MEDIA, Pa. -- It's about a week before the election and, frankly, the Republican candidate for Arlen Specter's (D-PA) Senate seat seemed pretty calm this morning. As part of his "More Jobs, Less Government" tour, he started his day in West Chester, Pa., at Penn's Table restaurant shaking a few hands and then headed over to a meeting with small business leaders. He gave standard prepared remarks and then took a couple of more questions from the media before kicking the cameras and reporters out of the roundtable.
Pat Toomey was focused on continuing to paint his Democratic opponent Rep. Joe Sestak as someone in lockstep with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The only questions getting something that resembled a rise out of him had to do with being lumped in with other Tea Party candidates throughout the country and if the close proximity (as in the Delaware media market bleeding into the Pennsylvania media market) of Christine O'Donnell's race was making his race harder.
Toomey said it was the media and Sestak who are encouraging the "fictitious connection" between him and O'Donnell: "I don't get this from anyone except members of the press. Frankly I don't think anybody is confused, confusing the candidates. I've been campaigning for 18 months now. I've got a very clear message for that entire time." Toomey continued, "I don't see the issue."
When asked if he would be willing to form some kind of coalition with other new senators who were backed by Tea Party organizations he responded that he wanted to "work with everybody who wants to move this country forward and encourage job growth and restore fiscal discipline." He then rattled off three names of Democrats that he found common ground with while he was in the House of Representatives, including favorite GOP target, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA).
"I had a press conference with Barney Frank in which we both talked about the need for our NATO allies to shoulder more of their share of the burden of the cost of the war in Kosovo, which was underway at the time," Toomey said. "So my record is very clear. I'll work with colleagues on either side of the aisle if it's for the good of Pennsylvania."
Oddly enough Frank was also a name he linked his opponent with earlier in the press conference when talking about Sestak's fiscal irresponsibility.
"Joe Sestak was a guy, as late as 2007, joining with Barney Frank and the most liberal members of the House to vote against even basic common sense regulations on these institutions," said Toomey when talking about his attempts to reign in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when he was still a member of the House.