Candidate Corbett contradicts - himself

In the ad above, taken from YouTube, Corbett promises no new taxes, but does that include fees?
In the ad above, taken from YouTube, Corbett promises no new taxes, but does that include fees?
Posted: September 01, 2010

It is politically predictable, with control of the governor's office up for grabs in the Nov. 2 general election, for the candidates to accuse each other of running misleading campaign ads.

But state Attorney General Tom Corbett, the Republican nominee, seems to contradict someone surprising - himself, twice - in his first commercial.

The ad, dubbed "predictable," started running statewide yesterday. It is the first ad in the race since the May 18 primary.

Corbett touts in his ad the pledge he signed to not raise state taxes, while contrasting himself with Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, the Democratic nominee, and Gov. Rendell.

But Corbett last week said that that pledge does not apply to state fees, contradicting what he told a Pittsburgh radio station in March, when he said that the pledge counted for all taxes and fees.

Onorato last week dismissed the pledge as a gimmick and vowed also not to raise taxes or fees if elected.

Corbett also brags in the new commercial about his record as attorney general, saying:

"The politicians were just as skeptical when I promised to fight corruption in Pennsylvania and, boy, were they wrong."

That sounds like a reference to "Bonusgate," the long-running investigation into the misuse of tax money for political purposes that has resulted in criminal charges against Democrats and Republicans in the state House.

If so, that would contradict what John Brabender, Corbett's chief media strategist, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in March, in response to claims that Corbett was exploiting his current job in his run for governor.

"I can tell you now that we will not be talking about Bonusgate - ever - in the governor's race," Brabender told the newspaper.

Brabender yesterday said that the commercial does not specifically mention the word Bonusgate and refers instead to Corbett's overall record on fighting corruption.

"When we're talking about corruption we're basically talking about the sheer magnitude of it," said Brabender, adding that the campaign will not mention Bonusgate or use any images from related press conferences or court hearings in that investigation.

Onorato, who trails Corbett in polling and name recognition statewide, quickly used the new ad yesterday to ask supporters for campaign contributions.

"This is hardly the first time that Tom Corbett has misrepresented his record, but his taking to the airwaves with an ad that's deliberately designed to deceive the people of Pennsylvania proves we're dealing with a politician who will say absolutely anything to get elected," the Onorato campaign e-mailed to supporters.

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