By Jon Delano


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The budget mess in Harrisburg has produced one clever ad.

The ad shows elephants butting heads, as the following words are spoken: “The Republicans in Harrisburg were fighting each other over the state budget. That’s right. Each other.”

Using the party symbol — elephants — America Works USA, a SuperPAC affiliated with the Democratic Governors Association, is spending close to $65,000, locally, this weekend to make its point.

“The Republican state Senate passed a responsible budget that begins to fund education,” says the ad. “But the Republican House of Representatives has insisted on a budget that fails to fund education and balloons the deficit.”

The ad highlights a Republican Senate budget deal with Governor Wolf while the Republican House went home for the holidays without voting on it.

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Republican strategist Keith Schmidt calls the ad disingenuous, since — in the end — the Republican Senate and House agreed to a Republican budget, vetoed in part by Wolf.

“The budget that is law today is law today with all but a handful — 99 percent of Republicans in both chambers,” says Schmidt.

Schmidt downplays the differences between GOP leaders

“There was clearly some differences of opinion along the way between House and Senate Republicans, but that is part of the legislative process,” adds Schmidt.

But Democratic strategist Nello Giorgetti says Republicans are deeply split between “the Main Street, Wall Street Republicans and their more rambunctious Tea Party members.”

And the budget compromise blew up because Senate Republicans couldn’t get their House colleagues on board pension reform — while House Republicans couldn’t get senators on board liquor reform.

“There was no real meeting of the minds on either of those two issues, and subsequently this whole budget framework just completely fell apart,” says Giorgetti.

Which leads to the image of elephants butting heads.