Liberal super PAC launches ad assault on Trump ahead of Scranton visit | Thursday Morning Coffee

An image from the American Bridge ad airing on Fox News in markets across Pennsylvania (screen capture)

Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

The liberal super PAC American Bridge says it’s bought airtime in key markets on stations across Pennsylvania, and on a local newspaper’s website, to coincide with President Donald Trump’s visit to Scranton on Thursday night for a Fox News town hall.

The new ad features a voter — and veteran — identified only as “Steve” from Wayne County, who says he grew up Republican and voted for Trump in 2016, but now regrets that choice.

“But my feelings changed, because after he became president,” Steve continued. “He does everything he can to not acknowledge the Constitution. I don’t think President Trump is a Republican.”

Separate 30- and 60-second spots featuring that same veteran have been running in selected Pennsylvania media markets, including Scranton, as part of a larger, $10 million campaign aimed at cutting into Trump’s margins among working class voters in key battleground states.

The American Bridge ads will air locally on Fox News on cable systems in Scranton, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Johnstown-Altoona and Erie, to maximize exposure during the town hall. The ads will also precede and follow the town hall for viewers in Washington D.C., the group said in a statement.

American Bridge said it’s also buying a banner ad on the Scranton Times-Tribune’s web page to call attention to the administration’s proposed social welfare spending cuts and its support for a lawsuit aimed at overturning the Affordable Care Act.

Thursday evening, voters can count on hearing the president spout more lies and false promises, so it’s only fair to balance that out with a dose of truth,” American Bridge President Bradley Beychok, said in a statement. “No one can better speak to Donald Trump’s failures in Pennsylvania, and across the country, than a real, hardworking, local veteran who used to support the president himself but won’t be with him again this November.”

American Bridge came under fire for one of those ads last December when it was revealed that an Erie County man featured in one spot didn’t vote for Trump in 2016.

The Capital-Star was able to verify that the man featured in the Scranton-focused ad campaign did vote for Trump in 2016.

The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (Capital-Star photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

Our Stuff.
Officials from Pennsylvania’s state-owned and state-related universities faced tough questions from lawmakers this week over spiraling student debt and rising tuition costs. One observer warned of generational warfare if those costs aren’t tamed and if the state doesn’t increase it support for the schools. Stephen Caruso has the story.

In this week’s edition of The Numbers RacketAssociate Editor Cassie Miller crunches the numbers, and shows why it’s so important that under-counted and tough-to-reach populations get counted in the 2020 Census.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday on a critical abortion rights case. Capital-Star Washington Bureau Chief Robin Bravender has what you need to know.

Pennsylvania’s two United States senators, Democrat Bob Casey, of Scranton, and Republican Pat Toomey, of the Lehigh Valley, each weighed in Wednesday on an $8.3 billion emergency funding bill to fight the coronavirus. The bill cleared the House Wednesday afternoon. Backers hope to land it on President Donald Trump’s desk by week’s end, your humble newsletter author writes.

From our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune: Philly City Council and Mayor Jim Kenney have a plan that they say will lift 100k city residents out of poverty. But the details — and the price-tag — are scarce.

On our Commentary Page this morning, a home care worker from Washington County says they love their job. But they’re still having trouble making ends meet. And speaking of the Census, Misericordia University President Thomas Botzman says it’s important, for so many reasons, that you make sure to stand up and get counted.

Elsewhere.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney
 has proposed a spending hike in his $5.2B budget for the city, the Inquirer reports.
Pa. Senate officials have ‘scrubbed’ details from financial recordsSpotlight PA and the Caucus report.
Gang activity is on the uptick in the Harrisburg suburbsPennLive reports.
A nonbinary student and their parents have sued the Bethlehem School District and a local intermediate unit over the misuse of their pronouns and name, the Morning Call reports.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

State officials have proposed relaxing non-residential lead clean up rules, WHYY-FM reports.
The Trump campaign has launched a Black voter outreach effort in Pittsburgh and Philly, PoliticsPA reports.
Politico explains how the nonsense tumbling out of President Donald Trump’s mouth on coronavirus has made things worse.

What Goes On.
What else? More budget hearings, of course.
House (140MC):
10 a.m.: Pa. Professional Liability Joint Underwriting Association.
10:30 am: Budget Secretary/Governor’s Executive Offices

WolfWatch.
Gov. Tom Wolf
 heads to Philly for a 10:30 a.m. appearance at the Toben Center, where he’ll cut the ribbon on a new workforce development center.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a classic from Crowded House to get your morning rolling. It’s ‘Fall at Your Feet.’

Thursday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Calgary 
got past Columbus 3-2 in overtime on Wednesday night.

And now you’re up to date.