Well, At Least She Didn’t Hit Anyone Up At The Funeral For A Campaign Contribution

There’s a scene in Cadillac Man where Robin Williams’ character, who is a car salesman, tries to persuade a widow to purchase a car from him with the insurance money she’ll get from her husband’s death…While. She’s. Still. At. The. Funeral!

Cadillac Man wasn’t a great movie, but that was a great scene because it was so over the top, so sleazy, so outrageous, that it was actually funny. I mean, who would actually go to a funeral and make a pitch to the bereaved widow? Nobody could be that crass, right?


Meet Democratic Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll:

“Relatives of the late Marine Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich are upset over what they consider to be Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll’s cynical intrusion on their mourning.

…He died July 10 in a mortar attack in Hit, Iraq. Friends and relatives packed St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Carnegie on Tuesday for the infantry unit leader’s funeral.

Knoll was among those in attendance.

Rhonda Goodrich, 38, of Indiana County, the fallen soldier’s sister-in-law, said Knoll slipped into a pew next to his aunt, Linda Kubiak of Bethel Park. Through Goodrich, Kubiak declined to comment.

Rhonda Goodrich said Knoll, 74, of McKees Rocks, began chatting with Kubiak during the communion service.

“When (Knoll) found out (Kubiak) was Joe’s aunt, she handed her a business card and told her she attends 90 percent of these ‘functions’ across the state,” Rhonda Goodrich said.

“This was not a ‘function,’ ” she continued, fairly spitting out the words. “A function is a dinner or an awards ceremony. This was my brother-in-law’s funeral.”

According to Rhonda Goodrich, Knoll then said what continues to leave Joe Goodrich’s survivors shaking their heads: “She told Joe’s aunt that the (state) government was against the war.”

An odd thing to say, because the state never has taken a position on the Iraq conflict. An offensive thing to say to those who knew Joseph Goodrich loved being a Marine and fighting for his country.

“Whether you’re for the war or against the war, to say something like that to a relative of someone who just died in combat was just repulsive,” Rhonda Goodrich said.

Added Patricia Goodrich of the South Side, the slain soldier’s mother: “When my sister-in-law related that to us (after the service), everyone just gasped. We didn’t feel it was appropriate at all.”

…”She never said to anyone, ‘If there’s anything I can do to help, just call my office,’ ” Goodrich said. “It seems like she’s going to funerals and using business cards as campaign fliers.”

Who goes to a funeral to try to hustle up votes from the grieving friends and family of the deceased? It’s just sounds so creepy and wrong…which is apparently how Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell sees it, since he is going to apologize:

“Written apologies will be sent to a fallen Marine’s relatives angered by Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll’s uninvited appearance at the soldier’s funeral and her criticism of the war in Iraq, Gov. Ed Rendell said Sunday.

Rendell said he will send a personal letter to the family of the late Marine Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich, of Westwood, and will ask Knoll to do the same. Goodrich, 32, a police officer and infantry unit leader, died July 10 in a mortar attack in Hit, Iraq.

Rendell said he hadn’t spoken with Knoll about the incident, but was disturbed by the family’s charge that she made a political statement against the war.

“It’s not the business of state government to support the war, but our state supports the men and women who are fighting this war,” Rendell said during an appearance in Mt. Washington.

…Rendell said he thinks Knoll, 74, of McKees Rocks, meant no harm by attending the memorial service last Tuesday. He believes Knoll gave her business card to a family member so that Goodrich’s family would have a contact within state government if they later needed help securing benefits.

…”I’m going to talk to her,” Rendell said. “I think she should send a letter to the family, clarifying (her intentions). As head of the state, I’m going to also send a letter.”

Does something here not strike you as more than a little odd? While Rendell is doing the right thing by apologizing, why is he the one going public on this issue instead of Knoll? How can it be that he is apologizing for Knoll and speculating about her motive, but hasn’t talked to her about an incident that occurred on Tuesday the 19th? Is the Lt. Gov. living in a Unabomber style shack somewhere without a phone? What’s going on up in the Governor’s mansion in Pennsylvania?

In any case, Knoll is a real embarrassment and someone should clue her in to the fact that a funeral isn’t an appropriate place to troll for votes.

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin, who has been all over this story.

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