By Joseph Deinlein
The Daily Item
LEWISBURG — A political strategist and author who helped advise President Bill Clinton said Tuesday he is certain Republican Tom Marino will win the 10th District race for the U.S. House of Representatives.
In fact, Dick Morris, who is a frequent commentator on the Fox News Channel, was in town to campaign for Marino and attend a private fundraiser, calling the race between Marino and incumbent Chris Carney, D-10 of Dimock, “absolutely pivotal” for the Republicans to regain control of the House.
At Elizabeth’s American Bistro shortly before a private lunch with the congressional candidate and other guests, Morris criticized Carney.
He said Carney’s recent attacks pushing Marino’s friendship with Louis DeNaples, a former casino operator convicted in 1978 of cheating the federal government of about $500,000, were a sign Carney was becoming desperate.
“I believe Marino will win, if this is all Carney has,” Morris said. “Why isn’t Carney out there saying he voted for ‘Obamacare,’ or the bailouts? You don’t hear that.
“You just hear about poor Mr. DeNaples.”
He added: “It shows just how deep in the dirt he is willing to dig.”
Carney campaign spokesman Josh Drobnyk disputed the claim his boss is hiding from his voting record.
“Congressman Carney voted against the Wall Street bailout three times,” Drobnyk wrote in an e-mail response Tuesday afternoon.
He also dismissed Morris as an inside-the-Beltway pundit.
“Tom Marino and his Washington cronies need to get their facts straight once and for all,” he wrote. “It’s hardly surprising to see Tom Marino bring in Washington insiders to lie about Congressman Carney’s record and defend Marino’s own web of lies, given the way Marino has conducted himself throughout his career.”
Morris said he was not asked to visit. In fact, he said he has been traveling the country, targeting 30 or 40 districts across the country he considers vital to the Republican Party regaining control of the House of Representatives.
Marino’s background as a former district attorney, prosecuting criminals, means he’ll be able to stand up to the “liberal” Democratic policies of President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Morris said.
In addition, he thinks the district will return to Republican control because it is naturally conservative. To illustrate his point, he noted the area voted for John McCain in 2008.
“What business does this area have with an ultra-liberal congressman,” he said.
Marino made no comments during the short press conference, but campaign manager Jason Fitzgerald said winning the Valley is critical to taking the district, and having Morris campaign for Marino shows the candidate has momentum.
“Forty percent of the votes in the district are cast in the Valley” and to the north, he said. “This area is critical to our strategy.”
Morris was in the area to not only help Marino raise money, but also to offer campaign advice.
He’s no novice when it comes to campaign advice.
His website states Morris helped orchestrate “the winning campaigns for President Bill Clinton, Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Pete Wilson of California and more than 30 other major political candidates.”
Many credit Morris for Clinton’s 1996 re-election after the Republicans swept into office during the 1994 mid-terms.
In recent years, he’s turned against the Clintons and has become a staunch Republican supporter.
“Ronald Reagan used to say, ‘I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party left me,” Morris said.
These days, there is only the “extreme liberal left” that includes Obama and Pelosi, he said.
“So, you’re either that or a Republican,” he said. “There used to be such a thing as a conservative Democrat. I’m a dodo. I’m extinct.”