Entries in Joe Sestak (4)


Battle of the Extremes: Joe Sestak and Pat Toomey Face Off in Pennsylvania Senate Debate

Pennsylvania Senate Candidates Pat Toomey and Joe Sestak debate in Philadelphia Oct. 20. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- In their first televised debate of the general election Wednesday night, the two candidates running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania tried to portray the other as more extreme and out of touch with the state’s voters.

Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., squared off with former three-term Congressman Pat Toomey in an hour-long debate co-moderated by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos and news anchor Jim Gardner of local ABC affiliate WPVI.  The candidates tackled a buffet of thorny issues:  health care reform, abortion, judicial nominations and the war in Afghanistan, among others.

Sestak did his best to tie Toomey to political figures like Sarah Palin and Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, who he argued were on the “extreme fringe” of the Republican Party. He noted that Palin endorsed Toomey this week, calling the former Alaska governor’s seal of approval a “very coveted award.”

Toomey used the same strategy against his Democratic opponent.  “The person who’s the extreme candidate that is so far out of touch with Pennsylvania is Joe Sestak,” Toomey said.

Sestak laid part of the blame for the country’s economic downturn at Toomey’s feet, referring to the “Bush-Toomey era,” a period when he said “zero jobs” were created and repeatedly referred to his opponent’s prior work on Wall Street.

Toomey, meanwhile, accused Sestak of supporting a “reckless spending” agenda in Washington that had led to a “chilling effect on our economy.”

“He voted for all of the bailouts and then introduced his own bill to create a new bailout,” Toomey said.  “That stimulus bill -- Joe might be the only person in the United States who thinks that should have been a trillion dollars.”

The debate took a number of nasty turns.  At one point Sestak said that his opponent “sounds like my parrot at home -- again and again, offering no solutions.”

And during a lengthy exchange about Social Security, Toomey lashed out at Sestak:  “Joe’s demagoguery knows no limits, apparently.”

Sestak appears to be benefitting from some late-stage momentum heading into the final week before Election Day.  A new Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll released hours before Wednesday night’s debate gave Sestak a three-percentage point edge over Toomey, 44 percent to 41 percent, with 15 percent of voters undecided.  At least one other poll this week also showed Sestak with a narrow edge after trailing Toomey for months in almost every public opinion survey.

The candidates found common ground on only a few issues on Wednesday night.  They agreed that the United States should not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran and that Iran’s ongoing economic insecurity was the biggest threat to national security.

The two candidates are vying to replace veteran Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., who Sestak defeated in the Democratic primary earlier this year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Joe Sestak Picking Up Last-Minute Momentum In Pennsylvania

Photo Courtesy - Sestak for Senate(NEW YORK) -- In the closing weeks of his campaign for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak has been throwing everything he can at his Republican opponent, even his own dog, Belle.

In an ad he unveiled last week, Sestak used the family pet to make a point about rival Pat Toomey's record as a three-term congressman who served from 1999 to 2005.

"My family loves Belle, but she can make a mess and we have to clean it up," Sestak says in the ad.  "I think about Belle when I see Congressman Toomey's ads attacking me."

The Toomey campaign dismissed the ad as an attempt by Sestak to defend himself for supporting "every single bailout" of the last two years, stating, "Too bad his defense is full of 'poop.'"

The ad may have been an unusual play for Sestak, but with nearly every poll taken since his primary victory over Sen. Arlen Specter this spring showing him trailing Toomey, the former Navy vice admiral and two-term congressman is trying to get voters' attention.  And it may be working.

Democrats have been touting a new internal poll released last week, as well as one public survey out on Tuesday, showing Sestak a few points ahead of Toomey.  Though other recent polls indicate Toomey remains the frontrunner, Republican political operatives privately acknowledge that the race is getting closer.

Sestak and Toomey will meet for their first televised debate of the general election on Wednesday night in Philadelphia at 7 p.m. ET.  The debate, which will be held at the National Constitution Center, will be moderated by ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Jim Gardner of local ABC affiliate WPVI.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Obama to PA Voters: 'Prove the Pundits Wrong'

Photo Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- President Obama and Vice President Biden appeared before thousands of potential voters in the battleground state of Pennsylvania on Sunday in an effort to reignite the Democratic base ahead of November’s midterm elections.

“On November 2, I need you as fired up as you were in 2008,” the president told the crowd. “I think the pundits are wrong. I think we’re going to win. But you’ve got to prove them wrong.”

President Obama told supporters the choice is theirs.

“When you get in your car and you want to go forward, what do you do? You put the car in ‘D.’ If you’re going backwards, what do you do? You put the car in ‘R,’” he said. “That’s not a coincidence. You want to ride forward, put it in ‘D’ on November 2.”

Obama and Biden were joined by Rep. Joe Sestak, Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate nominee.

“You don’t just vote once for change. You keep fighting for change,” Sestak said.

The congressman faces an uphill battle in his fight against Republican Pat Toomey. A recent Rasmussen survey of likely voters showed Toomey holding a 49-40 percent lead.
“Let’s show Washington one more time,” said a fiery Obama. “Change doesn’t come from the top. It comes from the bottom.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Arlen Specter To Campaign For Former Rival Joe Sestak

Photo Courtesy - Specter Senate dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- For the first time, Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., will campaign for Joe Sestak, the congressman who ended his hopes for a sixth term in the U.S. Senate after a hard-fought primary campaign.

Specter will appear with Sestak at an event in Philadelphia on Monday that will also feature Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Just a few weeks ago, the most that Specter would say about his former rival’s campaign when asked by a reporter was, “I’m late for the squash court." (Presumably Sestak will receive a more forceful endorsement from his erstwhile opponent on Monday.)

But with less than a month to go until Election Day, Specter -- an influential voice in Pennsylvania politics -- is closing ranks behind Sestak, who is trailing his Republican opponent, former Rep. Pat Toomey, according to recent polls.

Specter switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party in 2009, avoiding what would have been an uphill battle against Toomey in the GOP primary. But the Senate veteran went on to lose in the Democratic primary to Sestak in May.

News of Monday’s event -- a private fundraiser -- was first reported by the Philadelphia Jewish Voice.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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