Campaign '14
By John Guerriero, Kevin Flowers Erie Times-News staff bloggers
John Guerriero and Kevin Flowers have joined forces for Campaign ’14, a blog about the 2014 races for governor and U.S. House, among others. And you'll read about President Barack Obama, Congress and what's going on in Harrisburg. Check it out and you’ll be a lot more informed before voting in the May 21 primary and the Nov. 5 election.   Read more about this blog.
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Posts tagged ‘Barack Obama’
Posted: February 6th, 2014
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/File photo

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/File photo

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey/ File photo.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey/ File photo.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to sign a controversial farm bill into law on Friday.

It’s a bill that both of Pennsylvania U.S. senators voted against, but for different reasons.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said that while the bill includes “some very good policies,” the bill also includes significant cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, S.N.A.P., better known as food stamps.

Citing statistics from the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, Casey said that 175,000 Pennsylvania households will lose, on average, $65 for food each month.

“The S.N.A.P. program plays a critical role in the battle against hunger for children, seniors and families across our commonwealth and throughout our nation.  For every dollar invested in this program, it is estimated that the economy gets $1.75 in return.  The program fuels consumer spending while providing much needed nutrition for 1.7 million Pennsylvanians. Therefore, I could not support this bill,” he said in a statement.

Toomey, R-Pa., cited several reasons for his “no” vote, saying in a statement that the Senate missed “a vital opportunity to reform some of our government’s largest spending programs.”

He added: “The farm bill legislation continues to subsidize big agribusiness through non-means tested crop insurance and unjustifiable price supports.

“It does not even make token reforms to the sugar program — a program so indefensible that even the Department of Commerce acknowledges that it destroys three manufacturing jobs for every sugar producing job it protects.

“Finally, the food stamp program accounts for nearly 80 percent of the spending in this bill.  Despite total food stamp spending quadrupling since 2000, the Senate could only agree on 1 percent in savings,” Toomey said.

The bill will cost about $96 billion annually.

Obama said in a statement that the farm bill isn’t perfect, but “on the whole, it will make a positive difference not only for the rural economies that grow America’s food, but for our nation.”

– John Guerriero





Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: January 31st, 2014
Gov. Tom Corbett/ETN file photo

Gov. Tom Corbett/ETN file photo

When you drill down into the latest poll numbers for Gov. Tom Corbett, the trouble comes from independent voters and from within his own Republican Party.

Only one in four, or 23 percent, believe Corbett has done well enough to deserve a second term, according to a Franklin & Marshall College Poll released this week.

Breaking those numbers down, it’s not surprising that only 10 percent of  Democrats think he deserves re-election. But only 19 percent of independent voters and 42 percent of Republicans think he deserves four more years, the poll states. The GOP polling numbers are consistent with Franklin & Marshall’s August and October polls.

The numbers aren’t good for President Barack Obama either. His approval rating of 30 percent in the state is the lowest since he took office in January 2009. Of course, the difference, is that Obama has three more years and can’t run for another term.

Consistently bad polling numbers for  Corbett is one reason that eight Democrats are in the running for governor.

– John Guerriero


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: January 27th, 2014


U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly/File photo

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly/File photo

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly has invited Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Robbins to be his guest at Tuesday night’s State of the Union address.

President Barack Obama will make the address to a joint session of Congress at 9 p.m.

Kelly, of Butler, R-3rd Dist., noted that Robbins is retiring at the end of his current term. Robbins, of Greenville, R-50th Dist., will join other guests in the House gallery during the president’s address.

 Here is a statement from Kelly on his invitation:

“I am very honored that Senator Robbins has accepted my invitation to join me in the nation’s capital next week to listen to the president’s State of the Union address firsthand. Senator Robbins’ lifetime of service to Pennsylvania and to our country is well known and widely respected across the aisle and across the entire commonwealth.

“From his two tours of duty in Vietnam to his three-plus decades of leadership in the state Legislature, Sen. Robbins has long been a shining example of steadfast dedication to both community and country. It is only fitting that he begins his final year as a public servant in the presence of other esteemed citizens and leaders at (Tuesday’s) annual event.”

– John Guerriero

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: December 18th, 2013
President Barack Obama/AP File Photo

President Barack Obama/AP File Photo

Should U.S. presidents serve one, six-year term instead of a maximum of two four-year terms?

Pennsylvania columnists Terry Madonna and Michael Young make that suggestion as President Barack Obama enters what is becoming a common dynamic for presidents – the second-term blues.

They argue that Obama’s “inexorable erosion of political support is a depressingly old pattern in modern American politics.”

The full column can be found at

Here some of what else they say:

“Four years may not be enough for a successful president, but eight years is too much for most presidents. Is there not a happy compromise–a term long enough to be effective, but short enough to avoid painful death watches like the country now endures waiting for Obama’s term to end?

Such a compromise does exist and it’s the six-year term: a proposal that would amend the U.S. Constitution to provide a single six-year term for the president and vice president.

“The six-year term is a good idea, but it’s not a new idea. It was originally proposed in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and has been advanced intermittently throughout American history,” they wrote.

Madonna is professor of public affairs at Franklin & Marshall College, and Young is a former professor of politics and public affairs at Pennsylvania State University and managing partner of Michael Young Strategic Research.

– John Guerriero



Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 29th, 2013

The latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll spells more trouble for Gov. Tom Corbett’s re-election hopes.

Read the full poll results here.

Only one in five (17 percent) of registered Pennsylvania voters think that Corbett is doing an excellent or good job. That’s below the poll’s May ratings, when only one in four gave Corbett the lofty marks.

Gov. Tom Corbett/ETN file photo

Gov. Tom Corbett/ETN file photo

More troubling for Corbett is that only one in three Republicans rate his job performance as excellent or good.

Only one in five voters say that Corbett has done sufficiently well to deserve re-election. It’s not surprising that only 7 percent of Democrats believe he deserves a second term.

But here’s what might concern the Corbett team: Less than half (38 percent) of Republicans believe he deserves a second shot. Only 22 percent of Independents think so.

The falling numbers aren’t limited to Corbett.

President Barack Obama’s job performance has dropped since the May poll, from 44 to 34 percent.

And only 11 percent of respondents say that the Legislature is doing a good job. Less than 1 percent say the lawmakers are doing an excellent job, the lowest job performance rating since the poll first asked  that question in 1999.

– John Guerriero



Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: February 12th, 2013

A new state lawmaker from northwestern Pennsylvania will be a guest at President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

State Sen. Scott Hutchinson, of Oil City, R-21st Dist., will be the guest of Congressman Mike Kelly tonight.

State Sen. Scott Hutchinson. Contributed photo.

State Sen. Scott Hutchinson. Contributed photo.



Each member of Congress can invite one person to sit in the gallery in the House chamber during the president’s annual address. Kelly, of Butler, R-3rd Dist., extended the invitation to the freshman state lawmaker.

Hutchinson said in a statement that he was “pleased and honored” to get the chance to attend the address as Kelly’s guest.

“Over the years, the State of the Union Address provided a forum for the unveiling of presidential initiatives and served as the starting gate for public debate on those issues,” Hutchinson said in a statement.

“I sincerely want to thank Congressman Kelly for providing me with this unique opportunity to be a spectator this year,” he said.

– John Guerriero

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: February 8th, 2013

As they have in the past, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., will sit together during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Democrats and Republicans have traditionally sat on different sides of the House chamber during the SOTU until 2011.

“Our nation confronts a host of challenges that will require serious bipartisan solutions,” Casey said in a statement.

“Sen. Toomey and I work together regularly on behalf of Pennsylvanians. I look forward to once again sitting with him at the State of the Union and hope this small gesture will help foster a spirit of bipartanship in Congress,” he said.

Toomey said he will be “proud to sit with my fellow colleague from Pennsylvania. … We plan to work together – as we have in the past – to help our fellow Pennsylvanians. Bipartisan seating at the president’s speech is symbolic and sets a civil and cooperative tone for the challenging work ahead of us.”

– John Guerriero

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: December 13th, 2012

With the “fiscal cliff” deadline looming, local activists and community members continue to press U.S. Mike Kelly, of Butler, R-3rd Dist., to keep tax cuts for the middle class and let them expire for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.

Congressman Mike Kelly

They will hold what they’re calling a “holiday vigil” today at 5:30 p.m. outside of Kelly’s district offices.

Those offices are at the Intermodal Transportation Center on Erie’s east bayfront; 908 Diamond Park in Meadville; 182 Main St. in Greenville; and 108 E. Diamond St., first floor, Butler.

Since Dec. 1, this will be the fourth event at Kelly’s Erie office.

President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress have been unable to strike a deal on averting the fiscal cliff.

They have until Dec. 31 to reach an agreement that would prevent all taxpayers from seeing a raise in taxes and to stop huge spending cuts.

Republicans haven’t budged on raising tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, while Democrats are pushing back against a proposal to raise the eligibility rate for Medicare, according to the Associated Press.

– John Guerriero


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: December 10th, 2012

While Congress and President Barack Obama continue to tackle the “fiscal cliff” concerns, a coalition of concerned citizens plans action today at noon in Erie.

Congressman Mike Kelly

Community leaders, seniors, students, working families and people with disabilities are expected to call on U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, of Butler, R-3rd Dist., and U.S. Sen Bob Casey, D-Pa., to support a deal in which the wealthy would pay a fair share in taxes and tax cuts would be extended for the middle class.

They also want to protect programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

The rally will be outside Kelly’s office at the Intermodal Transportation Center on Erie’s east bayfront.

A news release states that “Kelly Claus” and his eves will give out lumps of coal to represent potentially drastic cuts.

– John Guerriero



Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: November 8th, 2012

In the presidential race, Erie County stood out in Tuesday’s election.

Robert Speel, associate political-science professor at Penn State Behrend, said that President Barack Obama won 58 percent of the vote in Erie County, which is the highest percentage win for him in the western half of Pennsylvania. 

President Barack Obama/AP file photo

Obama only won two counties in this part of the state, with the other being the 57 percent he won in Allegheny County.

It didn’t much matter because the president did so well in southeastern Pennsylvania. In Philadelphia County, for instance, Obama won 557,024 votes, or 85.2 percent, compared to Mitt Romney’s 91,840 votes, or 14.1 percent.

Looking for a county that was evenly divided?

Try Centre County, the home of Penn State, where the vote was split at 49 percent for both presidential candidates. Romney won that county by only 20 votes.

Don’t ever say your vote doesn’t count.

– John Guerriero



Posted in: Uncategorized