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Will Obama Skip PA-12?


With polls showing Republican Tim Burns holding a slight lead in the May 18 special election for the seat of the late Rep. John Murtha (D.-Pa.), I asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs last week whether the President would make a campaign stop on behalf of Democrat Mark Critz. “I’d have to look at the schedule,” Gibbs told Gizzi. “I haven’t focused too much farther ahead on the block schedule than the next couple weeks, but I can see if there’s anything planned on that.”

Another reporter pressed Gibbs, pointing out that “the President was happy to point to the Florida special [U.S. House] election as a referendum on healthcare” and wondered if Obama’s refusal to commit to a stop in Pennsylvania was related to Democrat Critz’s running an ad “saying he’s against the healthcare bill.” Gibbs remained noncommittal, saying that “I have not spent a tremendous amount of time looking at the ads on this. But I do not doubt that there will be people in this season that will campaign on a whole host of policy positions. I think given where we’ve spent our time and our energy, [they] know where we are, particularly on healthcare.”

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