IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Pennsylvania's Toomey not through playing presidential games

It would've been hard to predict two conservative congressional Republicans would include Obama in their ads - in a positive way - but that's what's happened.
Pat Toomey-Timm-09/20/13
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., questions ousted IRS Chief Steve Miller, former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for...
Sen. Pat Toomey (R), facing a tough re-election fight in Pennsylvania today, is going to vote for a presidential candidate. He just doesn't want to tell anyone which candidate will have his support.For months, the Republican incumbent has refused to share his intentions with the public, and Toomey's reluctance has itself become an unexpected campaign issue, with many marveling at the senator's hesitancy to answer an obvious and straightforward question.Today, Toomey will apparently end the suspense, though as the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, he'll do so in about the most craven way possible.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) plans to vote at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, leaving it until near the end of Election Day to presumably tell the public whom he will support for president.Unless Toomey makes a surprise announcement before then, his voting time means millions of Pennsylvanians will head to the polls to decide whether to reelect the senator without knowing if he will vote for his party's presidential nominee, Donald Trump. Polls in Pennsylvania close at 8 p.m.

So, after dodging an easy question for nearly a year, Toomey will put off voting until late in the afternoon -- 75 minutes before polls close -- and then he'll grudgingly make an announcement about his preference.No "Profile in Courage" Award for you, senator.As it turns out, this isn't even the only presidential game Toomey is choosing to play. The Republican also recently launched a television ad highlighting praise from President Obama on Toomey's co-sponsorship of a background-check bill in 2013. As local reports made clear, the president, who's backing Katie McGinty (D) in the Senate race, wasn't amused.

Wading deep into the final days of Pennsylvania's critical U.S. Senate race, President Obama rebuked Sen. Pat Toomey Saturday over a new ad featuring the president's previous praise of the Republican for sponsoring a bill to expand background checks on gun buyers."Pat Toomey may have done the right thing on one vote, but courage is telling Pennsylvania voters where you stand on the tough issues, not just the easy ones like background checks," Obama said in a statement released by Democrats' Senate campaign arm. "Pat Toomey won't tell Pennsylvania voters where he stands on Donald Trump, trying instead to have it both ways by telling different people what he thinks they want to hear. That's not courage."

Note, Toomey is the second conservative Republican this cycle to include Obama in campaign advertising -- in a good way -- following Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).In the not-too-distant past, the idea of congressional Republicans -- including, in Pennsylvania's case, the former head of the far-right Club for Growth -- featuring the president in a positive way in their re-election ads seemed inconceivable. And yet, here we are.