On a conference call with media today, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey predicted that the swing state of Pennsylvania that elected him to the Senate two years ago will help elect Mitt Romney to the presidency on November 6.
Toomey held the call to address President Obama’s recently unearthed comments, in which the then Illinois state senator declared that he believes in government redistributing private wealth. The White House has acknowledged that Obama did make those remarks in 1998. He has made strikingly similar remarks in 2001 and 2008.
Sen. Toomey noted that in 2008 Obama said that “When you don’t have a record to run on, you paint your opponent as someone to run from.” Toomey added that Obama is doing just that, waging a “campaign of fear and envy because he can’t run on his record.”
That record, said Sen. Toomey, includes high unemployment, a record low rate of participation in the US economy among Americans, and a fiscal picture dominated by unsustainable debt and the threat of massive tax hikes. Toomey said that Barack Obama’s failed policies flow from his philosophy, as heard on that 1998 tape, which puts government at the center of a scheme to reallocate and redistribute wealth.
“It’s the complete antithesis of what allowed America to build the greatest society in the history of the world,” Sen. Toomey said of Obama’s political philosophy. In contrast, he said that Mitt Romney “wants to build a society based on opportunity to build a stronger economy.”
As for the election in Pennsylvania, Toomey noted that he ran statewide on a message of growth and opportunity in the Keystone State just two years ago against a credible Democratic opponent, and won. Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than a million registered voters in Pennsylvania, yet Toomey defeated Rep. Joe Sestak by 76,000 votes. Since that win, Toomey says, Obama’s record has only gotten worse, while Mitt Romney can appeal to Pennsylvania’s voters even better than Toomey did in 2010.
Current polls show a tight race with Obama leading, but Toomey says the polls in his race were systematically flawed and are just as flawed now. He says that he has seen private data showing the race much tighter than public polls show, and that Romney will eventually pull away and carry Pennsylvania en route to winning the presidency.
Romney carrying Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes would mark a sea change: That state has voted Democratic in presidential elections for several cycles in a row. Its closest recent run was in 2004, when Sen. John Kerry carried the state 51-49 over President George W. Bush, who won re-election. Pennsylvania last voted Republican at the top of the ticket in 1988. The state also helped elect Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984.