Governor Corbett's National Profile Rises in Wake of Penn State Scandal

Nov 15, 2011

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's national profile is on the rise as he addresses the ongoing scandal involving Penn State and former Nittany Lions Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

The governor isn't known for shooting the breeze with reporters at every opportunity, which might be the most talked-about difference between him and his predecessor, Ed Rendell. Corbett may not be a natural media hound, but he has fared well over the past week under the national spotlight.

"He's very comfortable in certain situations," said Christopher Borick, a political science professor at Muhlenberg College, "and when it gets into legal matters, when it gets into criminal affairs, like the type we've been talking about in terms of the Penn State scandal, I think this is right in his wheelhouse."

Borick contrasted that with Corbett's level of comfort talking about policy debates.

He predicted any boost in approval ratings after the media blitz could be short-lived, as the end of the legislative session gets under way.

"It'll be interesting to see once the real policy debates take forth in the upcoming weeks, and the positions get acted on or not acted on, how that might impact on his numbers. But I think in the short term, his handling of the situation's probably going to help his standing," said Borick.

Some of the governor's top legislative priorities, such as school vouchers and an impact fee on Marcellus Shale natural gas drillers, have yet to be passed, and both are controversial.