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Early Returns Blog

Former Sen. Rick Santorum continues to learn the back roads of the Granite State. He's planning his eighth trip to New Hampshire next week to lay the groundwork for a presidential run. From his America's Foundation PAC:

Tuesday, January 11

5:30 PM - Senator Santorum will speak at a gathering of Ovide Lamontagne’s Granite Oath Political Action Committee.


Home of Ovide and Bettie Lamontagne

172 Young Street

Manchester, NH

7:30 PM - Senator Santorum will hold a media availability following his meeting with the Bedford Republicans. The meeting itself is closed to the press.


Bedford Public Library

3 Meetinghouse Road

Bedford, NH


Wednesday, January 12

7:30 AM - Senator Santorum will address members and guests of the Bedford Rotary.


Manchester Country Club

180 South River Rd.

Bedford, NH.

9:15 AM – Senator Santorum will join Niel Young by phone for a radio interview on WEZS’ “The Advocates” in Laconia, NH. Listen live at http://www.wezs.com/advocates.html

10:30 AM – Senator Santorum will join Brian “Bulldog” Tilton in studio on WTPL 107.7 FM in Bow, NH. Listen live at http://www.wtplfm.com/ or http://lightningstream.surfernetwork.com/Media/player/view/wtpl_sl4.asp?call=wtpl.


WTPL 107.7

501 South Street

3rd Floor

Bow, NH 03304

Allegheny County DA Stephen A. Zappala Jr. is part of a "strong bench" for Democrats when it comes to replacing Tom Corbett as Attorney General, according to Governing Magazine.

The seat will likely be filled by a Republican until 2012, but the party might have a shot in a year when Governing says Democrats should be competitive in AG races nationwide:

Pennsylvania (Republican-held). No Democrat has won the attorney general's office in the Keystone State since it became an elective position three decades ago. But with Republican Attorney General Tom Corbett winning the governorship last November, the contest in 2012 is too unsettled to handicap with any degree of certainty. Much depends on whether the appointee to fill the remaining two years of Corbett’s term is a strong candidate -- and if they run for a term of their own in 2012. Despite the Democrats’ historical inability to win the office, Pennsylvania has been increasingly friendly to Democrats -- 2010 being the exception -- and Democratic candidates should do better in a presidential year. In addition, the party has a strong bench that includes former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham, recently defeated U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy and Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. Until the race settles down, though, we’re leaving it in tossup.

(h/t Commonwealth Confidential)

Jesse JacksonJesse Jackson will be the keynote speaker at the Pennsylania Progressive Summit here in Pittsburgh (at the Sheraton Station Square) July 22.

Another speaker is Joe Sestak, who we imagine will make the visit part of his post Senate run thank-you tour of all 67 counties.

Rendell on 60 Minutes

It looks like Gov. Ed Rendell will be ending his political career with a bang, freaking out on the  most popular news show on television and calling their reporters "simpletons" and "idiots."

In a wild-looking interview running this weekend "60 Minutes" reporter Leslie Stahl asks the outgoing guv about the negatives associated with legalized gambling. He says the most obvious downside is gamblers losing their paychecks -- but that they could do that in New Jersey or West Virginia, too -- and when she keeps pressing him on the question he bares his teeth and karate-chops the air in frustration.

“You guys don’t get that,” Rendell said, according to Chris Brennan at the Daily News. “You’re simpletons. You’re idiots if you don’t get that.”

Must-see video clip here. Probably not the best way to start his hoped-for new career in television.

Public Policy Polling this week has taken a look at Rick Santorum and Barack Obama's numbersObama & Casey in Pa, and today it gives us a look at the 2012 reelection picture for Bob Casey. So far it looks pretty rosy for the first termer, who ousted Santorum in 2006, mostly because he's relatively popular with both independents and Republicans:

41% of voters in the state approve of the job Casey is doing to 29% who disapprove. He's on positive ground with independents but the most striking thing within his numbers is that 23% of Republicans approve of him to only 47% who disapprove. To put those figures in some context Arlen Specter's breakdown with GOP voters on our last poll before the election last fall was 9/86 and Ed Rendell's was 11/80. Republicans just don't have as big a problem with Casey as they do with most Democratic politicians.

The Republican tested in the poll who comes closest to Casey is Rick Santorum, who nevertheless trails 48-41. Doing next best is former Governor Mark Schweiker who trails 47-34, followed by Congressman Jim Gerlach who's down 49-33, Congressman Charlie Dent whose deficit is 51-31, and actual announced candidate Marc Scaringi who trails 50-27.

Photo: Patriot-News

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