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Q Poll Focuses on Park51; Lazio, Sometimes, Doesn't

Rick Lazio, and David Malpass, at a Tea Party 365 candidate forum. (Azi Paybarah / WNYC)

Just a little more about the Q poll and Park51 debate:

The Quinnipiac poll today is likely to guarantee the Park51 debate will get more than enough coverage inside the daily papers tomorrow -- and by that, I mean right now -- even though some of the editorial pages have been criticizing candidates for focusing too much on the issue.

The person often credited with being one of the first to oppose the project is Rick Lazio, the GOP candidate for governor who has gone all over national TV and radio talking about the issue. In fact, he's been so attached to the issue that critics say it's overshadowed the other stuff he should be talking about.

The Post fired a warning shot across Lazio's bow, warning him to talk about issues voters care about, which they said his rival, Carl Paladino, is doing.

The Daily News said Lazio was "shameless and shameful in exploiting passions over a planned Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero."

And the New York Times editorial board was equally direct: "New Yorkers should be offended by Mr. Lazio’s attempt to exploit ground zero images for political gain."

Lazio, I think, has re-calibrated his message.

During a Tea Party forum last night, Lazio was asked how he would protect New York State from terrorists. Lazio spoke about expanding the Ring of Steel security initiative in Lower Manhattan, and fixing the broken security cameras in train stations. He also said cellphone reception underground should be improved, so people could text law enforcement if they see something suspicious, thus ensuring a "real time" response to any potential threat.

At no point during his answer did he mention Park51, even though his campaign aides ads seek to tie the project to September 11, Hamas and terrorists.

But in a scrum with reporters after the event, Lazio said he wasn't changing his focus away from Park51. He said he doesn't need to change the perception held by "the editorial boards" because "I think this is about where the people of New York are."