Corbett campaign’s hilarious commercial features donors, lobbyists

wakeupsleepyheadFresh off signing the 2013-2014 state budget, Gov. Tom Corbett’s re-election campaign on Tuesday released their first commercial of the campaign season, which is now an 18-month process in Pennsylvania, apparently.

The 47-second ad had been online for, oh, let’s call it a “hot minute” when critics began ripping its stock footage, message and pull-quotes apart, piece-by-piece, until it was nothing more than a pile of half-truths laying dead on the Capitol lawn. (Or, you know, a black screen and six links to other YouTube videos that may interest you.)

Here’s the video. Check out below for analysis.

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No, that’s not an Ambien commercial. It’s actually Gov. Corbett’s team letting you know that when you and 115,999 of your fellow Keystoners wake up every morning and are able to earn some cash—it’s because of him. Because that’s how many new private sector workers joined Pennsylvania’s force over the past two-and-a-half years. Hear hear!

Uh, what’s that? You want to know about the public sector in Pennsylvania? Oh, well, the governor doesn’t say anything about that. Probably because those jobs have declined by 1,900 since January 2011. But whatever. Jobs have not been Pennsylvania’s strong suit during the last few years. We’re about on par with the U.S.’ average rate right now, and considering where we were, our growth has been slower than the country’s average. And our public sector shrinkage has actually exceeded the national average, per capita.

Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesman Marc Eisenstein was pretty quick to release a hard statement on the ad:

“Tom Corbett’s new campaign ad cannot possibly hide his disastrous economic record.  Since Tom Corbett became governor, Pennsylvania has dropped from 7th in the nation in job creation to 46th, the rest of the nation has created jobs faster than the Commonwealth, and 18,000 teachers have lost their jobs,” he said.

Then there’s the two quotes used in the ad.

The first is from the Pennsylvania Manufacturer’s Association: “Corbett’s policies spur economic resurgence.”

Problem: The Pennsylvania Manufacturer’s Association is a right-wing pro-business organization and lobbying group which sponsors the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference each year, a conservative and Republican convention in Harrisburg. PMA’s CEO, Frederick Anton III (who, full disclosure, seems like a pretty cool dude) gives the weekend’s opening remarks each year.

According to, the PMA actually donated $2,200 to Tom Corbett in 2008 when he ran for Attorney General and has spent $207,209 of its total $211,009 in campaign contributions between 2004 and 2012 on Republicans—that’s over 98 percent. Not exactly an unbiased source.

Then there’s the second quote, which is much, much worse. Because at least the first was honest. The second, which cites the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, reads, “Corbett is right, tax reform means jobs.”

Here’s the problem: That quote is not explicitly representative of the Tribune-Review. Sure, those words were printed in there, but lots of things are printed in lots of newspapers. I once read a letter to the editor in the Philadelphia Daily News implying that Osama bin Laden was a hologram. Advocates and politicians write their biased opinions on editorial pages, constantly.

The referred-to quote was from a guest op/ed written by Nathan Benefield of the Commonwealth Foundation, a right-wing, anti-union think tank based in the Capitol.

Sometimes members of the Commonwealth Foundation write op/eds for newspapers. In this one, Benefield touts a study done by…the Commonwealth Foundation…which shows why a tax cut the governor was attempting at the time is…a good idea. Which makes sense, because if you look at CW’s op/eds and reports alongside what the governor pushes in the state, you begin to see very strong coincidences. The CW are strong proponents of liquor privatization, lottery privatization and pension reform. They are against raising taxes and pushed hard against Medicaid expansion. In other words, their opinions are like the governor’s.

Sourcing the quote to the Tribune-Review would be like quoting one of Tom Corbett’s blogs and sourcing it straight to

Pro tip: It’d help the campaign out if their team could find quotes from organizations or op/ed writers that haven’t made the last two-and-a-half years about carrying Corbett’s water. Assuming, that is, those op/eds and quotes exist.

Follow Randy on Twitter: @RandyLoBasso

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