Mayor Peduto Appears on Meet the Press

Peduto MTPIn moderator Chuck Todd’s inaugural broadcast of Meet the Press, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto was joined by two other mayors who are “getting things done,” Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City and Marilyn Strickland of Tacoma, Washington.

In an attempt by Todd to contrast from his interview with President Obama, he asked the group how they were able to succeed despite the backdrop of the inefficiencies of Congress.

“The ultimate goal is ‘what is the vision,’ and it has to be a shared vision. Just as we have to work with our councils, the president needs to work with the Congress, but at the end of the day, you have to move forward” said Peduto.

As an example, the Democrat outlined his campaign to provide universal preschool for the city’s four year olds by competing for recently announced federal Preschool Development Grants.

Peduto described his particular vision as one of making Pittsburgh a “city of learning,” reminding viewers that “Pittsburgh’s overnight success story was thirty years in the making.”

PA-Gov: Wolf Releases Response Attack Ad (VIDEO)

The Corbett and Wolf campaigns are battling it out today via advertisements and quick responses via press release, both claiming that the other camp is lying through its teeth.

In the same day that the Corbett campaign released its newest attack ad, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf released a response ad entitled “Get Real.”

The 30-second spot opens with Wolf himself speaking, saying “Have you seen Tom Corbett’s ads attacking me? Get real. It’s Tom Corbett who’s been sticking it to the middle class on taxes.”

Only the first eight seconds of the spot focus on responding to attacks from the Corbett campaign before moving on to attacking Corbett himself.

The ad flashes news headlines about Corbett’s main weaknesses in this year’s gubernatorial election: the legacy of his education funding reduction and his refusal to tax natural gas drilling.

Wolf’s voice continues in the background. “Corbett cut a billion dollars from education,” he says. “Now, almost 80 percent of school districts plan to raise property taxes. Meanwhile we’re the only state that doesn’t charge oil and gas companies an extraction tax. And Corbett raised your gas taxes through the roof.”

The ad closes with a last shot of Wolf. “I’m Tom Wolf. I’ll be a governor who stands up for the middle class for a change.”

The general scope of the ad’s response – in addition to the quick release after Corbett’s latest ad – suggests that Wolf’s ad had already been filmed and held in waiting until the Corbett campaign released something new that would inevitably address taxes on the middle class.

In response to the ad, the Corbett campaign used much of the same evidence as it used in its most recent “More and Less” commercial, citing all of the same reasons why Tom Wolf is, in fact, “sticking it to the middle class.”

The Corbett campaign claims that school districts are planning on raising property taxes due to pension costs, not cuts to education.

In response to Wolf’s accusations that PA is the only state without an extraction tax, Corbett referenced Act 13, which he signed into law in February 2013, as reason why an extraction tax is unnecessary.

Act 13 instituted a local impact fee, which “has provided over $630 million for local communities from the natural gas industry for vital infrastructure projects.” Wolf’s claim, however, is still true, as an extraction tax provides more money to the state as a whole while most of the impact fees go to the community in which the project was taking place.

Finally, in response to Tom Wolf’s claim that he would be a governor who would stand up for the middle class, the Corbett campaign provided a gif of Conan O’Brien laughing hysterically.

PA-Gov: Corbett-Cawley Campaign Releases New Attack Ad (VIDEO)

The Corbett-Cawley campaign released a new TV ad today entitled “More and Less,” that uses the same female actress to drive home the same point – that Wolf is a millionaire who favors high middle-class taxes – as the campaign’s recent “Hypocrite Tax” commercial.

The 30-second spot shows clips of Wolf’s face on TV, while a female actress says, “Millionaire Tom Wolf says as Governor he’ll raise the state income tax on many middle-class Pennsylvania families.”

News clips flash across the screen describing Wolf’s claims that “he will raise certain taxes.”

The ad moves to a clip of a clearly stressed young couple hunched over bills, calculators askew, with two children playing in the background. “Wolf thinks these hardworking Pennsylvanians just aren’t paying their fair share,” the woman says.

The commercial then displays pictures of an exuberant Wolf, while the woman continues, “The same Tom Wolf who made over a million dollars some years but paid a tax rate half of what the average Pennsylvanian paid.”

This information, freely released by the Wolf campaign, appears to be true. However, Wolf has been quoted often as claiming that he thinks he should pay more in taxes.

In fact, the sources that the ad uses to justify claims that Wolf would raise taxes on the middle class depends greatly on one’s own opinion of what constitutes the middle-class. The article that they use as a source actually describes Wolf wanting to raise taxes on the rich, and lower them for other Pennsylvanians.

The article from the Harrisburg Patriot News in question quotes Tom Wolf as including individuals with incomes from $70,000 to $90,000 as part of the middle class on whom he would lower taxes – “His plan would shift more of the financial burden onto wealthy taxpayers, reduce taxes for the middle class — a category he says includes households with taxable incomes of roughly $70,000 to $90,000 — and exclude more lower-income households from the tax.”

The Corbett-Cawley campaign, however, seems to assert that those making more than $90,000 a year (the figure Wolf mentioned) includes members of the middle-class. Under that logic, Wolf wants to raise taxes on the middle-class.

The ad closes with a claim that the Wolf campaign adamantly dismisses as false and fact checkers dispute: “[Wolf] moved his company to Delaware to keep from paying his fair share of Pennsylvania taxes.”

In a press release from the Corbett-Cawley campaign, Communications Director Chris Pack further emphasizes the point made in the commercial.

“Millionaire Secretary Tom Wolf is calling for higher taxes on middle class Pennsylvania families and businesses while simultaneously using every trick in the book to avoid paying his fair share of personal and corporate taxes,” he said.

“The more we learn about Secretary Tom Wolf, the more we realize that his actions don’t align with his campaign rhetoric. Secretary Tom Wolf demonstrates time and time again that he is an empty suit who is willing to say or do anything in an attempt to get elected.”

The Wolf campaign responded via press release, claiming that most of the claims in the ad are straightforward lies.

“Tom Wolf has proposed tax relief for middle-class families,” the release claims. “Wolf’s plan includes the first income tax cut in Pennsylvania in 22 years. One analysis of the plan found that approximately 76 percent of Pennsylvanians would see tax relief. Under Governor Corbett, corporations and the wealthy get all the breaks, while hardworking families all across the Commonwealth struggle to get by.”

In addition, the Wolf camp maintains that the Corbett-Cawley campaign’s charges concerning the Delaware tax loophole are false and that Wolf has actually proposed a plan to close the loophole.

PA-Gov: Wolf Responds to Corbett’s Attacks (VIDEO)

Recently, Governor Corbett took the gloves off and began hammering Democratic nominee Tom Wolf. Well, now Wolf is fighting back.

In a new TV commercial titled “Take a Look”, the Wolf campaign responds to the ad the Governor’s team released last week in which the incumbent accused the front-runner of avoiding state taxes.

“Have you seen Tom Corbett’s negative ad with this actress?,” the narrator asks. “It’s just not true and more of the same from Corbett.”

The spot goes on to clarify that the Wolf Organization is headquartered, and pays taxes, in Pennsylvania. It also advocates for the Democrat’s plan for a severance tax on natural gas drillers to pay for schools, improving infrastructure and creating manufacturing jobs.

“Take a look at his plan for yourself,” the narrator urges along with a link to the nominee’s platform.

“Tom Wolf, a Fresh Start for Pennsylvania,” the commercial concludes, invoking the candidate’s slogan.

“Millionaire Secretary Tom Wolf is so desperate to hide the fact that he’s not paying his fair share of Pennsylvania taxes that he’s now running ads citing stories from early May to fact check an ad that just began airing in late July,” responded Corbett-Cawley Communications Director Chris Pack.

“He’s using carefully crafted language in his empty response to distract from the fact that he incorporated his company in Delaware so that he pays less in Pennsylvania taxes,” Pack continued. “If Wolf is so adamant that he’s not paying less than his fair share of Pennsylvania taxes, he should just go ahead and release his corporate taxes like he said he would. We just can’t trust millionaire Secretary Tom Wolf when he continues hiding and refusing to make good on his promises.”

PA-Gov: Democratic PAC’s New Ad Blasts Corbett (VIDEO)

PA Families First, an independent PAC, shelled out nearly $2 million to air a new television advertisement that attacks Governor Corbett for his alleged cuts to education.

The 30 second ad will air in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Johnstown, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia.

Entitled “Paycheck,” the advertisement discusses Corbett’s first budget, which cut basic school funding by $1 billion. Local districts subsequently made cutbacks, and raised property taxes in some areas.

Corbett stated that he did not cut funding and has invested $1.5 billion in education over the last four decades. He believes that his challenger Tom Wolf will ignore the current pension crisis, an issue that the Governor states is the main cause for property tax increases.

The ad also places pressure on Corbett to back a production tax on Pennsylvania’s natural-gas drilling industry.

The natural gas industry “is not paying its fair share,” according to the advertisement.

The Corbett campaign countered that natural gas companies have paid over $2 billion in taxes over the last six years. The $630 million “local impact fee” also had statewide benefits.

Chris Pack, the Governor’s communications director stated that “Wolf has been bought and paid for by the public sector union bosses…to ignore the need for pension reform in Pennsylvania.”

According to Thomas Fitzgerald of the Inquirer, PA Families First is supported by the Democratic Governor’s Association, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal (AFSCME), the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association.

So far this month, another outside PAC called NextGen and the Wolf-aligned FreshStartPA have also launched ads against Governor Corbett.

Wolf Airs New Ad After Corbett Budget Address (With Video)

Tom Wolf may have unveiled the nicest attack ad of 2014.

The businessman and Democratic gubernatorial hopeful responded to Governor Tom Corbett’s budget address with a new television spot that bemoans funding for schools and infrastructure.

Wolf ad still“It’s unacceptable that we aren’t providing sufficient funding for our public schools,” Wolf says to the camera.

He makes a general indictment of elected officials in lieu of calling out the Governor by name.

“I find it unacceptable that people are sitting in Harrisburg thinking about only about themselves and the special interests who helped get them elected,” Wolf continued..

In the press release announcing the ad, Wolf took a direct shot at Corbett. “Today, after three years of failed leadership, Tom Corbett tried a make-over, painting a very different picture of what his priorities have been as governor,” he said.

“An ad cut to respond to the budget speech before it was even given so he could oppose more funding for education and job training?” Corbett spokesman Billy Pitman asked. “Not surprising from a candidate whose claim to fame is as a member of an administration that failed to get comprehensive transportation funding, raided the education budget and used one-time stimulus funds to cover it up.  Interesting he calls for a fresh start when he already had his chance and left a $4.2 billion budget deficit, more taxes and high unemployment for Governor Corbett to clean up.  Pennsylvanians won’t be falling again for more that failed big government agenda.”

Overall funding for Pa. schools fell under Corbett due in large part to expiring federal stimulus funds. The Governor proposed boosting education funding during his speech Tuesday.

Wolf became the first candidate to go on broadcast television across the state last week when he kick off a $370,000 per week ad buy.

Toomey Delivers Weekly Republican Address

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) had the honor of delivering the weekly Republican address over the weekend.

Toomey used the platform to talk about how his wife, Chris, tried and failed repeatedly to enroll on the health care exchange website last week. The Senator spoke about how her frustrations are indicative of the larger inefficiencies with this system.

“Well, I tell you, I really wish this was the case of a member of Congress just out of touch,” Tomey said. “Unfortunately, it’s not. The fiasco my wife just faced with the health care website is being experienced by Americans across the country when they try to sign up for health insurance.”

Toomey further capitalized on the situation by arguing that issues with the websites are only part of a larger problem with the law.

“The problem with Obamacare isn’t just a glitch. It’s fundamental, and it’s taking away our freedom. I think Americans should be free to choose the insurance coverage that’s right for them. That choice should not be in the hands of the Obama administration, or at the mercy of malfunctioning government websites.

This is the fourth time in the last five weeks that the GOP address focuses on Obamacare. It is clear that the issues surrounding the rollout ensure that this hot button issue isn’t going away anytime soon.

Val Arkoosh Releases New Web Video

Val Arkoosh’s commitment to helping women across Pennsylvania is the subject of her new web video, entitled “What We Need.”

Arkoosh, a physician, is running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 13th district, the seat that Allyson Schwartz is vacating.

In the video, Arkoosh and four other women take turns discussing her credentials, and the importance of her campaign to women. Complementing the speakers is a straightforward montage of campaign footage depicting Arkoosh cooking with her children and highlighting her work as a doctor.

“I’m running for Congress because I believe that we have got to change the conversation that’s going on in Washington right now,” Arkoosh says in the video. “And I think the only way we’re going to change that conversation is to change the people that are sitting around the table.”

Val Arkoosh

Val Arkoosh

“Women need to have a voice, because they need a voice for children, they need a voice for families,” said Michele Weiner Lockman, who is featured in the video. “And they need a diverse voice that we don’t have right now because we don’t have many women in politics.”

With Rep. Schwartz giving up her seat in 2014, it is possible that all 18 of Pennsylvania’s representatives in Congress will be men. Arkoosh has one shot at preventing this, along with Marjorie Margolies, who is also running in the 13th. Other female contenders include Shaughnessy Naughton, running in PA-8 and Erin McClelland running in PA-12.

Arkoosh and Margolies are competing against state Rep. Brendan Boyle and state Senator Daylin Leach.

PA-13: Boyle Kicks Off 2014 Campaign With Bio Video

Election season is now in full swing for State Rep. Brendan Boyle and his congressional campaign. This morning the candidate for PA’s 13th district released a new biographical web video.

The two-minute ad emphasizes his Philadelphia roots, beginning at a SEPTA station where his father continues to work as a janitor. The State Rep. describes his early life as a classic tale of a son of an immigrant who hopes to improve his hometown community.

Brendan Boyle lores“Dad came to America from Ireland when he was nineteen, looking for a better life,” Boyle says over shots of old family photos. “I was the first in my family to ever graduate from college. Was able to go to grad school at Harvard, thanks to student loans, and then I came home.”

He proceeded to lay out his rationale for running for Congress.

“When millionaires are paying lower tax rates than cops and firefighters, and the largest corporations on earth are getting billions in handouts, while we cut proven anti-hunger programs and talk about privatizing Medicare, something is really out of whack with where we’re heading as a country,” Boyle says.

The video was produced by Chicago-based Snyder Pickerill Media Group.

He also mentions that he has been endorsed by over 20 local labor unions, likely due to help from Rep. Bob Brady, a backer of Boyle and notable ally of labor.

Additionally, his campaign premiered an upgraded website.

Boyle’s campaign is boosting the video debut with an online advertising buy, including on PoliticsPA.

Other candidates to replace Allyson Schwartz’s old congressional seat include physician and activist Valerie Arkoosh, State Sen. Daylin Leach, and former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies.

Leach unveiled his first web video of the fall in mid-October.

Stabile Goes Negative in Superior Court Ad (With Video)

Vic Stabile threw the first punch of the Superior Court race Monday, accusing Democrat Jack McVay of using his position as an Allegheny County family court judge to get jobs for his girlfriend and sister-in-law.

McVay’s camp said the ad violates a pledge both men signed with the Pa. Bar Association.

“After he became a judge, he got his girlfriend a job. Then his sister-in-law got a job. And now Jack McVay wants you to give him a promotion,” a narrator charges.

Stabile ad 2013The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2012 reported McVay’s sister-in-law’s position and editorialized against McVay’s fiancee’s hire.

The ad switches to positive, introducing Stabile and boasting of his endorsement by the Pa. Fraternal Order of Police.

“And I won’t put my family on the court payroll,” Stabile says into the camera, his only line in the ad.

McVay’s campaign fired back, calling the ad a move of desperation by Stabile.

“If he’s going negative and willing to violate his pledge, it must mean he sees himself behind,” McVay campaign manager, Marty Marks told PoliticsPA. “We’re running a positive effort and it’s going to stay that way.”

Stabile lost the 2011 Superior Court race thanks in large part to a strong western Pa. performance by opponent David Wecht, also a Pittsburgher.

Marks defended the hire of McVay’s sister-in-law, saying she brought years of professional child welfare experience to the job. He noted that the decision to hire McVay’s fiancee was made by another judge, and that both hires complied with court rules.

Stabile and McVay each signed a pledge by the Pa. Bar Association, agreeing to certain guidelines for campaigning.

It’s not clear whether Stabile violated the pledge, which is open to interpretation.

“Canon 7 does not specifically proscribe ‘negative advertising,’” the Ethics Committee of the Pa. Conference of State Trial Judges wrote in an advisory – one of the criteria for the pledge. But, they continue, “While in some limited circumstances negative advertising may be appropriate,given the nature of political ads; the committee strongly discourages negative ads.”

Additionally, the ad may have impugned the judiciary – another no-no according to the pledge – with its insinuation that McVay was doing something improper when he “lived off your tax dollars” while serving as a judge.

PoliticsPA is seeking a response from Stabile.

The ad was produced by Parknavy Advertising in western PA and is scheduled to run through election day. PoliticsPA is seeking details on the ad buy. As it is a split positive and negative ad, it is likely the only commercial that he will run during this race.

According to an FCC filing, Stabile is spending $38,000 to air the ad on WTAE. The Pittsburgh market appears to be the key battleground of the race; both candidates are on the air there. McVay also launched an ad – all positive – in the Pittsburgh market on Monday.

The Pa. Superior Court race is the only statewide contest in Pa. on November 5. The position mostly deals with appeals cases from county Courts of Common Pleas.

Stabile is an attorney from Carlisle. McVay is a Judge on the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas.

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