David Weprin for NY-9

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, Democratic candidate David Weprin discusses his campaign to replace Anthony Weiner for the congressional seat representing NY-9 and what he would do if elected to Congress.

(Related: Hear Brian's interview with Republican candidate Bob Turner here.)

The bitter debt ceiling showdown might get an early test in Brooklyn and Queens during the special election this September to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of Anthony Weiner.

The two major issues in the race thus far have been the debt limit and Israel, with former New York City Mayor Ed Koch crossing party lines to support Republican Bob Turner, in order, he says, to send a message to the president that he opposes the administration’s policies. Democrat Assemblyman David Weprin, an orthodox Jew, for his part won the endorsement of Senator Joe Lieberman.

Weprin lives in Holliswood, Queens, which does not appear to be part of District Nine. He says he lived in the Fresh Meadows Holliswood area his entire life. Fresh Meadows is part of District Nine.

Regarding Koch's endorsement, Weprin said the difference between his and Turner's policy on Israel is minimal.

I think we have to be careful about asking Israel to make concessions that we’re not asking of the Palestinian Authority. Obviously, while there is aid to the Palestinian Authority certain support for recognition of the state of Israel is important but.. I don’t think we differ too much for our strength for the state of Israel. But I think we have to really talk about the other issues where there’s really a major difference.

The Assemblyman was more moderate in his response to whether aid for the Palestinians should be cut until the Palestinian Authority does more to stop rocket fire:

I think we should tie military aid to preventing terrorism and basically making concessions that go with that such as recognizing the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state and  not negotiate with terrorists and obviously with Hamas as part of the negotiating authority, I would question some of the aid we may be giving but I think we have to really see what comes out of the Palestinian Authority, who’s in charge, and who are they negotiating with.

Weprin did say he would have voted with the majority in the House to cut of aid to Palestine if they pursue recognition through the United Nations.

Regarding the debt ceiling vote, Weprin expressed displeasure at the recent deal.

I would not have voted for it, because clearly something had to be done with the debt ceiling but this was not the best alternative. They waited too long to negotiate the deal, it really should have been negotiated weeks and weeks before, and the severe cuts that are going to take place with this agreement particularly potentially to Medicare, certainly to Medicare reimbursement, and the additional cuts could be directly on Medicare and Social Security are going to be very devastating to New York in particular.

He believes he and Bob Turner are in opposition in this regard.

He indicated that he would’ve voted for the bill, he also ruled out any form of taxation, which could result in significant cuts in the trillions of dollars if there is no revenue portion, I feel there’s room for taxation on oil companies, closing corporate loopholes, specifically companies that export jobs over seas can be taxed And I think there is room for a real millionaires tax.

On entitlement reform Weprin said he and Turner are “very different.”

[Turner’s position] is a newfound position based on trying to get Koch’s endorsement. He has said publicly on many occasions that he is a strong supporter of the Ryan plan when he ran last November against Anthony Weiner. So this is a total turn-around.

I’ve been very clear on opposing president Obama on a number of issues, starting with the pre-1967 borders as a starting point for peace negotiations.

Weprin voted for gay marriage, but recently came under fire for questioning the legitimacy of the vote.

I supported the same-sex marriage bill in Albany, it had passed in the assembly three ties before… it was a civil issue, we basically just authorized civil marriage, it wasn’t a religious issue.

He was not yet ready to agree with Eric Schneiderman that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, however, saying he would wait to see how that plays out. 

And is Weprin concerned about Turner’s forty percent of the vote against Weiner's sixty in the last election for the seat?

Where I come from, sixty-forty is a pretty significant victory, so I’d be very happy to get sixty percent.


The Lightning Round:

On Turner’s allegations that as chairman of the City Council finance committee, Weprin was either complicit or ignorant of the slush-fund abuse:

Ridiculous. I chaired the Finance Committee for eight years, we had eight years of balanced budgets, on-time, never a day late, without cutting major services. I’d love to see some of that in Washington.

On what percentage of his district is currently without health insurance:

Still a large percentage… I don’t necessarily want to cite a statistic, there are just too many American and too many constituents.. that don’t have health insurance.

The poverty rate in CD-9:

Probably higher than it should be? I couldn’t tell you off hand.

Whether global warming is man-made and real:

Clearly there is something to be said for global warming, certainly this summer looks like it’s coming to fruition.

On cap and trade:

I support certain aspects of cap and trade.

Percentage of his district that is foreign-born:

I would say, as with all of Queens, we have a very large percentage of immigrants from many many parts... probably 30 percent.

On immigration reform with a path to citizenship for people here illegally:

I support comprehensive insurance [sic] reform, I support the DREAM act.

On tweeting:

I’ve never tweeted.. I think my campaign at one point had a Twitter thing, but someone had done it on behalf of the campaign, I never personally tweeted.

If he’s ever voted for a Republican:

Not that I can recall.



More in:

Comments [47]


FDR once said “To attain prosperity, we cannot have a Half BOOM, Half BROKE Society”.

I cannot understand why any New Yorker would reward this bad, ugly behavior that is spewing across America. How can any New Yorker support a political party that would push this United States to the BRINK of Default; whose Representatives would prefer to sit on the sidelines and say “No, No, No” on each and every issue rather than make a serious effort to help this country recover and move forward during these very difficult times; and who are determined to destroy the safety net of the people struggling on Main Street while giving millionaires and wealthy investors more and more free rides. What kind of U.S. Congressman would do anything like this? What kind of person would do anything like this? What happened to country first?
Also, during the past five months of this year (2011) with House Controlled Republicans, the unemployment rate has been INCREASING; however, from March 2009 to April 2011 with House Controlled Democrats, the unemployment was DECREASING. Again, despite having MILLIONS of people unemployed, it appears that many House Republicans will still say “No, No, No” to efforts to create jobs and getting the American people back to work just as they have done for the past two years.
Let's be honest. The Republican Party has not always been this reckless, irresponsible, and vicious. This is not same party Republican Party that I know; but it appears that this group of Republicans have been HIJACKED by some people with some extreme views; and those people who disagree with their views are quickly purged from their party (Rep Castle, DE; Senator Bennett, UT; Gov. Cris, FL).
New York has always represented that Beacon Light of Hope for people around the world. How can any New Yorker support such vicious, ugly behavior; how can any New Yorker support any person that could watch the American people suffer, the U.S. economy fall off the cliff, and not even blink an eye?
Regardless of political party, this is America. This is America, the world’s greatest democracy. The world largest economy. Many, many people have risked their lives so that this nation shall long endure. It is our duty. It is our responsibility to complete the tasks remaining before us. We must restore civility and brinkmanship so that this nation shall long endure.
This is America. This is America. Sweet Land of Liberty. How we deal with these critical issues will determine our moral health as individuals, our cultural health as a region, our political health as a nation, and our prestige as leaders of the free world.
Peace Be With You And Across America

Sep. 12 2011 10:43 PM
Peg from Jackson Heights, NY

There is a real parallel between voters in pre-WW II Germany and in the US now. Members of the Tea Party cherry picks our Constitution for their own purposes (e.g., not knowing that Church and State are separated in the Bill of Rights, discriminating against various groups based on race (e.g., Muslims, Blacks), yet they claim to be experts and to stand up for the Constitution.
The members of this group thus seem to have at best mixed motives. But they do aim to usurp our way of governing. They have also forced Republican members of Congress to sign pledges to not compromise with Democrats, which is a part of how the leglislative process works, so again the Tea Party seems to threaten our way of government.
Prior to WWII in Germany citizens gave power to the National Socialist Party. American schoolchildren have been asked if this could happen in this country. They usually say No. I am not saying that the Tea Party is the same as the Nazi Party at all, but voters here and now have to consider whether they want to give power to people who will usurp power and use it for their own purposes. Among other things, it could end up erasing decades of progress in Civil Rights as well as erasing Social Security and Medicare.

Sep. 09 2011 03:12 PM
Fred from Kew Gardens

He really should have said- Like all the other know-nothings in congress, "I haven't read too many books lately."

Yep, that's the guy this liberal agonist jew will have to vote for.

Aug. 04 2011 11:01 PM

With all due respect, who cares what Koch has to say???


Aug. 04 2011 12:11 PM

Why does Israel govern our country??

Aug. 04 2011 12:10 PM



Pathetic choices!!!

Aug. 04 2011 12:07 PM
Sue from Ridgewood

Wow talk about having to choose between the lesser of two evils. His answers in the lightning round were so pro-forma and atrocious. I could go on and say that the immigrant population in the neighborhoods are 'high', and that 'too many' people are unemployed and lack healthcare. I'm willing to bet Anthony Weiner could have given more accurate, articulate, straight-forward answers.

Aug. 04 2011 11:49 AM
rose-ellen from jackson hts.

Brian really is a muslim hater;asking a candidate whether he believes people were offended that Weiner married a muslim is an expression of bigotry. Weiner is out of office and not running for office, and how is someone supposed to answer that question?That there are both bigots and non bigots in the world[district] well duh! To raise the issue as if it is a legitimate concern when Weiner is out of the picture[ for now] validates and endores bigotry. Brian never brought up weiners' marriage to a muslim when he was in office and which could have been an opportunity to expose and challenge anti-muslim bigotry.Brian in bringing up his wifes' religion now exposed his bigotry.

Aug. 04 2011 10:53 AM
Bob from Westchester

We desperately need to cut back the power of the Republican majority in the House, and the Democratic leaders nominate this uninformed, inarticulate empty suit who doesn't even live in the district? I understand nepotism is a tradition, but Joe Crowley should be ashamed. Perhaps he did not want to waste a good candidate on a district he plans to eliminate in re-districting.

Aug. 04 2011 10:51 AM
Amy from Manhattan

RL: Yep. It was after Reagan cut corporate taxes that we got huge increases in downsizing & outsourcing.

Aug. 04 2011 10:50 AM

It's a shame that Weiner's personal indiscretions have left us with a choice between an extreme conservative and an inarticulate, waffling, local Democratic party hack.

Aug. 04 2011 10:49 AM
Nick from UWS

Oh god....another barely informed, dreary and evasive nebbish.

These interviews make one miss Anthony Weiner. It's a shame that the US is so peurile and infantile about sex, because whatever may have been going on in Weiner's personal life, he was always razor-sharp on the issues, a ferocious fighter for his constituency, and an exceptional politician.

When Americans begin to understand that exceptional men usually have high sex drives and see it as a sign that the guy is alive and kicking, then we will start getting somewhere.

Aug. 04 2011 10:48 AM
Edward from NJ

If only Weprin or someone on his staff had listened to Turner last week, he would have had good, quick answers for the "lightning round" questions.

Aug. 04 2011 10:46 AM
ryan j from forest hills

I'm writing in Anthony Weiner.

Aug. 04 2011 10:44 AM
Gary from Brooklyn

Neither candidate is impressive, no knowledge of the district, vague understanding of climate change. Too bad there aren't any good reasons for smart people to run for office

Aug. 04 2011 10:43 AM

Why can't this guy give one straight answer? He reminds me of eddie murphy's political con artist in that 'old' movie.

Aug. 04 2011 10:43 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Brian, global climate disruption makes the air hold more humidity & actually leads to more snow in the winter.

Or was that your point?

Aug. 04 2011 10:43 AM
Donna from NYC

Why don't any of your guests know anything about their districts? If you are running for office shouldn't you know something about the people you are going to represent? The only things your guests seem to know for sure is their position in Israel.

Aug. 04 2011 10:42 AM
Tawniqua from Brooklyn

Israel, Israel, Israel. Ugh. Here's an idea, let both sides twist in the wind, then maybe they'd be forced to come up with a solution rather than hitting us from both sides.

Let's move on to our own local issue, please! We seem to have enough of them.

Aug. 04 2011 10:42 AM
Matthew from Brooklyn (not the West Bank section)

Really unimpressive. I guess he's in politics because of his father, because he doesn't know much and sure can't articulate anything. "There is something to be said for global warming." Pitiful.

Aug. 04 2011 10:41 AM
CL from NYC

Another uninformed moron who is not fit for government office.

Aug. 04 2011 10:41 AM
JanO from Brooklyn

Is NY9 in Jerusalem?..."heavily Jewish" just how heavily? Isn't NY a democracy? To listen to all these conversations, you'd think it was like Israel, pretty theocratic.

Aug. 04 2011 10:37 AM
chris from Brooklyn

Why is this congressional race discussion a platform for pro-Israel callers to sound off on Palestinian issues without rebuttal? Callers have been unbalanced and off topic.

Aug. 04 2011 10:37 AM

We all know where Brian's vacation destination is now.

I realize the district has a large Jewish population, but you'd think it was located on the West Bank from this segment.

Aug. 04 2011 10:36 AM

Martin, what's driving business overseas is cheap labor, not high taxes. Get real.

Aug. 04 2011 10:32 AM
Terri from Brooklyn

Yeesh, I'm glad I'm not in this district.

Aug. 04 2011 10:32 AM

Don't ya love it when a caller says, "It's very simple", and then goes on to make the most convoluted comment, sans question, that could ever come out of a person's mouth?

Aug. 04 2011 10:32 AM
Tom from Toronto

You know, listening to this debate is surreal. Which country are these guys running in again?

Aug. 04 2011 10:31 AM
ryan j from forest hills

Since Anthony Weiner did nothing illegal and was forced out by powers outside the 9th district why shouldn't I write him in on my ballot? How will you be a better representative than him?

Aug. 04 2011 10:30 AM
john from office

Wow is Israel a state??, how this issue is so important is amazing. I am pro Israel, put it is not under threat from the Obama administration.

Are there any other issues here??

Aug. 04 2011 10:30 AM
rachel from Brooklyn

Brian has to get past his knee-jerk pro-Israel interests. As a jew and a loyal listener, I am so sick of his biases in this matter. He would not let go of this non-issue in the congressional race -- why?? And then to use up so much of the interview with more of the Turner interview...Not Brian's finest moment.

Aug. 04 2011 10:30 AM

To David from Forest Hills - you speak of President Obama's threatening stance of the State of Israel, you're kidding right? What is this that any slight criticism on Israel all of a sudden it's threatening. Give me a break.

I'm more interested in his positions on US Policy, not Israel. But I'm sure you would think then that I'm anti-semitic.

Aug. 04 2011 10:29 AM
Zach from UWS this guy running to be the representative from the 9th district of New York or Israel? Fewer questions/callers about this issue please.

Aug. 04 2011 10:28 AM
Tom from Upper West Side

I don't know why no one is discussing this, but in Sharlett's book "C Street" we learn that the religious right has a bible-based hatred of the term "compromise." This is why Boehner and lots of others will NOT use the word!

Aug. 04 2011 10:26 AM
Guest from New Jersey

Brian you have spent so much time grilling Weprin about Israel - this is not a one issue election. Not even close. Domestic issues much more important.

Aug. 04 2011 10:25 AM
Artyi from Forest Hills

While I loathe the idea of voting for a Rublican, especially after the recent Washington fiasco, it would have been nice for the party leaders to at least picked someone who lives in the district. It is now unrepresented so we need someone, but out of 600,000 people I'm sure someone is qualified to run as a Democrat.

Aug. 04 2011 10:25 AM
Tom from Manhattan

Brian is holding up the straw man of Israel policy, created by the Republican candidate, to bait Weprin. A congressman has virtually nothing to do with Israel/Palestine policy. What he feels about cutting aid to Palestinian Authority -- which is not sending rockets, by the way -- has nothing to do with the politics or real issues of his district. It is BAD journalism to follow a phony issue with repeated, baiting questions.

Aug. 04 2011 10:25 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Weprin, jobs are the most important issue?

What exactly have you said so far that is in any way "pro-growth"?

(Your President doesn't think so....he thinks it's his concocted, divisive campaign against "millionaires and billionaires". LOL...ridiculous.)

Weprin .... you would tax corporations even more !!!!????? What do you think is driving them overseas !!!!????

Aug. 04 2011 10:24 AM
ryan j from forest hills

Why did mister weprin come out so strongly against the congestion pricing plan when the money raised would have helped fund transit in the under served areas in the 9th district?

Aug. 04 2011 10:23 AM
Robert from NYC

Good, Ed Koch is irrelevant in everything. And why is the first question to someone running for a US office have to do with Israel!! We should vote for people who support Israel right or wrong? This is ridiculous. He should be answering questions about what he would do about the problems here not Israel.
Ed Koch and Senator Lieberman are more interested in israel than they are the US. They put Israel before the US and that to me sounds like, well traitors.

Aug. 04 2011 10:22 AM
Ellen from Brooklyn

I believe Weprin correctly identified that Israel is not the main issue in this race. Wish you would have let him drop it and move it on!

Aug. 04 2011 10:21 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Neither Brian nor Mr. Weprin seems to be making any distinction between the Palestinian Authority & Hamas, or between both of those & "the Palestinians" in general.

Aug. 04 2011 10:20 AM
Donna from NYC

Maybe the Palestinians woudl stop firing rockets if Israel stopped stealing their land and jailing their children - just a thought.

Aug. 04 2011 10:20 AM
CMAB from Pelham

Does Mr. Weprin live in the district?

Aug. 04 2011 10:19 AM
Donna from NYC

Why don't we cut off aid to Israel until they stop stealing Palestinian land?

Aug. 04 2011 10:19 AM
Alison bradley from Nyc

The Atlas of impossible longing. New fiction. Author is Indian. Last name Roy
It's Gabriel Garcia Marquez of india!! Fabulous writer.

Aug. 04 2011 10:16 AM
Raul from Prospect Heights

Here's an interesting article written by a conservative Republican activist and Orthodox Jew supporting Weprin:

Aug. 04 2011 10:14 AM

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