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Smith Slams Casey on Economic Record

Republican Tom Smith is challenging U.S. Sen. Bob Casey on federal spending and Casey's voting record. Smith opposes abortion even in rape cases.

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — GOP U.S. Senate hopeful Tom Smith grew up on an Armstrong Countyfarm and spent two decades running a coal mining business, both of which he used to illustrate his political agenda.

When business is bad, “you downsize.” And if elected, that’s what he’d do to federal agencies, he said, determining which programs could be cut, if not eliminated.

Smith shared a farm analogy of a leaking tractor fuel tank to discuss how he’d treat the federal deficit.

“Do you continue to keep putting fuel in it? No. Fix the leaks,” Smith said to the media Monday during a Pennsylvania Press Club event at the Harrisburg Hilton

But his series of fumbling comments regarding his pro-life stance, in which he appeared to liken unplanned pregnancies to those occurring from rape, garnered the most attention.

Smith said his business-owner background will help him topple incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. But Smith has yet to resonate with Pennsylvania voters, if recent polling is any indication.

Casey leads the race with 55 percent to 37 percent, according to a Quinnipiac poll released at the beginning of August. The poll surveyed more than 1,100 voters with a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

A month of campaigning changed little: The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s poll released Monday shows 53 percent of polled voters will vote for or are likely to pick Casey, with 34 saying the same for Smith. The poll surveyed 601 voters with a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

As the election gets closer, the race has taken a hostile turn.

Smith laid it on first when he dubbed Casey “Senator Zero,” and called him an ineffective lawmaker who cannot get bills passed. Then, this past week, the Casey campaign launched its own review of Smith’s statements, calling him “Tea Party Tom Smith” and criticizing Smith’s stances on taxes and Medicare.

Financially, Casey has more muscle to throw behind his campaign, with $10.6 million raised as of the end of June. Smith had raised $7.9 million by the same deadline,, according to federal records compiled by the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics.

Last week, Smith pointed out Casey’s votes to increase the debt ceiling seven times, and said the incumbent has voted in line with President Barack Obama 90 percent of the time. Throughout his speech, Smith described Casey as “a follower” and “a career politician” with “a famous political name.”

In the run-up to Election Day, Smith is bent on bringing out Casey’s record, which he said will help him curry favor with voters who are “crying for change.”

“We get our name out there, we get Bob Casey’s voting record and what our ideas are, and that will be a winning combination,” he said.

On the energy economy, Smith said the Marcellus shale gas drilling industry is an example of free enterprise system at its best, driving down costs for natural gas. When asked whether natural gas or federal regulations are hampering Pennsylvania’s coal industry, Smith said coal will come back as the global economy recovers, and coal has been fighting regulations for decades.

He also said the free enterprise system should determine what types of energy sources can fuel the nation, including renewables. The government should not “pick winners and losers,” he said.

“The people of Pennsylvania and across the country deserve the most reliable source of energy available,” Smith said. “If that’s coal and gas combined, fine, if that’s coal, gas and nuclear fine, let the free enterprise system do that.”N

Smith: No abortions in rape cases

On the topic of abortion, Smith said he is pro-life 100 percent of the time, even in cases of rape. He also said he did not agree with Missouri U.S. Rep. Todd Akin‘s recent comments on “legitimate rape.” But further explanation to defend his position landed Smith into a confusing question and answer session.

When reporters asked how he would defend his pro-life stance to a daughter or granddaughter in the case of a rape, Smith said he lived “a similar situation” with a daughter who had a child out of wedlock.

When later asked to clarify if he was comparing that situation to a case involving rape, Smith said life begins at conception, and he is against abortion at all times.

“I’m not going to argue about the method of that conception. It’s life. And I’m pro-life. It’s that simple,” he said.

Click here for full audio between Smith and reporters at the Pennsylvania Press Club

Amend September 02, 2012 at 01:44 AM
@Nazareth man- please retract my comment about standing next to Jackson. I posted that before seeing you mention your service. That still doesn't excuse jackson's outright hostility. Service doesn't mean you're somehow allowed to be rude.
Amend September 02, 2012 at 01:47 AM
@Nazareth- if that were the case, you'd be appalled that president Bush entered into a protracted conflict, that costs thousands of American, you're fellow servicemen and women, over an outright falsity. A patriot would weep for justice.
jackson black September 02, 2012 at 01:49 AM
I do not take offense..its that I love my country so much..alot people are misinformed about what really is happening to this country..naive, like children, I feel sorry for them.. SEMPER FI
Ben Miller September 02, 2012 at 01:50 AM
No problem, it was a misunderstanding and I appreciate you retracting that. I also agree that our service doesn't make our opinions any more valid than anyone else's. I hope you can appreciate where insults like the one I quoted might strike a chord with someone who served in Afghanistan and likely had friends die over there. That guy then mocked PTSD, one of my afflictions, along with knife wounds and internal injuries. It hit home for me and I didn't appreciate it. I didn't serve in Afghanistan, I served during a period of undeclared wars and NATO interventions in the 1990s.
Amend September 02, 2012 at 01:51 AM
@nazareth- I'm not condoning that person's comment. I don't think it belongs to civil discourse either, but the first person to cast dispersions was Jackson when he used the word "moron" in one of his post. That comment was unsolicited.
Amend September 02, 2012 at 01:53 AM
@Nazareth- I salute your service.
Ben Miller September 02, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Unless I served in Navy Intel during the period leading up to it and I know a little bit more about the situation than has ever been released to the general public...
Wallst September 02, 2012 at 01:53 AM
To both Nazareth Man and Jackson. Both of you are pathetic and certainly the most Anti-American among us. I will no longer post on this thread because I will not waste my time going back and forth with two idiots who *think* that there is a majority in this country who are as ignorant as you two. And I don't believe for one minute that you served this country in uniform. Go and take those lies somewhere else.
Ben Miller September 02, 2012 at 01:54 AM
My jarhead friend is correct and I can call him that since, technically, he worked for the Department of the Navy... haha!
Ben Miller September 02, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Plus, it's a term I mean with affection and respect.
Ben Miller September 02, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Thank you.
Frank September 02, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Tom Smith looks like he's got a tough fight ahead. Casey shouldn't have any problem keeping his seat in the Senate whatsoever.
jackson black September 02, 2012 at 03:19 AM
I am a little tea pot short and stout, this is my handle this is my spout, Allah Akbar
jackson black September 02, 2012 at 03:19 AM
death to america
jackson black September 02, 2012 at 03:55 AM
Nice try, god bless america.
Ben Miller September 02, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Hopefully, that is someone mimicking your screen name...
jackson black September 02, 2012 at 04:02 AM
Go ahead children play.. I said my peace, thank you nazereth man for your service as well as anyone who has served our country go ahead imposters, do what you do..
Wayne Schissler September 02, 2012 at 12:56 PM
for real, The link you provided does not make the case that Casey is a moderate, it's only polling data. And I don't know any other Republican that would say that voting with Obama 90% of the time makes a person moderate. As for the Tea Party - what do you really know about your local Tea Party? Here in the Lehigh Valley we do not promote or endorse candidates - we educate on the issues. Tom Smith was never a "Tea Party Candidate" - of the crowd that ran in the primary many "courted" the Tea Party. Even the PA-GOP hand-picked candidate came out to our primary candidate forum (all are invited, none are endorsed). It never ceases to amaze me how the gathering of a bunch our concerned neighbors, many who are grandparents worried for the future being handed to their grandchildren, is portrayed as the focus of evil in politics... Meeting is this Friday - state issues will be the main focus of the meeting and there will be a state rep candidate meet & greet at the end (all candidates are invited). All are welcome to attend. More info on the website: http://lvtp.org/
Frank September 02, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Nazareth Man, first, thank you for your service. Second, you seem to post many times that the militarty does not like their Commander in Chief when they happen to be a Democrat. Coming from a Republican like yourself, it's understandable. Well, I have both nieces and nephews currently serving and they absolutely admire their current Commander in Chief. Here's just one example: Harold P. - In the military for 11yrs - 2 wars and never had a president even come our way. It really was time for a change!!!! Much luv 2 my now president Mr.OBAMA Our President really cares for our military! For example, President Obama implemented and expanded the Post 911 Bill which has helped more than 800,000 veterans and their families pursue their education and find work when they return from service. He often speaks about our troops and that “The sacrifices our troops have made have been incredible.” We must not forget about the President's work with veterans returning home from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Do you remember when President Obama announced May 11th as Military Spouse Appreciation Day? 000000000000 “At the end of the day – make no mistake about it – it was the president of the United States that shouldered the burden for this operation, that made the hard decisions, that was instrumental in the planning process,” he said, “because I pitched every plan to him.” Admiral William McRaven
Frank September 02, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Veterans for Obama kicked off at a small business dedicated to manufacturing prosthetic limbs to help wounded veterans recover. Join Veterans for Obama today. http://OFA.BO/hzAQXh
Ben Miller September 02, 2012 at 04:14 PM
To be clear, Frank, historically the military members tend to be Republican because the Republicans actually fund the military and don't leave us hanging. Think of Clinton's "draw down" where we had equipment failures and other problems all the time, but couldn't get anything new. Think Afghanistan and Iraq, when Bush was President, but both houses of Congress were Democratically controlled and our troops couldn't even get armored vehicles or battle armor. Think today, under President Obama, when our veterans are losing more and more benefits every day. Yes, President Obama speaks a lot about veterans and the military, but it's all talk. He has taken away benefits, made it twice as hard for veterans to be evaluated for disabilities with more bureaucratic red tape (took me two years and 5 separate doctors to be certified at 100%, even though all 5 of them agreed that I deserved it). He also cut funding for both active military and the VA. I'm a 100% disabled veteran, which used to mean that I was entitled to free healthcare and meds at the VA, but it's not the case. I spend $300 to $400 a month in private doctor appnts and meds that the VA won't cover. Their therapist could see me once every month and a half to two months, because he's so overburdened with patients and the VA can't afford more doctors. My doctor can't prescribe meds I need and had to refer me to a private doctor because the meds aren't in the VA formulary. <continued>
Kathy Chapman September 02, 2012 at 04:15 PM
don't think so I believe he is headed to rehab....
Kathy Chapman September 02, 2012 at 04:16 PM
agree
Kathy Chapman September 02, 2012 at 04:18 PM
no Casey, sotired of the alcoholic, wife beaters in Congress spending my money.
Kathy Chapman September 02, 2012 at 04:18 PM
agree
Ben Miller September 02, 2012 at 04:25 PM
<continued>He isn't even allowed to prescribe the medicine and have me pay for it at a local pharmacy. The VA formulary is pathetic and not even on par with the worst HMO's out there. If a med is not in there, not only won't the VA, they won't even allow their doctors to prescribe it. I am almost completely deaf in my right ear, but the VA refuses to give me a hearing test or find out why I can't hear. All they would do is give me a hearing aid... at 37 years old. I had to pay a private doctor to test me, tell me I can't hear and tell me that my eardrum is working, but something is preventing the sound from reaching it. I'm still paying to get that fixed. I can barely stand up straight on some days because of problems with arthritis in my back, knees and shoulders, but the VA will not give me therapy or even medicine. All they did is give me a government issued cane and push me out the door. These are just some examples of the incompetence of the VA health care system, because they are underfunded and understaffed. I have many more. Right now, the suicide rate of returning veterans is higher than ever before in our nation's history, because they can't get the treatment they need. You'll never hear Obama mention that in all his talks, though. You'll also never hear him mention that for people like me with families to support, my family is screwed when I die. There is no disability pension for my wife and children. It all ends and they're on their own.
Ben Miller September 02, 2012 at 04:38 PM
If, God forbid, I get in a car accident tomorrow, they are on their own. There's a very small amount that will help them pay for my funeral. Good luck with the mortgage and other bills though... I have applied for life insurance at MANY different companies and they won't insure me because of my service connected disabilities. That's the worst for me, knowing that when I'm gone (which will be younger than it should from my internal injuries), my family is stuck and there's not a damn thing I can do.
Frank September 02, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Nazareth, I am truly heart broken to hear of the difficulties you are going through. Seriously, this is not a Republican or Democrat issue when it come to veterans with pain and suffering. I know it wasn't good for vets under GW Bush either....and I heard many, many disappointing acts at that time as well. I do however believe that President Obama is doing more in the area of vets. Is it perfect, or is it up to the level that is expected? By all means, absolutely not. But I believe things will get better with the curent administration over the candidate seeking to replace President Obama. I haven't heard one word from Romney about how he will deal with the troops or what he'll do for veterans, and I have listened to many of his speeches. For me, I rather have a President that at least talks about them, than ignores them at every opportunity. I just read this article recently as well: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/31/obama-veterans-mental-health_n_1847237.html In closing, I want you to know, that I truly do respect you for your service to our country. And even though we're both on different sides of the aisle, to me, you're an American first. God bless.
Ben Miller September 02, 2012 at 05:16 PM
I really appreciate that, Frank, thank you. You're absolutely right about us being Americans first and it's a shame that politics have gotten so pervasive in our society, dividing us up against each other with yet another label. To me, that's our biggest struggle in America today, people all split apart from each other by different labels and subgroups. There is much less of neighbors helping neighbors and community togetherness than there once was, because different neighbors belong to different groups and often stereotyped because of their affiliations. Until Americans stop bickering about all our differences and come together, united by all that we share, our country is going to continue having big problems in all sectors. The greatest threat to America is from within.
Frank September 04, 2012 at 02:52 PM
You are absolutely correct, NM. I think we all are guilty of getting out of hand with our emotions when we're discussing politics. Hey, I just read this article and thought you may be interested in reading it. It's a great success story. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/03/dawn-halfaker-halfaker-associates_n_1818214.html?icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl1%7Csec3_lnk2%26pLid%3D200616

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