Corbett, half-way through first term, talks 1-on-1 - abc27 WHTM

Corbett, half-way through first term, talks 1-on-1

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Governor Tom Corbett, at the half-way point of his first term, sat down at the Governor's Mansion to discuss accomplishments and the as-yet undone.

He insists the commonwealth does have standing to sue the NCAA over its harsh sanctions of the Penn State football team.

"The NCAA piled on, if we want to use a football analogy, they jumped in from out of bounds and piled on, because they really didn't have a role there," Corbett said with passion.

Corbett maintains that criminal courts and civil courts will mete out justice and punishment in the Jerry Sandusky case. It's not, he says, the job of the governing body of college athletics to do so.

The governor dismisses critics who say he's just trying to curry favor with Nittany Nation, upset at his handling of the case and willing to show their displeasure in the voting booth. Corbett says it's not politics but a sense of fairness that drove him to sue the NCAA.

He bristles at the suggestion by NCAA president Mark Emmert that the governor is not being sensitive to victims in bringing suit.

"This is no affront to victims," he said. "If there's anybody that takes care of victims, it's me.  I was a little surprised the president would say something like that. He hasn't taken a look at my history. I'm the one who started this whole investigation."

It's been speculated that Corbett's real game plan is to get the NCAA to soften its sanctions. He doesn't reject that notion.

"Civil lawsuits are known to settle. I'll answer it that way," he said.

There has been criticism over his use of outside law firm Cozen O'Conner, a campaign contributor. Corbett says the firm was chosen because of its anti-trust expertise.

"They have a track record as being counsel hired by state government in many administrations, not just mine," he said.

The governor hopes to privatize the lottery, which had record profits last year. Critics say if it ain't broke, why fix it?

"One of the things I hear is well they had their best year last year. It was one year. If you look over ten years it goes up and down. What we're looking for is consistent, solid growth," Corbett said.

Camelot is the only bidder for the lottery. It has guaranteed $34 billion over 20 years. The governor says Camelot was the only bidder willing to guarantee an outcome and other competitors were scared away by the state's insistence on an income guarantee.

I asked the governor if friends or contributors will make money if the deal goes through.

"Not that I know of," he said. "I don't know anybody that makes money. Dennis, you know I don't do that. I do not do that."

Corbett blasted Penn State president Rodney Erickson's $85-thousand dollar raise and said this about lawmakers' automatic cost of living increases, which kick in every December:

"I think they should revisit that, don't you?" he said.

In his first two years, Corbett has angered fellow Republicans and fired-up Democrats, who privately predict he'll be one-term Tom.

He says he's not worried about that.

"Because we're doing the right thing and if people don't want me there, they don't want me there," he said.

But he quickly adds that his poll numbers are better than Ed Rendell's were at the same time in their administrations. Rendell had just signed the ill-fated pay raise law and his approval numbers ebbed.

Corbett also promises to soon have a transportation bill to fix Pennsylvania's crumbling roads and bridges, and a plan to deal with the looming pension crisis.

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