ads that are costing millions of dollars. In other states, U.S. Senate candidates are already plowing through their debate schedule.

The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania said it is trying to arrange two debates between Democratic Sen. Bob Casey and Republican challenger Tom Smith, but nothing was final Wednesday. The league has even had trouble getting responses from Smith and Casey for its voters' guide, said the executive director of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania: "This has been one of the toughest years yet to get information out of people."

Source: Erie Times-News on 2012 PA Senate debates Oct 11, 2012

Tom Smith: Declined to respond to League of Women Voters questionnaire

Less than four weeks until Election Day, Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate candidates have yet to even agree on the terms of a debate in a low-profile campaign that is being waged largely through TV ads that are costing millions of dollars. In other states, U.S. Senate candidates are already plowing through their debate schedule.

The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania said it is trying to arrange two debates between Democratic Sen. Bob Casey and Republican challenger Tom Smith, but nothing was final Wednesday. The league has even had trouble getting responses from Smith and Casey for its voters' guide, said the executive director of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania: "This has been one of the toughest years yet to get information out of people."

Source: Erie Times-News on 2012 PA Senate debates Oct 11, 2012

Steve Welch: Voted Democratic in 2008; but renounced support of Obama

The state Democratic Party issued a news release before the debate at the Union League, noting that Tom Smith is a former Democrat. Smith, who was a Democrat for four decades while serving as a township supervisor in the 1970s and 1980s, said he joined the Democratic Party to honor his parents. He was a Democratic committeeman as late as 2010. "It's true I was a Democrat but I was conservative, so I really wasn't a Democrat," Smith explained, adding that he chaired a county Tea Party organization.
Source: Philadelphia Daily News on 2012 PA Senate debate Apr 4, 2012

Tom Smith: Elected as Democrat as township supervisor for decades

Source: Philadelphia Daily News on 2012 PA Senate debate Apr 4, 2012

Steve Welch: Switched party from Democrat to GOP in 2005

Candidate Tim Burns used a discussion about Obama as an opening to bash Welch's 2005 switch to the Democratic party and his vote for Obama during the 2008 primary, as well as his financial support for Joe Sestak in 2006.

Welch offered a mea culpa on the party switch, and reiterated his support for John McCain in the 2008 general election, saying he thought Obama was the lesser of two evils compared to Hillary Clinton. For the first time, he answered the Sestak charge by bringing up the record of then Rep. Curt Weldon, the man Sestak defeated in 2006. Weldon was an establishment Republican who ran into ethics troubles near the end of his term, culminating in an FBI raid of his office.

In perhaps his strongest response yet to the party-switching charge, Welch said, "Tim Burns' Republican party means Ronald Reagan could never have been President."

Source: PoliticsPA.com coverage of 2012 PA Senate debate Jan 21, 2012

Joe Sestak: TV ad: Toomey's record is same as Sen. Rick Santorum's

The two actually agreed that the tone of their race had grown negative, but neither accepted blame for it. Both defended their ads as issues-based and accurate.

Sestak's ads have targeted Toomey as far to the right. One uses Toomey's own words, saying his record is "indistinguishable" from staunchly conservative former Sen. Rick Santorum's. Ads from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee rip Toomey for his support of free trade and votes for policies the group says have shipped American jobs to China.

The free-market advocacy group Club for Growth, which Toomey once led, bought $1 million worth of advertising time in the Philadelphia media market Thursday for a new ad attacking Sestak as "just another liberal" dancing to the tune of President Obama and the Democratic leadership. "Yes, Joe Sestak served honorably in the Navy," the new 30-second spot says. "His service in Congress is the problem."

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate Oct 23, 2010

Pat Toomey: TV ad: Sestak served well in Navy; but not on Congress

The two actually agreed that the tone of their race had grown negative, but neither accepted blame for it. Both defended their ads as issues-based and accurate.

Sestak's ads have targeted Toomey as far to the right. One uses Toomey's own words, saying his record is "indistinguishable" from staunchly conservative former Sen. Rick Santorum's. Ads from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee rip Toomey for his support of free trade and votes for policies the group says have shipped American jobs to China.

The free-market advocacy group Club for Growth, which Toomey once led, bought $1 million worth of advertising time in the Philadelphia media market Thursday for a new ad attacking Sestak as "just another liberal" dancing to the tune of President Obama and the Democratic leadership. "Yes, Joe Sestak served honorably in the Navy," the new 30-second spot says. "His service in Congress is the problem."

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate Oct 23, 2010

Arlen Specter: In 28 years in GOP, stood with Dems on their top priorities

The two Democratic candidates attacked each other relentlessly--Specter on Sestak's Navy record and Sestak on Specter's Senate votes that defied Democratic Party efforts.

Specter repeatedly asked Sestak to release his service records to explain a 2005 reassignment by the Navy. Sestak ignored the requests, called his service honorable and aggressively worked to tie Specter to the policies of former President George W. Bush and even Wall Street practices that led to the evaporation of nest eggs and jobs. "There is no record except the Republican record for Arlen Specter," Sestak said.

Specter countered that he had stood with Democrats on their top priorities, even during his 28 years as a Republican. He noted his support for abortion rights and endorsements by the state AFL-CIO, as well as his opposition to the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping. "I have stood with Democrats and Democratic values on the big issues," Specter said. Specter switched parties last year.

Source: Lehigh Valley Live coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate May 1, 2010

Barack Obama: In hard times, people take refuge in traditions, God & guns

Q: [to Obama]: Talking to a closed-door fundraiser in San Francisco, you said people in small towns get bitter, and they cling to guns & religion & antipathy toward people who are not like them. Now, youíve said you misspoke. Do you understand that some people find that patronizing and think that you said actually what you meant?

OBAMA: I think thereís no doubt that I can see how people were offended. Itís not the first time that Iíve made a statement that was mangled up. Itís not going to be the last. But let me be very clear about what I meant: People are going through very difficult times right now. When people feel like Washingtonís not listening to them, then politically they end up focusing on those things that are constant, like religion. They end up feeling ďThis is a place where I can find some refuge. This is something that I can count on.Ē They end up being much more concerned about votes around things like guns, where traditions have been passed on.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary Apr 16, 2008

Barack Obama: I am a person of faith; and I reach out to people of faith

CLINTON: [about Obamaís comment that people in small towns get bitter and they cling to guns & religion]: I think that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of faith in times that are good and times that are bad. And I similarly donít think that people cling to their traditions, like hunting and guns, when they are frustrated with the government. I just donít believe thatís how people live their lives.

OBAMA: Hillary has been saying Iím elitist, out of touch, condescending. Let me be absolutely clear. It would be pretty hard for me to be condescending towards people of faith, since Iím a person of faith and have done more than most other campaigns in reaching out specifically to people of faith, and have written about how Democrats make an error when they donít show up and speak directly to peopleís faith. The same is true with respect to gun owners. I have large numbers of sportsmen and gun owners in my home state, and they have supported me precisely because I have listened to them.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary Apr 16, 2008

Barack Obama: Blacks are angry; but I dissociate myself from Rev. Wright

Q: You made a speech on the subject of race and your former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. And you said that you never heard him say from the pulpit the kinds of things that so have offended people [in particular, ďGod Damn AmericaĒ].

OBAMA: Rev Wright is somebody who made controversial statements, & I specifically said that those comments were objectionable; theyíre not comments that I believe in. And I disassociated myself with them. But the body of Reverend Wrightís work, over the course of 30 years, were not represented in those snippets that were shown on television: the church has done outstanding work in ministries on HIV/AIDS, and prison ministries. So Iíve tried to speak to a broader context, which is that there is anger in the Africa American community that sometimes gets expressed, whether in the barbershop or in the church. Thatís true not just in the African American community, but in other communities as well. My candidacy represents the opportunity to move beyond it.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary Apr 16, 2008

Barack Obama: I revere the American flag; I donít refuse to wear flag pins

Q: I want to know if you believe in the American flag. I am not questioning your patriotism, but all our servicemen & policemen wear the flag. I want to know why you donít.

A: I revere the American flag, and I would not be running for president if I did not revere this country. Thereís no other country in which my story is even possible; somebody who was born to a teenage mom, raised by a single mother and grandparents from small towns in Kansas; who was able to get an education and rise to the point where I can run for the highest office in the land. I could not help but love this country for all that itís given me. I did wear a flag pin yesertday when a veteran handed it to me, on behalf of disabled veterans. I have never said that I donít wear flag pins or refuse to wear flag pins. This is the kind of manufactured issue that our politics has become obsessed with and distracts us from figuring out how we get our troops out of Iraq and how we make our economy better for the American people.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary Apr 16, 2008

Hillary Clinton: Faith is not just something to cling to in hard times

Q: [to Obama]: You said people in small towns get bitter, and they cling to guns & religion. Now, youíve said you misspoke?

OBAMA: I meant: People are going through very difficult times right now. When people feel like Washingtonís not listening to them, then politically they end up focusing on those things that are constant, like religion. They end up being much more concerned about votes around things like guns, where traditions have been passed on.

CLINTON: I am the granddaughter of a factory worker from the Scranton lace mills, who was also very active in the Court Street Methodist Church. I donít believe that my grandfather clung to religion when Washington is not listening to them. I think that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of faith in times that are good and times that are bad. And I similarly donít think that people cling to their traditions, like hunting and guns, when they are frustrated with the government. I just donít believe thatís how people live their lives.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary Apr 16, 2008

Hillary Clinton: Visited Bosnian war zone, but mistake to call it sniper fire

Q: How do you reconcile your credibility when youíve made those misrepresentative comments about what happened getting off the plane in Bosnia? [Clinton claimed to have arrived under sniper fire, which was shown to be untrue by a video from the event].

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary Apr 16, 2008

Bob Casey: We need an independent voice; not a rubber stamp for Bush

Q: If you review your voting record in support of the president, here it is: In 2005 you were with him 95% of the time, 100% of the time in Ď04, 99% in Ď03, 96% in Ď02, 97% in Ď01. George Bush and Rick Santorum have governed very much in lock-step.

SANTORUM: Absolutely. I agree with the president a vast majority of the time. When I agree with him, I say it. And when I donít agree with him, I say it, too.

CASEY: I think what the people of Pennsylvania expect and deserve is someone whoís going to be truly independent. Being a rubber stamp for the president is not in the best interest of the people of America.

Q: But have the Democrats sometimes been obstructionist, & opposed everything that Bush proposed?

CASEY: Iím sure they have. But when you have two politicians that agree 98% of the time, one of themís really not necessary. We need someone whoís going to be truly independent, who has the character and the integrity to stand up to his party and his president, especially at a time of war

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Rick Santorum: I agree with Bush 98% of the time, but I say when I donít

Q: If you review your voting record in support of the president, here it is: In 2005 you were with him 95% of the time, 100% of the time in Ď04, 99% in Ď03, 96% in Ď02, 97% in Ď01. George Bush and Rick Santorum have governed very much in lock-step.

SANTORUM: Absolutely. I agree with the president a vast majority of the time. When I agree with him, I say it. And when I donít agree with him, I say it, too.

CASEY: I think what the people of Pennsylvania expect and deserve is someone whoís going to be truly independent. Being a rubber stamp for the president is not in the best interest of the people of America.

Q: But have the Democrats sometimes been obstructionist, & opposed everything that Bush proposed?

CASEY: Iím sure they have. But when you have two politicians that agree 98% of the time, one of themís really not necessary. We need someone whoís going to be truly independent, who has the character and the integrity to stand up to his party and his president, especially at a time of war

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Betsy Summers: Specter and Hoeffel are both big-government candidates

Specter is a big-government Republican and Hoeffel as a bigger-government Democrat. They will promise more programs for more people, but the programs operate very inefficiently and at your expense. Why send either back to Washington as part of the problem, not the solution?
Source: 2004 PA Senate debate, in Philadelphia Inquirer Oct 3, 2004

Jim Clymer: Both major parties are liberal on the major issues

Isnít it interesting how you see Sen. Specter and Rep. Hoeffel tearing into each other and calling each other liars? The reason is that there really is no significant difference between them on the major issues. They try to argue who is the more liberal.
Source: 2004 PA Senate debate, in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Oct 3, 2004

Arlen Specter: Iím in the center in this campaign

Clymer over on my right says the government shouldnít be doing anything. Hoeffel on my far left says the government should be doing a lot more. Itís sort of a ďcannons to the right of me, cannons to the left of me.Ē Iím in the center. Perhaps Iím doing something right.
Source: 2004 PA Senate debate, on WTAE Oct 2, 2004

  • The above quotations are from Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Politicians: Archives.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Principles & Values.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2016 Presidential contenders on Principles & Values:
  Democrats:
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Andrew Cuomo(NY)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel(IL)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)

Republicans:
Amb.John Bolton(MD)
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Rep.Peter King(NY)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Secy.Condi Rice(CA)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Rep.Paul Ryan(WI)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
2016 Third Party Candidates:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg(I-NYC)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura(I-MN)
Please consider a donation to OnTheIssues.org!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
E-mail: submit@OnTheIssues.org
(We rely on your support!)

Page last updated: Mar 29, 2014