Oct 21st - 9:02 pm
Sen. Neil Breslin was pulled over two nights ago by a State Police trooper and given a field sobriety test, which he passed, a spokesman for the Senate Democrats confirmed.
“On Tuesday night, Senator Breslin was pulled over by a State Trooper after flashing his high-beams at a car that abruptly cut him off,” Austin Shafran said in a prepared statement.
“After providing the officer with a valid license and registration, Senator Breslin agreed to a routine field test, which he immediately passed. No tickets were issued, and no charges were filed.”
A State Police spokesman declined to comment, saying the agency’s policy is to not release information about people who are pulled over and subsequently found to have done nothing wrong.
Word of the Delmar attorney’s recent bush with the law got the rumor mill running in high gear today, particularly since it comes so close to the general election, in which Breslin is being challenged by Republican Bob Domenici and Reform Party candidate Michael Carey.
The campaign has not been entirely smooth for Breslin, although he held off a spirited primary challenge from his fellow Democrat, Luke Martland, on Sept. 14.
Breslin spent several hours holed up in his office at the state Capitol while a YNN reporter, Solomon Syed, who made it clear he was there to speak with the senator about the incident Tuesday night, waited outside. A secretary told Syed no one was in the senator’s office.
As it turns out, Breslin was in his office, and he eventually spoke to Syed.
The senator told Syed he had been waiting for members of the media to leave so he could go home and watch a ball game. He told Syed the same details of the incident that Shafran had provided in his statement, saying he had gotten out of the car and walked along the line by the side of the road. He was not issued a breathalyzer.
Oct 21st - 7:49 pm
7:56: Gillibrand starts closing statement by talking about Washington being broken, saying that transparency is her top priority. Wants to reform the filibuster process to help lawmakers get the people’s business done. Uses catch phrase, “this election is all about who we fight for… I want to see made in America again.”
DioGuardi says that Gillibrand has failed in her two year trial and now he wants a two year trial. Says he will be the kind of Senator who tells you what you need to hear. Brings up his favorite – “You need a certified public accountant.” DioGuardi steps on our time restrictions.
7:55pm: Juan asks the candidates about random checks on Amtrak trains of passengers immigration status. Sorry – missed the responses to this one, as well, due to temporary technical difficulties.
7:53pm: Erin asks DioGuardi a question about campaign finance reform… unfortunately, I had a wireless meltdown so I had to stop blogging temporarily. Both candidates expressed concerns about the money being spent during campaigns and where it comes from.
7:50pm: Liz asks Gillibrand: After spending time working for Andrew Cuomo at the us department of housing and urban development, you have a unique view into his management style, which has come under criticism by some former members of the attorney general’s office. What, if anything, would you say Cuomo needs to do to improve his approach when and if he’s elected governor?
Gillibrand says that Cuomo has strong leadership and management style. Says that Cuomo has the skills necessary to help this state deal with the serious problems facing it. Will not offer any criticism of Cuomo’s management style – says it is what NY needs.
DioGuardi says he wishes Cuomo would debate one-on-one to shine a light on Cuomo’s tenure at HUD.
Liz asks DioGuardi whether, in light of everything that has happened in recent weeks, he would be an effective governor.
DioGuardi says we should let him continue to make his case to the people and let them choose. Says he would vote for him.
7:47pm: Roma asks DioGuardi about whether all the attention to Gillibrand’s appearance is appropriate.
DioGuardi says, “Let me ask you this – do you want a Senator who strikes a pose, or do you want a certified public account?”
Gillibrand says she thinks it is irrelevant and candidates should be judged on their qualification. Says that many women choose not to go into public service because of the double standards in politics.
DioGuardi says he has a very strong mother and a very strong wife and raised a strong daughter, Kara (of American Idol fame – my note).
Oct 21st - 7:47 pm
“Yes” or “no” answers only, please!
Has the Tea Party movement been good for America?
Gillibrand: (Long pause) No.
Should sugary drinks be taxed?
Have you texted or used a handheld cellphone while driving?
Should victims of rape and incest have the right to choose abortion?
Should Andrew Cuomo debate Carl Paladino one-on-one?
Should the Guantanamo prisoners be tried in military tribunals instead of US criminal court?
Should the NYC commuter tax be restored?
Should Alan Hevesi go to prison?
Gillibrand: (Long pause) It’s a prosecutor’s decision.
Should smoking be banned at state and national parks and beaches?
Would David Paterson make a better US Senator than Governor?
Would you attend the groundbreaking for the Islamic cultural center and mosque near the WTC site?
Would Hillary Clinton make a good VP candidate in 2012?
DioGuardi: (Long pause) Could be. No.
Would you like to see congestion pricing established in NYC?
Gillibrand: (Long pause) No.
Did Anita Hill tell the truth?
Is the rent too damn high?
DioGuardi: I agree.
Oct 21st - 7:33 pm
Posted by Elizabeth Alesse in [...]
7:39pm: Liz asks Gillibrand: Hillary Clinton once pledged to create 200,000 jobs for New York while serving in the US Senate, but New York lost some 35,000 jobs during her tenure. How many jobs, specifically, can you say you have either directly or indirectly helped bring to the state since inheriting Clinton’s seat last winter and how many more might be realized if you are elected to serve out the rest of her term?
Gillibrand says you can’t say how many jobs have been created, but that the bottom line is that government doesn’t create jobs, people do. She says her job is to facilitate entrepreneurship. She says passes the lending bill has been a big priority and it was just passed. Senate also just passes tax cuts for small businesses.
Liz presses her on whether it is appropriate for politician to promise specific number of jobs.
Gillibrand says you can’t commute it, but continues to discuss the importance of creating a hospitable climate for job creation. Says the number one thing to create jobs is creating access to capital.
DioGuardi says Gillibrand has been in Washington for two years and we’ve lost thousands of jobs, saying obviously her report card is not good. Says that we are in a toxic environment in this state mainly because of Gillibrand’s party.
7:36pm: Erin asks DioGuardi whether a special election should be called to replace US Senators rather than an appointment process.
DioGuardi seems confused by the question. After some clarification, he says he thinks maybe a special election would be a good idea. Says other reforms – like redistricting reform are crucial.
Gillibrand says this is the process in NYS and then pivots to campaign platform pitch – something similar to her campaign ads.
When pressed, Gillibrand says she thinks the process is fine.
7:33pm: Juan asks For Gillibrand: For decades many in the Democratic Party try to pass Healthcare Reform. So why do you think many candidates from your party are now running away from it or even against it?
Gillibrand says that she still supports Healthcare Reform and cites its benefits. Says one of the most urgent issues facing the countries is moving us from an ER-based system.
Juan asks why people are running away from it. She says a lot of people don’t understand what is in the reform bill. Says that when she explains it to people, they like what they hear.
Juan asks whether her colleagues who are running against it would rather do so than explain it. She says she can’t speak for others.
DioGuardi bemoans the influence of lawyers on the medical profession, saying it does nothing to reduce the cost of health care.
7:31pm: Devlin asks DioGuardi: Your main credential for running for Senate is your experience as an accountant, saying you will help balance the nation’s books. If accounting is your strength, how do you explain the problems the Federal Election Commission and the IRS have found in your bookkeeping?
DioGuardi asks what specifically he is asking about. Devlin references a car dealership in Westchester. DioGuardi says that it was the fault of an individual who worked for him and nothing came of it – he was never fined.
Devlin asks about the IRS and he says that when he threatened to go to tax court, they settled. Says it was a routine audit.
Gillibrand uses her rebuttal to says that these are serious issues that the voters deserve to know about.
DioGuardi says his life is an open book.
Oct 21st - 6:05 pm
Posted by Elizabeth Alesse in [...]
Liz A. here! We’re back at it again. Another statewide debate airing live across NYS on YNN and NY1. This evening, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) and former Congressman Joe DioGuardi (R) are going toe to toe tonight.
I’ll be hunkered down in the corner of the auditorium typing like a mad woman. Keep refreshing for the rapid fire updates. Wish me luck and enjoy!!
7:20pm: Devlin asks Gillibrand US counterterrorism officials are heavily engaged in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and are increasingly concerned about terrorists in Yemen and Somalia. In which of these countries should the US be doing more, in which should we be doing less?
Gillibrand jokes, “And I have one minute?” Says she is very concerned about Yemen and Somalia, though she does not necessarily advocate a military presence there. Says the troop draw down in Iraq is the right idea. Says that investments in Pakistan present a risky situation. Says she voted for an end date to deployment in Afghanistan.
Devlin asks Gillibrand what the priority fronts are in the war on terror. Gillibrand says that you need to take a world view and one of her focuses is cyber terror.
DioGuardi asks how Devlin could have forgotten Iran – and Gillibrand points out that he did, in fact, ask about Iran. DioGuardi says that now that we know the facts about Iraq, it was a big mistake.
Gillibrand asks to respond on Iran and gets 30 seconds. Says what we’ve seen from Iran is supplying weapons to our enemies.
7:15pm: Juan asks DioGuardi: The NYC Department of Education is poised to release to the public in the coming weeks Teacher Data Reports, which are based on student scores on state tests. We are talking about the names and scores of 12,000 teachers from 4th through 8th grades. Should these names be made public or just included in an internal document?
DioGuardi says when it comes to education, we need to be transparent. Says we need to make sure that people are doing their job. Cites report that US is ranked low in terms of education. Says if it requires publishing names to achieve more success in school, so be it.
Juan asks whether teachers who fail should be fired.
DioGuardi asks what’s wrong with performance?
Gillibrand says she isn’t familiar with the report Juan is referring to, but stresses the importance of education reform. Juan jumps in and asks whether teacher’s names should be published if they receive a failing grade.
Gillibrand says that she doesn’t know what Juan is talking about, but in the abstract she does not support the idea of making teachers scapegoats for a school’s failure.
DioGuardi uses his rebuttal to slam NYS for the level of its taxes and says it needs to lower the cost of education.
7:12: Erin asks Gillibrand: A federal appeals court yesterday temporarily stalled a judge’s decision that would allow openly gay recruits to be accepted into the military. While President Obama says he wants the policy to end, he argues that military rules should be set by president and Congress, not judges, Do you agree with him?
Gillibrand lays out the reasons for her opposition to DADT, calling it a policy that must be repealed legislatively because it is a law. She says that courts can be involved because it has to do with the Constitution because you can’t tell your CO who you are and who you love.
She clarifies that the law must be repealed legislatively in the end, but would be happy if it was not enforced due to court order.
DioGuardi rebuts by saying, “what’s the hurry?” Thinks the issue has to be examined by generals in the context of national security.
Erin asks whether he would be bothered by fighting alongside a gay soldier if he were enlisted. He said, “not at all.” He wants to hear what military personnel think.
Gillibrand jumps in to say that the military has already weighed in and support the repeal of the policy.
7:06pm: Liz asks DioGuardi about an instance in which he broke with then-Pres. Reagan.
He says Reagan could not count on his vote during his tenure in Congress. Assures voters he will be an independent voice if elected Senator. ”Parties are not working the way they should,” he says in conclusion.
Liz follows up with Gillibrand asking when she has broken with Pres. Obama and Sen. Schumer – both of whom protected her from a primary challenge.
Gillibrand says she is an independent voice for NY. Says she won’t take a back seat to NYers. Thinks it is a false question because she shares core values with Schumer and lists them. Says the question shouldn’t be where they differ, though she is glad he agrees with her so often. Does say that there are differences in their approaches.
Liz presses her on votes that differ from Schumer/Obama. She says she differed with Schumer on whether stimulus funds could go to charities. Says she had a different approach from Obama on DADT about whether to appeal a judge’s ruling.
7:03pm: Roma asks Gillibrand why she voted against TARP that broke ranks with her fellow Democrats and whether it was a political move.
Gillibrand calls herself an independent voice for NYers. Says the legislation lacked provisions for accountability and her concern was that taxpayers would have to foot the bill.
Roma follows up by saying that economists say TARP was a good idea, so does she regret her vote.
Gillibrand says no.
DioGuardi uses his rebuttal to go after Gillibrand for voting for the stimulus plan. Says that makes it clear that she is not independent from the Democratic adminstration.
7pm: And we’re off!! The candidates have entered the stage. Gillibrand received slightly more boisterous applause.
Gillibrand begins by talking about NYers who have lost their jobs and families struggling to make ends meets. She says her opponent supporters failed Bush policies and doesn’t support a woman’s right to choose.
Gillibrand sound very well-practiced and smooth, yet scripted.
DioGuardi sounds a bit more off the cuff and is speaking considerably slower. He is slamming Gillibrand for forcing this country to borrow from other countries and contributing to the national debt. ”Sen. Gillibrand is threatening the American dream,” he says.
Says he will “rock the boat in Washington.” And he snuck in a plug for his website after the end of his alloted time.
6:47pm: It is nearly go time! Here’s a picture of the Gillibrand supporters who gathered outside. They were cheering and trying to get cars to honk as they passed.
6pm: The candidates have arrived and the crew is in place. There is a crowd of rather rowdy Gillibrand supporters making noise outside.
The format for this evening’s face off is similar to that of our previous debates. The order in which the candidates will speak and stand was determined by coin toss. Gillibrand won (if you want to call it that) and will go first.
The candidates will deliver one minute opening statements and then the questions will begin starting with moderator, NY1 anchor Roma Torre. The other panelists are Capital Tonight host and everyone’s favorite blogger Liz Benjamin, NY1 political reporter Erin Billups and WSJ reporter Devlin Barrett.
There will then be a “cross examination” portion during which the candidates will ask each other a q
uestion that has not been pre-screened by YNN or NY1.
Then there’s another round of questions, followed by the ever-popular lightning round and, if time allows, more questions.
The evening will conclude with closing statement.
Oct 21st - 6:03 pm
Andrew Cuomo found Monday night’s debate “informative” and “entertaining,” but he’s not inclined to go through that again.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is running a populist campaign and relying heavily on labor support.
DiNapoli rejected a $7.5 billion state technology contract.
Mayor Mike “geek-at-heart” Bloomberg is headed to California to endorse Meg Whitman, with a pit stop at Facebook.
Cuomo released his “Urban Agenda” today.
State GOP Chairman Ed Cox and state Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long are co-hosting a fundraiser for Carl Paladino in Manhattan tonight. (No link).
The AG also met with black leaders in Brooklyn and thanked them for supporting him over their local NYC councilman, Charles Barron.
Michael Reagan, radio show host and son of the late President Reagan, endorsed Joe DioGuardi’s US Senate bid.
Former GOP Sen. Mike Balboni is fundraising for his one-time Democratic colleague, Sen. Eric Schneiderman.
Assemblyman Joe Morelle is “deeply disappointed” with Gov. David Paterson’s veto of an autism insurance bill.
Harry Wilson was endorsed by Unshackle Upstate and Rudy Giuliani.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wishes people would spend less time talking about her looks.
Former Gov. George Pataki has “no plan” to endorse Paladino between now and Nov. 2, but noted there’s still almost two weeks between now and Election Day.
David Malpass founded a new PAC that is wading into upstate House races.
The Atlantic (with a h/t to Gate) explains why Jimmy McMillan will never be governor.
Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. crossed party lines to endorse Republican Michael Faulkner against Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel.
Oct 21st - 5:28 pm
The Cook Political Report has reclassified two NY House races:
Scott Murphy (D)
Toss Up. Republicans gripe about retired Army Col. Chris Gibson’s disorganized campaign organization, but even Democrats’ polling shows this race tightening to the single digits.
Some Republican polling shows Gibson narrowly ahead. This is the type of marginal district Democrats need to hold onto to keep their losses under 50 seats.
Maurice Hinchey (D)
Lean Democratic. Republican teacher George Phillips hopes that new video of a mild altercation between Hinchey and a local reporter reinforces some voters’ impression of the incumbent as a hotheaded partisan who is past his prime on the stump and in Congress.
Phillips is penniless, but the GOP-allied American Crossroads just launched a huge ad buy in the cheap Binghamton market, giving him desperately needed air cover. Hinchey’s carefully gerrymandered district includes liberal Ithaca and other Democratic-leaning areas, making the math difficult for Phillips, but Republicans are seeing some encouraging polling.
Oct 21st - 3:01 pm
Campaign ads, they’re not just for campaigns anymore.
MoveOn.org members who live in New York released a homemade TV ad that aims to counteract the spending by so-called “corporate front groups” like American Crossroads and 60 Plus on behalf of Republican congressional hopeful Chris Gibson, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Scott Murphy in NY-20.
The ad features picture of MoveOn members holding up signs that proclaim their independence from “oil billionaires who are trying to buy this election,” adding: “This is OUR ad made by hard working Americans, who live right here in New York.”
“It’s becoming harder and harder for ordinary voters here to get our voices out, and if corporate CEOs and lobbyists are shelling out big money to support Gibson, he is going to owe them,” said Rachel Usher, a local MoveOn member who appears in the ad.
“Who’s going to represent ordinary families in New York then?”
According to the press release that accompanied a link to the ad, the members fundraised and personally contributed to get the spot on the air. It will be running in the Capital Region and other parts of the district. The release does not specify whether the MoveOn members are NY-20 residents.
Also, MoveOn doesn’t exactly lack for resources or grassroots support.
Oct 21st - 1:59 pm
Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos has seized on today’s scathing IG report on AEG as proof that state government is suffering mightily under the “arrogance” of single-party rule.
“This scandal proves once again that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and makes the best case for having checks and balances in state government,” Skelos said in a press release.
“The Inspector General’s words regarding this corrupt process conducted by Senate Democrats simply could not be strong enough. I encourage the Manhattan District Attorney to conduct a thorough investigation into the corrupt bidding process and into the possible perjury committed by Senate Democrats and their staff in testimony to the Inspector General.”
Skelos said the IG report “confirms what I said in February, that the initial award of the Aqueduct VLT contract to AEG reeked of favoritism and was a corrupt a backroom deal,” adding:
“The disgraceful, criminal conduct of Senate Democrats exposed by the Inspector General makes it clear they were only looking after their own political best interests, not the public’s.”
It should be said that the Senate GOP is no strange to corruption scandals (Exhibit A: Former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno; Exhibit B: Former Sen. Guy Velella).
But this particularly scandal could not come at a worse time for the Democrats, who are engaged in a take-no-prisoners battle with the GOP for control of the chamber.
Oct 21st - 1:40 pm
Some interesting exchanging of campaign cash has been reported on the state Board of Elections’ 24-hour notice list, such as:
- $100,000 from the Senate GOP to former NYC Councilman Anthony Como’s campaign.
He’s the GOP candidate running against Democratic Queens Sen. Joe Addabbo. This race hasn’t been on the must-watch list, although some Republicans have insisted it might be a sleeper. Apparently, someone’s internal polls are looking promising.
- $35,000 from NYSUT’s PAC to the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee.
The teachers are usually staunch allies of the Assembly Democrats. But if Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver loses his 108-vote veto-proof majority, the Republican conference will take on a whole new level of importance – particularly during a tough budget battle in which likely Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made clear that everything – including education aid – will be on the cutting table.