Pennsylvania Stands Out in Swing State Poll

While Republican challenger Mitt Romney has caught up with President Barack Obama in Ohio and Florida, Quinnipiac University pollster Peter Brown tells us that Obama has extended his lead to 8-points in Pennsylvania. 

Here’s the breakdown, according to Thursday’s swing state poll:

– Romney leads in Florida, 44 – 33

– Obama leads in Ohio, 44 – 42

– Obama leads in Pennsylvania, 47 – 39

“Pennsylvania is a little bit more Democratic than the other two swing states that Quinnipiac polls,” says Brown.  In fact, no Republican presidential candidate has claimed the Keystone State since George H.W. Bush in 1988. 

A gender gap appears in all three states, but Browns says Pennsylvania women are especially wild about Obama.  The President has a 17-point lead over Mitt Romney among Pennsylvania women, and his campaign continues to hammer the former Massachussettes governor on women’s issues

Mitt Romney – who is scheduled to be in Pittsburgh on Friday – is campaigning on economic issues, including the energy economy.  Since 1960, no candidate has won the White House without carrying at least two of these three swing states.

Rick Santorum Is Officially in the Race for the White House

    Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum used the Somerset County Courthouse as a backdrop as he made his official announcement that he’s running for President of the United States in 2012. On a bright, sunny day in western Pennsylvania, Santorum’s speech was momentarily interrupted when a spectator fainted near the stage. After assisting those who helped the unnamed supporter to their feet, Santorum returned to the lectern to finish his speech.

    Santorum says he chose Somerset County for his announcement because his grandfather left Italy to come to the area as a coal miner in 1927. That was just 5 years after Benito Mussolini took power, and Santorum says his grandfather left the old country for one word: “freedom.”

    The former Senator and Congressman also took several jabs at President Barack Obama, saying the President had devalued America’s currency through his economic policies, but also devalued the nation’s “moral currency” through a social agenda that includes federal funding of abortions and the President’s lack of support for the Defense of Marriage Act.

    Santorum joins a crowded, but wide open Republican presidential field that already includes Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain, among others. He has spent months unofficially campaigning in early primary and caucus states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, including an appearance at the first GOP debate in South Carolina last month. The next Republican debate is scheduled one week from today in New Hampshire. It will be the biggest stage yet in the burgeoning race for the 2012 Republican nomination.

Somerset County Courthouse

Rick Santorum to Announce for President Today

    He’s been running for months, visiting early primary and caucus states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, but today former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum makes it official: he is a candidate for President of the United States.

    Santorum has chosen to make his announcement on the steps of the Somerset County Courthouse. The former Congressman and two-term U.S. Senator from western Pennsylvania also has a residence in Virginia. Santorum was defeated for re-election to a 3rd term in the Senate by Bob Casey, Jr. in 2006 and has since spent time on the lecture circuit and setting up his exploratory committee. He may not have the name recognition of some other declared GOP hopefuls and prospective candidates, but Santorum has demonstrated that he has some support in the Republican base.

    Santorum’s years in the Senate are perhaps best marked by his fight against the procedure opponents dubbed “partial birth abortion.” He led the fight to pass legislation against the procedure and stood with then-President George W. Bush when the ban was signed into law in 2003.

    Santorum has been married to wife Karen for 21 years and they have 7 children.