Bloomberg Vouches for Rangel, Cuomo Hedges on Successor
Monday, September 13, 2010
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.
On today's Brian Lehrer Show, Edward-Isaac Dovere, editor of City Hall, and Juan Manuel Benitez, political reporter for NY1 Noticias and host of Pura Politica, talked endorsements and robocalls ahead of Tuesday's election - and tried to make sense of the crowded Democratic race for Attorney General. Dovere said it is not surprising that Mayor Michael Bloomberg recorded robocalls in support of scandal-plagued Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel, who faces a significant challenge from Adam Claytom Powell IV.
"Charlie Rangel is a man who despite having had to give up the chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee amid the scandal, still has a lot of power in Washington. Mayor Bloomberg, as he looks to push forward his agenda in the national level, needs allies in Washington who can help him do that. Rangel is one of those people."
Bloomberg likes to portray himself as above the political fray, but he's a savvy pol, Dovere said.
In the next congressional session, the mayor will need that support of Rangel - or whoever wins the race for the 15th Congressional district - to push for immigration reform and influence banking legislation that will effect Wall Street.
"Mike Bloomberg is a practical politician. He knows what he needs to get done and how to do it. That's why he's been so successful, I think. And the air of independence, of the man who doesn't think about any political considerations and just does what his heart guides him to do is one of a little bit of the sheen that he puts on."
Voters may be having a hard time deciding between the five Democrats vying to replace Andrew Cuomo as Attorney General, Benitez and Dovere said. Front runners Eric Schneiderman, a state senator from the Upper West Side and Riverdale, and Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice have positioned themselves as the candidates of social justice and law and order, respectively, Dovere said. But Sean Coffey, Richard Brodsky and Eric Dinallo might be harder to differentiate, Benitez said. Cuomo, who is vacating the Attorney General's office to run for governor has not indicated who he would like to succeed him.
"We have five very qualified canfdidates, with great biographies, with good accomplishments. But people don't know them. They can go and find the information and pick their favorite one. But if Andrew Cuomo can't pick, how can we?"