Monday, August 14, 2006

At Campaign Stop, Only Santorum's Campaign Staff Cheered Their Man On

These are rough days for Sen. Rick Santorum.

The Pennsylvania Republican, trailing challenger Bob Casey Jr. in the polls, has taken some questionable steps in an effort to turn things around.

But the harder he tries, the more Santorum seems to be out of step with the electorate.

At a recent event in Butler, Pa., seems the only cheers Santorum received came from his campaign staff. Otherwise, the response ranged from polite to indifferent.

"Except for a brief event in a barn, where Santorum spoke about agriculture policy surrounded by dairy cows chomping on hay and several supportive farmers, the senator drew little attention as he walked around the event holding his wife's hand or inspecting horses with his children," wrote The Patriot-News in an analysis today.

How weak was the reception Santorum received? The lone endorsement he received at the Butler event came from "Old Time Magic Man," a children's performer, and it was heard by a small audience, primarily consisting of children.


Anonymous Richard K. Simon said...

I don't know where the analysis you quote came from, but our local newpaper, the Butler Eagle, published this article on the Senator's visit to the Butler farm show:

Santorum Gets Warm Welcome At Farm Show

Approaching the gate, Sen. Rick Santorum immediately attracted a crowd.

Drawing in amateur photographers and admirers, the Fox Chapel-based Republican worked his way across the Butler Farm Show Monday afternoon, pausing for cheers and handshakes.

But his walk across the fair was more than just a chance for Santorum and the rest of his family to absorb the long-time event in county where he grew up.

After feeding an alpaca -- but before petting the horses -- Santorum paused in a barn surrounded by cattle to take verbal jabs at his opponent in the race for U.S. senator, Bob Casey Jr.

Answering questions from two farmers, Santorum commented on the estate tax and other agricultural issues, using them to compare his platforms to those of Casey.

The third-ranking Republican said the estate tax is an issue many farmers have raised across the state as they consider passing on their properties or selling them.

Santorum supported a bill that would have increased the amount of an estate tax exempt from taxes to $5 million for an individual and $10 million for a couple by 2015. The bill would have made estates up to $25 million taxed at the capitol gains rate, which is 15 percent and scheduled to increase to 20 percent. The bill would have lowered the top rate on larger estates to 30 percent.

That bill, which was paired with one that would have increased the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 over three years, was opposed by Democrats unhappy with the wage hike tied to the tax breaks.

"We thought this was the essence of compromise," Santorum said, opining that 30 years ago, such a bill would have gained bipartisan support.

Politics, Santorum said, are divisive, making it difficult for the two sides to find middle ground.

"We tried," he said. "And so far, we came up three votes short."

With about three months until Election Day, Santorum used the estate tax to raise questions about his competitor, who he says is yet to make a stand on the issue.

The estate tax was an important issue for Sidney Schiever, a farm owner on Scott Ridge Road in Lancaster Township, who raised the topic after a brief introduction by county commissioner Jim Kennedy.

Santorum used Schiever's concerns and a few others -- including energy prices and immigration -- to call out Casey, who Santorum said "hides" and "ducks" the issues.

"This is where I stand," he said, while noting: "My opponent is remarkably quiet."

The group of reporters from major media outlets following Santorum's every footstep and pausing for every word as they travel with him across the state on his campaign bus reveals the attention his race against Casey is attracting nationally.

And with the latest poll numbers showing a close race -- Casey maintained a slight lead over the incumbent -- the attention is likely to continue.

According to the latest poll, 45 percent of voters in the survey supported Casey, while 39 percent supported Santorum.

But at the farm show Monday, Santorum heard only cheers and praise as he, his wife and their six children walked the grounds.

"Keep up the good work," one man shouted from a tent as Santorum and his crowd passed by.

The praised stopped Santorum, who walked over to shake hands and greet his supporters.

"We're prayin' for ya," someone shouted as Santorum walked away from the tent, smiling.

2:49 AM  
Anonymous trinity said...

Richard, thanks for providing a bit of balance and dose of reality to the extremely biased and over-the-top, wishful thinking post that appears here at JABBS.

I mean, the lack of objectivity in David's post could not be more apparent. As the JABBS' mission statement indicates, "David R. Mark created JABBS to fight empty conservative spin -- whether from government or media sources."

Of course, one would hope that meant that JABBS would strive to be objective in it's reporting, but alas, as you have demonstrated, nothing could be further from the truth.

Santorum is still pretty popular here in PA, and has lessened the gap between himself and Casey Jr., who it seems is depending entirely upon his father's name to carry him to victory in November. On issues, he's a blank slate, and doesn't take a stand. Says he needs more time to look at the issues. Hopefully, after November, he'll have all the time in the world to navel gaze. :)

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the two previous posts are excellent examples of the type of reporting that we have to choose from today - a lot of conservative fluff, or a no bones about it liberal view, not much in between.

Personally, I'll believe the report that Santorum was basically preaching to the cattle and was indorsed by a children's magician and group of kids.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

You are so quick to crucify JABBS, Trinity.

I found the other article on Santorum's website:

But there's no way to tell whether this is a newspaper article, an analysis or an editorial. There's no reporter identification. All one can tell is that it's gushing with warm, fuzzy images of Santorum the beloved.

(The Butler Eagle website is password-protected, so unless someone has a subscription, it'll be tough to find the original.)

And that leads me to believe that the story JABBS links to might be the more accurate take on the event.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous april said...

he is another big joke

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Sequoia said...

Maybe ole Rick can get the magician to work some magic.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous calico1 said...

Well, the cows didn't really have much choice in having to put up with him.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous zbdent said...

Strangely, all the cows are registered voters ... and another surprise ... despite having only hooves to vote with, they are able to manipulate the voting machines quite well ...

1:53 PM  
Anonymous AndyA said...

Let's all hope Santorum ceases to be a problem after the November elections. I think the people of Pennsylvania are on to him, he certainly doesn't seem to be very popular lately, even among some Republicans.

Send him out to pasture, then the cows can deal with him on their turf...

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And as a children's magician, let me just say that that guy in the story doesn't speak for all of us.

"Okay, boys and girls, I'm going to put the magic red sponge ball into this hand, close it, say the magic words, 'Man-on-dog,' and POOF! The ball has disappeared just like support for Santorum!"


1:53 PM  
Anonymous ayeshahaqqiqa said...

Bravo! Bravo!

Best trick I've seen a children's magician perform in a long time! Thanks!

1:53 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

rob of wilmington, del. said...
"You are so quick to crucify JABBS, Trinity."

Absolutely, rob. Reread that post and you will see exactly how bereft of anything even resembling objectivity or useful information it truly is. I don't know how you can see it any other way.

And even if the second article that Richard posted is somewhat of a fluff piece, rob, at least it includes a fact or two regarding Santorum's stance on issues such as the estate tax, energy prices and immigration, as well as a lot more detail about his interaction with his constituants. What JABBS posted was a lot of negative spin and little else. No substance whatsoever. Why even post something so meaningless?

3:47 PM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

The point of JABBS' piece isn't to discuss Santorum's positions, it's to note Santorum's apparent lack of popularity.

Maybe David likes to pick on ol' Ricky. He's had several pieces on things Santorum has done (like falsely claim on O'Reilly's show that Casey was endorsed by Al Jazeera) to try to erase Casey's lead. I'm looking at this one as a follow-up of sorts.

Part of "fighting the conservative spin" is to highlight anything that suggests conservatives don't represent the majority. The reason? Because folks like your mentor, Mark Levin, have a habit of making a majority of Americans (like the 57% majority supporting troop redeployment from Iraq within a year) sound like the liberal fringe. Throw in the fact that with control of the presidency and Congress, Republicans -- including Santorum -- have been framing national debates for the past six years.

You may not agree with the logic, Trinity, but that's how a lot of liberals see things of late.

4:03 PM  

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