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Rocker for Romney

| Sunday, April 8, 2012

Onstage, the members of KISS are anything but conservative.

Offstage, apparently not so much.

Gene Simmons , frontman for the iconic rock band, endorsed Mitt Romney for president during a Tuesday appearance on "Fox & Friends." Simmons is trying to make up for his mistake in 2008, when he backed Barack Obama in the presidential race.

"Hindsight is 20/20," Simmons said. "I have some real issues with the economy and how it's being done. America should be in business and it should be run by a businessman."

Simmons isn't the only member of the rock 'n' roll community to support Romney. Ted Nugent and Kid Rock -- whose song "Born Free" is Romney's official campaign anthem -- also are backing the former Massachusetts governor.

EDWARDS LEFT WIFE OUT IN COLD. Years before John Edwards and mistress Rielle Hunter had a love child, his neighbors in Washington, D.C., saw ample evidence that he was a louse of a spouse.

Richard W. Carlson , former U.S. ambassador to the Seychelles, discovered that after renting the house previously occupied by the disgraced former U.S. senator of North Carolina and his late wife, Elizabeth .

Sally Latchford , sister-in-law of the late TV talk show host Merv Griffin , lived diagonally across the street. She related to Carlson what she once witnessed after a blizzard struck D.C., providing a clear window into Edwards' character.

"Sally saw Elizabeth Edwards, a pudgy 51-year-old in a parka and boots, struggling to shovel out their driveway," Carlson told the Trib. "Finished after an hour, a sweating Mrs. Edwards leaned on the snow shovel looking exhausted, as her fey husband slowly backed his Saab up the driveway. With the wave of a couple of dainty fingers, he slowly drove away."

Geez. Edwards allegedly used $1 million in illegal campaign contributions to conceal Hunter from voters when he ran for president, including money from Rachel "Bunny" Mellon , the century-old widow of the late Pittsburgh banking magnate Paul Mellon . You'd think he could have spared a few bucks to have some neighborhood kids shovel the driveway.

RICK OUT OF TRICKS? That slow hiss you hear is the gradual but irrevocable deflating of Rick Santorum 's presidential campaign.

The former U.S. senator of Pennsylvania might be counting on doing well in the Keystone State's April 24 Republican primary. But Santorum received a listless reception among supporters he addressed in Mars on Tuesday, when he lost the Republican primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

The New York Times reported it as follows: "It was not a particularly galvanizing speech, and there seemed to be little energy in the hotel ballroom where he spoke, where about 200 people barely filled a quarter of the room."

On Wednesday, Arizona's U.S. Sen. John McCain , the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, labeled Santorum "irrelevant." Regardless of what happens in the April 24 primary, we'd have to agree.

ARGUING OVER APPETIZERS. Confrontation was on the menu at Mt. Washington's Le Mont restaurant during a Monday fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle , D-Forest Hills.

Martin Schmotzer , the endorsed Democrat candidate for the vacant 22nd District seat in the state House, got into a heated verbal exchange with former Pittsburgh City Council candidate Anthony Coghill. No punches were thrown.

We don't know what prompted their war of words, but the two South Hills pols are on opposite sides of a Democrat political fence.

Schmotzer is aligned with the Wagner family, which includes state Auditor General Jack Wagner , longtime Pittsburgh 19th Ward Dem chairman Pete Wagner and Pete's daughter, Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner .

Coghill, who unsuccessfully tried to unseat Pete Wagner as ward chairman two years ago, received Mayor Luke Ravenstahl 's backing when he ran for council in 2009. Jack Wagner is considering running against Ravenstahl next year.

SPECTER SEETHES. He never was the friendliest fellow on Capitol Hill, but Arlen Specter has turned into one cranky old geezer.

The former U.S. senator of Pennsylvania lost his temper during an appearance on conservative Jason Lewis ' syndicated radio talk show to shill for his new book. You know, the one in which he prattles on about seeing the late Sen. Ted Kennedy naked in the gym.

Toward the end of the interview, Specter groused to Lewis, "You've been over every subject except for my book. I've listened to two rounds of your commercials. I think it's insulting. I've been in a lot of interviews in the course of the past 30 years and you are absolutely insulting!"

Lewis fired back, "Good God. This is not public radio. I don't have a government grant. We've got to pay the bills."

Snarlin' Arlen continued: "I told you the last time around I wasn't going to sit around and listen to your commercials. ... This is no way for anybody to run an interview. ... That's all I have to tell you, so goodbye."

Said a flabbergasted Lewis: "Good lord, senator. No wonder you got beat."

LOOKING AHEAD. Some at the Westmoreland County Courthouse suggest North Huntingdon attorney Meagan Bilik DeFazio may be preparing to run for the bench in 2013.

Bilik DeFazio, whose maiden name has long been associated with the Democrat Party in the Mt. Pleasant area and beyond, lost her 2009 bid for a county judgeship to Chris Scherer and Michele Bononi by a scant 1,700 votes. She recently switched her party registration from Democrat to Republican, according to the board of elections.

Word is the party switch may be in preparation for a run for one of a couple of judgeships that may become open next year due to retirements.

TEA TIME. It won't be a run-of-the-mill tea party gathering when Republican women meet a week from today in Westmoreland County.

The county chapter of the Federation of Republican Women will hold its third annual "tea" at 2:30 p.m. on April 15 at Greensburg Country Club.

More information is available from Greensburg Councilwoman Kathleen McCormick and Republican committeewoman Lois Wolf-Geer of North Huntingdon.

NO MURDER OR MAYHEM. It's not often that Southwestern Pennsylvania coroners spread good news, but Indiana County's Michael Baker and Washington County's Tim Warco recently did.

Baker was initiated last week into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he completed a master's degree in employment and labor relations a year ago. He holds a bachelor's degree in management and communications from Corban University in Oregon and an associate's degree in network management from Computer Tech.

Baker, who is working on a master's degree in forensic science, was elected coroner in 2005 and has nearly 30 years of experience with the office.

Warco announced that David Kegel , a deputy coroner and a senior at California University of Pennsylvania, was recently installed as captain of Finleyville Fire Co. Kegel's father, Tim , also a deputy coroner for 25 years, served as chief of the fire company from 1990 to 1995.

-- compiled by Tribune-Review staff

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