By Mike Dougherty
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With a little more than two weeks to go before Pennsylvania voters choose who will challenge Tom Corbett for governor, the tone of advertisements has taken a negative turn (see related story). But former governor Ed Rendell wants the candidates to play nice.
Rob McCord’s campaign is running an ad attacking front-runner Tom Wolf with racially charged accusations. Rendell says this is exactly what’s wrong with politics today.
“This ad has no place,” he says. “Look, people hate politics. They hate politics for a lot of good reasons, but ads like this are one of the reasons they do.”
The advertisement attacks Wolf for his ties with an alleged racist, and Rendell says ads like that are a black eye for politics and keep voters at home on election day.
“Do you think there’s any coincidence that this ad came after the three or four days of national controversy over Donald Sterling’s remarks? Of course not,” he says. “And he knows that Tom Wolf isn’t insensitive to racism. He knows that. He took $20,000 from Tom Wolf.”
That $20,000 was a donation from Wolf in 2008 during McCord’s run for treasurer.
“I wonder whether Mr. McCord is going to return that check today,” Rendell says, “because of his strong feelings expressed in an ad that I think is one of the worst I’ve seen in politics.”
He says instead of taking desperate, unfounded shots at one another, candidates should focus on the facts and the political record of their opponents.
Rendell, who has not endorsed any candidate, praised Katie McGinty for not getting involved in the mud-slinging.
“My campaign is not suggesting — not suggesting — that Tom (Wolf) or any other contender in this contest is a racist. The question at hand is how do we deal with racism when it rears its ugly head.”
He says he’s still waiting for an answer about what Tom Wolf was thinking:
“Walking away from Charlie Robertson in 2001 would have been the easiest of calls, certainly for most of us Democrats. If Tom can’t make the easy call now, I for one worry about his ability to make the tough calls later.