Schumer Stumps For ‘Vintage WNYer’ Hochul

Senior Senator Charles Schumer made a campaign stop for Democrat Kathy Hochul today in Amherst, calling her a vintage Western New Yorker, and making the case that she is the best person to send to DC because of her position on Medicare.

There is a major issue in this campaign. In this district we have a lot of people on Medicare or that will soon be on Medicare. There is a dramatic difference between Kathy and her opponent. Her opponent basically wants to dramatically change Medicare so, that many think it would end in any form that we know it.

Kathy understands that we have to cut the costs in Medicare, and cut out the waste, but keep the basic program as it is and keep the benefits. And that has been a major struggle in Washington, and it will be. And this election in a sense will be the vote heard round the world. Or certainly around the country. Because everyone will look and say, is Kathy’s view on Medicare the more acceptable view, or is her opponents.

Medicare has been the major issue in this race. And was the main reason the Buffalo News endorsed Hochul.

During the Q and A, as expected, Hochul was asked about the flap between Corwin’s campaign and Jack Davis. Both Hochul and Schumer dodged a direct answer. Hochul saying she is “laser focused” on the race.

Note: Video is raw, so please excuse the cutaway shots.

Schumer Emails, Campaigns For Hochul

Sen. Chuck Schumer sent out a fundraising appeal on behalf of Democratic NY-26 contender Kathy Hochul, calling her surge in the polls “absolutely incredible” and deeming the May 24 special election his party’s “first chance” to send a message to the House Republicans.

Schumer was scheduled to campaign with Hochul this morning at The Family Tree Restaurant in Amherst.

“Ever since Republicans took the majority in the U.S. House, they’ve pushed a non-stop platform of unpopular and destructive ideas, like ending Medicare while preserving tax breaks for millionaires,” Schumer wrote.

“Kathy’s special election, in one of the reddest districts in the state this May 24, is our first chance to show them how much it’s going to cost them. Let’s get her over the top.”

“Kathy is exactly who we need in Congress. She is a tireless fighter for jobs, someone who will always do right by middle class families in her district, and a strong leader who will stand up to the hard right.

“Washington insiders and the media are closely watching this race. If Kathy can win a dramatic grassroots victory in this Republican stronghold, it would give Democrats the momentum in our fight to preserve Medicare and stop the Republicans’ reckless agenda.
That’s why hard right groups have just launched a smear campaign against her.”

“This race is winnable, but time is running short. We must keep Kathy on the air so she can keep fighting back against the special interest-funded attacks. With the eyes of the world watching, let’s show them exactly the kind of victory that grassroots Democrats are capable of.”

Schumer’s appeal comes on the heels of a similar email from junior Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, an early and enthusiastic Hochul supporter. Gillibrand has said she’ll head to the WNY district to campaign for the Erie County clerk in the campaign’s final days.

Buffalo News To Endorse Hochul

The Buffalo News is endorsing Democrat Kathy Hochul in the race for NY’s 26th Congressional District. The article comes out in the Sunday edition – but we were able to get a copy of the article below.

The BN says both Hochul and Republican Jane Corwin are “capable and well informed” but they are backing the Erie County Clerk because she has a “more rounded grasp of government in the 21st Century.”

The paper quickly gets to the issue that seems to be driving this race. Health Care. They praise Hochul for her understanding of the issue, while criticizing Corwin for supporting the Ryan budget which they say will turn Medicare into a voucher system. (Note: Many Republicans argue that this isn’t true.)

All the candidates get praise for their message of cutting the deficit. But the BN says Hochul has the best ability to do that, while also “guarding against an assault on the role of government itself.”

News Endorsement

Extras

The NY-26 race has created some strange bedfellows.

MoveOn.org is getting involved for Kathy Hochul, while the NRCC has upped its ad buy for Jane Corwin.

Corwin has now loaned her campaign $1.96 million.

Corwin’s chief of staff, Michael Mallia, may have left the state after last night’s altercation with Jack Davis.

Does Cuomo’s teacher evaluation proposal give Bloomberg a bargaining chip with the UFT?

Mulgrew plays a words game with UFT members.

Mayor Bloomberg rejected the suggestion the runaway peahen was protesting the Bronx Zoo’s budget cut.

NYC Councilman Charles Barron won’t join the fray against Congress against Rep. Ed Towns is Kevin Powell wants to take another crack at him.

Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries is raising cash for his likely challenge to Towns.

Mitt Romney seems to have shot himself in the foot on health care.

Rep. Pete King saw Osama bin Laden’s photos and now believes “he’s definitely dead.”

Bid Laden didn’t consider VP Joe Biden worth targeting.

Mike Huckabee will announce his 2012 decision Saturday.

HSBC is keeping its HQ in Buffalo “for the time being.”

Who fared better from Cuomo’s Buffalo visit: Mayor Byron Brown or Assemblyman Sam Hoyt?

NYC Councilman Juumane Williams thinks Bloomberg needs more fiber.

Rep. Ryan Raises Cash For Corwin

Rep. Paul Ryan, whose Medicare overhaul proposal has become a flashpoint in the NY-26 special election, sent out an “urgent” fundraising appeal this evening on behalf of the Republican contender, Assemblywoman Jane Corwin.

Ryan is trying to raise $5,000 for Corwin through his PAC, Prosperity Project.

“This will come as no surprise to many of you, but the playbook the Democrats and special interests have been using to attack me is being used right now in New York’s 26th District,” the Wisconsin Republican wrote to his supporters.

“You know the drill: they spread all kinds of falsehoods about the Path to Prosperity and see what sticks. Jane Corwin needs our help.”

“…As the New York Times has pointed out, my budget plan is at the center of the campaign: ‘After leveling a barrage of attacks against the proposal put forth by Mr. Ryan, the Democratic candidate Kathy Hochul, has tightened the race considerably…’”

“I’ve told you all along that one of the goals of the Prosperity Project is to back up those who agree with us that Washington’s spending is out of control and we have to do something about it. Jane Corwin is one of those people. Let’s back her up. Let’s put our money where our mouths are.”

At the end of the email, Ryan assures his backers that Corwin isn’t shying away from his plan, in spite of the fact that the Democrats are trying to use it as a wedge issue in the campaign.

I’m not sure if this is going to help or hurt Corwin.

Certainly, it will add more fuel to this particular fire for the Democrats, although maybe anyone whose vote is going to hinge on the Medicare issue (note that 22 percent of NY-26 residents are senior citizens) already knows about it.

NYSUT: Tisch Response To Cuomo ‘Disturbing’

The state United Teachers union late this afternoon released a statement expressing their concern over what appeared to be Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch’s willingness to quickly incorporate the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s suggestions for revised teacher evaluation standards.

“Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch’s statement regarding regulations applicable to the Teacher and Principal Evaluation Law is extremely disturbing. Understandably, the opinion of the Governor’s office must be given great consideration. However, in this case, the Chancellor’s statement is clearly outside the scope of the legislation first proposed jointly by SED and NYSUT and signed into law.”

Cuomo earlier today released a letter sent to Tisch calling for sharper standards for teachers, which would incorporate both test scores and in-the-classroom observations in order to conduct teacher evaluations.

Tisch responded later that amended evaluation guidelines will be released including the governor’s suggestions.

But the union says Tisch’s statement is “clearly outside the scope of the legislation” first jointly put forward by the state Department of Education and NYSUT.

Here’s the full statement: More >

Jimmy McMillan, Tea Party Spokesman (!?)

Jimmy McMillan is loaning his visage and trademark “too damn high” slogan to a Tea Party-backed push for expanded oil exploration by appearing in a video proclaiming the evils of ever-escalating gas prices.

(H/t to Dave Weigel, who calls McMillan a “New York-based political anger-puppet” and marvels at his ability to outlast his atlotted 15 minutes of fame).

McMillan, as you’ll recall, insists he’s going to run for president in 2012 as a Republican. He even showed up at the CPAC back in February. As Weigel says, now we know why.

Suny Research Prez Fires Back, Demands Probe

After being slapped by the Public Integrity Commission with charges that he awarded a “no-show” job to ex-Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno’s oldest daughter, SUNY Research Foundation President John O’Connor is firing back by filing a complaint of his own.

In a statement released through his lawyer, O’Connor knocks the commission for “its brief, sad history” and filed a complaint with the state Inspector General Ellen Biben, charging that former Executive Director Herbert Teitlebaum with harassing him.

From the statement:

“As this case clearly demonstrates, the commission has lost sight of its mission, and for the second time in its brief history has eviscerated its reputation by leaking information to the press and failing to safeguard the rights of those under its jurisdiction.”

O’Connor’s lawyer Karl Sleight wrote in a letter to Biben that Teitelbaum, who left office after he was investigated by IG’s office during the Troopergate affair, that the SUNY president had been “victimized on multiple occasions” by the commission.

The PIC alleges O’Connor broke the public officer’s law when he gave a job to Susan Bruno, which an investigation revealed was a no-show job at the foundation. If found guilty, O’Connor faces a $10,000 fine.

JJO Media Package 5.13.11 (HBROC-1590393 v1)

Ball Slams Leibell For ‘Complete Disconnect From Reality’

Sen. Greg Ball, the man who took Vincent Leibell’s Senate seat, ended his silence today at the news that his old rival had been given a 21-month jail sentence and slammed him for trying wiggle out of prison through an unusual request.

Leibell had asked for leniency in his federal corruption case, suggesting that he instead join some sort of nation-building effort in the Middle East.

Ball, who had battled back and forth with Leibell over the years in the rough-and-tumble microcosm that is Putnam County politics, said the request showed his predecessor in the 40th Senate District had broken with reality.

“With today’s sentencing, I want to state publicly that, like many, I took Leibell’s recent requests for leniency, actually seeking ‘overseas nation building’ duty in lieu of jail time, as a final indictment on his complete disconnect from reality and justice,” Ball said in his statement.

Ball was uncharacteristically quiet in the wake of Leibell’s indictment. While running for Leibell’s seat (Leibell was seeking to become Putnam County executive in 2010) Ball faced a daunting primary against state GOP favorite Mary Beth Murphy.

Here’s the full statement from Ball:

“Even with the history of political and personal battles between myself and Leibell, I have remained quiet since last fall, paying respect to both the process and the need for civility. Simply put, I was not raised to kick a man when he is down and I took no personal delight in witnessing his public demise. With today’s sentencing, I want to state publicly that, like many, I took Leibell’s recent requests for leniency, actually seeking ‘overseas nation building’ duty in lieu of jail time, as a final indictment on his complete disconnect from reality and justice. I know I join many in the community in expressing our continued sadness of his use of Putnam County and the taxpayers of New York for his personal gain and I welcome this final chapter in a tragic book. With absolute sincerity, I continue to pray for the Senator and his family and truly look forward to working with this great community to solidly move forward, ever confident in a bright future.”

Archbishop Dolan: Gay Marriage ‘Orwellian Social Engineering’

Archbishop Timothy Dolan has weighed in on the gay marriage debate in a big way, posting a strongly-worded commentary on his blog that says to expand the one-man, one-woman definition of marriage would be “Orwellian social engineering” that is “perilous to all of us.”

Dolan, who is also president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, called the allegation that anti-gay marriage advocates are prejudiced or bigoted “nonsense”, adding:

“We are not anti anybody; we are pro-marriage. The definition of marriage is a given: it is a lifelong union of love and fidelity leading, please God, to children, between one man and one woman.”

“History, Natural Law, the Bible (if you’re so inclined), the religions of the world, human experience, and just plain gumption tell us this is so. The definition of marriage is hardwired into our human reason.”

“To uphold that traditional definition, to strengthen it, and to defend it is not a posture of bigotry or bullying. Nor is it a denial of the ‘right’ of anybody. As the philosophers remind us, in a civilized, moral society, we have the right to do what we ought, not to do whatever we want. Not every desire is a right.”

More >