Santorum ad mocks foe for time away from work

The campaign of Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) unveiled a second satirical website last week in its continued effort to hound the incumbent’s likely Democratic challenger, state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr., over spending his time on the campaign trail rather than carrying out his duties.

“Mr. Casey, aka ‘Bobby,’ has been missing a lot of work lately,” a narrator says.

The new “Where’s Casey?” website resembles a children’s video game in which the viewer is hired as a private investigator to look for clues in the state treasurer’s office. “And watch out for suspicious characters,” a narrator says.

The “suspicious characters” include Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, former President Bill Clinton, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), all of whom make appearances.

The site launches with an image of a file folder showing Casey’s photograph and stamped with the word “missing.” Viewers are then taken into a mock image of Casey’s office, which is covered in spider webs. Clicking on objects on the desk brings up “clues.” A cartoon Dean appears — screaming — when a viewer clicks on the lamp, for example. Selecting the telephone calls up fake voice messages from impersonations of Kerry and the Clintons asking where Casey is.

“Listen, don’t let those attack websites get you down,” the fake Sen. Clinton says, “Just another tool of the vast right-wing conspiracy.”

A goldfish on the desk complains, “Bobby hasn’t been here for weeks. I need food!”

The Santorum campaign debuted its first “Where’s Casey?” website in March, which had a Western theme and a wanted poster with Casey’s picture on it.

Casey’s campaign does not appreciate the attempts at humor. “The larger issue is that the Santorum campaign is resorting to misleading gimmicks to cover up for Santorum working for Big Oil and not Pennsylvanians and doing nothing to reduce the price of gas,” spokesman Larry Smar.

Smar also dismissed the charge that Casey was disregarding his state office. “Bob Casey is treasurer 24/7,” he said, noting that sitting senators also spend time on the campaign trail. “We’ll focus our criticism on what Santorum does when he does show up for work,” Smar said.

According to Santorum’s campaign, the senator has been present for 96 percent of votes since Casey announced his bid in March 2005. “The difference between Senator Santorum and Bob Casey is astronomical,” said Virginia Davis, Santorum’s spokeswoman. “Bob Casey has spent more than half the time on workdays away from his office in Harrisburg,” she said.

More in Healthcare

Calorie labels won’t fix America’s problem with away-from-home food

Read more »