Political Notebook

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    The Indiana Right to Life Political Action Committee has endorsed five area Republicans seeking Statehouse office.
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    One mystery from the chaotic State Board of Education meeting Wednesday has been solved – how the Indiana State Teachers Association got hold of restricted A-F school grades.
  • ISTA receives data in advance
    One mystery from the chaotic State Board of Education meeting Wednesday has been solved -- how the Indiana State Teachers Association got embargoed A-F school grades.
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Gregg, Pence map out spin room

Sometimes the best part of a debate is the reaction from the candidates themselves in the spin room.

This is when they get a chance to further explain any issues, assess their own performance and answer questions from reporters.

Democrat John Gregg was up first after Wednesday night’s gubernatorial debate in Zionsville.

He jabbed Republican opponent Mike Pence for having a road map of ideas but not realizing he was in Boone County (Pence accidentally said Hamilton County during the debate).

Then he said Pence should balance the “monster” of a deficit budget in Washington before giving Gregg advice on the state budget.

“I didn’t take any swings at him tonight,” Gregg said. “All I did was talk about the facts.”

Gregg also acknowledged that he can’t win the election without Republican votes – hence his appeal to “Lugar Republicans.”

Pence was up next and opened by welcoming the press corps to Boone County. He also deadpanned that if he didn’t mention it in the debate, he has a road map of ideas for Indiana. (He cited the road map at least 10 times during the event.)

When asked whether he was aggressive enough with Gregg, he said: “I’m going to wait and see what you guys say. I think it was a substantive, civil, spirited debate.”

He also took on criticism that he hasn’t authored a single bill that became law while serving 12 years in Congress. He pointed to ideas he authored that eventually became law in other pieces of legislation. And he said he is known as the driving force behind the 2006 deficit reduction act.

Can’t wait to hear what they have to say Wednesday in South Bend.

2 of 3 for Rotary

Anthony Wayne Rotary has announced that two of the three candidates for a U.S. Senate seat from Indiana will speak to the group at separate meetings.

Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, will speak to the service club Oct. 24, and Libertarian candidate Andrew Horning will speak Oct. 31. Each meeting will start at 12:15 p.m. at Don Hall’s Guesthouse, 1313 W. Washington Center Road.

Anthony Wayne Rotary said state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidate for Senate, is unavailable to speak to the club.

Visitors are welcome at meetings if they are with members, the club said. Anthony Wayne Rotary members work “to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace and eradicate polio,” according to a news release.

Independent polls indicate Mourdock and Donnelly are in a neck-and-neck race to replace Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind. Mourdock defeated Lugar in the Republican primary election.

Lugar on board

The National Institute for Civil Discourse has announced that Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., has joined its advisory board.

“The American people want constructive dialogue from their leaders and recognize the dangers to American unity that are inherent in unrelenting partisanship,” Lugar said in a prepared statement about his selection.

A senator since 1977, Lugar leaves office this year after his loss to state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in the May 8 Republican primary election. Joining him on the NICD advisory board is retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.

Lugar and Snowe “have dedicated their careers to working across the aisle to reach bipartisan solutions to our nation’s problems,” Tom Daschle, honorary co-chairman of the NICD advisory board and a former Senate majority leader from South Dakota, said in a statement.

The nonpartisan institute formed at the University of Arizona shortly after the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting rampage in Tucson in which Jared Lee Loughner killed six people and wounded 13, including his intended target, then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. Loughner is serving a life sentence.

The honorary co-chairmen of the NICD board are former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Board members include Giffords; Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell, former secretaries of state; former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson; ex-New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson; and journalists Katie Couric of ABC News, Scott Simon of National Public Radio and Greta Van Susteren of Fox News.

Post-Colts hoarse

U.S. Rep Mike Pence, the Republican candidate for governor, was a bit hoarse while addressing the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting last Monday.

That’s because he was at Lucas Oil Stadium for last Sunday’s wild, last-second Indianapolis Colts win over the Green Bay Packers.

And he had an interesting game companion: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

“And boy, was that a lot of fun. How about those Colts? Wow,” Pence said. “Gov. Walker was supportive of me before the game, and I didn’t ask after.”

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.

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