The Other McCain

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PA12: Timing Is Everything; UPDATE: Video of Democrat’s ‘Apology’ Added

Posted on | April 29, 2010 | 10 Comments

With 19 days until the May 18 special election in Jack Murtha’s former district, the GOP’s Tim Burns gains momentum:

It’s been a very good week for Burns, who was featured Tuesday on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show and got a big push Wednesday from Newt Gingrich. Polls have shown the PA-12 contest “neck-and-neck,” as Burns campaign manager Tadd Rupp said, but Palin’s online endorsement Monday turned up the energy and focused national attention on the western Pennsylvania district. USA Today and the L.A. Times have both featured the race in the past 24 hours.
Burns’ staffers were in a celebratory mood after a candidate forum last night at Westmont Hilltop High School, where Democrat Mark Critz — a former Murtha staffer — apologized for a misleading TV ad run by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. labeled that ad false last week, saying, “For Democrats, misrepresenting an opponent’s anti-tax position as an anti-jobs position is getting to be a bad habit.” . . .

You can read the whole thing. Unfortunately, local news reporters didn’t seem immediately to catch the significance of the Critz apology, but I just got off the phone with the Burns campaign, which expects to have video online this afternoon highlighting what one source called a “huge blunder” by Nancy Pelosi’s handpicked candidate.

Scott Ott at Scrappleface jokes that Critz believes PA12 has been “earmarked” for him. Meanwhile, a column today at the Daily Caller notes the result of a recent poll of 12th District voters:

When the question was put to them, would [you] like to vote for someone like John Murtha or would you like a fresh start, the fresh start won 63-34, not a good sign for the Democratic contender who used to work for Murtha.

But it’s still neck-and-neck going into the home stretch, and it will take an all-out-effort for Republicans to beat the Pelosi machine in this Democratic stronghold. Learn more at

UPDATE: Pennsylvania blogger Chris Renner has a post with video of the debate.

UPDATE II: Here’s the clip of Mark Kritz apologizing:

Note the weasel-word method here:

So I want to take this opportunity, that if I’ve misstated Mr. Burns’s position on something, that I apologize. I didn’t mean to do that. It was my understanding that he did support the Fair Tax, and if that’s wrong, I apologize.

Beyond the two “ifs” which render the whole thing conditional, what Critz is apologizing for is not what he actually said previously during the debate, nor does it cover the distortions of his attack ads. It makes no difference whether or not Burns supports the Fair Tax. In his own ad, Critz portrays Burns’s signature on an Americans for Tax Reform no-tax-increase pledge as a job-killer (????), and the DCCC ad — called “quite misleading” by — presents Burns as supporting a “23% national sales tax on just about everything” without mentioning that the proposed Fair Tax would eliminate all federal income taxes and abolish the IRS.

A cynic might suspect that Critz’s hypothetical “apology” is a clever attempt to prod Burns into denouncing the Fair Tax.