NRCC Robos Against Bishop (Updated)

The NRCC apparently isn’t done with Rep. Tim Bishop, the Long Island Democrat who squeaked out a victory against his Republican opponent, Randy Altschuler, last November.

Bishop is one of 10 “key vulnerable Democrats” across the nation against whom the Republicans are launching robocalls today in honor of the anniversary of the stimulus bill.

The NY-1 congressman has the dubious distinction of being the only New Yorkers in the NRCC’s crosshairs this time around. UPDATE: Bishop and his colleague Rep. Bill Owens, NY-23, are also both being targeted by a new round of radio ads paid for by Crossroads GPS.

Here’s the NRCC call script:

“Hi, I’m calling from the National Republican Congressional Committee. Two years ago this month, your Congressman Tim Bishop helped pass Obama’s stimulus.”

“They promised it would create jobs and improve the economy, but since then over 160,000 New Yorkers have lost their jobs.”

“You thought Bishop would’ve learned his lesson after his big-spending stimulus failed, but last week he voted against a budget bill that actually cut spending. He would rather spend more money we don’t have.”

“Call Tim Bishop at 202.225.3826 and tell him he doesn’t get it… You want jobs, not more debt to pay. Paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee.”

NRCC spokesman Tory Mazzola sent the following quote:

“Tim Bishop continues to support more spending and more debt, even though it is hurting our economy. We plan to hold Rep. Bishop accountable and make sure his constituents on Long Island know that his rhetoric on the campaign trail doesn’t match his voting record in Congress.”

Cuomo Releases ‘Technical’ Budget Amendments, More To Come

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has released 21-day amendments to his 2011-2012 budget proposal, most of which are being characterized by his spokesman, Josh Vlasto, as “technical in nature” and without “significant policy changes.”

Among the changes is a scaling back of the increase in powers he sought for the uber-financial sector regulatory agency that would be created by merging the Banking and Insurance departments and the state Consumer Protection Board.

That move would usurp much of the power to police Wall Street that currently resides with the state attorney general.

According to the WSJ, the new Department of Financial Regulation still would have more power than its predecessor agencies to investigate and punish financial institutions for wrongdoing, and Wall Street executives remain concerned it would operate through an administrative process with fewer checks and balances than the AG.

Vlasto said more amendments – both technical and non-technical – are expected in the future. The next round would come at the 30-day mark, which would be the end of next week.

That’s three days after the Medicaid and mandate redesign teams are scheduled to release their respective proposals for, in the case of the former, cutting some $2.85 billion from the budget.

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried told me during a recent CapTon interview that he doesn’t believe the task force will be able to cut its target amount in this budget. Under Cuomo’s proposal, that would empower his health commissioner, Dr. Nirav Shah, to unilaterally make cuts himself.

Q Poll: NYers ‘Prefer Breaking Bread To Breaking Heads’

…That line comes compliments of the every-quotable Q pollster Mickey Carroll, who’s out with a new survey today that found New Yorkers prefer Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s charm offensive in hopes of getting lawmakers to support his budget to the all-out assault approach preferred by former Gov. Eliot “Steamroller” Spitzer.

Voters 56-15 percent of the job Cuomo is doing, with 29 percent undecided, and say 68-19 percent that his tactic of meeting with legislators over a meal is better than trying to steamroll them, the Q poll found. (This is Quinnipiac’s first look at Cuomo’s job approval rating and can’t be compared to his past favorability ratings).

Back in February 2003, New Yorkers said they liked Spitzer’s promise to steamroll the Legislature (61-24). But they had changed their tune on that by October, with 51 percent saying that approach was contributing to gridlock at the Capital.

As you’ll recall, Spitzer had a habit of going nuclear on legislators when they didn’t do what he wanted. Case in point: The selection of former Assemblyman Tom DiNapoli to replace scandal-scarred ex-state Comptroller Alan Hevesi, which spurred Spitzer to denounce rank-and-file Assembly members in their home districts.

So far, Cuomo has preferred the carrot-and-stick approach, chiding lawmakers (albeit gently, generally speaking) in public while wooing them in private with receptions at the executive mansion.

This isn’t to say, of course, that the current governor doesn’t have it in him to go a little nuclear. His high approval rating and reputation as a ruthless and shrewd politician has a lot of lawmakers running scared, although they’re starting to speak out against his budget in increasing numbers.

We’ll see how long Cuomo’s able to walk this fine line to avoid an all-out war with the Legislature as the April 1 deadline draws closer.

Meanwhile, voters disapprove 65-20 percent of the job the Legislature is doing overall. They disapprove 42-35 of their local Assembly members, but approve 49-32 percent of their local state senators.

In keeping with the findings of past polls, New Yorkers told Quinnipiac that while they like Cuomo, they’re not in love with all his budget proposals. Specifically, they oppose education cuts (76-22) and Medicaid cuts (64-32), but support reductions for state workers – from pension reform to wage freezes and furloughs – and are split on layoffs.

022311 NY GOV + BP

Here And Now

A spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo declined to comment on a call from a consultant to the Vatican’s highest court that the governor be denied communion because he’s divorced and living with his girlfriend, Sandra Lee.

The Vatican aide said Cuomo committed a “gravely sacrilegious” act by accepting communion on the Sunday after his Jan. 1 inauguration.

After inquiries from the New York Times, a spokesman for health care consultant and Cuomo’s “best friend,” Jeffrey Sachs, who is playing a big role in the Medicaid redesign team efforts, said he has “frozen all contact on behalf of clients with state officials for the duration of the Cuomo administration.”

Cuomo has scaled back the financial-enforcement authority he proposed for a new banking and insurance regulator that would have usurped power from AG Eric Schneiderman’s office.

The NY Observer should approve of this, since it editorialized that Cuomo should “leave investigating” to the AG, reminding Cuomo that he’s governor now.

At 1:30 p.m., Mayor Bloomberg, Sen. Chuck Schumer and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly will announce Fixgunchecks.org – a new initiative of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

The Senate Democrats spent $29,300 worth of taxpayer funds on outside counsel to block subpoenas from the IG in the AEG investigation.

The Times names names in the Senate, calling out six GOP lawmakers who the paper’s editorial page wants pressured to keep their promises on redistricting reform: Lee Zeldin, Andy Lanza, Jack Martins, Greg Ball, Mark Grisanti and Marty Golden.

The North Country’s Senate seats would change dramatically under Cuomo’s redistricting bill, which lawmakers are balking at passing as-is.

The budget tension between Bloomberg and Cuomo is growing.

The fine print of Bloomberg’s budget recommends cutting the public advocate’s budget by 20 percent and each of the borough presidents’ budgets by as much as 36 percent – a proposal those elected officials have decried as a power play.

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Extras

Our own Errol Louis and his wife, Juanita Scarlett, make City Hall’s list of political power couples.

The next big thing: Legislators fleeing their respective states. Would New York senators go to…New Jersey? Vermont? Massachusetts? Canada?

Sen. Chuck Schumer insists New York won’t be the next Wisconsin.

The public sides with labor on collective bargaining.

“The governor’s office may be on expert on the governor’s office; the governor’s office is not an expert on the city,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

Bloomberg is is standing with Planned Parenthood.

Uh-oh, Rep. Richard Hanna.

Sen. John Thune is not running for president.

Congrats to DN columnist Juan Gonzalez.

NARAL Pro-Choice America is criticizing Reps. Nan Hayworth and Chris Gibson for voting to defund Planned Parenthood.

Assaults are up at New York prisons.

Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, whose future is the source of considerable speculation these days, is hosting a NCAA-themed fundraiser.

A Jeffries “confidant” says the assemblyman is likely to run for Congress in 2012 regardless of whether Rep. Ed Towns stays or goes. (NYC Councilman Charles Barron doesn’t believe it).

Cuomo is looking for a few good interns.

The state pension fund is now worth $140.6 billion.

One thing we haven’t yet seen in New York: Elected officials in tiger costumes.

Protestors on both sides of the “radicalization of Muslims” hearing demonstrated outside Rep. Pete King’s Long Island office.

Which Sarah Palin Facebook page is real?

Paladino, Roberto Endorse Corwin, Who’s Hitting The Hustings

No big surprise here. Buffalo businessman/former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino has been in Assemblywoman Jane Corwin’s corner since he decided not to run for former Rep. Chris Lee’s seat himself.

Nevertheless, in case you’re interested, here’s what he has to say about her candidacy, 24 hours after the NY-26 GOP leaders selected her as their preferred contender whenever Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls the special election:

“I am honored and thrilled today to once again reiterate my support and endorsement of Jane Corwin for Congress.”

“The challenges facing our country are enormous – runaway spending, overwhelming regulations, crushing deficits and unaffordable big government giveaways like Obamacare and wasteful bailouts.”

“Washington needs leadership that will stand up to the liberal special interests and Obama-Pelosi agenda and reclaim our country for taxpayers and everyday citizens. That’s why Jane is the right choice to represent us in Congress.”

“I’m a proud member of the Tea Party movement in New York, and together we helped change the face of Congress in November. Jane Corwin will be another member in our movement to take our country back.”

“As the 2nd most conservative member of the New York State Assembly in rankings by the New York State Conservative Party and the #1 Legislator of Unshackle Upstate, a New York reform organization, Jane knows we need to slash federal spending, balance the budget, end bailouts, oppose the Obama stimulus package and support repeal of Obamacare.”

“Most importantly, Jane knows how to create jobs, because she’s done it her entire life in the private sector. That’s the kind of leadership we need in Washington, and that’s why I am supporting Jane Corwin for Congress.”

There’s also a statement from Lenny Roberto, who’s described as an “active Tea Party member and founder of Primary Challenge” (he also ran against Rep. Brian Higgins last fall).

The point here, obviously is to push back against the portion of the Tea Party movement in WNY that isn’t on the Corwin train, seeming to prefer Bellavia instead. Clearly, this is a coordinated effort since the statements are remarkably similar.

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Slaughter’s Solution To NY’s Sex Scandal Problem

Priceless.

Here’s Rep. Louise Slaughter ruminating earlier today on the rash of sex-related scandals that have bedeviled New York in recent years – from former Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s prostitution problem, to former Rep. Vito Fossella’s out-of-wedlock baby scandal (the congresswoman mistakenly says he’s from Long Island; it’s actually Staten Island) to former Rep. Chris Lee’s recent Craigslist debacle.

“We’ve sure had a hard time with the district, though, haven’t we?,” Slaughter said. “…We’re pretty well known in Washington. Several people have asked me what’s going on up here.”

“…We also had one congressman, you know, from Long Island who had a second family nobody knew about and when he retired they say he said he wanted to spend more time with both families.”

“And so, I think the answer to that is to elect more women.”

Gillibrand Raises Off ‘Assault On Women’s Rights’

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sent the following fundraising appeal this morning in the wake of last week’s House vote defunding Planned Parenthood:

“The new Republican House has gone too far – and they’ve only just begun to implement their extreme agenda. Tens of thousands of you have stood up and joined me in the fight to stop the GOP’s assault on women’s rights and I can’t thank you enough.”

“This blatant disregard for women continues. On Friday, the House voted to repeal funding for Title X, which saves lives and is vital for family planning for so many Americans. As the radical right continues its march against women, we’re going to need your help.”

“Thank you again for standing with me at the forefront of this debate – your support is invaluable.”

Sincerely,
Kirsten

At the bottom of the e-mail is a big “contribute” button that takes supporters to the junior senator’s Website.

Gillibrand has seen her approval rating rise since her first statewide win last fall. She has to defend her seat again in 2012, and is starting almost from square one from a fundraising perspective, with just $614,593 on hand as of the end of December.

So far, at least two of Gillibrand’s failed 2010 challengers – David Malpass and former Rep. Joe DioGuardi – have expressed interest in a potential re-match.

NY-26 Conservatives In Demand, Monroe And Erie Leaning Corwin

Now that the NY-26 GOP leaders have, as expected, thrown their support to Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, competition has heated up for the Conservative Party line.

Hoping to avoid a repeat of the NY-23 nightmare (at least it was from a GOP perspective), Erie County Conservative Chairman Ralph Lorigo, who controls the largest share of the weighted vote in the district, told me that he’s inclined to support Corwin, too, but needs to wait and see what his committee members say when they meet tonight.

Lorigo said he has received daily calls from Republican Jack Davis, who is also making overtures to run on the Democratic line now that he has been rejected by the GOP.

“He made a big mistake going to Republicans and saying: If I don’t get endorsement, I’ll go to the Democrats,” Lorigo said of Davis. “That isn’t going to bode well on either side for him.”

Lorigo said his first choice to run for the seat vacated by former Rep. Chris Lee would have been Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino. The fact that the erstwhile gubernatorial candidate took a pass on the race and is supporting Corwin “is helpful to me,” the chairman said, adding:

“I have a great deal of respect for Carl…(He) brought us the third ballot position. For 16 years we fought to regain that, and there’s no question in my mind that he helped us regain that.”

Lorigo said he has also received calls from David Bellavia, who has Tea Party support and is reportedly mulling an independent run (he would have 12 days from the date Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls the special election to collect 3,500 valid signatures to gain access to the ballot.

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WFP Collects To ‘Send Pastrami To The Cheese State’

The labor-backed Working Families Party is raising cash to support the Wisconsin workers who are protesting their governor’s plan to cut benefits and change collective bargaining rules for most public employees, offering to send either money or food – whichever midwestern labor leaders prefer.

“The governor and his Right-Wing allies actually manufactured a budget crisis in order to advance their pro-corporate, anti-middle class agenda.” WFP Deputy Director Bill Lipton wrote in an e-mail fundraising appeal to party supporters.

“He’s a ‘trickle-down’ governor who pushed through irresponsible tax cuts that turned a budget surplus into a deficit. And now he wants working families to pay”

“Thankfully, the workers and their allies have said enough is enough. Democratic legislators have fled the state in order to prevent the Republican legislature from pushing through Walker’s anti-worker proposals. And the protests have continued for seven days – dubbed by some as the ‘Week of Rage.’”

“Will you join us in supporting these protesters with a $15 contribution? We’re in touch with the leaders of the Wisconsin protest, and we’ll send them a contribution or a care package to keep their efforts going – whatever they need. It takes a lot of food to keep 80,000 people on the ground.”

“The governor and his Right-Wing allies actually manufactured a budget crisis in order to advance their pro-corporate, anti-middle class agenda. He’s a “trickle-down” governor who pushed through irresponsible tax cuts that turned a budget surplus into a deficit. And now he wants working families to pay [2].

Thankfully, the workers and their allies have said enough is enough. Democratic legislators have fled the state in order to prevent the Republican legislature from pushing through Walker’s anti-worker proposals. And the protests have continued for seven days – dubbed by some as the “Week of Rage.” [3]

Will you join us in supporting these protesters with a $15 contribution? We’re in touch with the leaders of the Wisconsin protest, and we’ll send them a contribution or a care package to keep their efforts going – whatever they need. It takes a lot of food to keep 80,000 people on the ground.”

“Help us send some New York pastrami sandwiches with love to the Cheese State.”

Lipton goes on to attack the “corporate-backed Right Wing” that has been “coming after working families for thirty years,” adding: “(M)adison is our Cairo today. We need solidarity now more than ever, as this battle against the middle-class spreads like wildfire throughout the country.”

There’s a brief mention of New York in Lipton’s e-mail – “Here in New York, we need politicians to stand up for the common good. Today’s attacks in the Rust Belt remind us how serious and nasty the corporate-funded right-wing in America has become.”

But remember: The WFP signed on last fall to then-gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo’s “New New York Agenda,” which included things like a public employee pay freeze and the property tax cap – neither of which are particularly pro-union.

After ending his stalemate with the party and accepting its endorsement, the governor helped the WFP move up from Row E to Row D last fall, and so far, the party’s lobbying against his budget proposals has been fairly muted.

Help us send some New York pastrami sandwiches with love to the Cheese State: