Here's Jim O'Toole on Joe Sestak's economics speech at CMU today:

Rep. Joe Sestak reinforced his populist portrayal of Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race Tuesday as he told Carnegie Mellon students that his Republican opponent "seems to miss the human cost of his callous policies."

In his speech, the Delaware County Democrat once again assailed the Republican nominee, former Rep. Pat Toomey, for his embrace of Bush era proposals to revamp Social Security. He also characterized Mr. Toomey as a handmaiden of Wall Street who would reduce the tax burden on corporations while increasing taxes on individuals.

"At its core, this is a question not just of policy but of values," Mr. Sestak said on a day when the Republican released new televisions ads, one of which was designed to counter the Democrat's repeated references to the Republican's background as an investment banker.

During a half-hour speech before an audience of about 75, Mr. Sestak repeated proposals that he said would produce jobs in small businesses by providing new tax credits for investments in such firms, a 15 percent payroll tax credit for small business and loan guarantees for community bank loans to smaller firms.

He contrasted those measures to what he called the Wall Street approach of his opponent and blamed that approach for the economic ills that are now battering the candidacies of Democratic candidates up and down the ballot.

"Those reckless polices were too much for our system to bear, and finally about two years ago, the whole house of cards came tumbling down," he said. "That is Congressman Toomey's unfortunate legacy."

Reacting to the speech, Toomey communications director Nachama Soloveichik hit back at the Democrat's support for a variety of Obama administration initiatives.

"In Washington, Sestak has supported an extreme agenda that has prevented us from creating jobs and having an economic recovery.

"These votes include supporting record spending and debt, hundreds of billions of dollars in higher taxes and a government health care takeover. And Joe Sestak voted to give Wall Street the biggest gift it ever got from Washington when he strongly supported the Wall Street bailout," she said in a statement that reinforced the message of the campaign's new ads.

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