(CNSNews.com) - A Pennsylvania Republican known for his conservative, pro-family activism stands accused of
having a record that is not "child-friendly" by a liberal group with close ties to actor/activist Rob Reiner, best
known for his role in the 1970s situation comedy "All in the Family."
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) is fighting an uphill battle for re-election this year. A two-term senator -- whose
support for everything from President Bush's judicial nominees to the Federal Marriage Amendment has received
sharp criticism -- has a voting record that doesn't match his words, charged Michael Petit, president of Vote
Kids, in a press release put out by the organization.
"He talks about family values, but after extensive research of his record, what we found are numerous votes
against health insurance for every citizen, against child care for working families, against substance abuse
treatment, against Head Start for disadvantaged children and against increasing the minimum wage," Petit
"At the same time, Santorum has voted for every tax break the Bush administration has pushed for the rich,"
Petit claimed. "This is not a child-friendly record."
Describing his organization as "focused on making children a priority in American politics instead of a
political afterthought," Petit noted that "Vote Kids is conducting a public awareness campaign to spotlight
Santorum's dismal voting record on children and families."
Virginia Davis, a spokeswoman for Santorum's re-election campaign, responded by telling Cybercast News Service
that the senator "has been a champion for children in Pennsylvania."
Davis pointed to Santorum's work "on legislation like the School SAFE Act, increased funding for the
Individuals with Disabilities ACT (IDEA) and Kids Accounts, just to name a few."
Santorum's campaign website also touts the senator's efforts in such areas as education and family issues,
including work for Aimee's Law, which seeks to protect children from violent criminals, and the Project Safe
Child Act, which provides $15 million per year to combat Internet predators who prey on children.
"It is obvious that this organization," Davis said, referring to Vote Kids, "cares far more about electing
Democrats than electing those who will work to make children's lives better."
According to the May 2005 issue of Youth Today, Petit "served as deputy director of the Child Welfare League
until 2001. That's when he formed two organizations: Every Child Matters, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that advocates
public policies favorable to youth, and Vote Kids, formed under section 527 of the federal tax code."
On Oct. 22, 2002, the Denver Post chronicled the efforts of Every Child Matters (ECM) to draw attention to
the voting record of Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.), who was seeking re-election the following month.
In response to charges that Allard's record on children's issues was "one of the worst of the Senate," the
senator's campaign manager, Dick Wadhams, told the Post that ECM "is largely financed by a filthy-rich Hollywood
liberal who wants to impose extremist values on Colorado."
"That's Rob Reiner," Wadhams said.
The Post then stated that "Hollywood personality Reiner is an acknowledged major backer of the group."
The son of comedian Carl Reiner, Rob Reiner is best known for portraying Archie Bunker's liberal son-in-law,
Michael "Meathead" Stivic, on the "All in the Family" sitcom in the 1970s and has since directed several feature
Reiner has made a number of forays into California politics, including serving as a spokesman for the
successful 1998 cigarette-tax initiative, campaigning for additional taxes on upper-income Californians to fund a
universal preschool program and supporting a law allowing girls less than 18 years of age to have abortions
without parental consent.
Attempts to contact Reiner seeking comment for this article were unsuccessful.
Also providing ECM with financial support are several labor unions, such as the AFL-CIO, the American
Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the National Association of Social Workers and the Service
Employees International Union.
Following Allard's re-election, the ECW and Vote Kids launched a campaign in 2004 focusing on the record of
Texas Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth, who was accused of writing legislation that cut funding for education, child health
and child abuse prevention programs in Texas by more than $1 billion.
Wohlgemuth, a Republican, lost 51-48 percent to Democratic Congressman Chester Edwards.
Also in 2004, Vote Kids made its first foray into presidential politics as the group joined three dozen
pediatricians and social workers in attacking the Bush administration for allegedly leaving too many children
without health insurance. The alliance endorsed President Bush's Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry
As Cybercast News Service previously reported, Santorum's bid for re-election has drawn national attention for
the past year. While the incumbent Republican has trailed his Democratic challenger, state Treasurer Robert Casey,
Jr., in polls by double digits, recent surveys show Santorum closing to within six points of his opponent.
The latest controversy in the race erupted on Tuesday, when Democrats went to court to try to remove Green
Party Senate nominee Carl Romanelli from the Nov. 7 ballot, claiming that many of the signatures on his
nominating petitions are invalid.
During a conference call with reporters that day, Abe Amoros, a spokesman for the Democratic Party in
Pennsylvania, charged Republicans with helping Romanelli in an attempt to split support for Casey.
The court challenge "is not really about the Green Party," Amoros said. "It's about Santorum and his
supporters being afraid to face Bob Casey in the fall."
Romanelli, who is making his first run for statewide elective office, called the Democrats' challenge