In the 10th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, Republican Tom Marino is challenging Democratic incumbent Chris Carney.
Marino formerly served as a U.S. Attorney. Congressman Carney, elected in 2006 after defeating Republican Don Sherwood, is a Commander in the Naval Reserve.
In early August, Marino questioned Carney's abortion credentials when the Congressman's name failed to appear on a list of signatories of a bill, HR 5939, which seeks to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds for abortions. Carney later responded that he was not in Washington because he was with his wife, who underwent surgery for breast cancer, and would sign upon his return to Congress.
The response from Carney was, however, not immediate, as he was on active duty following his wife's surgery. Military policy forbids politicking while on duty. Marino, however, pressed the attack, claiming that Carney refused to respond to him and was hiding behind his military service.
"My priority in the time leading up to Jen's surgery on July 30 was my family," said Congressman Carney upon his return. "The way that Tom Marino has carried out this latest attack, repeatedly attacking on this issue when he knew the circumstances, demonstrates he is bereft of basic human decency. It is gutter politics of the worst kind and it has absolutely no place in our community."
Congressman Carney continued: "Tom Marino's campaign was quoted in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette yesterday saying that my active duty was 'no reason to stop communicating with the press.' Had Tom Marino ever served in uniform, he would know that the military strictly prohibits political activity while on active duty."
Marino drew criticism from Carney's campaign for claiming in an August 23rd WKOK radio interview that "My generation and probably the generation that follows me, we are going to have to step up to the plate and say, we are not going to get Social Security." Marino responded in a press release, saying, "I was commenting on what may happen to Social Security if nothing is done to fix it. I made it very clear that I will never support any reduction in benefits for people currently on Social Security and am fully committed to making Social Security solvent for future generations."
The Pennsylvania blogosphere was alight when a YouTube video of Marino in which he yells at a protestor surfaced. See the video here:
In mid-September , the Carney campaign began airing an ad calling on Marino to release a letter from the Department of Justice, which Marino claimed gave him permission to serve as a reference for a convicted felon.
Despite Marino's claims, the AP reported shortly thereafter that there was no record that the Department of Justice gave Marino "permission to serve as a personal reference," which put Marino's assertions in doubt.