Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein, a noted lecturer, recorded a robocall accusing David Weprin of defying Jewish law by voting “yes” on gay-marriage and urging Jewish voters to “abandon” him.

Wallerstein, who recorded the call for the National Organization for Marriage, admitted he knows nothing about Bob Turner and only wanted to make a public statement about same-sex marriage.

ADDED: “Proud Jewish Democrat” Assemblyman Dov Hikind robos for Turner so President Obama will “know we mean business” on his Israel policy.

El Diario denounced Turner as a “Tea Party zealot” and endorsed Weprin.

Weprin has already lost the social media contest to Turner.

Greg David thinks there will be a lesson for Gov. Andrew Cuomo in Weprin’s loss (if he loses).

Perhaps Weprin really was the best the Democrats could do, given the circumstances in NY-9?

A former hospital executive was convicted of bribing Sen. Carl Kruger, Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. and the late Assemblyman Tony Seminerio.

A judge temporarily denied a push the Manhattan DA’s office to limit questioning of Mayor Bloomberg and his staff during the upcoming theft trial of GOP operative John Haggerty.

Bloomberg, (pretend) defender of Michael J. Fox.

ADDED: The backstory of Bloomberg’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” cameo: The taping was altered so Bloomberg could squeeze in a golf game with the president.

NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn is being honored as “Woman of the Year” by a publisher who once honored Bloomberg as “King of Queens.”

Something about being in Jersey makes elected officials…sing?!

Rep. Pete King is crossing the pond to testify during a British Parliament committee hearing called “Roots of Violent Radicalisation.”

Tim Pawlenty endorsed his one-time 2012 GOP rival, Mitt Romney. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is expected to endorse Rick Perry.

The first post-shooting interview with Rep. Gabby Giffords goes to Diane Sawyer, but it won’t air until November.

This is very….odd. (H/T to The Albany Project).

Cuomo Reminds: APA, DEC Permit Suspensions Not Permanent

While in Keene today to announce the faster-than-expected re-opening of Rte. 73, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he is “happy and proud” of the suspension of permit requirements for emergency work in the Adirondack Park.

But the governor also stressed that the decision late last month to let the DEC and APA waive regulations many pro-business/development types consider too strict is neither a long-term nor an over-arching new policy, but rather something that was intended to help speed up post-storm recovery in the wake of Irene.

“What we said was we would suspend the regulations during this emergency period for projects that are repairing what was damaged,” Cuomo said.

“The theory is, you’re just replacing what was. It’s not a question of new contruction. It’s just repairing what was. To the extent that it was the repair of damage done, we would suspend the rules.”

“Longer term, there is a balance in all of this. There are regulations which are good ideas, which are prophylactic, and there’s the reality of development that has to be done, maintenance that has to be done, business that has to be done. And that balance has to be done on a case-by-case basis, and on a day-to-day basis.”

This will no doubt come as a relief to a number of environmentalists, who are worried the suspension of permits will lead to unchecked development in a very sensitive area.

Cuomo’s Q&A in Keene was pretty brief. He was asked about President Obama’s nearly $500 billion jobs plan, and sort of punted, avoiding taking any formal position on the proposal and saying that he’s “all for” jump-starting the economy.

We’re doing it. We’re all for it,” the governor said. “…To the extent that the president and this Congress get the national economy back on track, all the better for this state and this country.”

Ugly In 54th AD (Updated)

The Working Families Party and one of its top allies in Brooklyn, Rep. Nydia Velazquez, are denouncing an anonymous flier circulating in the 54th AD that alleges Assembly candidate Jesus Gonzalez would “welcome sex offenders into our community.”

“It’s time for a change in Brooklyn,” said Velazquez in a statement issued by the WFP. “This disgusting attack just shows what politics-as-usual has become. It’s time for reformers to step up and take the levers of power away from the machine.”

WFP Deputy Director Bill Lipton added: “This attack can be summed up in one word: despicable.”

The flier first appeared on The Brooklyn Politics blog, which has been assiduously covering the three-way race for former Assemblyman Darryl Towns’ seat. (As you’ll recall, he gave it up to become Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s housing czar).

The blog also has posted a video of the forum at which Gonzalez supposedly made the statement erroneously referred to in this unsigned lit.

The moment starts at about the 3-minute mark. The question is about halfway houses, and Gonzalez basically says that everyone needs a place to live, and also notes that not everyone living at a halfway house is a sex offender.

That flier is seriously dirty pool – especially for what at first blush seems to be a run-of-the-mill Assembly special election. But there’s obviously a lot at stake here, as has been evidenced in some of the recent coverage of this race. See here and here.

More >

Schumer: GOP Backing Off Opposition to FEMA Funding

Sen. Chuck Schumer is touring upstate flood damage today. This video is from his stop earlier today in Amsterdam. He’s in Binghamton, where some 1,000 people are still in shelters, this afternoon.

It’s a long clip, but at about the 2:30-minute mark, Schumer, who known for his ability and willingness to speak on any subject at any time, anywhere, is interrupted by a passing train.

He even manages to turn that into a positive, saying it’s proof that things are returning to normal, adding: “That’s a good sign…We’ll take the noise with the trains rather than no noise and no trains.”

The senator says he believes FEMA is going to move quickly to get a disaster declaration for impacted counties and help people get recovery assistance in the Mohawk Valley, and insisted he’s “very optimistic” that will happen.

“I was just on the phone right here with Administrator Fugate. The good news is that FEMA is a good agency. They don’t look to dot the i’s and cross the t’s and find 12 reasons why you shouldn’t get assistance. They’re very, very cooperative, and they are flexible…We are going to need lots of help from FEMA.”

Schumer said he thinks it’s “totally unfair” to ask local taxpayers to pick up all the recovery costs. Tomorrow, he said, the Democrats will put up a proposal to replenish FEMA’s funding, and those Republicans who had opposed that “seemed to be backing off…my view is that once the Senate does it, the House will do it as well.”

With Friends Like These…

As the Republicans try at every turn to tie Assemblyman David Weprin to President Obama in NY-9 and turn the race into a referendum on an unpopular administration, they’re getting some assistance from an likely source: National Democrats.

A reader forwarded the following email sent out by the DSCC’s executive director, Guy Cecil, on Saturday morning:

Dear XXX,

“Here’s something you might not know: Tuesday is Election Day in New York. And a Democratic candidate there could use your help.”

“David Weprin is working hard to get out his message – that families and seniors should always come before Big Oil and the wealthy. Meanwhile, his Tea Party opponent has vowed to fight President Obama every step of the way. By helping David, you’re helping Democrats fight back.”

“That’s why we’re asking New York-area Democrats to help get out the vote. Turnout is crucial in special elections, and every volunteer could make the winning difference. Can you dedicate a few hours to help David win?”

“…No campaign experience is necessary. All you need is a few spare hours, a willingness to help, and the desire to hand the Tea Party a defeat. Thanks for your help.”

I know the convention wisdom – including mine – has been this race is going to come down to a question of GOTV, but a Democratic operative whose opinion I trust rather gloomily pegged Weprin’s chance of victory tomorrow at 70 percent, adding:

“Organically, GOP voters turn out better than ours do. And there is NO motivation in the Dem base. Plus the DCCC came in late, and it takes time to build the kind of field operation they need. He could still pull it out – they finally had real numbers of boots on the ground yesterday, but everything’s shut down today so they have to do it all tomorrow/Tuesday.”

So basically, the national Democrats have decided linking Weprin to Obama while trying to motivate the true blue base in NY-9 is worth any negative fallout that might occur. After all, the assemblyman is trailing 6 perecntage points and the election is tomorrow…how much worse could things get?

Also, our own Leslie Mayes, a video producer who is now back home on the D.C. beat, Tweeted s short time ago that the president himself texted a GOTV message to his followers on Weprin’s behalf.

Koch, Malpass Robo For Turner

As Democrat David Weprin deploys former President Bill Clinton and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in automated phone calls to voters today, Republican Bob Turner is using former Mayor Ed Koch in a robocall urging NY-9 residents to go out and vote on Tuesday.

“You know why I’m calling for you, I want you to vote for Bob Turner on Tuesday,” Koch says in the call, adding that Turner wants to save Social Security. A common knock on the GOP candidate from Democrats is that he would go along with the controversial Paul Ryan budget plan.

Koch, a Democrat with a history of endorsing Republicans, backed Turner early in the race.

Meanwhile, separately, 2010 Senate candidate David Malpass is also getting involved in the race, recording a call for Turner as well from his political action committee, Grow PAC.

Malpass, who failed to get the Republican nomination to challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand last year, is likely interested in running again. Gillibrand must run again in 2012 for a full term and so far only Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos has formally entered the race.

Malpass has lent his voice for similar calls, including Republican Jane Corwin’s failed bid earlier this year.

The Malpass robocall can be heard here.

And here’s a recording of the Koch call.

Crucial North Country Highway To Reopen Today

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this morning that Route 73 in Essex County will reopen at noon today, months ahead of schedule.


“Route 73 is a vital highway connecting residents and businesses in the North Country and today’s reopening is an important step in our recovery from Hurricane Irene,” the governor said in a news release.

“Many communities here in Essex County were hit hard by the storm, and we must continue to help towns like Keene recover and rebuild. I want to thank the hardworking men and women for coming together to get this project done for the people of the North Country.”

Gov. Cuomo ordered for an expedited reopening of the state route, which is the main point of access to the Northway for Adirondack communities such as Keene, Lake Placid, and Saranac Lake.

The governor’s office says approximately 150,000 tons of stone were used and construction workers logged a total of 2,700 hours during the project. Equipment used included 27 contractor trucks, additional DOT trucks, 3 excavators, 2 light plants, 2 vibratory rollers, and various tree and debris removal machinery.

Clinton, Cuomo Phone For Weprin

As the special election in the NY-9 comes down to the wire, former President Bill Clinton and Gov. Andrew Cuomo recorded robocalls for Democrat David Weprin.

The assemblyman, who had once been considered a shoo-in, has been pulling out nearly every stop after an unexpectedly spirited challenge from Republican Bob Turner.

The Cuomo call can be found here and the Clinton call can be found here.

While Cuomo pushes the issue of social service programs at the federal level, Clinton knocks the tea party and says Democrats are best suited for job creation

Here’s Cuomo:

Hello, this is Governor Andrew Cuomo asking you to support David Weprin in tomorrow’s special election for Congress. I’ve known David for many years, and I’ve known him to be a leader who stands up for what’s right.”

“In Congress he’ll stand up for middle class families and he’ll fight to preserve Social Security and Medicare. David will bring jobs to New York and get our economy moving. That’s why he’s also been endorsed by the New York Times. Once again, this is Governor Andrew Cuomo and I’m asking you to support David Weprin for Congress. I hope you will.

And Clinton’s script:

Hello, this is President Bill Clinton. I’m calling to ask you to support David Weprin in today’s special election for Congress.”

“The New York Times endorsed David. They support him for the same reasons I do: because he’ll stand up for the middle class, he’ll support a good program to put Americans back to work, and he’ll oppose the Tea Party plan to destroy Medicare. Again, it’s President Bill Clinton, I’m proud to support David Weprin for Congress and I hope you will too. Thanks.

Both Cuomo and Clinton are very popular with the Democratic base. Expect to see a massive get out the vote effort today and tomorrow from the Weprin campaign.

Liz adds: These are paid for by the Democratic National Committee – yet another sign of the concern down in D.C. about this seat. Also, it will be interesting to see if either Cuomo or Clinton – or heck, maybe both of them – show up to do any in-person events with Weprin at the 11th hour…time is really running out, though.

Here And Now

It’s the day after the 10th anniversary of 9/11 – a day filled with reflections, ceremonies, pain and hope – and it’s mostly (with a few exceptions) back to business as usual for NY pols.

Attention now is turning to tomorrow’s NY-9 special election, with panicked Democrats preparing for the possibility of a big loss that will be widely interpreted as a referendum on President Obama.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is back in the North Country today. He’ll make an announcement regarding flood damage at 11 a.m. on the North Side of Closed Route 73 Bridge in St. Hubert’s Hamlet (Town of Keene).

Mayor Bloomberg greets the first members of the public to visit the National September 11th Memorial with Memorial President Joe Daniels and Designers Michael Arad and Peter Walker at 10 a.m. At 1 p.m., he plants a tree in honor of 9/11 with Community Board 1.

A PPP poll shows Bob Turner headed for a “huge upset” over Assemblyman David Weprin in NY-9, with the Queens businessman leading 47-41 – the same 6-point spread as last week’s Siena poll.

Turner is scheduled to hold a “significant” news conference at 2 p.m. at the Forest Hills Long Island Railroad Station in Queens – the same spot he announced his campaign and where TR delivered his “One Hundred Percent American” speech in 1916.

Weprin will campaign at a Queens senior center with NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other elected officials at 11 a.m. as part of a last-minute GOTV push into tomorrow’s special election. Rep. Crowley will rally with the assemblyman at his Forest Hills campaign HQ at 12:45 p.m.

Turner’s wife, a former hospice nurse, pushes back against Democratic claims he’ll slash Medicare and Social Security, hurting seniors. “I would never be married to a man who would hurt helpless people.”

GOP pollster John McLaughlin says top Democrats have told him they’re privately rooting for Turner in hopes of sending a “wake-up call” to the president.

Fackcheck.org says the DCCC’s ad slamming Turner is “false.”

A Turner win “would be a real eye-opener,” says NPR’s Ken Rudin, “especially as Obama is gearing up for his re-election campaign and already is hearing grumblings from many in his party base.”

Doug Muzzio washes his hands of NY-9, saying: “The whole thing is a mess. And it’s all because of Anthony Weiner’s bizarre behavior.”

A Democratic operative calls Weprin’s campaign “a perfect storm of horrible.”

More >

The Weekend That Was

The nation and the world paused today to remember a terrible day 10 years ago.

United 93 family members gathered in Shanksville, Pa.

A look at how the Pentagon has changed in the last 10 years.

One of the stolen vans that stoked security fears today was recovered by the NYPD.

The new World Trade Center will be both sacred ground and office space.

The attacks forever altered New York City’s political landscape and culture.

Was the nation a bit jumpy today? Yes, a bit jumpy.

Here’s a heartbreaking photo gallery of today’s Sept. 11 memorial events around the country (fixed).

A sign that the NY-9 special election has gone from rough to nasty? A leaked divorce filing.

Democrats in the NY-9 aren’t impressed with David Weprin.

The national Republican Party is beginning to dip its toe in the NY-9.

The Southern Tier is still underwater and thousands are in shelters.

FEMA claims Irene victims in New York are missing out on aid.

PEF President Ken Brynien is defending the union’s labor agreement with the Cuomo administration in a lengthy audio address.

The Buffalo Common Council race could be seen as a referendum on Mayor Byron Brown.

Is the Cuomo administration trying to fast track hydrofracking?

Prosecutors in the John Haggerty trail want to introduce evidence he had an affair.

The Haggerty case is yet another problem for Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Fewer people are living in the Adirondack Park and they’re getting older.

Suffolk County DA Thomas Spota is offering refunds to those who contributed to County Executive Steve Levy.

Dozens of candidates running for office this year would qualify as “double dippers” if elected.

Ambitious politicians are now backing same-sex marriage.

Count Frank Bruni among the city dwellers giving a thumbs up to the aggressive work of bicycle maven Janette Sadik-Khan.

Here’s Paul Simon singing “The Sound of Silence” at the Sept. 11 memorial.