Weldon Shakes Off FBI Probe
Underdog is here. Here was the Springfield Country Club Friday afternoon. And for those Curt Weldon supporters who worried that the events of the last week had turned their candidate into nothing more frightening than "humble, lovable Shoeshine Boy," Weldon quickly dispelled their concerns.
Hanging over the campaign the last several days was the disclosure of a Justice Department investigation looking into allegations that Weldon helped his daughter and friend, GOP boss Charlie Sexton, get $1 million in lobbying fees for their international consulting firm.
For his supporters, the question Friday was which Weldon would show up at the debate: The confident Marcus Hook street fighter or the wounded politician and father.
It didn’t take long for them to find out.
In the house that Charlie built, Weldon came out swinging.
He said that in his 30 years of political campaigning, the last five days have been the worst of his life.
He called the Democrats’ attacks on his family "outrageous and un-American," defended his record of public service and then laid into his opponent.
As a volunteer fireman, Weldon said, "I put myself between a 700-foot-long oil tanker in Marcus Hook and an oil refinery for three days, where 29 people were killed ..I would ask you," he said turning to Sestak, "have you ever faced a similar situation, Joe? Or (were you) always in the admiral quarter drinking out of your wine goblets and being waited on by your sailor servants?"
Weldon just picked up steam from there.
When a baffled Sestak mangled a question from moderator G. Terry Madonna about where he stood on the question of having a regional airport authority, confusing it with the FAA’s controversial redesign plan, Weldon pounced again.
"He doesn’t even understand your question, Terry."
Weldon laid into Sestak again and again, showing his superior knowledge of the district and the issues.
It was Sestak who played the part of Underdog’s alter ego, Shoeshine Boy. He smiled meekly and tolerantly throughout, even when lampooned by Weldon for giving wrong answers to fairly simple questions.
Where Weldon talked specifics, Sestak spoke in fractured generalities.
No wonder at the end of the show, when Madonna said he regretted he didn’t have time to ask more questions, Weldon chirped, "Go ahead, I’ll stay!"
According to the Weldon campaign, Sestak couldn’t even get the details of his own brother’s life straight.