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Fetterman’s ‘Borderline Incoherent’ Performance in Committee Hearing Raises Concerns

Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman’s stammering, unsteady delivery during a Senate Committee hearing — and media attempts to cover it up —  are raising questions once again about the Democrat’s ability to fulfill his duties, with one commentator labeling his performance “borderline incoherent.”

Fetterman was participating in a Senate Banking Committee hearing, where former Silicon Valley Bank CEO Gregory Becker was answering questions about his institution’s collapse.

According to The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein, Fetterman said at one point, “Shouldn’t you have a working requirement after we bail out your bank? Republicans seem to be more preoccupied with SNAP requirements for hungry people than protecting taxpayers that have to bail out these banks.”

But a video of Fetterman’s comments is transcribed as follows:

“Shouldn’t you have some kind of working required after we sail your bank us billions of your bank? Because you seem we were preoccupied, uh, when, uh, then SNAP us requirements for works for, uh, hungry people but not about pro, protecting the tax, tax papers you know that will bail them out of whatever does about a bank to crash it.”

Later in the hearing, Fetterman said to Becker, “Is. Is it staggering? Is it a staggering a, res, uh, responsibility that ju— that a head of a bank could literally, could literally crash our economy? It’s astonishing.”

Fetterman only recently returned to the U.S. Senate after spending six weeks at Walter Reed Military Medical Center being treated for clinical depression. The depression is believed to be a consequence of a major stroke Fetterman suffered during last year’s U.S. Senate race.

Trending Politics co-owner Collin Rugg called Fetterman’s remarks “the most painful 90 seconds you will watch all month.”

Fox News reporter Houston Keene wrote Fetterman was “borderline incoherent” during his remarks, claiming the senator “appeared to struggle through his opening statement.”

“We are told we are to salute him for his bravery,” said John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary magazine, “but if his aphasia is so severe he cannot speak… he obviously can’t perform his duties in the way that he should.”

Fetteman’s performance has been compared to that of fellow Democrat Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the 89-year-old senator who has missed months of votes in the Senate due to extreme age and illness.

When asked about her absence, Feinstein told a writer with, “No, I haven’t been gone.”

When asked whether she meant that she’d been working from home, Feinstein responded, “No, I’ve been here. I’ve been voting,” she said. “Please. You either know or don’t know.”

Even progressives are now urging Feinstein to step down due to her inability to do her job.

“If you’re a Democratic senator and you’re not at least privately urging Feinstein to resign and urging Schumer and Durbin to take action, you have failed the people who sent you to Congress. You’re lying to yourselves that this is *okay*,” tweeted MSNBC Host Mehdi Hasan.

But elected Democrats in Congress are standing by Feinstein.

“I don’t have a medical degree, so I’m not going to comment on how she’s feeling or what she looks like,” said House Caucus Chair Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), though he added, “We expect Senate Democrats to have our backs on some of these votes and discussions … I appreciate the fact that she’s back working and we wish her nothing but the best.”

Fetterman’s staff acknowledge Fetterman has problems, but they insist all is well.

“We have been clear for literally months and months that John continues to have auditory processing issues due to the effects of his stroke,” Fetterman spokesman Joe Calvello told Fox News.

“If sickos on the internet want to keep making fun of John for recovering from a health challenge, that’s between them and their consciences.”

DelVal Reacts to President Biden’s Re-Election Announcement

President Joe Biden released a short video Tuesday to officially announced he is running for a second term. While the news was expected — no incumbent president has chosen not to seek a second full term since LBJ in 1968 — it still sparked a reaction from both sides of the aisle.

“Let’s finish this job,” Biden says in the video. “I know we can because this is the United States of America. There’s nothing, simply nothing, we cannot do if we do it together.”

Notably absent from the 350-word transcript of Biden’s announcement: Any mention of jobs, inflation, or the economy in general. Polls show Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy.

Former President Donald Trump, the GOP’s current frontrunner, was less than impressed with Biden’s announcement.

“You could take the five worst presidents in American history, and put them together, and they would not have done the damage Joe Biden has done to our nation in just a few short years,” Trump said in a statement. “Not even close.”


Biden’s message got a warm reception from local Democrats.

“The Chester County Democratic Committee is proud to support the reelection of President Biden,” said Chair Charlotte Valyo. “President Biden has made impressive achievements during his first term, passing the Infrastructure and Chips Bills which are bringing jobs back to the United States and improving our towns and cities. President Biden is also a staunch supporter of a Woman’s Right to Choose and a vocal opponent of the efforts to re-write history and ban books in our schools. We cannot wait to see what he will accomplish next term.”

Delaware County Democratic Committee chair Colleen Guiney said she was “grateful to President Biden and Vice-President Harris for their willingness to continue to serve our nation,” said Colleen Guiney, chair Delaware County Democratic Committee. “President Biden has worked to strengthen our economy, protect our rights and preserve our environment despite many obstacles. He will safeguard our safety and freedom in the face of extremism and disinformation. I look forward to supporting the Biden-Harris ticket as they seek to uplift our great nation.”

Not surprisingly, DelVal Republicans are more critical of the current president.

“From the botched withdrawal in Afghanistan to his failed economic policies, Joe Biden’s agenda has made America less safe and less prosperous,” said Montgomery County Republican Chairman Christian Nascimento. “He says he wants to restore the soul of America but pushes far-left programs that hurt the middle class. That is why a majority of Americans, including a majority of Democrats, don’t want him to run again.

“The only silver lining is that assuming he survives the primary challenge from RFK, Jr., 2024 will be the opportunity to replace him with a common-sense conservative administration that can correct the course that he has put the country on,” Nascimento added.

Dave McCormick narrowly lost the GOP U.S. Senate primary in 2022 and is widely believed to be planning to challenge Democrat Sen. Bob Casey next year. “Joe Biden’s policies have failed the American people and our great commonwealth. Historic inflation, skyrocketing fentanyl deaths due to open borders, high homicide rates in our cities — Biden’s agenda has been a disaster for our country, and our adversaries are watching and exploiting our weaknesses,” McCormick said.

“We need a president who will fight for the American people every day, leading us through the issues facing our country today and preserving our status as the world’s superpower,” said McCormick, author of the new book “Superpower in Peril.”

And state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin), the GOP nominee for governor in 2022, said, “I remember with much levity how concerned the media was when Ronald Reagan was running for reelection in 1984. The left-wing media was concerned about his fitness in that he would be 79 years old when finishing his second term. The irony is that he was a year younger than when Biden began his first term.

“Clearly, Biden is suffering from cognitive decline and is not fit for office. We have seen evidence of this. But more importantly, our enemies and rivals have seen it, and this is putting our national security at risk,” said Mastriano, a former Army colonel who holds a Ph.D. in history and has written three books.

While Mastriano may also be considering a run for the U.S. Senate against Casey, he lost to Democrat Gov. Josh Shapiro by nearly 15 points.

The April Franklin & Marshall College poll finds 46 percent of the respondents say they are “worse off” than a year ago. The same poll found just 27 percent believed that Biden is doing an “excellent” or “good” job.

However, in a race against Trump, Biden would win narrowly, 36 to 35 percent, the F&M poll revealed.

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RFK, Jr. Blends Progressive Populism and Talk Radio Politics in POTUS Speech

Toward the end of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr’s bravura performance in a ballroom at the Boston Park Plaza Wednesday, an alarm bell sounded and a robotic female voice announced “a report of an emergency in this building.” The crowd on hand to hear Kennedy formally declare his candidacy, some 2,000 strong, was instructed to evacuate.

After a moment of confusion, RFK, Jr. told the crowd he’d been informed that there was no emergency and he was going to press on with his speech. The bell sounded again and the demanding, automated voice repeated the call to evacuate.

“Nice try,” Kennedy quipped. He wasn’t going anywhere.

And the crowd went wild.

That was the message Kennedy and his team came to Boston to deliver: Joe Biden may want to ignore him, and some Democrats — including in his own family — may be embarrassed by him, and the media may hate him. But RFK, Jr. is going to run for president, and he’s going to run like he means it.

Because he does.

Watching him deliver a smart, carefully calibrated speech — the word “vaccine” never crossed his lips — a scene from the movie Rocky came to mind. After Rocky landed some serious blows, Apollo Creed’s trainer tells the champ who’s still not taking the challenger seriously, “He doesn’t know it’s supposed to be a show. He thinks it’s a damn fight!”

A crowd of some 2,000 people turned out for RFK, Jr.’s announcement that he’s running for POTUS in 2024.

Kennedy embraced the longshot nature of his candidacy, comparing his 2024 quest to the campaign his father was running in 1968 before an assassin’s bullet brought it to an end. In RFK, Jr’s telling, the situation his father faced was much like his today: running against an incumbent Democrat in the White House, a time of “unprecedented polarization,” and “the liberal press were all against him.”

Kennedy’s campaign isn’t shy about wrapping him in the Camelot history of his political family. The setting for his announcement — an old-school Boston ballroom with chandeliers overhead, patriotic bunting on the balconies and a brass band playing Aaron Copeland — was straight out of a Ken Burns documentary. And just to make sure the point wasn’t missed, family photos of RFK, Jr. and his famous forebears flashed on flat-panel TV screens at the front of the room.

Kennedy’s political message was an NPR version of Bernie Sanders’ left-wing economic populism, but with a dollop of talk-radio conspiracy theory thrown in. While Liz Warren Democrats rail against Big Business, Big Pharma, etc., RFK, Jr. adds includes Big Government — his opposition to “the corrupt merger of state and corporate power.”

“My mission…will be to end the corrupt merger of state and corporate power that is threatening to impose a new corporate feudalism on our country, to poison our children and our people with chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs, to strip mine our asset, to hollow the middle class and keep us in a constant state of war,” Kennedy said.

These themes took RFK, Jr. to a variety of topics, from his environmental activism to his views on the COVID-19 lockdowns to his questions about America’s support for Ukraine. And he wasn’t in any hurry to wrap up. After about 50 minutes, Kennedy warned the crowd that he was only halfway through his speech.

“This is what happens when you censor somebody for 18 years,” Kennedy said. “I’ve got a lot to talk about. They shouldn’t have shut me up that long. Now I’m going to really let loose on them for the next 18 months.”

When he “let loose” on lockdowns, denouncing public health officials for a failed policy and decrying the damage they inflicted on small businesses and low-income communities, Kennedy sounded like a caller to a conservative radio talk show.

When he attacked the “corporate media” and its “lies,” he sounded like a talk radio host.

“The media is at its lowest point because we know the media lies to us — everybody knows that,” Kennedy said to cheers — a scene that could have come straight out of a Trump rally. “And when the media and the corporate media and the corporate-captive government see other voices of truth, they have to brand those misinformation.

“They either have to censor us, or they have to lie about what’s true and what’s not true.”

Kennedy even had a few kind words for Trump, saying that the former president’s instincts on the lockdown were right. While he blamed Trump for the national lockdown policy, he added, “in fairness, President Trump will say ‘the lockdown wasn’t my idea, the bureaucrats rolled me. I said we shouldn’t do it.’

“But that’s not a good excuse. He was the President of the United States.”

The elephant in the room was the vaccine issue, which Kennedy never mentioned by name. He did, however, extensively discuss his theory that something happened in 1989 that unleashed an epidemic of neurological and auto-immune disease upon the land, including autism. “Why aren’t we asking the question, ‘What happened?’”

In the past, his answer would have been “vaccine public health policy.” On Wednesday, however, he left the question unanswered, merely noting “There’s a limited number of culprits, or chemical toxins that became ubiquitous in 1989.”

The fact that Kennedy has toned down his anti-vaccine talk is a sign he’s taking this campaign seriously. The fact that 2,000 people from across the northeast and beyond — one man brought his daughter to the announcement from North Carolina — shows he has supporters who are taking it seriously, too.

“Far better than I expected, miles better,” said Chris Bartle from Dover, Mass., after the speech. “I think he was trying to rope people in, reaching for a wider audience. He’s got a Democratic form of populism, informed by the 1968 campaign.”

“It was exciting. He’s what the country needs, and you saw the reaction of the crowd. It was awesome,” said Rita, who was in from Missouri. “He wants to hold corporations responsible for the damage they are doing, particularly to our children. And he wants to help build up the middle class.”

Father Jeff Langan, a Roman Catholic chaplain from the parish next to Harvard University, said he came to the announcement because “I think there is a need for leadership in this country that respects human dignity.” And, added Langan, a former political science professor, “There’s a lot of buzz around Harvard about RFK, Jr., even among the Catholic students.”

It shouldn’t be a surprise. In the world of politics, name ID plus money plus issues that energize your base is considered a recipe for a strong campaign, and Kennedy has all three.

If he puts them all to good use, he could create some real problems for President Joe Biden. Particularly in an early primary state just 30 minutes north of that crowded Boston ballroom.

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PA Green Groups Back Shapiro Despite Stance on RGGI, Fracking

Environmental activists may say climate change is an existential threat, but it is not enough to keep some of Pennsylvania’s most prominent green organizations from backing Attorney General Josh Shapiro for governor.

Shapiro, the only major Democratic candidate in the governor’s race, has carefully navigated a more moderate stance on energy politics than green groups advocate. He’s refused to call for an end to fracking or support Gov. Wolf’s attempt to push Pennsylvania into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multi-state cap-and-trade carbon emissions compact.

Asked by the Delaware Valley Journal where he stands on RGGI, Shapiro said, “We need to take real action to address climate change, protect and create energy jobs, and ensure Pennsylvania has reliable, affordable, and clean power for the long term. As governor, I will implement an energy strategy which passes that test, and it’s not clear to me that RGGI does.

“Ultimately, that is a determination I will make as governor, in close consultation with workers and affected communities. I refuse to accept the false choice between protecting jobs or protecting our planet – we must do both, and my priority will be ensuring Pennsylvania has a comprehensive climate and energy policy that will move all of us forward.”

While Shapiro has filed high-profile court cases against energy companies like Sonoco/ET and individual drillers, he has not joined the green activists’ calls to end all fossil fuel infrastructure development.

But that didn’t cost Shapiro the endorsement of several environmental groups at a press conference at Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia on Thursday.

The Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, National Wildlife Foundation Action Fund, PennEnvironment, the Clean Air Action Fund, and Clean Water Action all offered praise and support for Shapiro.

Much of the press conference focused on his record before becoming attorney general.

As a state representative for his hometown of Abington, the first bill Shapiro worked on was Growing Greener II, an open space preservation law. While chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, he added to the trail system and reduced the county’s energy use by half, he said. And also bought electric cars for the county’s fleet of vehicles.

As governor, Shapiro promises to take Pennslyvania from 8 percent renewable energy consumption to 30 percent by 2030 and put the state on the path to “net zero emissions” by 2050. He also promised to remedy lead pipes in older cities, and make sure kids who live near factories can “play in their backyards.”

“I played a lot of defense in the Office of Attorney General,” said Shapiro. “But I’m ready to play some offense.”

Shapiro derided the nine Republicans running for governor as “cut from the same cloth.”

“They have no plans to be able to address public health and public safety. If anything, their plans exacerbate the problem,” he said. “They want to give industry a free pass. I’ve been very clear. I don’t give industry a free pass. We hold the powerful accountable, those powerful, well, they’re the ones backing their candidacies. How are we ever going to be able to have faith in them to ensure our safety and wellbeing in Pennsylvania?”

Asked where he stands on fracking, Shapiro does not oppose it but would require companies to adhere to laws.

“We cannot accept the false choice of choosing between environmental justice and the dignity of work and energy opportunity,” said Shapiro. “I think we can have all of those things and we should have all of those things in Pennsylvania. We can be a leader in energy and not just with natural gas but with renewable energy…making sure we have responsible fracking in the commonwealth.”

Asked about high gasoline prices, Shapiro proposes giving a $250 rebate per car to residents, at an estimated cost of around $2 billion, though Shapiro’s campaign disputes that figure.

He also proposes capping abandoned wells to cut methane emissions, which he claims would create jobs.

Asked why they endorsed Shapiro rather than Christina “PK” Digiulio, the Green Party candidate for governor, Katie Blum with the Conservation Voters said, “We were proud to stand with Pennsylvania’s leading environmental advocates and offer a historic joint endorsement for Josh Shapiro to serve as our next governor. Josh is the only candidate in the race with a proven track record of holding polluters and corporate special interests accountable. And his platform is focused on protecting Pennsylvanians’ rights to clean air, pure water and open space while building a clean energy economy that creates union jobs and powers us into the future. We need a champion who can win and who, once in office, will fight for Pennsylvania families and not the special interests. And that person is Josh Shapiro.”

Nathan Benefield, senior vice president with the Commonwealth Foundation, a free-market think tank, was not impressed.

“Embracing environmental extremists and their radical agenda is another poke in the eye to Pennsylvania workers, especially those relying on family-sustaining jobs in our energy sector, and a slap in the face to consumers already struggling to pay their bills because of rising energy costs,” said Benefield. “These radical environmental groups, funded by out-of-touch liberal endowments, work to shut down pipelines and LNG facilities, preventing Pennsylvania natural gas from reaching markets, and enriching Russia and Putin.”

He added, “Attorney General Shapiro needs to rethink how he seems to be using his office for political gain rather than protecting Pennsylvania families.”

Dave Taylor, president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturer’s Association, was not surprised that those organizations would endorse Shapiro.

“Gov. Wolf is doing the bidding of the radical Greens. Attorney General Josh Shapiro could have stopped it and didn’t.”


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Abington Native Josh Shapiro Holds Rally in Hometown Campaign Kick Off

About 200 supporters cheered and applauded Josh Shapiro at a campaign rally on the Penn State Abington campus Wednesday evening.

Earlier in the day, the state attorney general announced his candidacy in Pittsburgh and via video. In a speech that at least one observer likened to former President Barack Obama’s cadences and gestures, Shapiro touched on his campaign’s key points, including “change,” transparency, competency, social and environmental justice, and  promoting organized labor so that “every worker has the right to join a union.”

Shapiro, 48, said while serving as a state representative for Abington and Upper Dublin he “learned to be a voice for the people, knocking on 18,000 doors.”

“When I became the first Democrat to lead Montgomery County in 150 years, the county wasn’t working when we took over,” the former chair of the county Board of Commissioners continued. “Partisan bickering and budget scandals and massive budget deficits were holding us all back. But we didn’t listen to the people who said, ‘That’s the way it’s always been done.’ We rolled up our sleeves, we got to work, and we turned county government around. We not only put the county back on stable footing while we were in charge. We helped restore our AAA bond rating, fired the Wall Street money managers so we could save millions and protect the retirement of our seniors.”

As attorney general, Shapiro says he fought “the powerful and the well-connected.” He touted his grand jury investigation into the Catholic clergy and the church’s cover-up that brought some 300 pedophile priests to light and his litigation to obtain money from pharmaceutical companies that sold addictive opioid medication.

“I want you to know that I will stand up to anyone who abuses their position,” he said. “I will not back down from that fight.”

He also said he championed the people’s right to vote that “came under attack from the most powerful office on earth.”

“When they went to court to prevent our votes from being counted, we stopped them,” Shapiro said. “We stood up to their mobs and we won in court to protect the will of the people every single time…We will continue to protect the right of Pennsylvanians to vote.”

He also promised to help businesses grow and families “keep a roof over their heads.”

“Main streets matter in Pennsylvania,” said Shapiro.

Shapiro added he would make sure every child has access to a good education “no matter what ZIP code you live in,” and that everyone has access to physical and mental healthcare.

“As we just saw in this pandemic, when the people needed government’s help, often times they couldn’t get answers,” Shapiro went on, slamming the Democratic Wolf administration.  “Often times they couldn’t even get their phone calls returned. That is not okay and that will change.”

Shapiro pivoted to attack his Republican opponents, saying they are not focused on these “challenges.”

“Instead they’re peddling the ‘Big Lie,’ they’re passing far-right litmus tests, and they’re pandering, pandering out of a profound weakness,” Shapiro said. “The private personal information of nine million Pennsylvania voters, that’s what they’re up to…Not only are they doing real damage to our democracy but they’re holding us back from meeting this important moment.”

He promised to “repair our roads and bridges and connect every Pennsylvanian to the internet from Waynesburg to West Philly.” He said the state should use its “first-class universities” to become a center for research and innovation and promised to promote vocational education, as well.

“Let’s lead the way on energy because we shouldn’t have to choose between protecting our jobs and protecting our planet, that’s a false choice. We need to invest in clean energy and create jobs in Pa. We need to protect every Pennsylvanian’s constitutional right to clean air and pure water.”

Shapiro also pledged to bring people together and work across the aisle.

“I am sick and tired of hearing that we’re Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and Alabama in the middle,” said Shapiro. “That is simply not true. That is not who we are.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Gerow, a political consultant and business owner, called on Shapiro to resign from his post as attorney general.

“Josh Shapiro has never finished a job he asked the voters and taxpayers for and now he’s running for governor just months after being sworn in,” said Gerow. “Josh Shapiro must be honest with the taxpayers who pay his salary and admit that he has no interest in the job he asked for but wants to campaign for another office while staying on their payroll.  He should immediately resign as attorney general.”

Republican Bill McSwain, the former U.S. Attorney for southeastern Pennsylvania who is also running for governor said, “Josh Shapiro is a career politician who supports higher taxes, bigger government, more regulation, less freedom, and lawlessness. Dedicated to prioritizing his own career over the needs and desires of Pennsylvanians, Shapiro stands for the continuation of the same failed economic and public safety policies of liberal Governor Tom Wolf and would provide no new solutions to put Pa. on a path to prosperity.  Pennsylvanians deserve a governor who will put their needs first, and who views the office as an opportunity to enact positive change, not as a mechanism for his own professional advancement. It is time for a governor who will stand up and show up for our citizens, and I plan to be that governor.”

U.S. Representative Madeleine Dean

U.S. Representative Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery) was among those who introduced Shapiro to the crowd. She promised Shapiro would protect abortion rights.

“Josh knows we have to protect our democracy, our elections, and the fundamental right to vote,” she said, praising his defense of the 2020 election results. “That fight continues. That’s why we need Josh more than ever.”

“So much is at stake,” Dean said. “As John F. Kennedy said, ‘The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man (are) threatened.’ That’s true for you and me. The threats continue but the opportunity is right here in front of us. That’s why Pennsylvania needs and deserves Josh Shapiro to be the next governor.”

Several supporters spoke to the Delaware Valley Journal while awaiting Shapiro’s speech.

Abington resident Fran Earley said he has known Shapiro since he got into politics and finds him to be “focused.” “He has time for you and I find that important,” said Earley.

Marianne Gassman of Glenside called Shapiro “very fair-minded (and) terribly pragmatic. He’s just got a lot of common sense and he can work with both sides of the aisle.”

Ali Feldman

Blue Bell resident Beverly Hahn echoed Glassman and added, “He gets things done. He’s honest. He a real person. He’s authentic. He’s devoted his life to public service.”

Ali Feldman, of Ambler, who was wearing a “tax the rich” facemask said Shapiro is “driven” and “has integrity.”

“He fights for what’s right,” Feldman said. “He’ll build a better future for all of us.”