15 November, 2006

Take A Peek At Our New Site - PrezPolitics

Now that the mid-terms are history, for the most part, we're on to other things.

As promised, and a little earlier than expected, our new site PrezPolitics is up and running. Click or go to http://www.prezpolitics.blogspot.com/ to check it out.

If you enjoyed NYPols and you like politics you love the new site - we promise.

11 November, 2006

So Long for Now!

The election is over, the Democrats won and now it's time to move on.

In my very first post on this blog back in February I outlined my goals, mostly to keep Hudson Valley residents posted on the various campaigns and to inflict a little of my opinion on those willing to listen.

There were some surpises along the way - John Hall's improbable win (or so it seemed in February) and Kirsten Gillibrand's victory as well.

There were also some strange turns to laugh or shake your head at - Jeanine Pirro's bugging incident, KT McFarland's fear of helicopters, Alan Hevesi's free ride and John Spencer just being John Spencer - but for the most part things shook out on Election Day about the way we might have predicted back in February.

For me, writing this blog was a lot of work, but more importantly a lot of fun. While I've been in journalism for nearly thirty years, the last time I wrote about politics I was living in my native Ohio, a guy by the name of Dick Celeste was being elected governor and Ronald Reagan was presiding over his first mid-term election as president. To be able to write about politics again, in such a momentous year, was a treat for sure. A chance to do something I really love, and to do it my way!

I would like to thank the staffs of the various campaigns for keeping me in the loop. I would like to thank my family for ceeding so much time on the family computer to me and my blog and most of all I'd like to thank you, the readers, for checking back religiously day after day.

But, as I said at the top of this post, it's time to move on to something new. I'll be taking a couple of weeks off and then starting a new project. If you liked what you read here, I'm sure you'll enjoy what you see at the new site.

Check back here around the first of December for the link to our new site. In the meantime, have a great holiday ahead. And the best of luck to all.

Ron Vallo

08 November, 2006

Hall-Kelly Race A Local Example Of A Nationwide Trend

The 'Contract With America' has been officially cancelled.

Broken long ago by the politicians who proposed it, American voters Tuesday night officially affixed a 'null and void' stamp on the much ballyhooed set of principles by which those brought to power in the Republican Revolution of 1994 pledged to govern.

By taking back 29 seats (for now) in the House, what looks like six in the Senate and flipping six governor's seats, the Democrats in 2006 had the kind of watershed night that the Republicans enjoyed in November 1994, the night the GOP coup, led by Newt Gingrich, was sprung.

If you want a good laugh, or a good cry, look back at the principles outlined in the 'contract' that swept the GOP into 12 years of political dominance and then juxtapose those principles with the signatories to the document, and those who rode in on the political wave it spawned.

The Contract With America, in its preamble, calls for "an end of government that is too big, too intrusive." But it was the document's caretakers who talk about a constitutional ban on gay marriage and who turned the private grief and consternation of Terry Schaivo's family into a public circus.

In the document, the Republicans also pledge to "restore accountability to Congress. To end its cycle of scandal and disgrace." A reaction to the House banking and postage scandals perpetrated by a Democratic-led House.

The words were written by Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay among others. Randy "Duke" Cunningham was among those who signed on. Bob Ney and Mark Foley were among the 54 freshman Republicans who won their seats on the basis of those promises.

Gingrich, who became Speaker of the House as a result of the 1994 elections, was forced to resign the post and leave the House four years later, having had a slew of ethics charges filed against him as he was leading the impeachment charge against then-President Bill Clinton for his sexual indiscretions.

Tom DeLay, Gingrich's House Whip, and the eventual Speaker of the House himself, resigned this year amid the K-street lobbying scandal and an indictment for allegedly violating Texas campaign finance laws.

Cunningham, a member of the 1995 GOP freshman class, is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to bribery and tax evasion and Ney, also a freshman in that class, resigned from his Ohio congressional seat in August after being connected to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

Another first-time winner in 1994, Mark Foley of Florida, resigned in late September after revelations that he had sent sexually explicit online messages to teenage House pages, and may have provided the last bit of impetus for voters to reject the Republicans Tuesday.

While some will argue that the war in Iraq led to the Republicans' downfall Tuesday night - and there’s no doubt it contributed mightily- the GOP was ultimately brought down by its own scandal-plagued reign.

Exit polling by CNN showed that many issues - terrorism, the war, the economy and immigration - played a big role in voter decision-making. But corruption was No. 1 on the list. Clearly Americans finally realized the contract they approved 12 years ago came without a warranty and they felt free, finally, to opt out.

New York and Indiana Democrats made the strongest contributions to their party's counter-revolution of '06, having each 'flipped' three seats in the House, and with New York throwing in a governor's seat for good measure.

What is most striking about that is the disparate nature of the two states, which, nonetheless became the two main battlegrounds in what was clearly a nationwide political war. Politically, prior to Tuesday night, Indiana was as "red" as New York was "blue." Yet Democrats were able to carve out new ground in both places.

Two races in New York in particular, in the eastern part of the state, are good examples of what was happening all over the country on election night. One race featured a scandal-tinged Republican incumbent and the other a do-little incumbent with a reputation as a rubber-stump lackey for the Bush agenda.

Both were defeated by Democratic newcomers with new ideas, an optimistic air and a fresh face.

That 'fresh face' belongs to Kirsten Gillibrand in New York's 20th District, which cuts a narrow but lengthy patch along the state's eastern border from the upper Hudson Valley nearly to Canada.

Gillibrand posted a surprisingly strong six-point victory over 10-year Republican incumbent John Sweeney, who had been plagued by scandals involving tax-payer paid congressional staff junkets to Lake Placid, a trip to a Pacific island - possibly paid for by a lobbyist associated with Jack Abramoff, and late-breaking news about a 9-1-1 domestic violence call allegedly placed by Sweeney's wife last December. Sweeney denied assaulting his wife but failed in the campaign's waning days to provide the proof he said he had to back his denials.

In the state's 19th District, which encompasses New York City's outermost exurbs in parts of five counties, the Democrats' fresh face is John Hall, previously know primarily for his days in the 1970's pop music band 'Orleans' and his battle with the 2004 Bush re-election committee over the unauthorized use of the group's biggest hit, 'Still the One,' as the president's campaign theme song.

Hall emerged from a primary field that grew to as large as six candidates by calling for America's withdrawal from Iraq early on, and emphasizing his thirty-year history of advocacy for the environment.

With some help from a grass roots organization formed last winter for the sole purpose of defeating incumbent Republican Sue Kelly, Hall parlayed his progressive agenda, deft use of the Internet as a campaign tool, his celebrity and music-industry connections and strong grass-roots backing to eke out a 2-point win over Kelly on Election Day.

Hall's win over Kelly was among the most significant of the seats regained by the Democrats this year, simply because he was given little chance of winning, even by his own party.

During the primaries he was seen by many in the party as too liberal to win the district.

None of the national political pundits, partisan or otherwise, had the race on their radar screens until the end of the campaign.

Even the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee paid Hall little mind until mid-October when - based on polling - the DCCC put Hall's bid on its 'Emerging Races' list. Which meant the national party was taking a show-me attitude toward Hall.

Within two weeks, and only about 10 days out from election, the DCCC upgraded the race to its "Red-to-Blue" list, meaning Hall had arrived as a potential victor in the minds of national party leaders. With that recognition came some extra campaign dollars and campaign appearances by former President Clinton, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Eliot Spitzer - the party's Golden Boy candidate for governor.

While Hall was finally feeling some love from his own party, Kelly was exhibiting the very behavior that Hall's campaign was hoping to exploit in painting her as an underachieving tool of the Bush administration and the Republican leaders in Congress.

Kelly repeatedly refused to publicly debate Hall, making it easy for the challenger to make the case that after 12 years - Kelly too was a freshman in that famous class of '95 - she had no record to run on.

Kelly also ducked the media, making only pre-scripted, photo-op campaign appearances and - infamously, thanks to You Tube - literally running away from the cameras of a local cable television network in an effort to duck questions from one of the network's reporters.

Kelly rode in with the tidal wave of 1994, rode the crest for 12 years, and was carried back out to sea by the receding Republican waters, made murky and scummy by years of scandal involving her GOP bretheren.

In an election night interview, already looking comfortable in his new "congressman" skin, Hall said, in his mind, Kelly was sent packing because of her allegiance to the party and to the special interests that funded her $2.5 million campaign.

"Everywhere I went during this campaign," Hall said, "the number one thing people would say to me is that we have to separate the influence of money from the political process. I was able to raise about $1.5 million, and about 80% of that was from individual contributions. So it can be done."

The congressman-elect says his opponent, and the other Republicans shown the door Tuesday night, let down those who put them in office.

"The Contract With America class of 1994 is on its way out because they didn't live up to it," said Hall. "In particular they didn't live up to the promise to end the culture of corruption in Washington, and they didn’t live up to their pledge of (self-imposed, 12-year) term limits."

Hall says the GOP experience of Tuesday night is not lost on him.

"I'm going to try to stay true to the principals I ran on," he said. " I had lots of volunteers with the same vision and they will hold my feet to the fire. Sometimes you need your friends to remind you in case you start to fall into the incumbent trap."

Lesson learned in the Hudson Valley, and, hopefully, across the country.

RNN's French Says Kelly Should Look In The Mirror When Laying Blame For Her Loss

Spent the better part of this day in hibernation. I'll have some final comments on the Kelly-Hall race in a little while.

Meanwhile RNN's political commentator Richard French has been working on his own assessment of last night's results in the 19th District race between Republican incumbent Sue Kelly and congressman-elect, Democrat John Hall.

View French's vid-itorial here.

It's Hall In The 19th!!

John Hall rode the Democratic wave he helped to create, winning a seat in Congress from New York's 19th District Tuesday night.

Hall will be one of the two dozen or so (at this writing) new Democrats in what will be a Democrat-controlled House come January after defeating Republican incumbent Sue Kelly in a tight race.

With 96% of the vote counted Hall held a 51% to 49% lead. Most of the remaining precincts are in Westchester, where Hall had a large margin of victory.

Hall spoke to a room packed with jubilant supporters at the Colonial Terrace in Cortlandt Manor.

"Our win tonight shows that people power still rules," a beaming Hall told the crowd. "It shows that individual contributions can overcome $2 million from the special interests. It shows that truth can overcome lies ... We still have the power to fight the power."


Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, who scored an easy win in his bid for re-election from the 17th District made the trip up the Palisades Parkway to join Hall on his big night. With the addition of Hall, and about two dozen other Democrats in the House, Engel says it's time for a change in Washington.

"John's victory tonight is part of a watershed election," Engel said in an interview. "We (the Democrats) have an opportunity now and I think we're ready to seize that opportunity.

"You can see by the excitement in this room that the people of this district are itching for a change and the same is true across the country, as we saw tonight."

Engel said the nationwide results are evidence that voters are tired of special-interest politics. "The people are saying we want you to start working for our interests."

Later today look for more on the other races across the state as well as quotes from a one-on-one interview with Hall.

(PHOTO CREDIT: Ron Vallo NYPols; Pictured: John Hall and his wife Pamela Tuesday night in Cortlandt Manor.)

04 November, 2006

For The House of Representatives: NYPols Endorses Hall, Lowey and Engel

In our opinion, voters should have one overriding thought when they enter the polls on Tuesday. It is time to put up a roadblock for President Bush. Time to save him from himself. And to save ourselves!

The policies of the Bush administration have led this country down a dark and dangerous path. A path that takes away human rights and puts justice in the hands of one man - the chief executive.

Bush and the go-along GOP Congress have put the needs and desires of their big-business, big-religion bankrollers in the forefront, while the rest of us work longer days at lower-paying jobs with no health coverage, or at best health coverage that we are paying through the nose for.

The environment is taking a beating and calls for research into new, renewable, earth-friendly energy sources are ignored while Bush's buddies in the oil industy rake in record profits and melt the solar ice caps.

Though they may be starting to realize they've been played for fools by Bush's GOP, leaders of the religious right have much too much influence on what happens in Washington. They've turned the party of laissez-fair and small government into the party of Terry Schiavo and gay bashers.

Most importantly, Bush and the GOP go-alongers in Congress have gotten us hopelessly lost in Iraq - fighting a war that had nothing to do with terrorism while we lose ground in Afghanistan, the war that should have been fought to its conclusion instead. We are killing and being killed at alarming rates, and for what? We're in so deep now in Iraq it's hard to see our way out. We helped bring about the Hell that is today's Iraq and we have no idea, and no real desire, to make things better there.

It is time, on Tuesday, for Americans to finally let Bush and the GOP go-alongers know unequivocally that they have had enough. They can do that by throwing out the GOP go-alongers and giving the legislative branch the power to check our imperial president.

Nita Lowey and Eliot Engel are hard-working, effective veteran representatives who deserve a chance to show what they can do as part of a majority party. Lowey's opponent, Richard Hoffman, would walk the Bush/GOP line, while Engel's challenger James Faulkner is a kind of John Sperncer -light.

Which brings us to the only local House race that seems to be up for grabs on Tuesday, the 19th District race between incumbent Republican Rep. Sue Kelly and Democratic challenger John Hall.

Nowhere can you find a better example of where this country has been in the past six years and where it should be headed in the future.

Yes, Sue Kelly has bucked her party on occaision on environmental issues. But she has proposed nothing like the 30-plus page, sweeping overhaul of the nation's energy policy that Hall released this spring. A plan that would save our environment, eliminate the danger of that creaky old nuclear power plant that is sitting on our doorstep and provide quality, high-paying jobs for New Yorkers in the alternative energy field.

On the war, tax cuts for the richest, college loans and the many other issues that really matter to voters in the lower Hudson Valley, Sue Kelly has been the consummate GOP go-alonger.

We need new ideas in Congress. And new priorities. John Hall offers both.

We say vote for Hall, Lowey and Engel for Congress and let the 'other guys' show us what they can do!

For U.S. Senate, NYPols Endorses Hillary Clinton

Let's keep this one short and sweet.

Six years ago, Sen. Hillary Clinton moved to New York from a big white house in Washington D.C. hoping to find a new home and - more importantly- a place from which to run for Senate.

While she was seen as a carpetbagger by many, Clinton has worked hard for her adoptive state, and has proven herself to be a skilled politician and a leader of her - for now - minority party.

Clinton has an annoying way of finding the centermost position on every issue, rarely taking a controversial stand on anything and never taking a political risk. And we all know she hopes not to be around six years from now.

But, when evaluating a political candidate, we take three key things into consideration: experience, ideology and personal integrity.

In the case of Clinton's opponent, Republican John Spencer, we give him low marks in all three areas.

Hillary Clinton deserves to be re-elected. It's not even close.

For Statewide Office: NYPols Endorses Spitzer, Pirro and Callaghan

It's been more than eight months since we started this effort to bring you news and our thoughts about the 2006 political campaign in New York.

The campaign has taken some crazy twists and turns along the way, but in the end, it has played out pretty much as expected back in February. Now it's time for us to chose.


This one has pretty much been a no-brainer from the start. Despite efforts by the GOP to discredit his accomplishments as attorney general, Spitzer, during his tenure in that office, has shown himself to be an effective leader and a damned good AG.

As we wrote in September when endorsing Spitzer in the primary, as attorney general Spitzer has taken the office beyond its traditional role, fiercly pursuing white-collar crime on Wall Street and taking an activist role in policing internet fraud, harm to the environment and payola in the music industry.

Spitzer has been criticized for being too high-profile and a headline grabber. But we don't mind. We hire politicians to fulfill the duties of the office they have sought. When someone lives up to our expectations perhaps he should take the time to crow about it.

That's how I said it Septmber, I can't say it any better now.


This was by far the hardest decision to make. Difficult because although Jeanine Pirro has a solid record as Westchester County District Attorney, Pirro has a lot of baggage.

After thinking long and hard about this, I've decided that most of the baggage Pirro carries is named Al. Last time I checked Pirro's husband is not on the ballot. She deserves to be judged on her own body of work, and for the most part, she has been good at her job and will bring a strong skill set to the attorney general position.

Andrew Cuomo has run a solid campaign. He has certainly redeemed himself in Democratic Party circles and would probably do a decent job as New York's attorney general.

But, based on her rather large advantage in relevant experience, we think Pirro will do a better job.


Experience is playing a big role in this campaign as well. Lots of folks are saying Chris Callaghan, a former Saratoga County treasurer, doesn't have enough of it to do the job of state comptroller.

We're willing to give him a try.

We know what we have in Alan Hevesi. A man well-qualified for the job - except for the not-so-minor detail of being unable to keep his own fingers out of the state's cookie jar.

We need to stop accepting misdeeds by, and double standards for, our politicians. They will never feel a sense of accountability unless we impose it on him.

Hevesi's use of a state employee as a driver for his wife is not, by any stretch, the biggest political scandal we have come by. And maybe we're guilty of making an example of the current comptroller. But that is exactly what we, the voters, should do on Tuesday.

If you want clean government, demand it.

Pataki Legal Advisor Sees Reason To Remove Hevesi

The special legal advisor looking into the Alan Hevesi case has found "valid legal basis" to recommend that Gov. George Pataki instruct the state Senate to begin removal proceedings against Hevesi.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

But, as Politics on the Hudson, reports, attorney David Kelley said in a report today he needs more time to study the case before he can make a formal recommendation in the so-called "Driving Mrs. Hevesi" scandal.

Yesterday, as the New York Times reports, Hevesi was ordred by state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to pay an additional $90,000 to the state after Spitzer's office determined the initial $83,000 Hevesi paid was not adequate to cover the costs the state incurred when Hevesi used a state employee as a driver for his wife.

The scandal has turned a blowout into a race as Hevesi struggles to fend-off his Republican challenger in the comptroller race - Chris Callaghan.

A Siena Research New York poll, released yesterday, shows Hevesi up by only four points, with about one in six voters still making up their mind a few days prior to the election. Hevesi holds a 39% to 35% lead in the poll, which he led last month by a 52% to 25% tally.

On the other hand, Hevesi has a bit more breathing room according to the final pre-election WNBC/Marist poll, also released yesterday. In that poll Hevesi is up by 12 point among likely voters.

All the other Democrats in statewide races, including Sen. Hillary Clinton in her bid for re-election, have gaping leads over their GOP opponents in both polls. In the closest of the other races - closest being a relative term - Andrew Cuomo has a 21-point lead over Jeanine Pirro in the race for attorney general.

Sweeney Picks Up One, Loses One Local Newspaper Endorsement In Wake Of Domestic Flap

You win some, you lose some. And so it is today with embattled congressman John Sweeney.

Sweeney today received one local newspaper endorsement for his be for re-election in New york's 20th District, and had another endorsement rescinded over the flap about an alleged domestic abuse case investigated at his home last December.

The Saratogian today endorsed Sweeney in his race against Democratic challenger Kirstin Gillibrand. The newspaper endorsed Sweeney despite this observation it made on its editorial page:

"And while we think an elected official's domestic troubles are his private business, we find it unsettling that Sweeney would first discount a 911 domestic dispute call to his home, then promise to make the police report public, and then refuse to make it public. A satisfactory response from the start could have been 'this was a private matter that my wife and I resolved privately: his actual response raises questions about whether Sweeney is true to his word."

And despite this assertion by the Saratogian: "Last but not least, the public deserved a clean, informative campaign in this important race. This was the nastiest, dirtiest campaign in memory. Ads were full of deceptive stretches of the truth at best. Sweeney's contention that he was forced to take potshots at Gillibrand because she was taking potshots at him is like a kid crying, 'She started it!' C'mon."

Meanwhile, the recent revelations have caused the Glens Falls Post-Star to withdraw its endorsement of Sweeney.

"In our editorial endorsing the congressman for re-election last Sunday, we pointed out the many flaws in Congressman Sweeney's character, including his accompanying lobbyists to exotic locations, fabricating lies about his political opponents, and using poor judgement in attending frat parties. We said voters should take those factors into consideration, but that the congressman's record in helping secure funding for his district and voting in Republican interests overrode concerns about his unofficial conduct. His response to this (the domestic violence call) incident reflects disturbingly not only on his character, but on his credibility to serve effectively as a representative of all the people."

We haven't reported on this issue because it is not possible to cover a story as sensative as this fairly from a home PC some 120 miles away. We've left that up to organizations with the right resources to do the job. For a complete file on this story, we suggest you check Capitol Confidential, the political blog of the Albany Times-Union. Here's the blog's complete file on the story.

Has Sue Kelly Gone Overboard? John Hall Thinks So

Republican Rep. Sue Kelly has sent out thousands of copies of the flier you see to your left as her campaign against Democratic challenger John Hall heads into its final weekend.

It's not clear what connection she's alleging John Hall (background) has to North Korean strongman Kim Jung-Il (foreground), but she clearly seems to be trying to draw some connection.

I'm not sure what the explanation is, but in a letter to supporters Hall has his own guess. Here's the key portion of that letter:

Dear Friend,

Did anyone just hear a loud splash in the Hudson River? We did. It was Rep. Sue W. Kelly going overboard with her attack ads.
From the very start, I've tried to keep this campaign about issues. I've tried to talk about what's best for our district and America. Unfortunately, with many polls now showing me leading Sue W. Kelly by a hair, her campaign has turned to truly disgusting Swift Boat-style attacks. It's personal, and it's ugly. She is sending tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of glossy fliers around the district, claiming I have some relationship to North Korean dictator Kim Jung-Ill. It is a desperate attack designed to scare voters into staying home on election day. It would seem ridiculous, if it wasn't so real.


The Internet has had a major impact on campaigns across the country, including the race in New York's 19th District between Hall and Kelly. Cable channel RNN reporter Karen DePodwin recently examined the Web's role in the race.

02 November, 2006

MSNBC's Olberman Brings Back To TV The Art Of Political Commentary

Not a lot going on today on the local campaign trail.

More Democrats keep finding reasons to justify backing embattled Alan Hevesi for comptroller.

The candidates are out and about - John Hall visiting VA hospitals and West Point. Tomorrow he'll be accompanied by ambassador Joe Wilson on the campaign trail. Wilson, of course, wrote the New York Times Op Ed piece that eventually led to the outing of his wife - Valerie Wilson - as a CIA agent and to the conclusion by most Americans that their fighting men and women were sent to war under false pretenses.

There's is one notable story today. The Daily Politics reported the two members of Buffalo-area Republican Rep. Tom Reynolds' staff were allegedly involved in "damage control" over the page scandal two days before the story hit and earlier than previously disclosed.

That pretty much sums up the day. Which gives me the chance to share with you something incredible. Something I saw last night - on TV - no less. Actual political commentary, with a bite and some guts.

This is not the stuff of "Hardball," or "Scarborough Country," or "Hannity & Colmes," - semi-organized screamfest which pass themselves off as political discourse.

No Olberman's commentary goes back to the old days, the Edward R. Murrow days, when TV had something worth saying.

Olberman's piece is a scorching indictment of President Bush and the GOP who, the commentator alleges, tried to take advantage of John Kerry's momentary (some would disagree is was momentary) stupidity to take the heat off themselves for the mess they have made of Iraq.

You'll have to sit through an ad first (it is TV after all) and Olberman taks about 45 seconds to really get going, but stay with the piece. You'll find the time was well spent. Click here to hear the commentary .

01 November, 2006

Election Day Gets Closer, Hall-Kelly Race Gets Nastier


Must be less than week from Election Day.

That's when the close races get slimier.

Sue Kelly's campaign today sent us a link to the radio ad she's running in the 19th District, the turf the six-term Republican is trying to defend from Democratic challenger John Hall.

The ad attempts to reinforce a theme Kelly hit on last week, that Hall is a "hypocrite" for owning shares of a mutual fund which in turn owns shares of companies that Hall's political platform may not jibe with.

Click here to hear the ad.

Hall's campaign hit back with some information of its own about Kelly.

Hall spokesman Tom Staudter says Hall's investments pale in comparison to campaign donations taken by Kelly from big corporations.

"If Kelly weren't in such an estranged relationship to the truth she'd know that John's entire portfolio amounts to $57,000-less money than she has taken from big oil, not to mention big tiobacco and big pharma.

"The only oil 'investment' among John Hall's mutual funds is one whose total worth is less than $80, noted Staudter, from which he has derived a total 'profit' of $11.

Staudter says Hall didn't take a get any corporate contributions for his campaign but noted Kelly has taken thousands of dollars from Exxon-Mobil, tobacco companies, Wal-Mart and Wyeth as well as $12,000 from former House majority leader Tom Delay's PAC.


Kelly today also called on the Hall to repudiate the comments of former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, who misspoke earlier this week - making it appear he was suggesting that the U.S. military was manned by underachievers who didn't perform well in school.

"John's silence is deafening," said Kelly, "and it displays volumes about Hall's real attitude toward our military and those who are serving our country that he has yet to utter a single line critical of Senator Kerry's words."

Hall's spokesman Tom Staudter said Kerry is responsible for his own actions:

"Senator Kerry is more than able to defend or justify any comments he may make. John Hall doesn't have to do it for him. More importantly, Sue Kelly should explain her continued support for the Bush administration's ruinous policies and awful decision-making regarding the Iraq War. The fact that Sue Kelly is more concerned with semantics than with the thousands of American GI's who have perished in this war -- and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have been slaughtered -- simply identifies her as being morally bankrupt." - Tom Staudter

Newsday today published both the prepared text of Kerry's remarks Monday, handed out to reporters before the ill-fated speech, as well as a transcript of what he actually said. Here's both:

His prepared remarks:

"It's great to be here with college students. I can't overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush."

What he actually said:

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Stupid? Undoubtedly. A slam against the troops or a slam against the president? I guess you will have to decide for yourself.


John Hall made it a clean sweep of daily newspaper endorsements today, with the backing of the Poughkeepsie Journal. Hall has now been endorsed by all four dailies that are widely distributed in the 19th District - the others being The New York Times, The Journal News and the Times Herald-Record.

"Hall has the intelligence and depth to make quite a difference in Congress if given the opportunity. If he doesn't veer too far to the left and shows a willingness to work with those across the political aisle, he could accomplish a lot for the district and bring fresh ideas to Washington. Voters should give him that chance." - Poughkeepsie Journal.

31 October, 2006

Majority Watch Poll:Dems Still Lead In 6 Of 7 Contested New York House Races, Hall's Lead Narrows

A new Majority Watch poll is out one week before the election and it shows the Democrats in 6 of 7 New York congressional races the pollster considers competitive.

The poll shows Democrats ahead in the the following New York congressional
districts: 19, 20, 24, 25, 26 and 29; GOP incumbent Peter King is ahead in the Third District.

The Democrats were ahead in the same races in a Majority Watch poll two weeks ago, but there are some important differences in the numbers in the latest poll.

For instance, Democrat John Hall had a nine point lead in the 19th District race according to Majority Watch's poll two weeks ago, but he now leads incumbent Republican Sue Kelly by just two points. 49% to 47%.

In the 20th District, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand's lead over Republican incumbent John Sweeney has slipped from 13 points to 11 points.

Meanwhile, Republican Peter King's lead widened to 7 points from just 2 points two weeks ago.


There's a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll out tonight, and it paints pretty much the same picture as the last poll they put out on Oct. 19, which is not good news for the GOP.

Iraq is named by most of those polled as the main issue in next week's election.

Some 52% of those polled said they would prefer the Democrats take control of Congress, compared with 37% who would like to see the Republicans retain control. That ties the numbers earlier this month, and is a record spread on that question.

In addition, 54% now say removing Saddam Hussein from Iraq was not a good idea, and of those who feel that way, 80% say they will vote for a Democrat in next week's congressional elections.

Brian Williams and Time Russert discussed the poll on tonight's NBC news broadcast. View the conversation here. (you have to sit through a 15-second ad first)


Sen. Hillary Clinton will campaign with Democratic candidate John Hall tomorrow in Hopewell Junction as Hall bids to unseat Sue Kelly in the 19th District.


Take19, the grass roots organization which plainly states its sole purpose for being is to unseat Sue Kelly, has an interesting post on its Web site tonight.

Kelly has tried to make an issue of Hall's investment in a mutual fund that is invested in
an oil industry firm accused of polluting a lake in South Carolina.

Take19 points out that Kelly has been doing some investing of her own that the group thinks is notable.