‘I’m Greg Ball’s Ex-Girlfriend’

The 40th SD GOP primary just keeps getting dirtier.

Lauren J. Pistone, a former girlfriend of Assemblyman Greg Ball, stood with him last week along with other female supporters as the SRCC targeted him with a mailer that highlighted allegations he engaged in sexual assault and stalking.

She followed that appearance up with an e-mail in which she accused the campaign of Ball’s primary opponent, the SRCC-approved Somers Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy, of approaching her and asking her to “slander Greg.”

All this intra-party fighting bodes well for the Democrats in their quest to win what has long been a GOP-held seat. (Sen. Vincent Leibell is retiring to run for Putnam County executive). The Dems are running Westchester County Legislator Mike Kaplowitz.

The rest of Pistone’s rather eye-popping e-mail appears in full after the jump.

More >

Bloomberg: ‘I Would Rule Out A Run’ In 2012

Here’s Mayor Bloomberg appearing on “Meet the Press” this morning and insisting – yet again – that he’s not going to run for president as an independent in 2012.

David Gregory sets up the question by mentioning the Dartmouth College speech Bloomberg gave recently, making a trip to the early-voting state of New Hampshire that cranked up the will-he or won’t-he speculation machine once more.

In that speech, Bloomberg joked that his background (divorced Jew from New York who used to be a Democrat, then a Republican and now a blank) would made it nearly impossible for him to get elected, counting among his supporters his longtime companion, Diana Taylor, and his Massachusetts-dwelling mom.

Today, the mayor told Gregory the following:

“I would rule out a run. I’ve got the best job that I could possibly have. I’ve got 1,251 days more to do it. I’m looking forward to every single one of them, and I will call my mother and check on her political leanings.”

Maggie Haberman notes that Bloomberg has made a science of rejecting any interest in a White House run, even as people close to and/or working for him (most notably state Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay) were laying the groundwork for a possible national bid.

At the moment, there are no signs of any groundwork being laid. But, then again, at least some of the connections the mayor made the last time probably still stand.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Obama Hopes Rangel Can ‘End His Career With Dignity’

President Obama has weighed in on the ethics charges against Rep. Charlie Rangel, calling them “very troubling” and not too subtly hinting that it might be time for the veteran congressman to stop fighting and pack it in.

During an interview on the “CBS Evening News” with Katie Couric, Obama stopped short of joining the call from several House Democrats and Rangel’s primary challengers for the congressman to resign, but did say:

“He’s somebody who’s at the end of his career. I’m sure that what he wants is to be able to end his career with dignity. And my hope is that it happens.”

Obama and Rangel haven’t always seen eye-to-eye. In June, the congressman criticized the president over the Iraq War, saying his “lack of an honest explanation is consistent with Bush and Cheney.”

One of Rangel’s primary challengers, Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV told me during a “Capital Tonight” interview that’s airing this evening that he would never “insult” Obama in the way he feels Rangel did.

In other news on the Rangel front, the congressman who headed the ethics subcommittee that accused the Harlem lawmaker of multiple violations of the House rules said efforts were made to negotiate a settlement that would have resulted in a formal reprimand instead of censure or expulsion.

“If we could have reached a settlement we would have recommended that to the full committee,” said Rep. Gene Green, a Texas Democrat. “But that didn’t happen.”


Chelsea’s wedding! Chelsea’s wedding! Chelsea’s wedding!

Could all this madness have been avoided had the Clintons been a little more forthcoming about the dets?

Mayor Bloomberg is not on the guest list.

The Anti-Defamation League came out against the mosque proposed for construction near Ground Zero.

The ADL commended Rep. Mike McMahon for his “swift apology and prompt actions to disassociate” his campaign from the staffer who sent out Michael Grimm’s “Jewish money” list.

The National Jewish Democratic Council had a change of heart on McMahon’s Jewish money mess.

The Bloomberg administration’s newest deputy mayor starts work Monday.

Expelled ex-Sen. Hiram Monserrate is on the ballot in the 39th AD race.

I’ve lost track of what round this is in the Weiner vs. King war.

Asked if he plans to attend Rangel’s Aug. 11 birthday fundraiser, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said: “It’s on the schedule. We will see how the schedule unfolds next week.” (No link).

Harry Wilson’s new radio ad slams DiNapoli by mentioning “the governor” who called him “totally unqualified”. (That would be ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer).

Bad news for Snooki.

Early retirement numbers are starting to come in.

Azi Paybarah gets pitched.

More subpoenas in AG Andrew Cuomo’s probe into the life insurance industry. (Assumedly, these have actually been received).

The NYC Council met for the first time in its temporary digs, which are a little loud.

The NYC Charter Revision Commission appears to be coming around to Bloomberg’s way of thinking on nonpartisan elections. (Surprised?)

Jacobs On McMahon’s ‘Dumb Move’

State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs told me this afternoon there’s “no question” the characterization by Rep. Mike McMahon’s campaign of Michael Grimm’s donations from “Jewish” donors was “offensive”, but he insisted the congressman took swift and appropriate action to address the incident.

Jacobs also lambasted the Republicans for trying to capitalize on the gaffe, but agreed that if more staffers than just the now-fired communications director were involved, they too should be dealt with in a similar fashion.

“I would tell you this: The voters know a dumb move when they see it and they accept an apology when it’s genuinely made,” said the chairman, who weighed in on the NY-13 race earlier this week, calling for Grimm to apologize for comments he had made to The Hill newspaper.

“They can also smell political opportunism from a mile away. I think Mike McMahon, as soon as he found out, terminated the staff member responsible and apologized for the offense, which was appropriate. For the Republicans to make more of this is just political opportunism.”

More >

State GOP: ‘Jewish Donor’ Mess Makes McMahon ‘Unfit’

The state GOP is weighing in on Rep. Mike McMahon’s “Jewish donor controversy,” saying the Staten Island congressman’s firing of his communications director is “entirely insufficient” and calling on him to resign if he was aware of – and condoned – the release of information about Republican Michael Grimm’s contributors.

” The remarks themselves, delivered on McMahon’s behalf, represent a segregationist outlook that is not only wholly inappropriate, but also demonstrative of the Congressman being entirely out-of-touch with New York’s voters, and standards of decency,” a statement released by state GOP spokesman Alex Carey declares.

“…It appears that there is deep and systemic problem within the congressman’s campaign which has not been as yet addressed. ”

“Rep. McMahon has obviously shown terrible judgment in hiring a team of individuals, some of whom are apparently capable of such reprehensible views and deplorable political tactics. It’s the kind of politics New Yorkers can do without.”

“McMahon has shown he is not fit to serve and should resign if it is shown he was at all aware of this line-of-attack.”

Carey says McMahon campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Nelson has "taken the fall for her boss," but also notes Nelson herself told the New York Observer that the list of Grimm's "Jewish money" was complied by the congressman's chief fundraiser.

The Republicans are clearly not going to let this issue go, smelling blood in the water in a race that had previously not been heading in their direction due to an intra-party primary between Grimm (who is widely viewed as the frontrunner) and Michael Allegretti.

The NRCC weighed in on this earlier, as did the RJC.

Paterson Rejects Senate SUNY Bill (Updated)

Gov. David Paterson’s spokesman Morgan Hook released a statement this afternoon rejecting the SUNY empowerment compromise bill floated by the Senate this past Tuesday, saying it is “not acceptable”.

“More work needs to be done and more details need to be provided,” Hook said. “The governor’s concerns have been communicated to the Senate. (Senate Democratic Conference Leader John) Sampson says he wants a three-way agreement. Right now, he does not have one.”

Legislative leaders reportedly reached a two-way compromise deal on SUNY empowerment yesterday after rank-and-file lawmakers left Albany following two substance-free extraordinary sessions.

More >

Levy Takes Final Bow Out Of Gov’s Race, Backs Lazio

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy today announced he is closing the door completely on a potential run for governor, deciding against seeking statewide office on an independent line and throwing his support behind his erstwhile opponent, Rick Lazio.

“While I realize that it would not be possible to win the governor’s seat without major party backing, I considered running on a third line in order to keep attention focused on important policies for which I care deeply,” Levy said in a statement.

“I am, however, heartened by the fact that many of the innovations I championed in my campaign have now been adopted by other candidates in the field. My call for a local property tax cap and a state spending cap are now part of the platforms of these candidates.”

“They are also talking about reforming the pension process, giving the governor the ability to impound funds, freezing salaries and benefits and working toward the elimination of burdensome state mandates including the Triborough Amendment, which provides automatic step salary increases.”

As you’ll recall, after failing to get onto the ballot at the GOP convention in early June, Levy insisted (contrary to statements made by his chief champion, state Republican Chairman Ed Cox), that he was still contemplating a run on an independent line. He also refused to endorse Lazio, saying he needed some time to let the dust settle.

Today’s announcement comes as no big surprise. I don’t think anyone really thought Levy would go for a long-shot third party run. He’s not circulating petitions to collect the 15,000 signatures necessary to create a new line, which are due on Aug. 17.

More >

The Eagle Has Landed

OK, people. Once and for all: The “rumor” that Chelsea Clinton might not be getting married in Rhinebeck as some sort of elaborate ruse to send us all on a wild goose chase as she weds on, say, Martha’s Vineyard, is simply not true.

Need proof?

How about this photo snapped earlier today of a certain former president strolling the streets of a certain picturesque Hudson Valley town…Unless, of course, Bill Clinton is 1) lost; or 2) about to miss his only daughter’s wedding.

He looks awfully thin…apparently he managed to lose the 15 pounds Chelsea Clinton told him to shed in preparation for walking her down the aisle.

UPDATE: Clinton was spotted walking on Montgomery Street just after 12:30 p.m. and is now in Gigi Trattoria, an Italian restaurant that is rumored to be catering the rehearsal dinner tonight. Photo and intel credit to YNN’s Beth Croughan and Tom Krawczyk.


DiNapoli Backs Cuomo’s Tax Cap Plan

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said (through a spokesman) that he supports AG Andrew Cuomo’s 2 percent property tax cap proposal, and also thinks an expanded circuit breaker “must be an integral part” of the plan.

Here’s the full statement from OSC spokesman Dennis Tompkins:

“Comptroller DiNapoli supports a property tax cap. His audits and reports have identified the need to control both state and local government spending. New Yorkers cannot afford endless tax increases.

“Comptroller DiNapoli supports Attorney General Cuomo’s tax cap proposal and he strongly believes that an expanded ‘circuit breaker’ must be an integral part of any property tax cap plan. The state must also evaluate the costs it pushes down to local governments.”

NOTE: I’ve updated this post throughout and re-titled it because I was wrong: Apparently Cuomo’s plan DOES include a circuit breaker (see P. 52 of his “New New York Agenda” to provide relief to middle class homeowners). Mea culpa.

More >