PA-Gov: Dems Urge McCord To Take Down Wolf Attack Ad

mccord ad re wolfPressure continues to mount on Rob McCord to take down his ad that links Tom Wolf to controversial York Mayor Robertson.

Here’s the transcript of the ad: “[Wolf] spent millions on tv ads but now serious questions Tom Wolf can’t answer. Why would he chair the campaign of a man arrested for his role in a race riot, one that left a black woman dead? Why would wolf stand by an admitted racist charged with first degree murder, one who shouted white power and handed out ammunition at a race riot? For York, Pennsylvania, it was an ugly episode. For Tom Wolf, there’s just no good answer.”

Over the weekend, Governor Ed Rendell rebuked McCord for the ad.

“As you know I have refrained from endorsing in this race, and I’m not here to endorse, but rather to correct the record,” Rendell began. “The ad that Rob McCord has put on TV is wrong, ill-conceived, and not the type of ad I’m proud to see in politics.”

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) suggested that the ad be removed.

“I have refrained from endorsing a candidate in the gubernatorial primary and I am not endorsing today. However, I wanted to speak out about one of the recent ads run against Tom Wolf. I have known Tom for a long time and he is a person of uncommon integrity and an abiding commitment to justice and fairness,” Casey said. “This ad is offensive. I hope it will be taken down and that all of the candidates will focus on the importance of moving the Commonwealth in a new direction.”

And today, Democratic leaders from Allegheny County are pushing McCord to remove the ad.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald issued the following statement today in regards to recent actions in the gubernatorial election:

“I join former Governor Ed Rendell and United States Senator Bob Casey in calling for the McCord campaign to take this ad down. Personal character assassination, especially as unwarranted as this is, has no place in campaigns. Those in the community who know Tom best, like Mayor Kim Bracey, York’s first African American Mayor, have attested to Tom’s character and integrity,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said. “The actions of the McCord campaign are disappointing, desperate and will backfire with the voters who know better.”

“As the Chair of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, I am committed to electing a Democratic governor. This is not what our party is all about,” Allegheny County Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Mills. “I agree with County Executive Fitzgerald and others who have asked for this ad to be taken down, and encourage Rob McCord to stop running this negative campaign ad.”

Both Mills and Fitzgerald endorsed Wolf earlier in the race.

The McCord campaign responded:

“It’s not surprising that Tom Wolf’s supporters don’t want to have an honest conversation about race and leadership in Pennsylvania. Their candidate flunked the basic test of leadership for a Democrat seeking to be governor: Are you willing to stand up to racism when it’s staring you in the face?

“When Tom Wolf was chairing Mayor Robertson’s primary campaign and Mayor Robertson admitted to being a racist, Tom Wolf said he’d continue to serve as his chairman in the general election, too. And now he’s claiming that his relationship with Robertson ended when Robertson dropped out of the race even though we know Tom Wolf continued to donate money to Robertson’s campaign months later. That’s not leadership, it’s a total failure of leadership and Tom Wolf won’t explain it. To this day, we haven’t heard a single word from him on this subject. Just his supporters talking for him.

“The bottom line is, it’s not enough to say ‘I oppose racism.’ If you want to lead this state, if you want to represent all the people of Pennsylvania, you have to be willing to confront race and act decisively. Tom Wolf’s actions prove that he shrinks when we need him to be bold. That’s simply not good enough. Our Democratic Party deserves a leader who has the courage to speak up, be courageous, and tackle tough issues like this.

“Out on the campaign trail, Rob is hearing from people who are thanking him for speaking out on the issue of race and leadership and he’s proud to tackle this tough issue. Even if it makes some people uncomfortable now, it’s to our benefit in the long run.”

35 Responses

  1. This ad wouldn’t be a problem for any of you if Wolf was a Republican. That says a lot about the Democratic party.

  2. delco observer-

    “why shouldn’t Wolf’s past associations be open for discussion?”

    Well, the associations shouldn’t be misrepresented. To associate someone with another person acquitted of murder, and leave out the acquittal, is hardly a fair representation. It’s essentially a “lie by omission” posing as a list of “technical” truths without proper context.

    That’s the heart of a smear.

  3. I know my own father, very late in his life, had a complete about-face regarding his own racist attitudes and behaviors. People do change and having those attitudes back then was very common. I don’t excuse those behaviors or attitudes, but I do recognize that people are capable of change. This ad reeks of desperation and helps Corbett in the general rather than helping McCord in the primary.

  4. This could have been handled by McCord’s team…it was pretty ham-handed. That being said, Tom Wolf’s past associations are open, just as many here want to lambaste McCord’s Campaign for this ad, why shouldn’t Wolf’s past associations be open for discussion? If it raises an issue for people, so be it. If it doesn’t, that is fine too. The point is Schwartz and McCord have more of a public record than Wolf…people know their record and it has been subject to scrutiny. Little is known of Wolf’s background except for what he has chosen to highlight in the tv spots the Wolf Campaign had produced and released. If this shows another side of Tom Wolf, so be it.
    What the ads do not change is that if the goal is to win the Governor Mansion for a Dem, who is the best choice? It has been and remains Rob McCord … a truthful ad that paints McCord’s opponent in an unflattering light doe not change that.

  5. JB-
    If the hypothetical Nazi in your loaded question had not committed any war crimes, and had renounced Nazism (both in word and deed) decades ago, and worked productively with members of their local Jewish community to foster unity, then I’d accept that they’d reformed/repented and judge them on their current behavior.

    I’m far more worried about the bigotry promoted daily on FoxNews than some ex-Nazis from 70 years ago.

  6. Who?

    Fighting with Rendell on matters of character is a badge of honor pretty much across the state.

  7. Why are any of you engaging JB, Observer, and the other cheerleaders? The arguments have moved very far afield, and this is not a debate. JB and Observer never will be persuaded that they may be wrong, and they will never convince anybody of what they believe.

    JB and Observer are jockeying for position as captain of the cheerleaders on the Titanic, even after it is nearly under water. I will give them credit, they are loyal, like any good cheerleader should be, to the point of delusion. When they wake up on May 21st, they can hold their heads high in knowing at least they were loyal in wasting their time and effort supporting a candidate who finished in a distant 3rd place, and who few Pennsylvania Democrats supported.

  8. This ad hurt McCord more then it helped.
    Also, this ad did help Corbett, When Wolf wins. If Wolf wasn’t the front runner, we would have never seen this dirty attacks.

  9. I’m just saying if Wolf was a Republican, none of you would be forgiving him.

    And your neighbors, when you knock on their doors in the fall, will see right through your hypocrisy.

    It’s that fear of embarrassment which is driving the call to take down the ad.

  10. How would you feel about a Nazi that renounced his behavior David?

    You are insensitive so is Wolf and this is a failure of leadership. Oh he said sorry it’s ok. Some people take this kinda thing more seriously that bike paths. The Klan just dropped a flyer in a York neighborhood a week or two ago saying the people could sleep knowing they are awake.

    Once again pathetic.

  11. So then you should Write In Eric Bradway on Both The Republican and Democratic Tickets On Primary Day He is the Former Constable of Lower Merion

  12. Observer-

    I’m just saying that Robertson behavior, while deplorable, was renounced 30 years before the time in question: 2001 (which is still 13 years ago from today).

    If Robertson hadn’t engaged in any racist activity in 30 years, because he had abandoned that mode of thinking, and been a good mayor for two terms, then there is nothing wrong with Wolf having supported him for a third term. There was nothing for Wolf to denounce (that Robertson himself hadn’t already denounced decades earlier).

    That’s why this is all a bogus accusation that Wolf woulda-coulda-shoulda done anything different.

    As to the criminal charges against Robertson, he was tried in a court of law and found not guilt. Is Wolf supposed to apologize for his association with a man found not guilty?

  13. Sen Byrd was a KKK organizer at one point. People change. Tom Wolf is a decent man. I wanted McCord to win. Not anymore.

  14. Wow! We actually have people defending ROBERTSON here?? Lolol… That old white neo-skinhead only got off cuz he was tried in Racist Lancaster County, home of 95% of the skinheads and ALL of the KKKers in PA.

    So, when is the mock outrage from the Wolfpack going to surface about Alyson’s attack ad, over Wolf’s Bain Capital style buy-out? Or is that too negative too? Wolf brought his own baggage to this race – let’ssee HIM explain it, instead of all you wimpering apologists. Or doesn’t he have the “onions” to come clean?

    He is trying to BUY the governor’s office, no doubt so he can sell that to Wall Street, like he did the family business.

  15. SEPA Dem-
    My point was that those involved in both sides of a race riot are going to be making statements like that in the heat of it all, and then responding to each other’s shouted slogans.

    Robertson renounced his past and racism over 40 years ago.

    So….. if McCord wants Wolf to renounce someone who renounced racism, then isn’t that like a double negative? Why does McCord think it’s wrong to support people who renounced racism long ago? I would have thought that if McCord truly cared about ending racism, he’d applaud those who learned to abandon their bigotry and ignorance, and hold them up as an example.

    But, instead of talking about REAL issues like funding public education, Rob would rather play guilt-by-association games to smear an opponent.

    I spoke to a longtime friend and strong supporter of Rob’s tonight at an event. I was glad to hear that even though he supports McCord, he did advise Rob against this line of attack. So, Rob is getting some pushback on this from friends telling him what he needs to hear. I hope he listens.

    What McCord and Schwartz don’t seem to realize is that Philly represents 16% of the total Dem vote. Wolf’s lead is bigger than 16% over each of them, and they’ll be splitting the Philly pie (and Wolf will get a minimum of 25% out of Philly anyway). Wolf doesn’t need a single vote in Philly to win this. That’s how far ahead he is that the McCord/Schwartz base isn’t big enough to help them.

    I hear from Westmoreland that Wolf is taking it by storm.They’ll have about 40,000 Dems and I’d expect Wolf to get 60% out there.

  16. you know you’re cooked as a candidate when you choose to go negative….the race will tighten but wolf still pulls away..

  17. This ad is very effective,talked to many people who were concerned about wolfs relationship with robertson,I agree he should address it, not all his supporters.by the way thanks for the property relief rendell.

  18. Spewing the BS that a political ad is being run is for the purpose of “driving a conversation forward” just makes you a liar and a coward. The McCord ad is being run for the sole purpose of driving up Tom Wolf’s negatives, no other reason.

    There are a million ways to bring light to a subject or to drive a conversation and the number one way not to do so is to call another candidate in the race a racist. If you really think there is any focus whatsoever on race related issues because of this ad, you are beyond the pale.

    I personally think the ad was a huge mistake and it will have consequences in the future for McCord, but don’t try to pretend it was about anything other than trying to win an election.

  19. SEPA Dem, David is right it doesn’t necessarily make one a white supremacist or at least not anymore than it makes the african americans black supremacist (if they were yelling “black power” which they often did at the more radical race riots). However, that’s not really the issue. Roberston renounced his own actions, do we not believe that people are capable of making positive changes in their life? Is it not possible that at the time Wolf started to support him that he was no longer the man he was in the 60’s and was doing positive things with his life and in his community? Do you have proof of any racist behavior or talk during his tenure as mayor? No, you don’t.

  20. Wow, David.

    “Does shouting “white power” in the heat of a race riot make one a “white supremacist” while the other side is shouting “black power”?

    Yes, it does. Your support of Wolf makes a lot more sense now.

  21. RealLeadership — If finishing in 3rd place is “real leadership”, you will have it all over the vast majority of people who don’t vote for McCord. Despite being the only candidate who had been elected statewide (2 times), having the most institutional and labor support (by far), spending almost $8 million (including $2 million of his own money–which he loaned, and will pay back to himself with other people’s money they were not given the chance ot “loan” him), your candidate will finish 3rd. On May 21 and later, you can proudly wear a sign that says “I supported the guy who finished 3rd among 4 candidates. At least he didn’t finish last.” That’s real leadership.

  22. JB-
    “supporters of a white supremacist police officer who advocated killing African Americans while they were fighting for their civil rights”

    That is a mischaracterization of the record.

    1) “white supremacist” is an improper use of the term. Does shouting “white power” in the heat of a race riot make one a “white supremacist” while the other side is shouting “black power”?

    2) The riot was fueled by a history of civil rights problems, but was hardly a fight for civil rights. A black youth set himself on fire playing with a lighter and blamed whites. This sparked some violence. A 22 year old white rookie police officer and a 17 black youth were fatally shot, days prior to the full blown riot. That riot had city blocks burning and police riding in armored vehicles. It was chaos.

    3) The claim that Robertson advocating killing anyone has no legal basis, as determined by his acquittal on all charges

    4) Robertson renounced/abandoned his racist attitudes in the aftermath of the riot, and

    Let’s try a quick edit:
    “supporters in 2001, of a white former police officer who renounced some racist statements he made during a race riot in 1969, who was accused and acquitted of advocating killing African Americans during that riot”

  23. McCord gave Wolf every opportunity to explain, or apologize, for a HUGE mistake Wolf made. But what does Wolf do? Tries to ignore it, gets surrogates to dance around it – AND NEVER ADDRESSES HIS MISTAKE. He is taking the Fast Eddie approach to it, the way Rendell did when his womanizing came out in that Philly Mag piece. The Teflon Candidate approach. Clearly, the only substance Wolf has, is in his bank account. No integrity at all. No wonder Fast Eddie and his minions love him – he’s just like them!

  24. On issues of racial sins, you guys have one set of criteria for Republicans and another for Democrats. Hypocrites all.

  25. Those two AA legislators that you speak of were just towing the line and doing whatever “King” Fitzgerald and Fast Eddy told them to do. Period. Lack of leadership. McCord is truly showing what real leaders do, drive this conversation forward even when it is not comfortable. I am proud to support him.

  26. When I’m looking for Democrats who reliably do what’s best for the public, I always think of Dwight Evans. Always.

  27. The ad was a mistake and there is no other way around it.

    Attacking opponents is part of the business of elections, but to accuse or to imply that a candidate is a racist requires considerably more than a 30-second spot.

    I like McCord and I know he would make a great governor, but I wish he would pull the ad (really, that he never ran it).

  28. JB, I get that you’re upset that McCord doesn’t stand a chance at winning it’s unfortunate. However, Robertson admitted that he was racist at the time but had a change of heart later in life. Do I condone the racism that Robertson showed during the civil rights era? Of course not, do I believe that people change and that they deserve second chances? Yes, I do. Wolf, was supporting the Robertson that he had come to know not the one that made mistakes during the 60s.

  29. I’m pretty sure the two African-American legislators from Pittsburgh endorsed McCord, right? Oh yeah, I forgot, they both endorsed Wolf. But I’m sure all other African-American legislators (and that is who a Governor needs to work with, and who Treasurer McCord has worked with for 6 years) endorsed McCord, right? Oh yeah, none of them endorsed McCord, and most of them endorsed Wolf.

    But I’m sure all the African-American legislators love racists, right JB?

    JB doesn’t want to be Captain of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg, he is happy being Captain of the Titanic Cheerleaders after the ship is nearly all under water.

  30. David – I also would like to see more democrats say its awesome to be friends and political supporters of a white supremacist police officer who advocated killing African Americans while they were fighting for their civil rights. I mean we are all good southern Democrats here right? Right?

    Pathetic especially at a time when Pittsburgh is trying to heal racial tensions between the African American community and its own police department.

  31. “Both Mills and Fitzgerald endorsed Wolf earlier in the race.”

    While they are right, I’d like to see some of those who already supported McCord make similar public requests.

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