Rendell urges Democrats to go easy on Corbett

    Gov. Ed Rendell is telling Democrats to lay off Republican Gov.-elect Tom Corbett. Over the past few weeks, the state Democratic Party has sent out press releases blasting Corbett for naming a major campaign donor to his cabinet and putting a tea party activist on his transition team. Democrats have also criticized Corbett’s staff for avoiding reporters’ calls. This week, Chairman Jim Burn told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review incoming Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley is “about as qualified to lead as Sarah Palin.” Rendell said the attacks need to stop. “Partisanship is ruining the effectiveness of government all over America. And that’s … a perfect example of what that is,” he said at a Pennsylvania Society event in New York City. “Let’s give him some breathing space. To attack him at this point comes with ill grace.” Party spokesman Mark Nicastre disagreed with the outgoing governor’s take, arguing the Democrats are simply raising legitimate concerns about Corbett’s judgment, and providing a counterweight to the incoming Republican administration. “Tom Corbett has made several questionable decisions,” such as appointing Alan Walker, who gave more than $80,000 to his gubernatorial campaign; putting tea party member Ana Puig, who has called President Obama a communist, on his transition team, said Nicastre. “These are things people should know…and (Corbett) can expect that for the duration of his term.” For his part, Corbett said the aggressive Democratic attacks don’t bother him. “I didn’t see them complaining about anybody that Ed put on his transition team, obviously. I don’t know whether they did about Tom (Ridge)’s transition team. If they want to be partisan about this, they’ll be partisan,” he said in New York. “I think you heard me on Election Night saying we’re not going to be partisan about this.” Don’t expect too many intra-party fireworks about the aggressive press releases. Asked whether he’ll talk to Burn or other party officials about the campaign, Rendell replied:  “In the next five weeks? Probably not.”

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