Liz Benjamin

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Homepage: http://nystateofpolitics.com


Posts by Liz Benjamin

Extras

Perhaps peace in our time is actually possible? Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly met with Donald Trump at Trump Tower today.

Addressing striking Verizon workers as “brothers and sisters,” Sanders again condemned the company for its chief executive’s pay and reluctance to pay the benefits the union had asked for.

New York Observer national political reporter Ross Barkan resigned this morning, less than 24 hours after the weekly newspaper owned by Trump’s son-in-law endorsed the real estate mogul for president.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani thinks it’s time for Trump to make some “serious changes to his organization, for his good.”

Republican John Kasich will be the first presidential candidate to venture into the North Country when he appears at a campaign rally Friday in Watertown.

If you want to hear the sound of political crisis of conscience in action – and you happen to be in Western New York – tune your radio dial to WBEN 930 AM.

In a 1985 letter, Trump complained to then-NYC Mayor Ed Koch about the blight of hot-dog vendors leaving ketchup and mustard stains on his sidewalk.

Sanders, who has promised to speak to the issues and people not addressed by other politicians or covered by the media, met with Native American leaders this week near Syracuse.

Clinton slammed Trump and addressed “white privilege” while speaking at the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network conference today.

Clinton’s favorability ratings are historically low and increasingly a concern for her supporters. She is now viewed unfavorably by 55 percent of the electorate, according to the HuffPost Pollster average, which tracks findings from 42 different polling outfits.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz might have the right amount of support from delegates to block Trump from receiving the nomination if a second ballot vote is held at a contested Republican National Convention in July.

Heidi Cruz broke her silence on the affair allegations against her husband, and on Trump’s retweet of a meme criticizing her looks – saying she pays neither incident any mind.

A new poll from Public Policy Polling shows New Yorkers are far from a consensus on where downstate New York ends and upstate New York begins.

A scorned Curtis Sliwa trashed his ex, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, at a gala for the Queens Republican Party earlier this week — threatening to run against her for the seat.

Attorneys general from eight states (including New York) and the District of Columbia have written letters to several national retailers expressing concern about on-call scheduling, which allows companies to assign shifts to workers with only a few hours’ notice.

In fundraising appeals sent today, Sanders asks for contributions to be divided among his campaign and those of three female Democratic House candidates: Zephyr Teachout of New York, Pramila Jayapal of Washington state and Lucy Flores of Nevada.

Platters Chocolates, a North Tonawanda company, received a tax break for a new plant that will enable it to ramp up production of sponge candy and try to take the local delicacy national.

About 40,000 Verizon Communications workers represented by two unions walked off the job this morning after a union-imposed 6 a.m. deadline for new labor agreement passed.

Cuomo has $1 billion set aside to expand Manhattan’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center which opened in 1986.

Here and Now

A reminder: The CNN/TWC News Democratic presidential debate, the ONLY debate that will take place before New York’s April 19 primaries, is tomorrow.

You can watch it on NY1 and all upstate TWC News channels from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Pre-debate coverage starts ay 7 p.m., with post-debate analysis to follow. Please join us.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule, while members of his administration deliver regional budget briefings across the state.

Hillary Clinton and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio are scheduled to speak at the Rev. Al Sharpton’s annual National Action Network convention in Midtown Manhattan. Clinton will also hold an organizing event in the Bronx.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is holding multiple campaign rallies in New York City with a variety of special guests, including Spike Lee, Rosario Dawson, Tim Robbins, Graham Nash, Linda Sarsour and more.

Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are campaigning in Pennsylvania. Ohio Gov. John Kasich is in Maryland. Cruz will return to NYC tonight for a CNN town hall.

A fuller calendar of the day’s events appears at the end of this post.

Headlines…

After toppling both Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Leader Dean Skelos with public corruption last year, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said he has his eye on the executive branch, too.

“Executive offices in government are far from immune from the creeping show-me-the-money culture that has been pervading New York for some time now,” Bharara said.

Bharara is reportedly looking into the de Blasio administration’s lifting of a deed restriction on a Manhattan nursing home that is now slated to become luxury condos. The matter is already under investigation by AG Eric Schneiderman’s office, the NYC Department of Investigation and NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer.

House Speaker Paul Ryan definitively ruled out a bid for president this year, insisting that the party’s choice should emerge from the group of candidates who pursued the GOP nomination. “Count me out,” he said.

A Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday showed Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with commanding double-digit leads in the upcoming New York state primary, with Clinton taking 53 percent of the vote to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 40 percent, and Trump winning 55 percent – far ahead of the No. 2 candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, at 20 percent.

Sanders could narrow Clinton’s margin of victory — and even pull off an upset, however unlikely — if he keeps his base of younger supporters fired up, (assuming they’re all eligible to vote).

The New York Daily News issued a front-page endorsement of Clinton ahead of the April 19 primary, saying she “is unsparingly clear-eyed about what’s wrong with America while holding firm to what’s right with America.”

Clinton called for action to eliminate the gender pay gap at a panel in New York City hosted by workplace transparency website Glassdoor on Equal Pay Day.

Clinton took a break from the campaign trail in New York yesterday to raise some campaign cash at three fundraisers in Florida.

Amid a firestorm of criticism from black community leaders, Clinton distanced herself from a skit with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio that included a tone-deaf racial joke about “CP time,” saying: “Well, look, it was Mayor de Blasio’s skit.”

Sanders told supporters at a rally in Syracuse that he believes he can win the New York primary, but only if there is a huge voter turnout.

Sanders’ wife, Jane, made a campaign stop on behalf of her husband’s presidential bid last night at a Farmingdale, Long Island sports bar, where hundreds of supporters cheered her promise that a vote for her husband was a vote for democratic reform.

Trump and his allies are engaged in an aggressive effort to undermine the Republican nominating process by framing it as rigged and corrupt, hoping to compensate for organizational deficiencies that have left the frontrunner with an increasingly precarious path to the nomination. Their message: The election is being stolen from him.

As Trump looks for a blowout win in next week’s New York primary, one that could put him back on track to winning an outright majority of delegates, he will be counting on Long Island, a quintessential American suburb and a power base for New York’s Republicans, and the sort of place where he has struggled in past contests.

Two high school students – at least one of whom is African American – describe their experience of being thrown out of Trump’s rally yesterday in Rome.

The New York Observer, owned by Jared Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, endorsed Trump for president.

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A number of high-profile Republicans, fearful of a potential melee in Cleveland this summer, are considering skipping the Republican National Convention and campaigning back home instead.

“Donald Trump is the father-in-law of the Observer’s publisher. That is not a reason to endorse him. Giving millions of disillusioned Americans a renewed sense of purpose and opportunity is.”

After a month of speculation and pleas ranging from the comic to the mildly desperate, Speaker Paul Ryan held an unusually formal news conference this afternoon to rule out once and for all, he said, his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president.

Already behind the curve in organizing for the Republican convention, Trump has missed crucial deadlines in a number of states to lock up delegates who would stay loyal beyond the first ballot.

Hillary Clinton, at a roundtable discussion on gender pay equality this morning, said younger women may not experience the wage gap as much as older women, and therefore may not see it is a relevant issue.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top issues for the remainder of the session: Ethics reform, a “plan” to combat heroin abuse, a statewide cancer screening and prevention program and a replacement for the 421-a tax abatement program that expired earlier this year.

Cuomo announced an unprecedented surge in last-minute online voter registration activity less than one month before the New York State presidential primary.

A biopic on Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, starring Chadwick Boseman, will film in Buffalo in late May for about five weeks and is expected to result in jobs for more than 400 people as crew and extras and boost the economy by $4.5 million.

Two commissioners on the state’s ethics watchdog panel have tendered their resignations: David Arroyo, an appointee of Gov. Andrew Cuomo who still had time left on his JCOPE term, and Joseph Covello, who was originally appointed by ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich stopped in ultra-Orthodox Borough Park, Brooklyn to tour a matzoh bakery and meet with students at a school for autistic children – and to expound on his personal religious beliefs.

Kasich sort of suggested Cuomo should run for president.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani says he is not part of Trump’s “campaign apparatus,” but reiterated he will be voting for the candidate though he has not issued any endorsements.

If the New York primary is “within 10 (percentage points) then she’s going to have to do an awful lot of explaining to Democrats and the Republicans will be dancing in the streets,” New York Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf said.

Clinton launched a Spanish-language TV ad, again looking to the general election and going after Trump by name, saying he calls immigrants “rapists and criminals.”

Contrary to what the Vermont senator has claimed, Clinton’s press secretary Brian Fallon said it is Sanders who is trying to rig the system by attempting to court super delegates currently allied with Clinton.

A K-8 school in the Syracuse City school district is offering students who take the math state test this week a chance at a drawing where they could win $50.

NYRA’s board of directors, put in place by Cuomo four years ago amid a crisis, is recommending that the organization go back into private hands, albeit with a minority of members appointed by the governor and legislative leaders.

Yuh-Line Niou, the Working Families Party candidate for ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s Lower Manhattan seat, claimed to have voted for President Barack Obama in Harlem during a NY1 debate last night—but Board of Elections documents indicate she didn’t cast a ballot in the election.

Nassau DA investigators arrested former North Hempstead Town Democratic Party leader Gerard Terry, who public records show amassed nearly $1.4 million in state and federal tax debts while receiving government jobs worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The governor announced a request for qualifications from design firms for his $1 billion plan to add more space to the West Side convention hall. The state will select three winners in May and chose a developer in June.

MSNBC has brought in a new face as part of its hard news overhaul. The cable news outfit scooped up Bloomberg TV morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle, who will appear for an hour during its MSNBC Live daytime coverage.

To combat regulatory challenges, SolarCity is bringing in a heavy-hitter, Jon Wellinghoff, the former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, to be its chief policy officer.

Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps was remembered “as a larger-than-life figure” who “won the Triple Crown of life” during a memorial service held Wednesday at the St. James Episcopal Church in Manhattan.

In his sixth year governing the state of New York, (Cuomo) is on a bit of a roll when it comes to urban planning and city-based economic development.

Sanders Campaign Slams Clinton On Immigrant Driver’s Licenses in NY

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign is resurrecting an issue that rose from a state-level fight in New York to cause trouble for Hillary Clinton’s first White House run: The battle over whether undocumented immigrants should be eligible for driver’s licenses.

Several Sanders surrogates and campaign aides – including state Sen. Bill Perkins, of Harlem, who is one of the few New York Democratic elected officials to break ranks and endorse Sanders over Clinton – held a conference call with reporters today, calling Clinton out for waffling on the license issue, while also attacking Sanders’ own record on immigration reform.

Clinton has noted that Sanders voted against a 2007 immigration reform bill, saying he would concerned the guest worker provisions it contained would drive down wages. But Sanders’ national director for Latino Outreach, Bill Velazquez, said that’s merely a snapshot of a much larger picture, pointing out there was no unanimity among immigrant advocates about whether the ’07 bill was worthwhile. Sanders subsequently backed a different bill in 2013.

“I think it’s disingenuous to keep honing in on one bill that didn’t pass and not point out the other bills that did pass that were much better,” Velazquez said.

Velazquez and others on the call accused Clinton of helping tank an effort to let undocumented immigrants get driver’s licenses in New York. Then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who was pushing the issue in 2007 and 2008, recently said that Clinton’s presidential campaign had urged him to withdraw his license proposal, adding: “I thought the issue was a metaphor for her vacillation.”

Actually, immigrants without documentation once were allowed to hold licenses in the Empire State, but then-Republican Gov. George Pataki rescinded that right through an executive order issued in 2002. Immigrant advocates say some 100,000 people lost their licenses as a result, and were thrust back into the shadows, making everything from getting to work to getting access to health care more difficult.

The advocates worked with then-state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who argued that this was actually an issue of security, not only because unlicensed – and therefore uninsured – people were driving on New York roads, but also because issuing people identification would make it easier for officials to know who is in the state and where they (purportedly) live.

When he ran for governor in 2006, Spitzer pledged to re-visit the license question. He did so not long after he took office by issuing an executive order that reversed Pataki’s previous order.

This sparked a massive outcry from Republicans, and the governor subsequently rescinded the order, and instead started pushing the Legislature to sign a bill that would accomplish the same thing. The Senate GOP defeated the bill, and Spitzer then sought again to circumvent the Legislature by issuing an administrative order to the DMV. That, too, was later withdrawn after a massive outcry that reached the national stage, thanks largely to CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, who railed against the proposal on a nightly basis.

A question about the driver’s license fight taking place in her home state was put to Clinton during a Democratic presidential primary debate in October 2007. Though she had previously said Spitzer’s proposal made “a lot of sense,” she walked that statement back during the debate, saying: “I did not say that it should be done, but I certainly recognize why Gov. Spitzer is trying to do it.”

Clinton’s opponents, including then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, pounced, accusing her of being unclear and trying to have it both ways. Two weeks later, she clarified her position, issuing a statement that said: “As president, I will not support driver’s licenses for undocumented people,” adding that she would push for broader immigration reform.

Since then, Clinton has changed her views on whether undocumented immigrants should be allowed to get licenses, and firmly supports the idea.

But Perkins suggested she came around too late, accusing her of being motivated purely by “politics,” and saying on the conference call:

“Senator Sanders views immigration as a human right. Unfortunately, by contrast, Senator Clinton has had a very difficult time coming around to understanding that undocumenteds should even be eligible for a driver’s license…clearly such actions are not representative of the kind of leadership this state needs.”

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City, where he’ll deliver remarks at the ABNY lunch. Members of the governor’s cabinet continue deliver regional budget briefings around the state.

The Legislature is in session in Albany.

LG Kathy Hochul is in Washington, D.C., where, among other things she’ll meet with delegations from Italy, Australia and the United Kingdom to promote trade with New York.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders holds campaign events in Syracuse, Rochester and Poughkeepsie.

Donald Trump makes a last-minute appearance in Rome.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Hillary Clinton are campaigning in New York City.

A full calendar of the day’s events appears at the end of this post.

Headlines…

Donald Trump has a commanding 43-point lead in the New York Republican presidential primary, and Hillary Clinton has a 13-point advantage in the Democratic primary, according to a NY1/Baruch College poll released last night.

For one day, Albany was the center of the political universe, as three presidential candidates converged on the Capital City, holding events within several hours – and several blocks – of one another.

During his campaign rally at the Times Union Center, Trump defended “New York values,” blasted Republican leaders for running a “rigged, dirty” primary system, called his rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, “a really bad guy” and said everything about Clinton’s life is a “big, fat, beautiful lie.”

More than half of the record spending on negative advertising during the 2016 presidential primary has been directed at a single candidate – Trump – a barrage that threatens to undermine his candidacy even as he continues to march toward the Republican nomination.

Some 8,500 people packed into the University at Buffalo’s Alumni Arena to hear Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speak last night, with another 3,000 outside. The senator addressed the overflow crowd before delivering his main remarks inside the arena. Sanders also visited a local CWA union hall and backed the workers there who are set to strike against Verizon.

Sanders and anti-fracking activist/filmmaker Josh Fox are criticizing Clinton for failing to fully oppose the controversial natural gas drilling technique.

The Vermont senator praised New York for approving a tracking ban, but gave no specific credit to Gov. Andrew Cuomo – a Clinton backed and surrogate – for doing so.

Cruz is expected to bring his campaign to Buffalo on Thursday – a change from the original plan to be in town Friday. The Republican presidential contender is expected to conduct a morning town hall-style meeting at a location to be determined, according to a spokesman.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who made the rounds at the state Capitol yesterday, warned that Republicans are at risk of losing control of the state Senate if he is not the GOP nominee for president. He also met at the Fort Orange Club with Assembly Republicans.

Outside of his home state of Ohio — the only one he has won to date — Kasich has been the top vote-getter in just four counties, but he continues to insist he has a path to the GOP nomination despite his low delegate count.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has repeatedly insisted he’s not interested in being the compromise candidate for president should the current contenders fail to reach the delegate threshold, will meet with big GOP donors in Manhattan next week.

In New York, there’s finally a tougher ticket than “Hamilton.” Seats for the Democratic presidential debate in Brooklyn Thursday are reserved for the party faithful, with none available to the general public.

Clinton has serious reservations about how the Common Core rollout and testing have happened in New York, even as she supports tough national standards and standardized tests in general. She would not opt her granddaughter, Charlotte, out of the tests.

Here’s a full transcript of Clinton’s visit with Newsday’s editorial board.

Clinton promised a dinnertime crowd of Suffolk Democrats last night she’d support federal investment in roads and railways to “make sure it’s possible to enjoy living and working on Long Island.”

Clinton released a new TV ad taking direct aim at Trump.

Clinton’s campaign dispatched New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker to Buffalo to campaign on her behalf ahead of Sanders’ rally there.

Clinton joined local politicians and immigrants at the famed Jackson Diner in Queens yesterday on her continued tour throughout the city — and made sure to take some of the Indian restaurant’s legendary buffet to go.

Here’s the full transcript of Clinton’s recent sit-down with the Daily News editorial board.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Clinton were forced to defend a joke made by the mayor at the Inner Circle charity dinner over the weekend that critics considered racially offensive.

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Extras

Two of Donald Trump’s five children, Ivanka and Eric Trump, are not registered to vote as Republicans in their home state of New York, which means they can’t vote for him on April 19. (Only his oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., is a Republican; the other two have also contributed to Democrats in the past).

“They had a long time to register, and they were, you know, unaware of the rules, and they didn’t — they didn’t register in time. So they feel very, very guilty,” Trump said of his wayward kids.

Trump has not personally given any of his own money to charity.

In a sign of protest to Trump, liberal commentator Keith Olbermann has followed through on his threat to sell his Trump Palace apartment in New York City, listing the roughly 1,750-square-foot condo for $3.9 million.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s hour-long town hall event at North Greenbush’s LaSalle Institute offered up an extensive question-and-answer period on topics ranging from Social Security and Medicare to transgender rights.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says Hillary Clinton’s plan for Wall Street reform is more progressive than those of any candidate in the 2016 presidential race – including Sen. Bernie Sanders.

A retired White House gardener is selling Hillary Clinton’s 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass, which he bought at an auction for the residence’s workers and has been sitting in his Pennsylvania garage for years.

A member of the Black Lives Matter movement expressed anger at Sanders after he did not address specifically the Donald “Dontay” Ivy or Marquis Dixon cases in his speech at the Washington Avenue Armory in Albany.

The Clinton campaign sent New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker to Buffalo stump on the candidate’s behalf in advance of Sanders’ rally there tonight.

New York college students might be very pro-Sanders, but are they actually eligible to vote for him on April 19? In many cases, probably not.

Assemblywoman Deborah Glick was on the defensive at a recent candidate forum for her defense of, and loyalty to, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

As the presidential spotlight swings to New York for next week’s primary contest, Trump is reuniting with the press corps he knows best – a boisterous tabloid culture that spawned and nurtured his outsize personality, which is now known the world over.

Polling in advance of the New York primary has been pretty consistent on the Democratic side, with Clinton maintaining a low double-digit lead over Sanders.

Clinton told a somber Long Island audience today that as president she would stand up to the powerful gun lobby.

De Blasio is done talking about the federal investigation into his fundraising.

Scalpers used computer bots to buy thousands of tickets for Saturday night’s Luke Bryan concert at the Carrier Dome before the public could and resold them for outrageous prices, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said. (He wants to make this practice illegal).

For decades, the state corrections union has held the power in disciplinary decisions and whether guards accused of wrongdoing can be transferred. But an overhauled internal affairs unit is prepared to fight.

Following 10 months of seemingly fruitless contract negotiations, roughly 40,000 Verizon workers will walk off the job on Wednesday, unless the company does a significant about-face before then.

It appears a sizable amount of travel by state employees to North Carolina will be allowed to continue, despite a ban on all “non-essential” travel recently imposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

AG Eric Schneiderman today joined members of the state and federal working group he co-chairs to announce a $5 billion settlement with Goldman Sachs over the bank’s deceptive practices leading up to the financial crisis.

Saying “time is short,” state Bar Association President David Miranda called on Cuomo to issue an executive order to create a commission to prepare for the 2017 voter referendum on whether to authorize a constitutional convention.

NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray today announced the launch of “Today I Thrive,” a comprehensive ad campaign to raise awareness among New Yorkers about the prevalence and treatment of mental health issues.

Sanders: ‘No Fracking Anywhere’

Another day, another TV ad from Sen. Bernie Sanders, this time with a focus on fracking – a hot topic in New York not that long ago, which galvanized a group of advocates (AKA, the fracktvists), many of whom remain active in politics and are now Sanders supporters.

The ad maintains Sanders is the only presidential candidate who would ban the controversial natural gas drilling technique “everywhere.” He focused on this issue while appearing earlier today for a campaign event in Binghamton in New York’s Southern Tier, which was ground zero in the fracking debate.

“The growing body of evidence tells us that fracking is a danger to our water supply, our most precious resource,” Sanders told some 5,000 supporters who packed the Veterans Memorial Arena to hear him speak. “It is a danger to the air we breathe. It has resulted in more earthquakes. It is highly explosive. And it is contributing to climate change.”

Sanders’ home state of Vermont has adopted a fracking ban, as has New York – after more than five years of heated debate and foot-dragging by the Cuomo administration. In Binghamton, Sanders applauded Cuomo for finally coming down on the side of the fracktivist community against big oil, but he also said that if we are “serious” about combatting climate change and protecting the environment, then federal officials will ban fracking across the nation.

Sanders noted that his primary opponent, Hillary Clinton, promoted fracking overseas while she was serving as secretary of state in the Obama administration. Sanders and his supporters have been pressuring Clinton for her campaign cash ties to big oil. (Remember this incident?)

President Obama is a natural gas booster, though his administration did issue tighter fracking rules in 2015, which were immediately challenged in court by the gas industry. Environmentalists weren’t thrilled with the new rules, either.

Sanders’ new ad – the third her has released in as many days in New York as the April 19 primary draws near – is narrated by actress Susan Sarandon. The candidate also has the support of actor Mark Ruffalo, an outspoken anti-fracking activist who made numerous lobbying trips to the state Capitol during the drilling debate.

Clinton Ad: ‘Tough Enough to Stop Trump’

Though she has yet to clinch the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton is going after Donald Trump in their shared home state of New York in advance of the April 19 primary.

Clinton today is debuting a new TV ad that proclaims her the only one “tough enough to stop” the billionaire GOP frontrunner. The spot, titled “Stronger Together,” is airing in New York City, where the bulk of the primary vote is likely to be generated.

I believe this is the third Clinton ad in rotation in New York, and its release comes as her Democratic primary opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, hit the airwaves for the first time in the state over the weekend.

Here’s the full transcript of “Stronger Together”:

Narrator: He says we should punish women who have abortions.

Donald Trump: There has to be some form of punishment.

Narrator: That Mexicans who come to America are rapists.

Donald Trump: They’re rapists.

Narrator: And that we should ban Muslims from coming here at all.

Donald Trump: Total and complete shutdown.

Hillary Clinton: Donald Trump says we can solve America’s problems by turning against each other. It’s wrong, and it goes against everything New York and America stand for.

Narrator: With so much at stake, she’s the one tough enough to stop Trump.

Here and Now

Good morning! A big day for the Capital Region, in terms of the presidential primary battle, with no fewer than three candidates scheduled to make appearances in Albany within a few blocks – and a few hours – of one another.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public events scheduled. The Legislature is in session.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich meets with state GOP leaders in Albany and then heads to LaSalle Institute in Troy for a rally, followed by an event in Saratoga Springs.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is holding a rally at the Washington Avenue Armory. He’ll also make stops today in Binghamton and Buffalo, and kick off tomorrow in Rochester.

Donald Trump is holding a rally at the Times Union Center.

Hillary Clinton is campaigning on Long Island, while her husband, former President Clinton, continues to campaign on her behalf in NYC.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public schedule.

A full calendar of the day’s events appears at the end of this post.

Headlines…

A new Fox News poll found Hillary Clinton topped Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders 53-37 percent among likely New York Democratic primary voters, while Trump won 54 percent of likely Republican voters, compared with 22 percent for Ohio Gov. John Kasich and 15 percent for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

The two party primaries in New York have two things in common: They’re both restricted to party members, and they’re both essentially 27 different contests – one for each congressional district in the state. Beyond that, they have two entirely different sets of rules for electing delegates, as well as for selecting their unelected delegates.

Sanders of Vermont continued his squabble with Clinton over her qualifications to be president yesterday, saying “something is clearly lacking” in her judgment.

According to Fred Dicker, “leading Democrats privately predict” that Clinton will win a closer-than-originally-expected victory over Sanders on April 19, but they’re also conceding that “Clinton exhaustion” could produce a surprise upset.

Talk about bad timing: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is facing an investigation into his fundraising just as the New York Democratic primary heats up and he seeks to serve as a valuable surrogate for Clinton.

Appearing on “Meet the Press” yesterday, de Blasio insisted that he knows nothing about the feds’ investigation into his fund-raising activities, saying: “There haven’t been any questions posed to me or my team.”

A federal grand jury in Manhattan has begun hearing evidence in the case, which focuses on two de Blasio fund-raisers – Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg – with investigators trying to determine if the two men benefited from some type of favorable municipal action, or the promise of some action, in exchange for their donations, their fund-raising or some other gesture.

Former President Bill Clinton was met with mixed reactions yesterday while stumping for his wife on a New York City tour that included stops in Harlem and Queens.

Andrea Peyser urges Jews not to vote for Sanders, who’s Jewish – bot not practicing – saying he’s “hardly down with the Chosen People.”

If Sanders, who turns 75 in September, gets elected, he will be the oldest president ever to take the oath of office. He’s already the oldest presidential candidate in modern times to garner youth-cult status.

Sanders sought to re-up his hometown cred yesterday by tucking into a Nathan’s Famous hot dog (with a little sauerkraut, and a little mustard) on Coney Island, where thousands of supporters flocked to catch a glimpse (and an earful) of the Vermont senator, his wife and their celebrity escort, R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe.

Sanders added a little star power to his Syracuse campaign rally planned for tomorrow afternoon. Hollywood stars Kendrick Sampson and Rosario Dawson will appear with the 74-year-old Democratic presidential candidate as special guests at the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center in downtown Syracuse.

Crusading US Attorney Preet Bharara likes his job in New York, but has no guarantee that he will keep it if Clinton is elected president in November.

Down-ballot candidates in New York aren’t alone in their concern over possibly having Trump at the top of their ticket this fall.

While House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has no intention of becoming the GOP nominee this year, he is deep into a parallel national operation to counter Trump and help House and Senate candidates navigate the political headwinds that the frontrunner would generate as the party’s standard-bearer — or, for that matter, Sen. Ted Cruz, who is only slightly more popular.

Trump ripped into Cruz, calling him a “guy who hates New York.”

Cruz scooped up all 34 of the delegates available in Colorado at a Republican Party convention that was held without a public primary or caucus, Trump to criticize the process as fixed by GOP insiders.

Retiring Rep. Richard Hanna, a moderate Republican, denounced both Trump and Cruz as too extreme, saying: “Trump, I think, thinks he is God, and Cruz can’t be shamed because he thinks God speaks through him.”

More >

Sanders Releases 2 NY TV Ads

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders released two new TV ads over the weekend to join his rival, Hillary Clinton, on the New York airwaves as the state’s April 19th primary rapidly approaches.

According to the campaign, the first ad was produced by director Spike Lee, who endorsed Sanders in February.

It features testimonies in favor of the candidate by singer Harry Belafonte; Erica Garner, daughter of Eric Garner, who was killed in a 2014 chokehold incident with the NYPD: preacher and civil rights activist Shaun King, and Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York.

All of these Sanders backers emphasize the candidate’s inclusiveness, and seek to appeal to voters of all ethnicities and religious beliefs. Belafonte, for example, says: “People of color have a deeply vested interest in what Bernie Sanders brings to us in this election” – an appeal to Africa-Americans, who have been turning out in high numbers for Clinton.

The second ad, called “Bolder,” emphasizes Sanders’ Empire State roots, noting he’s a Brooklyn “native,” and says he has “values forged in New York” – a slight to one of the Republican candidates, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has repeatedly denigrated “New York values” in an effort to take down his top target, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.

The ad also underscores Sanders’ push for a higher minimum wage and tuition-free college, as well as his support for “justice that works for all,” and a “middle-class that must be saved.”