Entries in Pennsylvania (47)


Romney Makes Last Push in Pennsylvania, Tries to Turn State Red

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images(MORRISVILLE, Pa.) -- With just more than 24 hours until voters can head to the polls in Pennsylvania, Mitt Romney made a last minute stop there on Sunday, drawing tens of thousands to a rally that his campaign hopes will push him to a win in a state they now see as an opportunity this Tuesday.

“This audience and your voices are being heard all over the nation,” said Romney.  “They’re being heard in my heart.  The people of America understand we’re taking back the White House because we’re going to win Pennsylvania!”

This is only Romney’s 14th trip to a state that, before this campaign cycle, was traditionally hotly contested turf.  Romney has taken a renewed interest in the state, going on the air with political ads there and sending a series of surrogates to stump in the state. 

Sunday night’s event -- Romney’s second since the Republican National Convention in August, his last coming in September -- was only announced on Friday, pulled together amid a whirlwind of other swing state visits in the final push before Election Day.

Despite the last-minute nature of the event, more than 25,000 people stood outside -- some said for more than four hours in near-freezing temperatures -- to hear Romney speak.  But when Romney got stuck in Ohio longer than expected due to what the campaign said was airport delays, many supporters left before Romney finished speaking, some noting the pain of standing in the cold for so long with no shield from the wind.

But the overall sentiment was one of excitement, with several in the crowd saying they were pleased that the candidate had come to the state, a visit that to many was unexpected.

Romney’s wife Ann expressed her own excitement at being back in the state, urging voters to pledge their support for her husband.

“This campaign is drawing to a close and what a wonderful welcome that you’ve given us and what energy you’ve given us to know that we can finish this race strong,” said Mrs. Romney.  “We are so excited about Tuesday and we’re so excited to be in Pennsylvania!”

Earlier Sunday, one of Romney’s senior advisors, Kevin Madden, said that Buck’s County, the site of Sunday night’s rally, is one of the “collar counties around Philadelphia where there is concentration of swing voters and have a big impact on how you win the state.”

Recent polls still show Obama with a slight edge in the state, but still under the 50 percent mark.  Obama won the state by 10 points over Sen. John McCain during the 2008 election.

“We’re in a better position in that area and it could have a real impact on whether or not we win that state,” Madden said, adding that he thinks Romney is in a “really good position” to win Pennsylvania.

“We see it as a great opportunity and traveling there today we think can help make a difference,” he said.  “And this is actually the perfect time given that you’re 48 hours from people making a decision, given that that they don’t have early voting there.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan Hits Pennsylvania, Sen. Pat Toomey Predicts State Will Go Red

Scott Olson/Getty Images(MIDDLETOWN, Pa.) -- Just 72 hours before Election Day, Paul Ryan dropped in on Pennsylvania Saturday, the third time he’s done so since Mitt Romney selected him as his running mate.

The Romney campaign says it is expanding the map, and states such as Pennsylvania and Minnesota are now in play for the GOP ticket, but polls still show the president ahead in both places. Although polls have tightened in recent weeks, they still show a three- to five-point lead for President Obama. Both campaigns and their allies, including super PACS, spent $16.7 million in Pennsylvania, according to ad-trackers at the Campaign Media Analysis Group.

Ryan was introduced by Gov. Tom Corbett, former Gov. Tom Ridge and Sen. Pat Toomey, and was greeted by huge cheers from a crowd of about 2,000 when they walked into the airplane hangar rally at the Harrisburg airport.  They all predicted this state, which Obama won by 10 points in 2008, would flip.

“Can I just tell you how red Pennsylvania’s gonna be on Tuesday?” Toomey, wearing  a red jacket, said. “Because I know how red it’s gonna, it’s gonna be this red, OK [points to red jacket]. This is the color of Pennsylvania on Tuesday.”

Toomey, who once shared a house with Ryan in Washington, D.C., said, “It is happening folks. It’s happening all across the country,” but he was still cautious.

“It’s all on our side, but let me stress this,” Toomey said. “There is still nothing inevitable about a victory on Tuesday.  We’ve got to make it happen, and we got to make it happen here in Pennsylvania. And we know we can do it. I mean a state that elected me statewide can elect Gov. Romney as the president of the United States that’s for sure, right?”

Corbett, also in a red jacket, playing off his state’s nickname said, “We are the Keystone State to this nation and we are the Keystone State to this election.”

Ryan, in his Red North Face jacket, said if he and Romney are elected, they will make a “covenant between us and the people whose votes we seek.

“Mitt Romney and I are making this commitment because this is a compact, a contract,” Ryan said.

The Obama campaign isn’t buying that Pennsylvania is really in play for the GOP ticket, calling its efforts  in the state  ”a desperate hunt for a path to 270 electoral votes.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


ABC News Moves Pensylvania, Minnesota from ‘Safe’ to ‘Lean’ Obama

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- With one week to go, states that were once considered Obama strongholds now look less solid. Republican groups are putting resources into Minnesota and Pennsylvania. Team Obama brushes off these incursions as wishful thinking by Republicans, but noticeably they are putting money and muscle into both states. Minnesota has been added to Bill Clinton’s schedule. And, Obama campaign officials admitted that they will once again start running ads in Pennsylvania, another state in which Gov. Romney is surging.

So, what is happening in Minnesota? Demographics. As our ABC/Washington Post poll has shown, Romney has a substantial lead among white men. Minnesota is one of the least diverse states in the country with 90 percent of the electorate in 2008 made of white voters. In other Midwestern states with small minority populations, like Iowa and Wisconsin, the Obama campaign has flooded the airwaves for months with anti-Romney ads. They have done nothing of the sort in Minnesota.

Moreover, the airwaves in states like Ohio and Virginia are already heavily saturated. The ground game is now key in those places. That means that SuperPAC’s with lots of money can get a better return on their investment  on the airwaves in places like Pennsylvania and Minnesota than in the  eight battleground states where the campaigns have been most heavily engaged.


Safe Obama: 207

Lean Obama: 30 – Pennsylvania (20); Minnesota (10)

Safe Romney: 191

Lean Romney: 15 – North Carolina

Toss Up: 95 – NV (6), CO (9), IA (6), WI (10), OH (18), VA (13), FL (29), NH (4)

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Campaign: Ruling on Pennsylvania Voter ID Law ‘Great News’

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The Obama campaign Tuesday welcomed as “great news” a Pennsylvania judge’s decision to block the state’s new voter identification law, ordering that it not be enforced until after the presidential election.

“This decision makes one thing clear for the people there: if you’re eligible to vote, you’ll be able to vote on Election Day,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday. “We believe that the right to vote is an American value.”

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson ruled that voters in Pennsylvania will not have to produce a photo ID to vote in the upcoming presidential election, on the basis that he expected more IDs to be issued to voters who need them in time for the next election.

Voter IDs have become a hotly contested issue this election cycle, especially in the key state of Pennsylvania, one of 10 states that have passed ID laws in the past two years. Republicans passed the law without Democratic support, arguing it would protect the integrity of the electoral process. Opponents claim it would disproportionately prevent racial minorities and seniors from voting.

“I am not still convinced,” Judge Simpson wrote in his opinion, “that there will be no voter disenfranchisement arising out of the Commonwealth’s implementation of a voter identification requirement for purposes of the upcoming election.”

Simpson said election officials could still ask voters for ID cards, but could not turn away those who do not have them.

“We’re encouraged by it,” Psaki said.  "As we’ve done in many other states, we’ll be focused on making sure people in Pennsylvania are educated on how they can vote, when they can vote and how to participate in the process.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Leads to DMV Trips from 'Hell'

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two government offices, three hour-long lines, two 78-mile trips, two week-long waiting periods, four forms of identity and two signed affidavits later, Pennsylvanians will be allowed to vote.

Under the state's new voter ID laws, which require every voter to show a government-issued photo ID at the polls, that is the epic process thousands of native Pennsylvanians have to go through to get the ID required to cast their ballots in November.  And they now have just 56 days to complete it before the election.

"It was hell all told," said Jan Klincewicz, who helped his 87-year-old mother, Jisele, through the process.  "To have to go through that kind of rigmarole to exercise her right to vote I think is excessive."

Pennsylvania is one of five states that will have a strict photo ID law in effect for the 2012 election.  Kansas and Tennessee approved similar laws last year.  Georgia and Indiana have required voters to present government-issued photo IDs at the polls since 2005 and 2007, respectively.

Proponents of the law argue that the IDs prevent voter fraud.  Opponents claim it presents a burden so large that the ID requirement will effectively disenfranchise thousands of voters.  How many thousands of voters is hotly disputed.

In Pennsylvania, where 20 electoral votes are up for grabs on Nov. 6, the State Department estimated about 90,000 eligible voters may not have the required form of ID to vote.  The American Civil Liberties Union, which is challenging the law in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week, claims as many as 759,000 voters lack a valid ID for voting.

Since Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signed the law in March, the state has issued about 7,200 non-driver ID cards solely for the purpose of voting, according to the state's Department of Transportation, which issues the IDs.  But for the tens of thousands of voters who, according to conservative estimates, still lack the ID, the transportation, verification and mobilization barriers that stand between them and that voting requirement are significant.

Many of those ID-less voters are very old or in nursing homes, and have limited mobility and few ways to get to a driver's license issuing center, said Nicole Berner, associate general counsel at the Service Employees International Union.  Many others, whether they are homeless, living with their parents or simply not named on a lease or utility account, do not have the required documents to prove their address, she added.

"Most of these people are on the margins of society," Berner said, "but they still clearly have the right to vote."

Eligible voters who don't have an original copy of their birth certificate have to make two trips to the Department of Motor Vehicles, which for residents in rural northern Pennsylvania may be up to 30 miles away; once there, wait times average 59 minutes.

Voters lacking a Social Security card have to truck over to the Social Security office, where wait times vary from 15 minutes to an hour, and apply for a replacement card, which takes two to three days to receive in the mail, before making that first trip to the DMV.

"It's long lines and it's multiple trips," Berner said, adding that many people she has encountered "are just becoming demoralized and saying 'I'm just not going to vote.'"

But the state argues that after a $5 million ad campaign -- funded entirely from federal voter education grants -- a toll-free information hotline and ample documents posted online, voters should be informed and aware of the requirements.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pennsylvania Court Upholds Voter ID Law

Comstock/Thinkstock(HARRISBURG, Pa.) -- A Pennsylvania judge upheld the state’s strict voter ID law today, rejecting civil rights groups’ claims that the law will disenfranchise thousands of voters.

The ruling is a victory for Gov. Tom Corbett, who signed the voter ID law in March, and state Republicans, who pushed the law through the GOP-controlled legislature. Not one state Democrat voted for the law.

Corbett advocated for the law because he said it “protects a sacred principle, one shared by every citizen of this nation.”

Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele, whose department oversees elections in Pennsylvania, said in a statement after the ruling that the court’s decision “will reinforce the principle of one person, one vote.”

“I am pleased Judge Simpson affirmed the constitutionality of the voter ID law,” Aichele said. “By giving us a reliable way to verify the identity of each voter, the voter ID law will enhance confidence in our elections.”

The law requires Pennsylvania voters to present a valid photo ID at the polls before voting in November’s election. Valid forms of photo identification include driver’s licenses, military IDs, college IDs, local or county government employee IDs and photo IDs from state care facilities. Most Pennsylvania state college IDs will not be accepted because they do not have expiration dates.

The state’s Department of Transportation is required to provide free IDs for any prospective voters who do not have the requisite form of identification. As many as 1.3 million Pennsylvania voters lack the required form of ID, according to testimony from Matt Barreto, a Seattle political scientist from the University of Washington who was called to the stand by lawyers from The Advancement Project, a civil rights advocacy group challenging the law.

Penda Hair, co-director of the Advancement Project, told ABC News that it was “ludicrous to think that any significant percentage” of the more than 1 million Pennsylvanians who do not have a valid photo ID will be able to get one before November’s election.

“I think the intent was for it to affect the elections,” Hair said. “Elections in Pennsylvania are ordinarily decided by margins that are less than 1 million voters. That’s how many voters we are talking about being barred from voting this fall.”

Republican House Majority Leader Mike Turzai made waves in June when he said at the Republican State Committee meeting that the voter ID law “is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”

“We are focused on making sure that we meet our obligations that we’ve talked about for years,” Turzai said in a speech to committee members, Politics PA reported.

Turzai then listed a handful of accomplishments such as “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

The Obama campaign responded to the court’s ruling by vowing to redouble their efforts to inform voters about the ID needed to vote and how to obtain one.

“Now more than ever it is important that the Commonwealth follow through on its plan to make available free IDs to any voter who may need them,” Jennifer Austin, spokeswoman for Obama for America Pennsylvania, said in a statement. “Regardless of party affiliation, we support ensuring any voter eligible to cast a ballot has the right to do so.”

The Advancement Project was one of a handful of activist organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, that asked the court to issue an injunction preventing the voter ID law from taking effect.

Advancement Project co-director Judith Browne-Dianis said the civil rights groups will take “immediate steps” to appeal the commonwealth court’s decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

“Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law erects an unequal barrier to voting for hundreds of thousands of eligible voters, disproportionately blocking veterans, seniors and people of color from the polls,” Browne-Dianis said in a statement.

Pennsylvania is one of eleven states that passed strict voter ID laws in 2011 and 2012. Three of those laws, in Texas, South Carolina and Wisconsin, were struck down by the courts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rick Santorum to Hold First Campaign Event for Romney

Jay LaPrete/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum will hold his first formal campaign event for Mitt Romney this weekend since he became the presumptive Republican nominee, sources close to Santorum tell ABC News.

Santorum, who emerged as one of Romney’s last opponents standing after a hard-fought primary season, will appear on Saturday at the opening of the Romney campaign’s Greensburg, Pa., victory office.  It’s familiar turf for Santorum who used to represent that area of southeastern Pennsylvania in Congress.

Up until now, the former rival has not been in close touch with the Romney campaign.  Santorum had said he was willing to campaign for the former Massachusetts governor, but since the meeting between the erstwhile foes in May there has been limited contact between the two camps, Santorum sources said.

Saturday’s event represents another step in the peace-making process between Santorum and Romney, and it is also a sign that the Romney campaign believes Santorum can be a helpful surrogate in the country’s economically-struggling Rust Belt area.

Santorum was asked to participate in the Greensburg office opening by the Romney campaign and Republican party officials, and “he was happy to accept the request,” according to a source familiar with the planning of the event.

But ever since he ended his own presidential bid in April, Santorum hasn’t always sounded like the most enthusiastic Romney backer.  The candidate, who in March called Romney the “the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama,” was asked in an interview on CNN last month if he now “trusts” the presumptive GOP nominee.

“Well, I trust him more than I do Barack Obama,” Santorum told CNN’s John King.  “This election is about a choice.”

Santorum’s campaign appearance for Romney comes on the heels of a two-day tour of Iowa this week, which invited speculation about whether the former senator was going back to the state that handed him a belated win in the presidential caucuses not only to say “thank you” to his supporters there but also to lay the groundwork for a 2016 presidential run.

Last month, Santorum also launched a new independent group called “Patriot Voices,” which he formed to promote the conservative causes that were the hallmarks of his campaign -- from stem cell research to pro-life issues to foreign policy.  He has been backing candidates and sending out issue alerts as well as fundraising emails to his supporters, much like he did as a candidate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Bus Rolls Across Ohio with Presidential Seal

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It’s been dubbed “Ground Force One” and now, it has the official insignia to match its partner in the air.

The jet-black armored motor coach ferrying President Obama from Air Force One in Toledo, across northern Ohio and into Pennsylvania, got an upgrade for its first trip of the 2012 campaign: a large colorful presidential seal emblazoned on its side.

The cosmetic addition since debuting on an official presidential trip through the Midwest in August is a prominent reminder of the bus’s owner (the federal government) and the authority of its top passenger (the president).

So who pays for the bus when it’s used for entirely political purposes?

The Obama campaign will reimburse taxpayers for fuel and operation costs of the bus according to an established formula, an administration official told ABC News.

Obama will travel roughly 270 miles from Toledo, Ohio, to Pittsburgh on Thursday and Friday, averaging six to nine miles per gallon on the drive, according to estimates online from several motor coach manufacturers.  The average price for a gallon of diesel fuel in Sandusky, Ohio, on Thursday was $3.49.

Bottom line: Driving is a lot cheaper than flying for the presidential entourage.  (Air Force One costs $180,000 per hour to operate.)

The U.S. Secret Service acquired two of the $1.1 million custom-built coaches last year as an upgrade to their vehicle fleet ahead of the 2012 campaign.  Officials say they are the most efficient way for the president to engage in retail politicking, particularly across rural areas.

One bus (presumably without a seal) will ferry Mitt Romney around the country once he becomes the nominee, officials said.  After the campaign, the buses will be used by the Secret Service to transport other federal protectees as needed.

While the inside of the bus has remained off limits to members of the press and cameras, two of Obama’s grassroots supporters got front row seats on a ride with the president on Thursday.

Jeff and Cheri Armes of New Bedford, Mass., won a campaign fundraising sweepstakes and the chance to accompany Obama from Toledo Express Airport to the Wolcott House Museum in Maumee, where he held his first rally.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama's Bus Tour Hits Friendly Turf in Pennsylvania, Ohio

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Unlike Mitt Romney’s recent bus tour, President Obama’s upcoming roadtrip might feel more like a homestand.

On Tuesday, his campaign announced a two-day bus tour through Pennsylvania and Ohio, which will take him across some friendly turf.  Not only did Obama win those two states in 2008, he’ll stop in counties that supported him -- the president has four scheduled public appearances, each one in a county he carried in 2008.

On Thursday, Obama will traverse northern Ohio, a Democratic stronghold.  On Friday, he’ll visit Pittsburgh, a Democratic outpost in traditionally Republican western Pennsylvania.

Obama will stop at the Wolcott House Museum in Toledo, Ohio, in a county where he defeated John McCain by 31 percentage points; at Washington Park in Sandusky, Ohio, where he won by 4 percentage points; at James W. Day Park and Dobbins Elementary School in Cleveland, where he won by 39 percentage points; and at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he won by 15 percentage points in 2008.

In all, Obama carried the total vote in these four counties by 27 percentage points.  If they made up a state, Obama would have won it 63 percent to 36 percent.

Contrast that to Romney’s recent bus tour, on which the former governor ventured into hostile territory.  While Obama will play some defense, Romney played mostly offense.

As ABC’s Elizabeth Hartfield reported at the time, Romney’s schedule included stops in many counties Obama won in 2008.  By the end of the trip, Romney had appeared in 15 counties, 10 of which Obama won in 2008 and five of which were won by McCain.

In mid-June, Romney’s five-day bus tour swung through New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan -- all Obama states in 2008.  In the 15 counties Romney visited, including major Obama strongholds in Madison, Wis., and Davenport, Iowa, Obama carried the total vote by 5 percentage points.  Counting all votes cast, Obama defeated McCain 50 percent to 45 percent in Romney’s bus-tour counties.

“We’re certainly campaigning on their turf,” Romney strategist Russ Schriefer told reporters the day the tour began.

So why did Obama’s campaign choose such friendly territory?

A campaign official explained the stops as “still-critical towns and markets,” and in Pennsylvania, Obama will reach voters who opposed him last time, as Pittsburgh’s media market covers surrounding counties that all voted for McCain.  Pennsylvania’s Democratic counties surround Philadelphia, the state’s southeastern region.

But in Ohio, Obama will largely seek to energize and solidify his 2008 base.  The tour will take Obama across the northern part of the state, where every county east of Toledo backed him last time.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


On The Campaign Trail Republican Voters Tell Mitt Romney To Give Obama ‘Hell’

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute(CORNWALL, Pa.) — Pennsylvania Republicans Marty and Ciri Daigle didn’t get the candidate they wanted out of this year’s GOP primary.

“I was a Newt fan,” Marty said. “And I was a Santorum fan,” his wife, Ciri, chimed in.

Nevertheless, Marty, a lumber company sales manager, and Ciri, who works at a Cornwall, Pa. nursing home, both spent Saturday evening in the company of Mitt Romney, a candidate that both Pennsylvanians said they would ultimately vote for in November.


“He’s not Obama,” Marty said in an interview with ABC News at a historic iron furnace in Republican-friendly Lebanon County.

Even though she voted for John McCain in 2008, Ciri said she hoped that “things would change for the better,” under President Obama, “but we didn’t see that.”

Her husband cited “reckless spending” and “government size” as the two biggest failures of the Obama administration.

And while interviews with voters in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire on the opening days of Romney’s five-day, six-state bus tour turned up many of the same concerns about President Obama that the Daigles expressed, the conversations also revealed a Republican electorate still warming up to their nominee.

“I’ll be honest, it’s not so much what I like about him, it’s what I dislike about Obama,” said Mike Hain, a supervisor at a cereal company in Pennsylvania where polls give the president a narrow edge over Romney.

“Maybe more of his personality will come out in this,” Hain said of the Republican nominee. “That’s what I’m hoping — that he shows that he’s more likeable.”

It was Hain’s first time seeing Romney in person just like it was for Russ Nagy, the owner of a home improvement business in Palmyra, Pa. who also turned out for Romney’s rally on Saturday.

“The economy sucks right now,” Nagy said, adding that he has already decided to cast his ballot for Romney in November.

“This fairness stuff — life’s not fair,” Nagy said, dismissing a key election-year message of the president’s. “Yeah, you help your neighbor, but you don’t baby him. Learn to stand on your own two feet.”

Outside the Stratham, New Hampshire farmhouse where Romney kicked off his bus tour one day earlier, Evan Stover, a 28-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, said he had already made up his mind.

“Obama doesn’t like our country — you can tell,” Stover told ABC News. “I think it’s how he grew up.”

Stover said he feared President Obama was “driving this country to a European socialistic model,” echoing a theme Romney often sounds on the campaign trail.

Recent polls in the Granite State show the president leading Romney, who owns a lakeside vacation home there and served as governor of neighboring Massachusetts. Mirror Lake resident Pee Ide predicted that the battle for New Hampshire would “get dirty.”

But she expressed almost no reservations about supporting Romney over Obama, who she described as an “empty suit.”

“He just kind of scares me –he really does,” Ide said of the president just a few minutes after Romney, in a speech, accused Obama of failing “to give the middle class of America a fair shot.”

“I think he’s so methodical and he just knows what he’s doing,” Ide said of Romney, but added one word of advice: “Sometimes I wish he would give him a little bit more hell.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio