ShareThis Page
Pennsylvania

Sparks fly in Philadelphia in 2nd campaign debate between Corbett, Wolf

| Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, 10:21 a.m.
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf take part in a debate at 'Breakfast with the Candidates' event at KYW-TV and KYW-AM  on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014 in Philadelphia. The second debate between the two became tense as Wolf sought to assign blame to Corbett for budget deficits and struggling schools while Corbett tried to frame Wolf as the candidate who will favor labor unions over taxpayers.
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf take part in a debate at 'Breakfast with the Candidates' event at KYW-TV and KYW-AM on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014 in Philadelphia. The second debate between the two became tense as Wolf sought to assign blame to Corbett for budget deficits and struggling schools while Corbett tried to frame Wolf as the candidate who will favor labor unions over taxpayers.
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf take part in a debate at 'Breakfast with the Candidates' event at KYW-TV and KYW-AM  on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014 in Philadelphia. The second debate between the two became tense as Wolf sought to assign blame to Corbett for budget deficits and struggling schools while Corbett tried to frame Wolf as the candidate who will favor labor unions over taxpayers.
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf take part in a debate at 'Breakfast with the Candidates' event at KYW-TV and KYW-AM on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014 in Philadelphia. The second debate between the two became tense as Wolf sought to assign blame to Corbett for budget deficits and struggling schools while Corbett tried to frame Wolf as the candidate who will favor labor unions over taxpayers.

PHILADELPHIA — A second debate between Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf became tense Wednesday as Wolf sought to assign blame to Corbett for budget deficits and struggling schools while Corbett tried to frame Wolf as the candidate who will favor labor unions over taxpayers.

Corbett and Wolf met during the one-hour “Breakfast with the Candidates” event at KYW-TV and KYW-AM in Philadelphia, answering questions by station reporters.

Wolf set the tone by going on offense immediately, turning a question about how quickly he can promise to increase the quality of public schools in Pennsylvania into an attack.

“It's a matter of priorities, governor,” Wolf said to Corbett. “You have not been a friend of education.”

Corbett talked over Wolf to make his point.

“I would disagree with you,” Corbett said. “We have been a very good friend of education. I have not been a friend of unions.”

Corbett also was asked about hundreds of office emails containing pornographic videos and images that his employees were said to have exchanged while Corbett was attorney general.

He said he was disappointed in his employees because he had strict rules against such emails, and had he received one, he would have stopped the practice immediately.

Wolf again turned the matter into an attack, suggesting that Corbett bore responsibility for setting a culture that allowed it happen. After the debate, Corbett called that assertion a “cheap shot.”

Wolf is heading into the final weeks of the campaign with a cash edge and a hefty lead in the polls that Corbett has been unable to crack. A Wolf victory in the Nov. 4 election would break a four-decade tradition of governors winning a second term.

Wednesday's event was the second of three debates to which the candidates have agreed. The last scheduled debate is Oct. 8 at a Pittsburgh TV station. Last week, the men met at a Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry dinner in Hershey, where Wolf often avoided attacking Corbett directly.

In this debate, however, the pair often talked over each other, or directly challenged each other's statements. Perhaps the tensest moment came when Wolf criticized Corbett's handling of the state's finances. Wolf accused Corbett of “cooking the books,” a reference that he later said was to Corbett's reliance on a large number of one-time “gimmicks” to balance the budget.

Corbett took umbrage: “So you're accusing me of a criminal act?”

“I'm accusing you of overestimating what the revenues were going to be in the last year's budget. We were $700 million short,” Wolf responded.

Corbett replied that, in many years, tax collections have fallen short of estimates.

The pair also jousted over how to address the state's rising payments into public employee pension funds. Corbett defended his proposals to reduce benefits, while Wolf said he didn't think it was fair to solve the problem on the backs of public sector employees.

“I know why he doesn't agree with it,” Corbett said, launching into an attack on Wolf. “His chief supporters are the public sector unions and they contributed millions of dollars to his campaign.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me