Fox News host Tucker Carlson is on vacation this week — maybe by choice, maybe due to the backlash after he claimed on his show last week that white supremacy is “not a real problem in America." But his team was still busy in Philadelphia.

Carlson’s show sent a crew to town to interview U.S. Attorney William McSwain about progressive prosecutors taking office around the country, including McSwain nemesis and Carlson boogeyman Larry Krasner, Philadelphia’s district attorney.

Carlson’s show, which has featured McSwain trash-talking Krasner twice this year, in March and June, also tried to interview the district attorney. We hear Krasner took a hard pass.

McSwain, a Republican rumored to have an interest in seeking elected office some day, embraced the the Fox spotlight, sitting for an interview and then giving Clout a taste of what he had to say on the show, which is expected to air when Carlson returns from vacation.

McSwain’s hook? He claims violent criminals in Philadelphia now refer to Krasner, a Democrat, as “Uncle Larry" and view him as an ally.

“When we arrest them federally, they are shocked and dismayed that ‘Uncle Larry’ is not there to ‘hook them up,’ as they put it,” McSwain said in an email. “Needless to say, there is no ‘Uncle Larry’ at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and we have increased our violent crime prosecutions in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by 70% this year, largely in response to the dangerous inadequacies of Krasner’s policies."

Jane Roh, a spokesperson for Krasner, took to Twitter this week to mock Carlson and McSwain. Roh pointed to news stories showing advertisers abandoning Carlson’s show after his comments on white supremacy, and referred to McSwain as “so thirsty.”

This ruckus follows another Krasner dust-up. He told a joke — reported in Clout last week — using a Nazi analogy to describe former Philly prosecutors hired by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. That drew a strong rebuke this week.

Krasner has been busy tending to the aftermath of Wednesday’s shootings of six police officers.

McSwain had some thoughts on that case, too. On Thursday, he blamed the shootings on Krasner, claiming he promotes “a new culture of disrespect for law enforcement in this city.”

Krasner shrugged off McSwain as a “distraction."

“The U.S. attorney is not a political elected office,” Krasner said in a statement. “I’m surprised that William McSwain would seek to detract from the great collaborative work of law enforcement last night — for which bipartisan leaders in City Hall just minutes ago had nothing but praise, and rightly so — for his own political agenda and personal gain.”

Former Philadelphia Daily News Editor Gar Joseph, who died Saturday after a four-year battle with brain cancer, came up with the idea for the Clout column 23 years ago to save his job.
File Photo
Former Philadelphia Daily News Editor Gar Joseph, who died Saturday after a four-year battle with brain cancer, came up with the idea for the Clout column 23 years ago to save his job.

In memoriam: Gar Joseph, the Clout-father

Only Gar Joseph would unwind a yarn about nearly losing his job and giving birth to a journalistic franchise with a dispassionate view of his own fate and a dramatic flourish about what resulted.

Joseph, who died Saturday after a four-year battle with brain cancer, recounted the start of Clout for a 20th anniversary column in February 2016. As he told it, some in power at the Daily News were looking to fire him. It went like this:

“Latest city desk wanted him gone. Execution aimed for Christmas week. An insider disagreed. Leaked the plan. The target went to editor Zack Stalberg ahead of the hit team. Sold him on a two-day-a-week column-story-gossip page called Clout. Rounded up allies.”

Behold, a story with all the elements Clout was born to push into public: treachery, scheming, dissent, resistance, a good fight, victory.

Joseph told us Stalberg dipped into a scene from The Godfather, borrowing a line about doing a favor and expecting one in return one day. “Until that day, accept this justice as a gift.”

And that day came. The debt was paid. Joseph gave us Clout. It was an offer we couldn’t refuse.

Joe Sestak, a retired U.S. Navy admiral who served two terms in the U.S. House, is fundraising for his Democratic bid for president, touting a slight increase in his polling.
David M Warren / Staff Photographer
Joe Sestak, a retired U.S. Navy admiral who served two terms in the U.S. House, is fundraising for his Democratic bid for president, touting a slight increase in his polling.

Admiral Joe: I’m ‘moving on up’ in the presidential polls

Look, it takes some sense of optimism to run for president. The road is long. The competition is merciless. The odds are always against you.

That’s why the fundraising pitch we received from Joe Sestak, the former Navy admiral from Delaware County who served two terms in the U.S. House and lost bids for the U.S. Senate in 2010 and 2016, was so remarkably brimming with enthusiasm. Sestak entered the Democratic field for president in late June.

“Moving on up!” the email opened, declaring, “The latest HarrisX/ScottRasmussen.com poll has us tied for 9th among 24 presidential candidates. Not bad for just seven weeks.”

A few details. That national three-day tracking poll put Sestak and nine other Democratic contenders at 1%. That was an increase for Sestak from his previous rating of 0% in early August. And those polls have a margin of error of plus/minus 3%.

Quotable vs. Quotable

Ms. Cohen, would you like to be held in contempt by the court?” — Common Pleas Court Judge Abbe Fletman, hearing two legal challenges Monday to the candidacy of Democratic-turned-independent City Council candidate Sherrie Cohen.

No, I would not.” — Cohen, who had been squabbling from the witness stand with Lou Agre, a Democratic ward leader and attorney for one of the people who filed the challenge. Cohen was not held in contempt. Both sides are waiting for Fletman to rule on the challenges.