Aug 18th - 11:42 am
When I noted during yesterday’s “Capital Tonight” that Carl Paladino’s Taxpayers Party line could siphon enough votes from the state Conservative Party to prevent it from reaching the all-important 50,000 threshold, Republican US Senate hopeful Gary Berntsen’s response was: “Wouldn’t that be a shame.”
“Look, the Conservative Party didn’t choose a full array of conservatives across the state in lots of different places, in some congressional races and in some of the statewide races,” said Berntsen.
“I’m probably the most conservative man running in New York state. I didn’t get their nomination. I was only in week to 10 days before that convention, and Mr. Long held all the proxies in his pocket, and decided he was going to nominate his friend, Jay Townsend,.”
“And unfortunately, if that line does poorly, Mr. Long will be out of business after this year, and I suspect that the Taxpayers line is going to viewed by most people as sort of the real conservative line in New York ctate.”
Aug 18th - 11:20 am
During an “Insiders” segment on “Capital Tonight” yesterday, Blake Zeff, a Democratic consultant who has worked for Sen. Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton, and President Obama (both during the 2008 campaign), among others, suggested a way for members of his party to deflect GOP mosque attacks.
Zeff stressed he was proud Obama had waded into the mosque debate, but also agreed the president’s strategy was not handled as well as it should have been and likely exposed Democratic candidates at a time when they can ill-afford the extra baggage.
“What I would suggest to those Democratic candidates is if your Republican opponents are hitting you on this Islamic Center that is a couple of blocks from Ground Zero because they’re so concerned about the events of 9/11, you might want to ask them how they feel about the 9/11 health care bill that the Republicans are blocking in Congress”
“…where the heroes of that day – the firefighters, cops first responders victims their families their neighbors who have suffered injuries are not getting the healthcare they need because the Republicans refuse to support this.”
“So there’s a little bit of hypocrisy there and I think there’s an opportunity for Democrats to not simply see this as a defeat on the issue.”
Aug 18th - 10:54 am
Rep. Mike Arcuri, who lost the WFP line due to his “no” vote on health care reform and is facing a challenger with three lines (GOP, Indy and Conservative), yesterday filed 7,301 signatures to create an independent line of his own: NY Moderates.
That’s slightly more than twice the 3,500 necessary for a congressional candidate. Arcuri’s campaign said it collected the names with the assistance of nearly 200 volunteers.
It didn’t mention the fact that the DCCC has had field employees embedded in the congressman’s campaign for some time now – a practice employed for marginals deemed sufficiently in danger of losing their seats as to require attention from Washington.
UPDATE: DCCC informs me it does NOT have embeds in the Arcuri campaign. Bad intel on my part. Sorry.
Arcuri took the opportunity of announcing his line to swipe at his opponent, Richard Hanna, for accepting the Indy line at a time when the local party is under investigation by both the Oneida County DA’s office (which Arcuri used to occupy) and the state party remains in the crosshairs of the Manhattan and Staten Island DAs.
Aug 18th - 9:53 am
Staten Island DA Dan Donovan, the lone Republican AG hopeful who has been slammed by Democrats and LGBT leaders for his position on gay marriage, received the endorsement today of the Log Cabin Republicans of New York State PAC.
“As the District Attorney of Staten Island, Mr. Donovan has a long and distinguished record of treating everyone equal under the law,” PAC Chairman Gregory T. Angelo said in a press release.
“He is a man of integrity with a selfless commitment to uphold the rights of all citizens of this state, and we look forward to working with him when he becomes the next Attorney General of the State of New York in November.”
The Log Cabin Republicans were very involved in the lobbying effort last December to try to convince some GOP senators to vote “yes” on marriage – an effort that ultimately failed when the entire 30-member conference, joined by eight Democrats, voted “no” on the measure, killing the bill in the process.
Aug 18th - 9:36 am
The latest on the statewide horseraces, also as per today’s Siena NY poll:
- AG Andrew Cuomo continues to blow away the competition, although Carl Paladino has made some modest headway against the Democratic frontrunner, while his GOP primary opponent, Rick Lazio, has not.
Cuomo leads Paladino 60-27 percent, down from 64-23 percent last month. He defeats Lazio 60-26 percent – not much change from 60-28 percent in July.
In a three-way race, Cuomo gets 56 percent to 19 for Lazio (identified as a Republican) and 12 for Paladino (identified as an independent). In a three-way race identifying Paladino as the Republican and Lazio as the Conservative, Cuomo leads 56 percent to 16 for Lazio, and 14 for Paladino.
- Lazio continues to lose ground to Paladino. His primary lead over the self-funding Buffalo businessman among enrolled Republicans is down to 13 points to 43-30 percent. The former Long Island congressman had a 20-point lead (40-20 percent) just last month.
- For the first time, more voters – 38 percent – would rather elect Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to the US Senate seat she inherited from Hillary Clinton (compliments of Gov. David Paterson), rather than the 36 percent who support the generic ‘someone else.’
Aug 18th - 9:31 am
Today’s Siena NY poll on the mosque proposed for construction near Ground Zero finds most New Yorkers agree that just because the project is constitutional doesn’t mean it should move forward on such a sensitive site.
Three-quarters of voters have been following the news about the mosque at least somewhat closely – up significantly in two weeks. Opposition remains strong – 63-27 percent – which is virtually the same as the 61-26 percent in the last Siena poll.
However, by a margin of 64-28 percent, voters say the developers have a legal right to build, and that sentiment holds across every region of the state and every major demographic group – be it age, gender or political philosophy. Even a majority of those who oppose building the mosque agree by a margin of 51-42 percent that the developers are entitled to do so.
Nearly one-quarter of voters say the position of the gubernatorial candidates on this issue will have a significant impact on their decision to support one contender over another.
“Twenty-two percent say the candidates’ position on this issue will have a major effect on their vote, 37 percent say it will have some effect, and a plurality, 39 percent, say it will have no effect,” said Siena NY spokesman Steve Greenberg.
“Of the 22 percent of voters who say the candidates’ position will have a major effect on their vote, opposition to the proposed mosque dwarfs support 92-7 percent. Among those voters, (AG Andrew) Cuomo currently has the support of 38 percent, compared to 33 percent who support (Rick) Lazio and 17 percent who support (Carl) Paladino.”
Aug 18th - 7:44 am
GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio’s latest Web video features man (and woman)-on-the-street interviews near the site of the proposed mosque with New Yorkers who oppose the project and support his call for AG Andrew Cuomo to investigate the $100 million project’s funding (when and if any funding shows up).
Two things that stand out here:
He was one of the first candidates – as far as I can recall, anyway – to seize on the project as a political football…little did we know how far this would go.
2) Lazio refers to the project as the mosque AT Ground Zero, even though the site is actually about two blocks away from the Twin Towers site.
UPDATE: Maggie Haberman makes an interesting point that I overlooked about the graphic images of the smoldering 9/11 wreckage at Ground Zero that Lazio’s video employs at the beginning, arguing that this is a major political gamble.
If the video goes viral, that could be. But Lazio has had trouble up to this point getting much traction. For example, even though he was one of the earliest mosque opponents, he is hardly the focus of the debate at this point.
There has been much debate over the proper verbiage to employ when referring to the mosque (or, if you prefer, as the developers do, “Islamic cultural” and/or “community” center). Generally speaking, opponents put the site closer to Ground Zero than it actually is, while supporters stress the distance between the two points.
In fact, yesterday, the real estate developer Sharif el-Gamal insisted the Park51 project is “nowhere near” Ground Zero, which is just as much of a stretch as “at” Ground Zero, no?
Aug 18th - 7:32 am
Ailing 9/11 first responders are angry with the president for weighing in on the mosque debate when the Zadroga bill is still stuck in limbo.
“The governor told me there’s a meeting,” said Rep. Peter King. “He told me that the builders and the leaders from the mosque” will be there. (Paterson’s office was a lot less definitive with reporters, insisting no formal meeting date has been set).
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand supports Community Board 1′s support of the mosque.
Michael Goodwin calls Paterson’s efforts to mediate the mosque situation his “finest hour in public service.”
Some GOP leaders are urging candidates not to oppose the mosque, saying it will be interpreted as taking a stand against Islam.
Maureen Dowd thinks Obama fumbled this particular political football, and wants “W” to weigh in.
So far, Bush I is staying out of this one.
Some Muslim and Arab Republicans are criticizing their party’s response to the mosque.
“Let’s stop playing politics with religion,” said Democratic Pennsylvania US Senate candidate Joe Sestak, after receiving Mayor Bloomberg’s endorsement.
Columnist Kathleen Parker (soon to be Eliot Spitzer’s CNN co-host) says the mosque must be built “precisely” because people find it so onerous, adding: “We don’t need constitutional protections to be agreeable, after all.”
Aug 17th - 8:31 pm
Former Rep. Alfonse D’Amato minced no words in slamming his former House colleague, Newt Gingrich, for employing the word “Nazis” while criticizing the mosque proposed for construction near Ground Zero, calling the ex-speaker’s comments “inflammatory” and “political BA.”
Appearing on NY1′s “Wise Guys” segment this evening, the Long Island Republican also took the potential 2012 GOP presidential contender to task for attacking former President Clinton for his extra-marital affairs when Gingrich himself isn’t so lily-white when it comes to that touchy subject.
“It’s great rhetoric, he’s running for president, God help us,” D’Amato said. “…Obama would be re-elected if he is the nominee, overwhelmingly.”
“Newt Gingrich is a very bright guy, but he says one thing and does another. We won’t get into the specifics. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, but figure it out. You go after Clinton on one hand and on the other hand you’re messing around.”
“Oh! I said it, I shouldn’t have done it. It’s a guy who says: ‘Do what I say but not what I do’I'm held to a different standard.’ So, he’s full of baloney.”
Aug 17th - 6:08 pm
The animosity between Rick Lazio and AG Andrew Cuomo dates back quite a while.
Greg David thinks “navel gazing” stories about Cuomo are pretty worthless because the proof will be in the pudding when – and if – he takes office.
Here’s video of Bloomberg endorsing Joe Sestak for the US Senate in Pennsylvania, stressing the congressman’s efforts to “keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”
Chris Cillizza classifies Bloomberg’s endorsement, and doesn’t think it’s going to carry much weight.
The mayor could not escape the mosque while in Philadelphia.
Moveon gets involved in the mosque-troversy, sending out a video of the president’s White House remarks.
Newt Gingrich uses the “n” word (not the one you think) while discussing the mosque.
Staten Island DA Dan Donovan says nonprofit member item funding is “not the problem”, the issue is the elected official who might be directing the cash to certain groups for less-than altruistic reasons.
Jonathan Capeheart notes Rudy Giuliani has been largely absent from the mosque debate.
Giuliani will be in Florida on Friday.
Lazio debates the mosque with Mohammed Hameeduddin, mayor of Teaneck on Gwen Ifill.
Jon Stewart on the “mosque-erade.”
Kristin Davis filed 22,000 signatures to secure a a place on the ballot as the Anti-Prohibition Party candidate for governor.
Hillary Clinton lunched at the State Department with some columnists.
The Aqueduct racino MOU has been signed.
A former Post reporter who sued the paper over unfair employment practices is now working for one of Rep. Charlie Rangel’s primary opponents.
Liberal “mama grizzlies” vs. Sarah Palin.
New Yorkers for Growth has launched a “guerilla” marketing campaign against the Working Families Party.
While in the City of Brotherly Love, the mayor avoided falling into the dreaded cheesesteak pitfall.
Azi Paybarah and Josh Benson discuss whether Cuomo really needs OFA’s help.
David Freedlander finds a connection between Rick Lazio and Citizens United, but it’s not JP Morgan.