Clinton produces ‘Trump Road Show’ for Pennsylvania

BY SALENA ZITO  szito@tribweb.com

The Trump Road Show has come to Pennsylvania… at least in the form of a website that the Hillary Clinton campaign launched Thursday morning to highlight Trump business dealings they find questionable.

TrumpRoadshow.com is a clearing house of Trump’s history of job creation in foreign countries, which lists many of the foreign-made products he produces to further his brand and notes specific places in Pennsylvania where they could be made.

The roll-out criticizing Trump’s outsourcing comes the same day that Pittsburgh native Tom Vilsack, President Barack Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture, will tour rural Southwestern Pennsylvania to promote Clinton’s candidacy and outline Trump’s business record.

The campaign said Vilsack will “point to Trump’s failed business record and fraudulent promises as reasons why voters should reject Trump in November and instead back Hillary Clinton, who has real plans to boost U.S. manufacturing, crack down on corporations who ship jobs overseas, and support small businesses,” in an emailed press release.

The Clinton campaign – noting Trump tie clips, cufflinks, vodka, mirrors, suits and barware are all made overseas – says he cares more for his self promotion than American workers.

Clinton currently holds a comfortable 10 percentage point lead over Trump in Pennsylvania according to the latest Quinnipiac University battleground survey.

That lead comes as Trump has revamped his campaign for a third time, bringing in new leadership, an evolving view on immigration, what’s touted as outreach to the African American community and a more polished candidate on the stump.

Clinton faces growing unrest among the press as she has gone over 260 days without holding a press conference – despite new revelations the FBI found 15,000 new emails in its investigation of her and a federal judge’s order that the State Department hasten their release.

This story was first posted 11:45 a.m. Thursday, August 25 2016

Sanders and Clinton make history

BY SALENA ZITO  szito@tribweb.com

PHILADELPHIA – In a show of symbolic party unity and a bridge to his rival, Bernie Sanders and the state of Vermont formally made former secretary of state Hillary Clinton the first woman nominated for president by a major U.S. party Tuesday evening.

“I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee of the Democratic Party,” Sanders said after a lengthy roll call with each state and territory announcing its votes at the Democratic National Convention.

Wild cheers filled Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center as Sanders took to the microphone with chants of “Bernie! Bernie!” as he read the historic announcement.

Like the Republicans who made sure that nominee Donald J. Trump was nominated by his home state of New York and announced by his son Donald Jr., the Democrats orchestrated their evening so that the delegates from Sanders’ home state of Vermont would deliver the nomination.

Sanders had an emotional moment earlier in the evening when his big brother Larry Sanders cast a vote on behalf of Democrats Abroad for Bernie Sanders.

“They did not have easy lives, and they died young,” said Sanders as he spoke about their parents Eli and Dorothy. “They would be immensely proud of their son and his accomplishments.”

“They loved him,” said the elder Sanders, visibly choking back tears. “They loved the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt and would be especially proud that Bernard is pursuing that vision. It is with enormous pride that I cast my vote for Bernie Sanders.”

Bernie was shown both tearing up and smiling along with his wife.

Pennsylvania’s Gov. Tom Wolfe cast Pennsylvania’s vote to Clinton with a nod to Sanders calling “his fight for inclusion, justice and fairness” something that has invigorated the party.

Clinton makes history at the time the party has been visibly hashing out their family divisions in the City of Brother Love, especially after proof surfaced  that DNC party leaders favored Clinton during in the primary process.

The release of hacked internal emails forced DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign and absent herself from any official duties at the big party.

Clinton began her political career as the First Lady of Arkansas, then as a policy activist First Lady to her husband Bill Clinton. She went on to run and win a New York U.S. Senate seat twice, lost a brutal primary presidential election contest to then senator Barack Obama, served as secretary of state, and then began her second run for president in April of 2015.

Clinton will formally accept the historic nomination with a speech Thursday evening. Tuesday night Bill Clinton gave the first ever keynote address from a former president for his wife.

This story was first posted Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at 10:58 p.m.

Allegheny County Executive encourages unity, work among convention delegates

BY SALENA ZITO  szito@tribweb.com

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald addressed the Pennsylvania delegation at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday morning by encouraging the party faithful to take the message and the unity of the convention back home to get the job done for Hillary Clinton.

“Lets go back and do the things we have to – to make sure Pennsylvania stays blue,” he told the banquet room of about 200 delegates.

Fitzgerald told the crowd that he could feel the unity coming together after the first night of speeches at the convention.

“The speeches had a thread that brought us all together for Hillary and drew great contrasts between our party and that of the Republicans,” he said.

Fitzgerald poked Ohio Gov. John Kasich for not attending the convention in his home state and boasted that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf was all over the place in Philadelphia while his state was under the national spotlight for the Democrats’ big party.

Fitzgerald also noted that Lehigh Republican Sen. Pat Toomey was also nowhere to be found in Cleveland.

“We are proud of being Democrats, apparently the Republicans have an issue with that.”

Fitzgerald said he, along with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Forest Hills Democrat Rep. Mike Doyle, will be in attendance at Clinton’s stop in Pittsburgh Saturday as part of her kick-off bus tour from Philly, through Scranton and Harrisburg beginning Friday, the day after the convention ends.

This story was first posted Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at 4:01 p.m.

Clinton campaign emphasizes different convention tone

BY SALENA ZITO  szito@tribweb.com

PHILADELPHIA – Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook promised reporters the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia “is going to be optimistic, it’s going to be hopeful and it’s going to be talking about specific plans,” as protesting Bernie Sanders supporters shouted their displeasure to passing delegates entering the convention center downtown.

Mook said this convention would have a fundamentally different tone than the darkness of the GOP convention in Cleveland last week where Texas Sen. Ted Cruz walked off the stage to boos when he failed to endorse the nominee, Donald Trump.

“Boy, was it depressing, it was all doom and gloom,” Mook said of the Republican National Convention. “Our convention is going to be optimistic, it’s going to be hopeful,” he said.

“Sen. Bernie Sanders has already endorsed Secretary Clinton, he is coming to double-down on that endorsement,” Mook said of Clinton’s primary rival.

Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said there will be a full roll-call vote of all of the delegations on Tuesday, something that Sanders supporters stressed they wanted to have as part of the convention. The roll-call will give them a moment to publicly demonstrate Sanders’ presence at the event.

“It is exactly in keeping with our philosophy that every vote should be counted, and that means every delegate being counted on the floor of the convention,” Fallon said.

Sanders will speak Monday evening along with First Lady Michelle Obama.

Fallon said outgoing DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s decision not to speak after she announced her resignation Sunday was her own and that Clinton had nothing to do with it.

As far as Trump goes, Mook told reporters to ignore polls showing him with a convention bump following his acceptance: “I’d suspend any polling analysis until after the convention.”

This story was first posted Monday, July 25, 2016 at 1:12 p.m.

Immediately after convention, Clinton to launch bus tour into Pennsylvania, Ohio Rust Belt

This file photo taken on July 14, 2016 shows US Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and US Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, waving during a campaign rally at Ernst Community Cultural Center in Annandale, Virginia. (Getty Images)
This file photo taken on July 14, 2016 shows US Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and US Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, waving during a campaign rally at Ernst Community Cultural Center in Annandale, Virginia. (AFP/Getty Images)

BY SALENA ZITO  szito@tribweb.com

First stop for Hillary Clinton after her nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week?
The Rust Belt.
Clinton and her running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, plan to launch a bus tour from Independence Hall straight into Donald Trump strongholds in Western Pennsylvania and Ohio, according to a Clinton aide.
The tour will focus on jobs and the economy and will include predominantly white, former industrial towns like Johnstown in Cambria County, where Mitt Romney won four years ago with 58 percent. The tour will also hit Youngstown and Columbus in Ohio.
Along the way, of course, the bus will stop in larger centers such as Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, but the fact the Democrats are focusing first on Pennsylvania and Ohio and going to places like Johnstown and Youngstown means they haven’t written off the areas where Trump’s campaign has gained considerable traction.
It may also be an indication the Democrats understand that in this election, Pennsylvania could be won – or lost – on the margins.
The bus will leave Philadelphia Friday, make a combination of public rallies, smaller issue events, and local retail stops across Pennsylvania on Friday and Saturday, enter Ohio Saturday night, and finish on Sunday.
This story was first posted Sunday, July 24, 2016 at 12:01 p.m.

Indiana delegates celebrate Pence nomination

ConventionView1BY SALENA ZITO  szito@tribweb.com

CLEVELAND – The most popular people at the Republican National Convention Wednesday evening were the delegates from the vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence’s home state of Indiana.

Former Indiana state lawmaker and delegate Randy Frye show photo of his 10-year-old grandson who did a school presentation on Pence. Salena Zito photo
Former Indiana state lawmaker and delegate Randy Frye show photo of his 10-year-old grandson who did a school presentation on Pence. Salena Zito photo

“There’s a lot more media attention than we usually get,” said former state senator Randy Frye.

Frye, a retired firefighter with 23 years on the job, said he has called Pence a friend for over thirty years. “I am thrilled that he was picked by Trump, because the country will get to know a man of great integrity, wisdom and vision,” he said.

Frye was sporting a photo of his 10-year-old grandson, Silas, who picked Pence as a famous Hoosier for a school project; Pence attended the school event, then signed the boy’s report.

“He’s one of the most solid, grounded people I know,” said Frye.

Carol McDowell scooted away from the onslaught of press, not because she didn’t want to answer questions – “It’s because I lost my voice,” she said, struggling to be heard over the hubub in the cavernous Quicken Loans Arena.

Indiana delegate Carol McDowell signs the delegation's state marker before the Pence nomination.
Indiana delegate Carol McDowell signs the delegation’s state marker before the Pence nomination.

“But that does not mean I wont be trying to shout and wave tonight when our governor accepts the vice-president nomination for the party,” she said.

Eight major-party vice presidential nominees have come from Indiana; five of them won, but none ever assumed or were elected to the office of president.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said Monday that Pence was close to his heart and praised his character and temperament along with his legislative and governing skills.

Republican party chairman Reince Priebus told the Trib Tuesday that he played a role in guiding Trump towards his pick: “He is part of the maturity of this presidential campaign.”

Ryan swings Terrible Towel as GOP Convention begins

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan opened the first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland July 18 speaking to the Pennsylvania Delegation over breakfast. Ryan, a Green Bay Packers fan, said he wanted Republicans to win Pennsylvania so badly, he was willing to wave the Terrible Towel.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan opened the first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland July 18 speaking to the Pennsylvania Delegation over breakfast. Ryan, a Green Bay Packers fan, said he wanted Republicans to win Pennsylvania so badly, he was willing to wave the Terrible Towel. | Donald Gilliland photo

BY SALENA ZITO  szito@tribweb.com

CLEVELAND – What do you get when you have a Speaker of the House who is a diehard Green Bay Packers fan in Cleveland Browns country who wants to get a Pennsylvania delegation with a strong allegiance to Pittsburgh riled up for a speech?

Paul Ryan waving a Terrible Towel, of course.

“I want to win this election so darn bad that I’m willing to do this,” Ryan said as he twirled the black and gold towel that has represented the fierceness of Pittsburgh Steelers’ fans since the days of the Steel Curtain in the 1970s.

Ryan addressed the delegation, the Republicans’ fourth largest, over breakfast, kicking off their first day in Cleveland with succinct comments on policy, reforms, accomplishments, and delegates’ responsibility to get voters out for the ticket in November.

“All right you are a pretty big delegation aren’t you? You have 20 electoral votes. That is ten more than we have,” Ryan said of his home state of Wisconsin.

“Guess what? You could make the decision for this election. You could decide this whole election Pennsylvania,” he said.

“I think Ryan is right, I think that Pennsylvania has been trending Republican under the radar for years and it is not out of the realm of possibility that Trump’s unique candidacy could cause the state to go for him in this cycle,” said G. Terry Madonna, political science professor at Franklin and Marshall College.

Madonna, who is attending the delegation as part of the press pool, said the fact that Pennsylvania got the Speaker of the House to kick off day one of the convention speaks volumes about the state’s influence.

“Not only for the presidential election but for the large majority the GOP holds in (Pennsylvania’s) congressional delegation: they hold 13 of the 18 seats in the state,” he said.

Congressman Keith Rothfus, a Sewickley Republican who was attending with his wife, said Ryan’s down-to-earth personality appeals to hesitant voters in the party. “We are very lucky to have him here; it gives delegates a chance to really get to know him outside of what they see on television.

 This story was first posted July 18, 2016, at 2:22 p.m.

Fetterman throws support to Hillary Clinton

BY SALENA ZITO  szito@tribweb.com

John Fetterman, the colorful Mayor of Braddock, drives home his support for Hillary Clinton in a video this morning that underscores the efforts the Clinton campaign has made to bring unity to the Democratic party after a long and sometimes divisive primary contest between the former Secretary of State and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Fetterman, who recently ran a surprisingly strong upstart campaign for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate against Joe Sestak and Katie McGinty, says that as a former proud supporter of Bernie Sanders he was happy now to be with Clinton in her quest for the presidency.

“As a father of three young children, and a proud former Bernie supporter, there is far too much at stake in this election to stand on the sidelines, and I would urge anyone that you really need to get behind Secretary Clinton in this race,” Fetterman says in the opening remarks in the video.

Fetterman’s support will be on display in person this evening when he will kick off a “Pennsylvania Together” organizing event at 7 p.m. on Pittsburgh’s South Side at  10 S. 19th Street . Fetterman will be joined by local elected officials and volunteers and supporters of Clinton and Sanders.

“To sit this race out you may as well put on a ‘Make America Great’ hat,'” he said in reference to Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump’s trademark slogan.

The most recent swing-state poll from Quinnipiac University shows Trump very narrowly leading Clinton  43 percent to 41 percent in Pennsylvania, one of three critical battleground states that include Ohio and Florida. Trump’s lead is within the poll’s margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.

Pennsylvania has not voted for a Republican for president since 1988; it is also host to the Democratic National Convention which will be held in Philadelphia in less than two weeks.

This story was originally posted at 10:06 a.m. June 13, 2016

Trump to name former Specter staffer ‘senior advisor’ in PA

BY SALENA ZITO  szito@tribweb.com

David Urban, a Beaver County native and West Point graduate, will be named senior adviser for Donald Trump’s Pennsylvania operations, with Ted Christian serving as the state director, a source close to the billionaire’s campaign told the Tribune-Review.

David Urban
David Urban

Urban, who grew up in Hopewell Township, is a Washington, D.C.-based Republican strategist and former long time chief of staff to the late U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter.

Since mid May, Urban has been serving as deputy director of caucus operations in Cleveland, where he has been integrating the campaign staff with members of the national party and organizers of the convention.

Christian is also a native Pennsylvanian, hailing from Bucks County. He has been working in the state since March organizing for Trump’s successful primary in which the billionaire businessman captured all 67 counties over rivals Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

The announcements come as a number of local Republican leaders in Pennsylvania complain that they’ve heard little or nothing from the campaign, prompting Politico to write “Trump’s Pennsylvania campaign is missing in action.”

Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason released a statement Thursday morning praising the news.

“David Urban and Ted Christian are great additions to Donald Trump’s campaign team,” Gleason said. “David and Ted share the strong Pennsylvania work ethic that’s made our Commonwealth so great. They’re both deeply committed to improving the lives of their fellow Pennsylvanians. Mr. Trump added solid members to his team that we’re excited to work with as we Make America Great Again.”

Clinton plans coordinated anti-Trump effort in Pennsylvania

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks on national security in San Diego, California, June 2, 2016.   (REUTERS/Mike Blake)
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks on national security in San Diego, California, June 2, 2016. (REUTERS/Mike Blake)

BY SALENA ZITO  szito@tribweb.com

Contrary to media reports after Hillary Clinton’s big ad buy skipped Pennsylvania, the Democrats’ presumptive nominee for president is not taking anything for granted here, campaign sources say.

She’s preparing to send out an army, of sorts.

Two days after a Quinnipiac University poll showed Clinton and GOP rival Donald Trump  in a virtual tie despite Trump’s awful month of PR, she is deploying political allies to move the numbers her way and remind reluctant Democrats that she has their best interests at heart.

Tomorrow, the state Democratic Party and the national party in will hold a press conference with Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Labor Council President Jack Shea,  and Labor Council Treasurer Sylvia Wilson, according to sources in the Clinton campaign.

The press conference will be held at the Allegheny County Labor Council  offices at 401 Wood Street, Suite 501 in Pittsburgh to “discuss the disastrous economic impact a Trump presidency would have on Allegheny County and Pennsylvania.”

Governor Tom Wolf and congressman Mike Doyle, a Forest Hill Democrat fresh from the sit-in at the U.S. Capitol, are expected to send out strong statements against Trump in a campaign email.

All of the Democratic regulars will condemn Trump’s economic message and agenda as “dangerous” echoing Clinton’s recent speeches.

Today the University of Virginia made a slight but important tweak to their ratings on the Keystone State, moving it from “Likely Democratic” to “Leans Democratic” based on recent polling, shifting demographics and Trump’s pledge to spend time and resources in the state.

Yesterday Trump sent out an email blasting Clinton on her “war on coal” reminding voters that she said “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business” at a town hall in March. The mailing did not, of course, include the context of the statement or the fact Clinton immediately followed it with a pledge of retraining for different jobs.

Trump said in statement that in his first 100 days of office he would lift anti-worker energy restrictions; Clinton for her part said Trump “Shouldn’t have his hands on our economy.”

On Monday NBC noted that a focus group held in Pittsburgh conducted on behalf of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania showed that voters were still feeling strong support for Trump even after his series of publicity blunders. So it makes perfect sense for Clinton to remain proactive and to send out surrogates to reinforce what she stands for with local elected officials whom voters view as trustworthy.

Both Clinton and Trump recently made Pittsburgh one of their first retail campaign stops as presumptive nominees.

This story was first posted at 3:12 p.m. Thursday, June 23, 2016