"That's not who I am, and I think it lays out a very good contrast," Wolf said.
With just a week left before the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Pennsylvania, all eyes are on Tom Wolf. Wolf, of course, is the York businessman and Democrat who has outspent his opponents with a self-financed campaign and currently holds a double-digit lead in the polls. He's been the subject of attack ads by several of his primary opponents and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.
Wolf says he doesn't intend to start running negative ads. "That's not who I am, and I think it lays out a very good contrast," Wolf told WHYY Senior Reporter Dave Davies. "I was in the peace corps in India and understand and have read a lot about Gandhi. Gandhi felt that you can't separate means and ends, that you can't pretend to serve noble ends by getting there through ignoble means. And I think that's true of politics and a democracy."
Still, Wolf wouldn't promise that he won't run any negative ads if he wraps up the Democratic nomination. "At some point, I guess ... you want to hit back, but I am defending myself, even now, and saying no, this isn't true, that's not who I am. I don't think that's a negative ad."
Wolf responded to separate criticisms from Democratic opponents Rob McCord and Allyson Schwartz. McCord's criticism centered on Wolf's failure to distance himself from a former mayor of York days after he was charged with second degree murder in connection with a race riot in 1969.
"I did what I did," he said, referring to his willingness to stay on as honorary campaign chairman for York Mayor Charlie Robertson, "and a short time after that, the mayor withdrew from the race, and his campaign ended ... and I think sometimes we have to recognize that leadership is about making hard decisions, not about chest thumping or making pronouncements, and that judgment actually is a lot more difficult than maybe some people are giving judgment credit for."
Schwartz has been critical of Wolf's business narrative. She says his story about lending money to his own business to keep it afloat leaves out the company's continued debt after Wolf sold it. "As you know, there was a big worldwide recession that happened that reduced everybody's business ... No one saw that coming."