Monday, July 24, 2006

Don't Overlook Gillibrand's Focus on Issues

In a recent editorial, the Post Star calls on John Sweeney (R NY) to take up Kirsten Gillibrand's debate challenge.

...We await the fall debates with eagerness. Now that Gillibrand's same-party opponents have dropped out of the lopsided primary that was shaping up for September, Sweeney's stated reason for holding off debates with his Democratic rival has evaporated.

Ideally, these debates would start earlier than they usually do. Why not space them out over several months beginning in August, or at least just after Labor Day? An earlier debate schedule with three to five debates planned across the cumbersome 20th Congressional District would maximize the time that voters have to evaluate the candidates. ...

I agree with the PS call for early and frequent debates. When will Sweeney take the up Kirsten's challenge?

I disagree with the paper's opinion that the Gillibrand press release about Sweeney's possible house ethics rules violations are the same thing as Sweeney's negative attacks on Gillibrand's family and the lies that the Sweeney campaign is mailing to voters regarding her residency.

The Gillibrands own one house and it is in the district. When team Sweeney dug up a copy of her mortgage papers, surely they also discovered about the move from her old apartment in 2004.

Seems that Sweeney and Bush have another bad habit in common: the selective use of the facts to present a false version of reality to the public.

In addition to living here full time, Gillibrand graduated from a local high school in Troy. Lots of people in our area that move away for a job and then return home to raise families. Besides Republicans know Sweeney didn't move to the district until after he was elected so Gillibrand has a leg up on him.

Sweeney's ethics violations are a legit issue in this race. Sweeney claims to be for ethics reform and then he goes skiing with lobbyists in Utah.

He refuses to testify to back up his statements which are in direct contradiction to sworn testimony suggesting he violated house ethics rules by inviting people to attend a Lake Placid event that taxpayers funded. He's a 4 term incumbent who seems to be using taxpayer funds to help his campaign. Many of us see these as abuses of power and violations of ethics rules or standards.

Gillibrand's press release about Sweeney's Possible Ethics Violations doesn't change the fact that Gillibrand has been talking about the issues all along.

Issues like: An Exit Strategy for the war in Iraq, Veteran's Issues, Middle Class Tax Cuts, An Ethics Proposal, and help with College Tuition costs.

In contrast, what does Sweeney have to say about Veterans Issues? Tax Cuts? Where is his exit plan? We can't even link to his blank "Ethics reform" page since nothing of the sort is even mentioned on his website. Looks like Sweeney should spend less time on Mortgage Research and more time on Issue Development.

The Post Star knows that the Sweeney campaign has been attacking Gillibrand's family since the beginning. Republicans tried to justify their personal family attacks by saying:

In campaign speeches, Gillibrand frequently mentions her grandmother, a former Albany Democratic political leader, said Alex Burgos, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

"If that's a part of her record in front of the voters, then this needs to be a part of it," he said.

Gosh, if the NRCC were running the Gillibrand campaign, I guess when John Sweeney's mailer about his father came out, the Gillibrand campaign would use it as an excuse to attack Sweeney's son. Which of course they didn't since Gillibrand is a Democrat and doesn't listen to the NRCC's bad ideas.

Now you'll see why I agree with the Post Star's call on Sweeney to talk about the issues and to take Gillibrand up on her debate offer, but I think they are unbalanced when they claim that Gillibrand hasn't been focused on the issues.

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