<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Philadelphia Political News and Philadelphia Politics]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com en-us Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:47:06 -0400 Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:47:06 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Congressman, Opponent React to Latest White House Scare]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 18:22:48 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/172*120/456595274.jpg NBC10's Randy Gyllenhaal spoke with Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and his opponent, former Army Ranger and CIA officer Kevin Strouse (D), about their reaction to another security scare at the White House.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Nutter Takes Plunge Off High-Rise]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 08:45:17 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/215*120/Mayor+Nutter+Michael+Nutter+Rappel.JPG

Mayor Michael Nutter took the plunge Thursday -- off the side of a Philadelphia skyscraper.

Nutter joined dozens of others including various other local dignitaries and celebrities as they rappelled off the side One Logan Square along the Ben Franklin Parkway in Center City Thursday to raise money for a local charity.

Nutter’s drop from the 31-story high-rise was part of Philadelphia Outward Bound School’s “Building Adventure” fundraiser. Proceeds from the event helped support Philadelphia school programs, according to organizers.

Nutter, who participated in the same event last year, battled rain and wind while carefully making his way down the side of the building around 2 p.m.

"The wind certainly makes a big, big difference," said Nutter.

The event, which also features descents by sports mascots, West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta and state Rep. Brian, helped Outward Bound reach its goal of $250,000.

During his plunge, Nutter seemed to have trouble going straight down.

"The rope just seems a little bit heavier and a little harder to stay where you want," said Nutter.

Nutter said he never worried about his safety.

Participants in the event had to raise at least $2,000 each for the charity, according to organizers.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Weiner Says Political Career Over]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:56:44 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/anthony+weiner+august+2.jpg

In an interview with Politico, Anthony Weiner said he is done with politics both in the nation’s capital and in New York City and that he “would have lost (his) marbles” if he had stayed in Congress after his son was born.

The former congressman and mayoral candidate told the political blog he has been keeping busy with business, media appearances and his son, Jordan. He said he has no plans to make another political comeback after the sexting scandals that forced him to resign from Congress in 2011 and derailed his campaign to be the Democratic candidate for New York City mayor in 2013. 

“I mean, realistically, my political career is probably over,” Weiner told Politico. “The only job I ever wanted more than Congress was mayor, and I don’t think that either of those two jobs are going to be available. So, no, it’s not like, ‘OK, how do I get back in?’ I’m not thinking that anymore. I think I kind of took my stab at that.”

Weiner has spent his time away from public service working as a political consultant and pundit. He's also setting up a hybrid restaurant/social service agency for at-risk youth in the Rockaways. He told Politico the time away from the limelight has also allowed him to spend more time with his son.

Weiner said he has already taken the 3-year-old to his first Mets game and has watched “The Lorax” with his son “about 291 times.” He said he thinks that if he hadn’t resigned in 2011, he would have eventually left Congress to be more involved in his son’s upbringing.

“I would have quit Congress to be home with Jordan, plain and simple. I would not be sitting around in Washington waiting for the Senate to come back into session to pass some (continuing resolution),” Weiner said. “I could not imagine it any other way. I would’ve lost my marbles.”

Weiner added that he’s a little nervous about the conversations he might have to have with his son in the future about "the birds and the bees" and his sexting scandals, but said he’s more focused on other fatherly concerns. He wouldn't say if he is messaging women again.

Weiner also refused to comment on whether his wife, Huma Abedin, would be involved in a potential presidential campaign for Hillary Clinton.

Abedin was the former First Lady's traveling chief of staff during her 2008 presidential run and served as a top aide while Clinton was Secretary of State.

<![CDATA[NJ Second District Candidates]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:08:26 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000008445278_1200x675_346455619671.jpg NBC10 takes a closer look at the candidates for New Jersey's 2nd District, Frank Lobiondo and Bill Hughes. Cydney Long reports live from Atlantic City where the candidates are meeting voters.]]> <![CDATA[Bridgegate: Christie Under Fire]]> Sun, 26 Jan 2014 13:06:14 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/christie+gwb+scandal+inset.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images/AP Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rivals Debate in NH Senate Race]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:06:59 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/vlcsnap-2014-10-21-21h11m54s10.jpg

Scott Brown continued to hammer away at Democrat Jeanne Shaheen's record in Washington as the incumbent repeatedly accused her Republican opponent of fear mongering during a debate in New Hampshire's U.S. Senate race Tuesday.

Brown accused Shaheen of "outsourcing independence" by voting for policies backed by President Barack Obama. Shaheen, meanwhile, sought to distance herself from the president, who has low approval ratings in New Hampshire.

"In some ways I approve, in some ways I don't approve," of the president's decisions, Shaheen said when asked to answer "yes or no" if she approves of Obama's job in office.

The latest efforts to contain and prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the United States also became a hot topic, as Brown pushed for a travel ban from West Africa. Shaheen reiterated a comment from a day earlier that she would consider one if it would make a difference. That position was a reversal from last week, when she said she didn't think the idea "makes sense." 

The Democratic incumbent accused her rival of fear mongering on the Ebola virus, border security and the threat of terrorism posed by ISIS.

The two rivals remain locked in a close race as they headed into Tuesday's televised debate, which was hosted by New England Cable News, the Concord Monitor and the University of New Hampshire. A recent WMUR Granite State poll showed Shaheen leading her GOP challenger 44 percent to 38 percent among likely voters at the start of the month. Seventeen percent remained undecided.

The competitive race has attracted campaign cash and headlines from across the country, as one of several competitive seats Republicans are targeting in their bid to win control of the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 4 midterm elections.

Chuck Todd, NBC's "Meet the Press" host, moderated the debate from the Capitol Center for the arts in Concord.

Shaheen said she was proud of her vote for the Obama's landmark heath care overhaul, the Affordable Care Act, while Brown insisted Granite Staters wanted to repeal Obamacare.

Sparks also flew on the topics of immigration and border security.

"The border is secure when people don't come across it," Brown said to the applause of supporters after Todd asked him to define a secure border.

Shaheen attacked Brown's record on abortion rights, which he says he supports; Brown, while senator for Massachusetts, supported the Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed any employer with moral objections to opt out of requiring to cover birth control in 2012.

When Brown said Shaheen was anti-nuclear as the subject of rising energy costs came up, she countered, "No, I'm not!"

Brown suggested repeatedly that Shaheen backs a new national energy tax, an assertion PolitiFact has deemed "mostly false."

In a final lightning round, Shaheen said her priority after being re-elected would be to refinance student loans; Brown said he would push the U.S. Senate to come up with a budget. Both declined to say they'd back their respective party heads in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for another term in leadership. 

Barbs were also thrown after Brown defended his decision to run in New Hampshire this year instead of seeking to win back the Massachusetts seat he lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in 2012 by saying he didn't run "because I live here." 

"I don't think New Hampshire is a consolation prize," Shaheen said.


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<![CDATA[Could SEPTA's Biggest Union Strike?]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:06:12 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/SEPTA+Generic+SEPTA+Trolley.jpg

Thousands of SEPTA riders could be left out in the cold if the largest SEPTA workers union authorizes a strike this weekend.

In a letter announcing a strike authorization vote for Sunday, Transit Workers Union of America [TWU] Local 234 says that SEPTA’s current proposals "simply show that SEPTA is daring Local 234 members to strike."

The letter, dated Oct. 20, calls for the union workers -- TWU 234 includes about 5,000 bus drivers, subway operators, mechanics and cashiers -- to come together Sunday afternoon to authorize a strike.

A work stoppage by the union’s City Division would halt all city bus and subway service.

The transit union is upset with SEPTA’s current proposals for pay increases (6 percent staggered over five years), freezing health benefits and asking union members to contribute 10 percent to health premiums. The union claims these proposals make rank-and file workers "second-class citizens" because the transit authority has increased benefits to supervisors and management.

"It boils down to this," reads the TWU letter, "SEPTA’s double standard is affecting every issue on the bargaining table…"

The TWU said a strike is a "weapon of last resort."

"We have to be willing to sacrifice in order to close the intolerable gap" in benefits between SEPTA workers and managers, said the TWU.

SEPTA responded to the strike authorization vote by applauding negotiations taking place.

"SEPTA is pleased that the union leadership returned to the bargaining table last week after a six month hiatus in negotiations," said SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams. "SEPTA will continue to negotiate until a settlement is reached that is fair to our employees, our riders and the taxpayers of Pennsylvania."

Earlier this month, SEPTA officials said that there wouldn't be a regional rail strike for at least four months but didn't close the door on a bus and subway strike.

SEPTA train and subway employees last went on strike in 2009 -- a work stoppage that lasted six days.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NJ City Official Arrested After Taking Boy to Motel: Authorities]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 07:22:51 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/10-19-14+Daniel+Vergara.jpg

A New Jersey City official was arrested Sunday after he stayed at a local motel with a 12-year-old boy without the consent of the boy's guardian, authorities say. 

Daniel Vergara, 53, of Paterson, was stopped and questioned by South Hackensack Police after he stayed at a motel there with the boy, according to the Bergen County prosecutor's office.

Detectives from the Special Victims Unit at the prosecutor's office spoke to the boy, and the boy "provided specific details regarding his relationship with Vergara" that resulted in Vergara's arrest, authorities said. 

Airport Motel owner Ken Gandhi recalled Vergara checking in, though he didn't remember seeing the boy. 

"The guy came to me for the room and he asked me for the room, and I just gave him the room for one night," he said. "The next day, police came to us and they were looking for the guy." 

Vergara, a deputy chief inspector with the Paterson sanitation department, was charged with child endangerment and remanded to jail on $75,000 bail. Attorney information wasn't immediately available.

City officials say they are aware of the charges against Vergara and are tracking the criminal investigation against him. 

An official in the city of Paterson who asked not to be identified said Vergara is a well-known public servant who has previously served as a school board member and led the Paterson Puerto Rican Day Parade. 

He was heavily involved with the local Boy Scouts and created his own Boy Scouts troop, the official said. 

The prosecutor's office would not say whether Vergara is a person of interest in any other case. 

-- Roseanne Colletti contributed to this report. 

<![CDATA[Corbett in Philly to Sign Mental Anguish Act]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:58:31 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000008427496_1200x675_345641027903.jpg Pennsylvania Go.v Tom Corbett will sign the Revictimization Relief Act, which is aimed at protecting victims -- a measure inspired by the mumia Abu-Jamal case.]]> CLARE O'CONNOR | FORBES.COM]]> <![CDATA[Monica Lewinsky Breaks Her Silence in Philly]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 07:49:55 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/Monica1-e1413817932698-1940x1088.jpg

Monica Lewinsky has broken a decade-long silence to announce her campaign to end cyberbullying and today’s toxic culture of internet shaming.

In her first ever public address, the former mistress of President Bill Clinton revealed her plan to launch a “cultural revolution” against the sort of online harassment she experienced firsthand in the late 1990s.

"I was Patient Zero," said Lewinsky, now 41, to an auditorium full of 1,000-plus high-achieving millennials at Forbes’ inaugural 30 Under 30 summit in Philadelphia. “The first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet.”

"There was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram back then,” she said. “But there were gossip, news and entertainment websites replete with comment sections and emails which could be forwarded. Of course, it was all done on the excruciatingly slow dial up. Yet around the world this story went. A viral phenomenon that, you could argue, was the first moment of truly ‘social media’.”

Lewinsky described her life since the 1998 sex scandal that resulted in Bill Clinton’s impeachment as one marred by a deep sense of shame and even suicidal thoughts.

She became emotional telling of the miserable months after then-unknown gossip website the Drudge Report broke the news of her relationship with Clinton — a public humiliation exacerbated by the release of the Starr Report online later that year, offering intimate details of their trysts.

"Staring at the computer screen, I spent the day shouting: ‘oh my god!’ and ‘I can’t believe they put that in’ or ‘That’s so out of context,’” she said. “And those were the only thoughts that interrupted a relentless mantra in my head: ‘I want to die.’”

In the immediate aftermath of the Clinton saga, Lewinsky tried to capitalize on her notoriety, first designing handbags and then hosting a reality dating show. She moved to the U.K., where she attended the London School of Economics and got a master’s degree in social psychology. Still, nothing could remove the specter of her public shaming.

It was only years later in 2010 when she read of the tragic suicide of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi that Lewinsky stumbled on what she now sees as a calling.

Clementi’s college roommate secretly filmed him kissing another man in their dorm room and streamed the video via webcam. Derided and ridiculed online, the 18-year-old jumped off the George Washington Bridge to his death.

“That tragedy is one of the principal reasons I am standing up here today,” said Lewinsky. “While it touched us both, my mother was unusually upset by the story, and I wondered why. Eventually it dawned on me: she was back in 1998, back to a time when I was periodically suicidal; when she might very easily have lost me; when I, too, might have been humiliated to death.”

Lewinsky met with Clementi’s parents, who set up the Tyler Clementi Foundation for vulnerable youth, LGBT youth and their allies. She intends to share her story with victims of cyberbullying and online harassment. There are many of them: almost 54% of young Facebook users describe being bullied or harassed online. The recent web hacks that exposed nude photos of A-list celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence serve as a reminder that no one is immune.

"Having survived myself, what I want to do now is help other victims of the shame game survive, too,” she said. “I want to put my suffering to good use and give purpose to my past.”

Follow Lewinsky’s plans on Twitter, at her brand new handle: @MonicaLewinsky.

Photo Credit: Forbes.com]]>
<![CDATA[Rival Gets Hands on Campaign Book]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:40:34 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/carl+demaio+scott+peters.JPG

A new bombshell dropped Friday in the race for California’s 52nd Congressional District when both candidates confirmed a Carl DeMaio campaign strategy book, allegedly stolen during an office break-in, found its way into the hands of incumbent Scott Peters’ staff.

It is the latest revelation in an already ugly race peppered with attack ads and sexual harassment allegations.

The two had a chilly meeting Friday morning at a taping of NBC 7’s Politically Speaking, as DeMaio walked right by Peters’ hand outstretched for a handshake.

During the session, DeMaio discussed the burglary and vandalism at his campaign headquarters on May 28. Cords and cables were cut, water was poured over laptops and printers, computer screens were smashed in and one important item was taken: DeMaio’s campaign playbook.

The candidate confronted Peters about the book on “Politically Speaking.”

“And Mr. Peters, I just want to ask a very simple question. Did your campaign come into possession of our strategy book, all of our direct mail pieces in the last five months?” asked DeMaio.

Peters responded with: “In early June, information was forwarded to our campaign which we immediately turned over to the police.”

DeMaio pressed the issue, asking Peters why he did not let his opponent’s campaign know that he had seen DeMaio’s playbook all along.

“I’ve obviously never seen it,” said Peters. “We turned it directly over to the police within 24 hours of getting it because what was contained in it was potentially part of a criminal investigation.”

He added his campaign manager “looked at it enough to know what it was.”

On Friday evening, Peters' Communication Director Alex Roth sent out the following statement about the revelation:

"To clarify, we do not know what a campaign playbook is; nor has our campaign ever received anything that could be characterized as 'a campaign playbook' as Mr. DeMaio called it. To reiterate, our campaign staff received information in early June that we immediately transmitted in its entirety to the police.This is nothing more than an attempt by Mr. DeMaio to divert attention away from the Filner-esque sexual harassment allegations that have been made against him.”

During the show's taping, Peters said he felt as if he had been cast as the perpetrator of the break-in, which was portrayed with Watergate-like overtones when it first happened.

DeMaio told his opponent he does not believe Peters had anything to do with the burglary.

Instead, he blames former aide Todd Bosnich.

Bosnich has publicly accused DeMaio of sexually harassing him while he worked for the former San Diego City Councilman, releasing the results of a polygraph test that he says support his claims.

Called the allegations “outrageous lies,” DeMaio said Bosnich is trying to get revenge for being fired as a suspect in the break-in.

However, the candidate said he will not take a polygraph exam to rebut Bosnich’s allegations.

CNN reports Bosnich's lawyers sent the news outlet the results to a second polygraph test Friday in which Bosnich was asked if he broke into the campaign headquarters last May. The test shows Bosnich's "no" answers were "truthful and found "no deception."

Bosnich confirmed the story to NBC 7 via text message.

DeMaio's spokesman David McCulloch defended the candidate, saying in a statement, "Both Carl DeMaio and Tommy Knepper — named in a series of vile smear attacks — have taken lie detector tests that have shown these smears are baseless. Meanwhile, Mr. Peters admitted on NBC7/39 this morning that his campaign received stolen property from our campaign — begging the question: who provided this sensitive campaign material?"  

McCulloch later clarified that statement that the lie detector test taken by DeMaio was one in August 2013 after a former colleague accused DeMaio of lewd acts in San Diego's City Hall.

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<![CDATA[Corbett's Photoshopped Image Sparks Controversy]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 18:20:44 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tom_corbett.jpg A photoshopped image on Governor Tom Corbett's re-election website has sparked controversy in Pennsylvania. ]]> <![CDATA[Gabielle Giffords Visits Local Anti-Gun Violence Forum ]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 18:03:49 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP642993142993.jpg Stopping gun violence is the reason for a visit to our area from former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who survived being shot in the head.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[How Prepared Is Philly for Ebola?]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:31:17 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WEB+Philly+City+Hall.jpg

How ready is Philadelphia if Ebola comes here?

Mayor Michael Nutter addressed that exact question at a news conference Friday afternoon.

Nutter wanted to reassure Philadelphians about the city's readiness for Ebola or other infectious diseases.

"We would hope, of course, that Ebola never reaches Philadelphia, but  we need to be prepared," said Nutter.

Nutter spoke at the Municipal Services Building in Center City shortly after noon.

He urged Philadelphians to not be prejudiced towards people with western African heritage.

<![CDATA[Campaign Ad Featuring James Foley Pulled]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:58:35 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/tlmd_james_foley_ejecucion_isis_syria.jpg

A conservative ad campaign that featured James Foley, the New Hampshire journalist slain by ISIS, moments before his execution, will be pulled, the group responsible for the ad said.

Secure America Now President Allen Roth said in a statement that his group didn't intend to upset Foley's family with the ad attacking Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and that they "apologize for any pain we inadvertently caused.“

“It has been brought to our attention that a news report image of American hostage James Foley that appeared in a Secure America Now video has upset his parents, so we have decided to take the video down," the statement continued. “The purpose of the video was to draw attention to Washington’s failure to secure our borders from real threats by terrorists. That remains our objective and we will continue to engage in this public debate.”

Foley, a Rochester native, was beheaded by Islamic State militants in August, nearly two years after he was kidnapped in Syria. His parents say the ad was "deplorable" and told NECN in an emotional interview that they were demanding that the ad be pulled from New Hampshire.

Secure America Now used the image in a 15-second Internet ad attacking Shaheen, who is locked in a tight race against Republican Scott Brown, and other Democratic incumbents in critical Senate races nationwide.

"It makes me very sad that people would use the brutality of our son's death for their own political purposes," Mrs. Foley said.

Shaheen issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon condemning the ad.

"This is a disgraceful ad that dishonors the memory of a respected journalist and New Hampshire native," she said. "It hurts all who loved and knew Jim, and the people behind this ad owe the Foley family and apology."

According to Elizabeth Guyton, communications director for Scott Brown, Brown said, "This is completely inappropriate and disrespectful to the Foley family.”

Roth says the group did not contact the Foley family before making the ad public.

Secure America Now emphasized that the Foley execution video and the image have been used in other campaigns across the country several different times.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Charter School Lottery to Send Students Looking for New Schools]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 21:37:11 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Generic+School+Hallway+.jpg More than 500 students and their families will be searching for a new school due to Philadelphia charter school, William D. Palmer, hosting an enrollment lottery.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com]]>
<![CDATA[Philly First Responders Not Ready for Potential Ebola Outbreak]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:17:28 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WEB+Philly+City+Hall.jpg First responders made a plea to those in charge of controlling a potential outbreak after stating their protective equipment is "woefully inadequate."]]>