Azi Paybarah

Azi Paybarah appears in the following:

Rice Ad: No Pushover

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The advantage to raising the biggest amount of money in a crowded race where the candidates are unknown is you can define yourself, and highlight criticisms that actually make you appear stronger. That's what Kathleen Rice is doing with her first ad in the attorney general's race.

Here, the narrator (and dramatic music) stress that Rice is "no pushover," hardly a charge she's faced on the campaign trail. But in appearing to knock down a criticism, she's able to underscore an advantage her allies have vocalized: she's the only woman in an otherwise all white, all male Democratic slate.

(h/t Haberman)

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Comments [1]

First Gingrich, Now Faulkner

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rev. Michel Faulkner

Azi Paybara / WNYC

Add Rev. Michel Faulkner, the GOP candidate running for Rangel's seat in Harlem, to those trying to keep up with Newt Gingrich in devising headline-grabbing analogies to explain their opposition to the proposed mosque near Ground Zero.

"It would not be fair for the Klu Klux Klan to erect a statue or a monument near the bombs in the South that were burned during the civil rights movement," said Faulkner.

Scott Stringer showed remarkable restraint during this MSNBC segment last night.

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Comments [3]

The Lede: Obama's Heads-up, Barron's Dangerous Charm

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Times Herald-Record

Today's Wood

Bloomberg's slateof candidates outside NY.

Obama didn't give a heads up to Schumer, Gillibrand and other Democrats he was going to address the mosque issue.

NYT: "[S]trategists said Democrats could counter the Republican offensive by labeling the mosque dispute as a local issue and saying Democrats remain focused on the economy."

"Requests for comment from Reps. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, and John Hall, D-Dover Plains, went unanswered on Monday."

Bloomberg allies Lanza, Molinaro, and McMahon say the mosque should be moved.

NYT editorial: Obama and supporters "need to push back hard" to defend the mosque project.

NY Post editorial: Obama "made a bigger muddle" of mosque debate.

Cohen: Obama "flinched."

Schumer's spokesman: "As he's said for several weeks now, he is not opposed."

Obama's spokesman said they've had a "fulsome" conversation about the mosque, and won't discuss it again.

Bennet recalls the mosque built by Feisal Abdul Rauf's father, on the East Side.

Cuomo declined to comment on a proposal to broaden the investigatory power of the AG's office, which he previously voiced support for.

Hydrofracking critics plan to greet Cuomo Thursday in Tompkin's County.

NT2 wonders if the Post is wiggling out of Cuomo's corner.

Hammond: "Cuomo showed government workers that he intends to be their boss, not the other way around."

Paterson won't attend the Public Integrity's hearing on how the governor got Yankee World Series tickets.

Cillizza sees Obama and congressional Democrats "operating on two very different political time lines."

NY23 GOP challenger Hanna says they have a right to build a mosque at Ground Zero, but "this is the wrong location."

The mosque issue gets "hotter by the day."

A critic ties Arcuri to Palin, on the mosque.

Mediaite: Olbermann's over-the-topness was just right for the mosque debate.

Frank Rich reads Alter's book on Obama.

Herbert: "The truth is that we have no idea how the president really feels about the deadline he imposed for beginning a troop withdrawal."

Quinn hits now-defunct St. Vincents for paying high salaries to executives and consultants.

Voting to consolidate local government begins, upstate.

A new report recommends electeds stop interfering with public authorities.

Caption Contest: Paterson in the Jets huddle.

Barron: "If we take care of blacks and Latinos, the state will be better off."

"He's very charming, but that's what makes him dangerous."

The Epoch Times plays it straight on Barron.

Kappstatter explains how a Republican helped Democrats gain the upper hand at the NYC Board of Elections.

A judge orders another look at the Capturing the Freidmans case.

And a warning to Robert George: they're all going to laugh at you.

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Palin's Question for those Other Mosques

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What's the point of another mosque, Sarah Palin wonders, during an appearance on Fox last night:

There are already a hundred mosques in New York…


Now, if the purpose of this mosque, as we are lead to believe, is to create this tolerant environment to avoid anything like a 9/11 ever repeating, you have to ask ‘Why didn’t any of those 100 mosques already accomplish such a thing, allowing that tolerance and acceptance of differing views?' So, I don’t buy into that reason, that that’s the purpose of this location being chosen.

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Roundup: Cuomo, Reid, Rice

Monday, August 16, 2010

Credit: Spencer Tucker /

W tried preventing this anti-Muslim sentiment, says Michael Cohen.

So much for that Haaretz report on scuttling Park51.

Reid wants the mosque 'somewhere else.'

Bloomberg downplays Obama's nuance on the issue, and lack of support from other electeds.

Public Employees Federation gets behind Brodsky.

Labor split on Cuomo.

Lazio may, or may not, debate Paladino. At some point.

Brendan Scott profiles Schneiderman as part of his series on the the AG candidates.

Rice promises not to breath down Cuomo's neck.

Hoffman makes an issue out of Arizona.

A Democratic State Senate challenger vastly outspends the Republican opponent, upstate.

De Blasio tracks corporate campaign spending [added].

And Rangel's spokesman balks at debate invitations, explaining, "The bottom line of this election is that it's between Charlie Rangel and Charlie Rangel" [added]

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Cuomo and Obama's Group

Monday, August 16, 2010

Andrew Cuomo

Azi Paybarah / WNYC

Andrew Cuomo campaigning in Harlem during 2006 campaign.

Obama's campaign spin-off, Organizing for America, is out with an email to supporters rallying support for Andrew Cuomo's gubernatorial campaign.

Haberman notes this makes Cuomo "part of the national party's movement."

Cuomo is, oddly, declining to comment on the email.

The only thing I'll add is that the email doesn't mention the word Democrat.  Instead, the email characterizes the opponents they're trying to topple as "lobbyists and special interest" and "lawmakers" who "can't break free from the status quo."

The OFA description underscores Cuomo anti-Albany message. "I think we have to have less focus on the party labels and more focus on the people,"Cuomo told reporters last Friday.

So, for this one, the OFA is following Cuomo's script.

UPDATE: After seeing reports about their lack of comment, Cuomo's campaign sent over a statement.

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Replacing Schneiderman

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mark Levine

Mark Levine's FaceBook page

Mark Levine campaigns at a parade

Here's a brief detour into one of the local races: a State Senate seat has opened up, and a chance to join the much  talked about upper chamber of the state legislature is drawing fierce competition from, among others, one of the institutional players in Albany.

Eric Schneiderman is vacating the seat in order to run for attorney general. The district goes from the liberal bastion of the Upper West Side, through Dominican-dominated areas like Inwood and Washington Heights, and extends all the way to parts of Riverdale in the Bronx.

Adriano Espaillat, is the front-runner, since he's an Assemblyman already representing part of the district. He was elected in 1996, but, in this anti-incumbent tide, having a 14-year record in Albany may not be as strong an asset as usual.

Espaillat has also hired consultants The Mirram Group (institutional players, run by the former head of the Bronx Democratic County Organization) and BerlinRosen (the powerful and well-connected, uber-progressive folks who help keep Sheldon Silver popular, and labor groups happy).

Either way, he has an impressive $104,700.96 on hand, according to the latest finance numbers released late last week.

But Espaillat doesn't have the most money in the field.

That title goes to Mark Levine, an educator, Democratic district leader and a guy who speaks English, Spanish and a few other languages.

Among the people that helped Levine raise $146,529.51are Wall Street veteran John C. Whitehead, mega donors Nina and Fritz Loewenstein and actor Ed Norton.

Also running is Anna Lewis, who's latest filing shows she has just $911.09 on hand. She ran for City Council years ago, worked for the Assembly for a few years and is casting herself as the wonky, not-too-political candidate in the race.

And lastly is Miosotis Munoz, who managed to raise $6,2400 for the race, but ended the latest filing period with $339.87 in debt.

So, practically speaking, it's mostly a two-person race (Espaillat and Levine)  with Lewis and Munoz, sucking-up some oxygen each of them: Munoz could siphon away some Spanish votes from Espaillat, while Lewis, the only woman in the race, could, theoretically, draw votes away from Levine.

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Comments [6]

'Modern Family' Guy for Same-Sex Marriage

Monday, August 16, 2010

'A bunch of stupid senators' is how actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson describes the State Senators who voted against same-sex marriage. The issue may help with fund-raising, but as Liz Benjamin noted, it may not be on the agenda anytime soon.

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Questions for AG candidate Kathleen Rice

Monday, August 16, 2010

kathleen rice

Azi Paybarah / WNYC

At noon today, attorney general candidate Kathleen Rice is hosting an on-the-record roundtable with Manhattan-based journos (a slightly different PR approach than some other statewide candidates are taking).

It's taking place at Rice's campaign headquarters (483 10th Avenue), and food will be served.

A few interested readers have sent me prospective questions to ask her: the questions run the gamut:

  • one person suggested reporters ask the obligatory "any brushes with the law" question.
  • another said it's worth hearing Rice explain accepting contributions from people like businessman Steve Napolitano, who, as the Daily News reported, was investigated by the attorney general's office.

Other questions for Rice? Stick them in the comments section.

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Comments [2]

The Lede: Bloomberg, Cuomo, Park51

Monday, August 16, 2010

Petraeus is not in Afghanistan to oversee a "graceful exit."

As Bloomberg pushed to extend term limits, a charity he funds gave thousands to a group run by Al Sharpton, who stayed oddly quiet.

Education expert: “On achievement, the story in New York City is of some modest progress, but not the miracle that the mayor and the chancellor would like to claim.”

That education story - sub-headlined "A Blow to Bloomberg" - makes A1 of The Times.

On the web site Park51, the Islamic cultural center proposed near Ground Zero, they refer to part of their facility as "a mosque."

The Post puts Hamas and Ground Zero on the wood.

Schumer and King dismiss the Hamas statements on the Islamic center.

Douthat demands more sensitivity from the Park51 developers.

Lupica gives veto power to 9/11 families.

Cuomo's anti-Albany message will hurt Democratic legislators.

Cuomo tells Poughkeepsie Journal ed board if tax cap isn't done this year, "I'm going to make it a top priority next year."

Crowley and Israel jockey for a DCCC promotion.

Deroy Murdock spills a lot of ink on Rangel's GOP challenger.

Murphy and Gibson argue taxes.

Zuckerman in WSJ[$]: "If there is one great policy failure of this recession, it's that we have not used the crisis to introduce structural reforms."

Bloomberg reviews pension costs, Liu sort of does too.

Espada may survive since he'll face two challengers, not just one.

"Brown skirted rules in hiring of Thomas"

The Post doubts Paterson will really collect cigarette taxes from reservations.

The Brooklyn DA's office is"taking its sweet time bringing [State Senator] Parker to trial."

And here's an ad from the NYS Conservative Party, which puts pressure on Con Ed to not sell land to Park51 developers.

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Nadler's WTC Boundaries

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rep. Jerry Nadler, whose district includes Ground Zero and the site of the proposed Islamic center, offers this succinct description of where people's sensitivities about 9/11 should end:

"Two blocks not hallowed ground," says Nadler.

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A Loophole for Lawyers

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Andrew Cuomo (Azi Paybarah/WNYC)

The Daily News catches Andrew Cuomo's campaign fund-raising running slightly afoul of the donation restrictions set out by…Andrew Cuomo's campaign.

The issue is Cuomo's decision to not take money from people or companies with business before his Attorney General's office, which is smart policy. But, as the campaign describes to The Daily News, there's a glaring loophole they allow:

"Cuomo's campaign says lawyers representing clients before the AG are not subject to the restrictions on donations."

Also, Cuomo campaign spokesman Josh Vlasto tries pushing the issue off their back, and onto the lap of Albany lawmakers:

"The real issue is not the campaign's voluntary rules ... but rather the entire campaign finance system, which is in desperate need of real reform."

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Koch: Senate Democrats ‘Going Down to a Defeat’

Monday, July 26, 2010

Former Mayor Ed Koch is pressing his case against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Conference Leader John Sampson -- two Democratic legislative leaders who are among the handful of lawmakers to not sign Koch’s reform pledge.

"He said let's dialogue. I haven’t heard from him since."

On Fred Dicker’s show this morning, Koch recalled his conversation with Silver about non-partisan redistricting.

Koch went on to warn that Senate Democrats are "going down to a defeat," in no small part because many of them have not signed onto his pledge.

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First Luke Russert, Now Marcia Kramer

Monday, July 26, 2010

The latest recipient of Charlie Rangel’s advice about what reporters should and should not ask is Marcia Kramer of CBS.

“Marci, you are such a professional, I don’t want to see you do this publicly to yourself.”

Charlie Rangel

Kramer was trying to ask Rangel about his comment that he may face "more alleged violations" when a bi-partisan ethics panel releases their findings on Thursday.

This is mild, considering the treatment Luke Russert got last week from Rangel (which Rangel later apologized for).

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Harlem’s Changes

Monday, July 26, 2010

Chris Smith has a good point about the changing nature of Harlem, and its politics:

Rangel’s district was 63 percent black when he was first elected; today it’s 37 percent black and 46 percent Hispanic. “Bensonhurst ain’t Bensonhurst anymore, and guess what? Harlem ain’t Harlem anymore, either,” says the Reverend Al Sharpton, who made the neighborhood his base of operations twenty years ago and is still resented as an interloper by many of the clubhouse stalwarts. “But a lot of Harlem politicians are just trying to hold on to something that’s not there anymore,” Sharpton says. “Somebody that puts together the new blacks and the Latinos and the whites is going to be able to flip the whole Harlem leadership.”

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The Lede: Paladino Rising, Rice Voting

Monday, July 26, 2010

Carl Paladino

Azi Paybarah / WNYC

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‘Certainly it’s Not a Harlem Seat’

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Veteran reporter David Diaz gets into the ethnic politics and demographics of the NY15 race, where Rep. Charlie Rangel is facing a crowded field of Democratic challengers.

In an interview with one of those opponents, Adam Clayton Powell, host Diaz says, “Latinos, for example, outnumber blacks in that district by about 2:1.”

“How do you see it? Is it still a black seat,” Diaz asks.

“No,” says Powell, who is Puerto Rican and African-American. "Certainly it’s not a Harlem seat” and “the rest of the neighborhoods [in the district] appear to be step children. And that’s wrong.”

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An Argument for the Masala Bhangra Audience

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Here’s Democratic congressional candidate Reshma Saujani greeting her latest interviewer, Sarina Jain around the 2 minute mark: “Did you use to teach at the New York Sports Club?”

Jain is a notable fitness teacher who teaches the Masala Bhangra Workout. The target audience here is clear: younger voters and Southeast Asians.

At the 3:13 mark, Saujani hits her opponent, Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney:

“A campaign like this has just never been run before in New York. We’re the first people to get on the ballot, first person to get on the ballot in about twenty years because she’s kicked everyone off the ballot before that.”

Maloney's record of clearing the ballot of primary challengers is something that came up when she was preparing to run her own primary against Senator Kristen Gillibrand.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010


Azi Paybarah / WNYC

Tucked inside Conservative activist David Horowitz's latest missive to reporters about the dangers of the Obama administration:

"Remember, Barack Obama is up for reelection in 2010. That means we cannot afford to focus entirely on November 2010."

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Mosque Politics

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Carl Paladino campaign

Tea Party gubernatorail candidate Carl Paladino, who is challenging Rick Lazio in a GOP primary, is out with a radio ad, and this poster, highlighting his opposition to the mosque slated to be built near Ground Zero.

"As Governor I will use the power of eminent domain to stop this mosque and make the site a war memorial instead of a monument to those who attacked our country," Paladino says in the ad.

Lazio also opposes the plan. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo is in favor of it.

Lazio earlier attacked Cuomo over this issue - the first time he's really gone on the offensive. But judging from Paladino's deep pockets (he's a self-funded businessman threatening to put $10 million into the race), it's clear Lazio is reacting more to Paladino than Cuomo on this issue.

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