Former Sen. Rick Santorum to announce presidential bid

    On Monday, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum will announce he’s running for president. His campaign, playing coy despite leaking the news to most major news outlets, frames the event at the Somerset County courthouse as “a major announcement regarding the 2012 campaign for president of the United States.”Santorum will make the announcement after more than a year on the campaign trail. The Republican first visited the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire in April 2010. He’s made countless repeat trips to the Granite State, as well as Iowa and South Carolina. He even took part in a presidential debate last month.So is the fact he’s now officially running for president news? Not really, says Alex Roarty, who covers Santorum and other GOP presidential hopefuls for the National Journal.  “But, you know, at the same time it is a marker when someone officially declares, even when we’ve been treating them like a presidential campaign for awhile. So it’s the sort of thing you cover, but it really doesn’t change anything.”Political scientist Terry Madonna of Franklin and Marshall College agreed presidential announcements don’t carry the same weight they did just four years ago, when Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton kicked off their campaigns in the early winter months of 2007. “Look, none of these events, as symbolically important as they are to candidacies, make or break the success. This is a moment in time,” he said, adding the roll outs can do more harm than good. “A good event is marginally helpful. A bad event can kill a campaign. I think we saw that with Newt Gingrich’s entrance into the [race].”

    Gingrich spent the days after his official online announcement backtracking, after he ripped Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan, backtracked from said criticism, got “glitter bombed” and faced stories about a $500,000 tab at Tiffany’s, among other missteps.Madonna said Santorum’s choice of venue–a picturesque county courthouse in his home state–will draw more reporters to the event than an Iowa or New Hampshire announcement would. No matter how well he pulls the announcement off, Santorum will still face a long road to the nomination. He registered 1 percent among Republican presidential contenders in the latest Quinnipiac University poll.

    AP-PA–Right Now,1226Latest Pennsylvania news, sports, business and entertainment   HOT WEATHER-PA   Hot weather prompts Pa. school to close early   DARBY, Pa. (AP) — Officials at one Philadelphia-area elementary school opted to send students home because of the sweltering heat.   The William Penn School District closed an elementary school in Darby yesterday as temperatures topped 90 degrees in the Philadelphia area.   The Delaware County Daily Times reports Walnut Street Elementary will also be closed today because of the heat. The newspaper reports the school has a few window air conditioners but some were not working.   The high temperatures also prompted officials in Philadelphia to issue an excessive heat warning through today.   The heat buckled westbound lanes of Route 422 near Pottstown, closing a section of road near Route 724 last night.   In Pittsburgh, officials opened a cooling center and spray parks to combat temperatures in the low 90s.   PALIN-PENNSYLVANIA   Palin’s secretive bus tour stops in Philly   PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has made a brief stop in Philadelphia after a visit to Gettysburg National Military Park.   Palin spent a total of about a half hour visiting both Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell before she left.   A few dozen tourists were already in the area when she arrived. Several shook her hand.   Palin’s website posted a photograph earlier yesterday of her in a coffee shop in Dillsburg following her overnight stay at a hotel at the Civil War battlefield in southern Pennsylvania.   The stops are part of a secretive bus trip to historic sites that has observers questioning whether it’s really a bid to drum up publicity for a 2012 presidential run.   LIMERICK SHUTDOWN   Part of Limerick nuclear plant in Pa. shut down   POTTSTOWN, Pa. (AP) — One of the two nuclear reactors at Exelon Nuclear’s Limerick Generating Station remains shut down because of an electrical glitch.   Exelon said in a statement that Unit 2 shut down early Sunday morning when a turbine control valve tripped after scheduled testing and maintenance on an electrical system in a non-nuclear section of the power plant.   Exelon says there were no injuries, no radiation was released and there was no danger to the public. Unit 1 is still operational.   Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Neil Sheehan says the reactor remained off-line as of late yesterday afternoon. Exelon is investigating to determine the cause of the problem.   The plant is about 20 miles northwest of Philadelphia.   PHILADELPHIA-RIVER CRASH   Officer dies after car plunges into Philly river   PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Authorities in Philadelphia say a police officer lost control of his personal car on a riverside drive, plunged into the water and died.   Passers-by tried to rescue Sergeant Stephen Naughton from the Schuylkill (SKOO’-kill) River. Police say Naughton had to be cut free from his seat belt and later died at a hospital.   The accident happened yesterday afternoon on Kelly Drive after Naughton’s car veered across lanes of oncoming traffic and into the river.   The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper reports Naughton had just left work at police headquarters. The newspaper says Naughton was a 31-year veteran of the police force who leaves behind a wife and two children.   PARKING GARAGE PLUNGE   Coroner: Car plunge at Pa. casino was suicide   BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — A coroner has ruled that a man who died after his car plunged seven stories from a Pennsylvania casino parking deck committed suicide.   The driver died at a hospital yesterday afternoon, hours after the vehicle fell from the top of the Sands Casino Resort garage in Bethlehem.   The car crashed through a railing of steel bars and cables. Police Captain David Kravatz tells the Easton Express-Times that there were no brake marks.   Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim ruled the death a suicide but says no note was found.   Sands spokeswoman Jennifer Reese tells The Morning Call of Allentown that the casino would not be releasing any information. She would not comment on whether the driver had been gambling there.   BOAT EXPLOSION   Erie, Pa., boat explosion leaves 1 dead, 9 injured   ERIE, Pa. (AP) — Officials in Pennsylvania say a powerboat was having mechanical difficulties before exploding near a yacht club on Lake Erie, killing one person and injuring nine others.   Erie Chief Fire Inspector Guy Santone tells the Erie Times-News that the boat’s operators were having difficulty refueling the 32-foot vessel.   Santone says an old gasket “gave way” and allowed fuel vapors to enter the engine compartment. He says the boat exploded when it backfired during an attempt to restart it.   The county coroner says Erin Carlisle died instantly after the accident Monday at the Erie Yacht Club.   Police tell the newspaper that at least nine people were injured. Four of the injured were aboard the boat while five were on the dock.   BARN BLAZE-HORSES   Pa. barn fire kills 6 horses on Olympic short list   (Information in the following story is from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, http://www.philly.com )   WEST GROVE, Pa. (AP) — An early morning barn fire in eastern Pennsylvania has killed six horses said to have Olympic potential.   The blaze erupted early yesterday morning at True Prospect Farm in West Marlborough Township, about 35 miles southwest of Philadelphia.   Officials say three people who live in a barn apartment saved five other horses. The surviving horses are receiving veterinary care at the nearby University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center, where 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was treated after breaking down at the start of the Preakness.   Farm owner Evie Dutton tells The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper the barn was leased to a horse trainer. She says the horses were “on the short list” for possible Olympic equestrian competition.   The cause of the fire is under investigation.   HOOTERS-FIELD TRIP   Pa. 8th graders’ field trip includes Hooters lunch   (Information in the following story is from: Press Enterprise, http://www.pressenterpriseonline.com )   BERWICK, Pa. (AP) — For one group of central Pennsylvania eighth-graders, a recent field trip to Baltimore included lunch at Hooters — a restaurant better known for its busty waitresses than its food.   The Berwick Middle School students were visiting the National Aquarium last week. Chaperones took them to various restaurants for lunch because the group of 100 was too large for a single place.   The Bloomsburg Press Enterprise reports that one group of 15 to 20 students ended up at Hooters.   Superintendent Wayne Brookhart says that while he wishes the group’s coed chaperones had chosen another restaurant, he has not received any complaints from parents.   Hooters spokesman Mike McNeil says the restaurant chain often hosts groups, including sports teams and church organizations with teens and younger children.   DC COMICS-STARTING AT ONE   DC Comics to relaunch most titles at No. 1   PHILADELPHIA (AP) — DC Comics is going back to the starting point in September, renumbering its entire lineup of DC Universe titles with Number 1 and retooling nearly all of its major characters, including Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman.   USA Today reported on its website yesterday that the comics’ publisher will launch upward of more than 50 issues, all starting at Number 1, in September, with Justice League Number 1, written by the company’s chief creative officer Geoff Johns and illustrated by co-publisher Jim Lee.   The newspaper reports that that book will reunite the classic lineup of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Green Lantern.   The move is part of DC’s efforts to reflect current themes and events and will feature characters with costumes redesigned and by Lee.   (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)   APNP 06-01-11 0156EDT

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