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Re: Washington Post: Menendez Seeks to Bury Image of a Shady Dealer
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On a scale of one to ten, how crooked is Menendez?

(Tom Delay / Bob Nay would be a ten. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington would be zero.)

Is Menendez a six? seven? higher?

Posted on: 2006/11/6 4:38
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Re: Washington Post: Menendez Seeks to Bury Image of a Shady Dealer
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He's such a help to Jersey's image!

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Hey maybe Menendez got Joe Piscopo to say he wants Tom Kean -- you know reverse psychology.

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Annod wrote:
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fasteddie wrote:
I just got a call from Joe Piscopo ( he calls me often to chat, I try to give him career advice but he never listens) anyway, he wanted to encourage me to go out and vote tuesday. He also said, although he is a Democrat, he will be voting for Tom Kean.


Joe called me too this afternoon....

Posted on: 2006/11/5 21:20
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Re: Washington Post: Menendez Seeks to Bury Image of a Shady Dealer
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Quote:

fasteddie wrote:
I just got a call from Joe Piscopo ( he calls me often to chat, I try to give him career advice but he never listens) anyway, he wanted to encourage me to go out and vote tuesday. He also said, although he is a Democrat, he will be voting for Tom Kean.


Joe called me too this afternoon. Al Gore called this morning. It was funny hearing Al Gore's voice after I saw Darrell Hammond played him last night on Saturday Night Live.

Posted on: 2006/11/5 21:12
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Re: Washington Post: Menendez Seeks to Bury Image of a Shady Dealer
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friendofflois wrote:"by friendoflois on 2006/11/5 13:55:18

Anyone who votes for Kean is actually pulling the lever to vote for Bush again. Since the stakes are so high, it is extremely important to send a Democrat to Washington to wrest control of the Congress from the Republicans. Bush needs to be stopped before he gets another Supreme Court nominee, kills another 2,000 Americans in Iraq, and crucifies a few more gay people.

Also, anyone who really believes that Kean is not corrupt and that Menendez is, is fooling him/herself. Kean is a politician and he grew up in a political family. Is anyone really naive enough to believe that he won't reward the people who gave him money? Get real."

I see a vote for kean as a vote to hopefully reduce my taxes. or at least keeping them from going up again. The fact that he supportd the President is fine with me. Let's hope that Bush gets another Supreme Court nominee so that we can add another judge who will interpret the Constitution instead of legislating from the bench like so many liberal judges do.
I challenge you to produce one crucified gay person. I have several friends and relatives that are gay (5 that I know of), and 3 of them are conservatives; they all live in NJ). We have had several discussions about politic's, and unless they are full of crap, they will be voting for Kean on Tuesday.
For the record, it's about 3.00 dead American heroes in the Iraq War, not 2.000. Let's not forget that most of the darling left US Senators ( Hillary, John Kerry[the gift that keeps on giving}, John Edwards), and countless others voted for the war before they voted against it. They can't have it both ways.
Lastly, assuming that you are right in saying that Kean is as corrupt as Menendez is, so be it. At least his cronies will be Republicans...Go Kean !!!

Posted on: 2006/11/5 20:23
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Re: Washington Post: Menendez Seeks to Bury Image of a Shady Dealer
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Anyone who votes for Kean is actually pulling the lever to vote for Bush again. Since the stakes are so high, it is extremely important to send a Democrat to Washington to wrest control of the Congress from the Republicans. Bush needs to be stopped before he gets another Supreme Court nominee, kills another 2,000 Americans in Iraq, and crucifies a few more gay people.

Also, anyone who really believes that Kean is not corrupt and that Menendez is, is fooling him/herself. Kean is a politician and he grew up in a political family. Is anyone really naive enough to believe that he won't reward the people who gave him money? Get real.

Posted on: 2006/11/5 18:55

Edited by friendoflois on 2006/11/5 19:20:11
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Re: Washington Post: Menendez Seeks to Bury Image of a Shady Dealer
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I just got a call from Joe Piscopo ( he calls me often to chat, I try to give him career advice but he never listens) anyway, he wanted to encourage me to go out and vote tuesday. He also said, although he is a Democrat, he will be voting for Tom Kean.

Posted on: 2006/11/5 18:44
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Re: Washington Post: Menendez Seeks to Bury Image of a Shady Dealer
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One public poll asked voters what jumps to their mind when they hear the candidates' names. Kean? He's the son of a former governor.

As for Menendez? The greatest number of poll respondents -- 21 percent -- say the words that come to mind are "corruption/crooked.">>

Wow!

Posted on: 2006/11/5 18:33
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Re: Washington Post: Menendez Seeks to Bury Image of a Shady Dealer
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NEW YORK TIMES

Corzine Bets a Lot in Backing a Controversial Senator

New York Times -- By DAVID W. CHEN -- Nov. 3, 2006

HOBOKEN, N.J., Nov. 2 ? For months, the New Jersey Firemen?s Mutual Benevolent Association was flirting with the idea of bucking its Democratic inclinations and endorsing Thomas H. Kean Jr. for the United States Senate. After all, Mr. Kean is a former volunteer firefighter, and was even the union?s Legislator of the Year in 2004.

But then Gov. Jon S. Corzine got to work.

At the union?s annual conference in September, and at private meetings and in public settings, Mr. Corzine always praised the credentials of Senator Robert Menendez, the man whom he picked in December to serve out his Senate term.

Whenever he met with the union president, Bill Lavin, a longtime ally, on issues ranging from pensions to fire safety, he managed to drop in a few warm words about Mr. Menendez. Even when he dined with Mr. Lavin and others, he rarely hesitated to mention the importance of electing Mr. Menendez, and to ask how the union was leaning.

On Wednesday, that effort paid off when the union, which represents 5,000 members, or 80 percent of the state?s career firefighters, endorsed Mr. Menendez.

?I never felt the pressure, but you want to have a sitting governor and a political ally to continue to be on the same page,? Mr. Lavin said. ?He has a lot at stake because it?s his guy.?

A lot at stake, indeed. Not just for Mr. Menendez, and not just because a Democratic loss in this Democratic state could cost the party control of the Senate.

For Mr. Corzine, it would be a personal rebuke, a told-you-so moment for colleagues from Trenton to Washington who had cautioned against picking Mr. Menendez. A defeat would be particularly stinging for Mr. Corzine, who had been chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

?He will become a goat in the eyes of many Democratic activists,? said Bruce E. Cain, a political scientist at the University of California at Berkeley and director of its Washington Center.

Mr. Corzine said in an interview on Wednesday that he had a ?high degree of confidence? that Mr. Menendez would retain the slight edge he has held in polls. But after an event in Newark with Essex County officials, Mr. Corzine said he would accept responsibility for whatever happened on Tuesday.

?Hold me accountable,? he said, using the same phrase he used the night he was elected governor last year, and again in his inaugural address in January.

Mr. Corzine has not been particularly visible on the campaign trail; he has attended only a few events, when he has ceded above-the-title billing to national Democrats like Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, who attended a rally here on Thursday night. That is by design, Democrats say, to keep the focus on President Bush and the Iraq war rather than on voters? frustration with New Jersey?s high taxes.

?We want this to be a race about federal issues and the direction of the country, but Tom Kean would like to argue about the state budget and state issues,? said Representative Robert E. Andrews, a Camden County Democrat. ?Any time the governor goes somewhere, he will be asked what?s happening with the special session on property taxes, and he should, but that interferes with the message.?

Mr. Andrews has been one of Mr. Menendez?s most visible surrogates on the stump, along with Mr. Menendez?s daughter, Alicia, a recent Harvard graduate.

That Mr. Andrews has become such an important part of the campaign is interesting in itself because he was widely regarded as the bridesmaid when Mr. Corzine turned to Mr. Menendez in December to fill out his Senate term. His seemingly enthusiastic support emphasizes how hard Mr. Corzine has toiled behind the scenes to enlist Democrats in this unexpected battle.

Mr. Corzine has helped raise what Democratic consultants estimate at $3.5 million on behalf of state and local Democratic organizations, solicit millions more from a reluctant national Democratic Party and needle local officials to redouble their get-out-the-vote efforts. He has also loaned a few staff members to Mr. Menendez?s team.

?I have done enough effort in my spare time to try to make this as successful an outcome as possible,? Mr. Corzine said. ?We have certainly tried to use whatever influence I might have with our local infrastructure, political infrastructure, to make sure it?s mobilized appropriately.?

Mr. Corzine is hardly a stranger to high-pressure situations. He became co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, the investment firm, spent more than $100 million of his own money to win two statewide elections and shut down state government for eight days this summer over a budget impasse with Democratic legislators.

This time, Mr. Corzine has had to endure speculation in Democratic circles that Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, who succeeded Mr. Corzine as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, did not agree with the choice of Mr. Menendez and preferred former Gov. Richard J. Codey, who remains enormously popular.

But Mr. Corzine has never wavered in his support of Mr. Menendez, the state?s first Hispanic senator. To this day, he cites Mr. Menendez?s vote against authorizing the use of force in Iraq as a brave and prescient move.

?I felt very comfortable with my choice in January, because of what I perceive as real character to take tough positions, to stand up for what you believe in on a long-time basis in a credible way, and be a great legislator,? he said. ?Bob Menendez is one of those people that has, on a scale of 1 to 10, come out a 10 on effectiveness as a legislator.?

Mr. Corzine?s commitment was never more crucial than in early September, when federal prosecutors reportedly began to examine the records of a nonprofit community agency that paid more than $300,000 in rent to Mr. Menendez for a property he owned in Jersey City, while receiving millions of dollars in federal grants with his help.

Mr. Kean pounced on the disclosure as proof that Mr. Menendez had a flexible set of ethics, and then went on to warn that the Democrats might drop Mr. Menendez from the ballot in the same way former Senator Robert G. Torricelli was replaced at the 11th hour by Frank R. Lautenberg in the 2002 Senate race.

The reported subpoenas were issued by the United States attorney, a Republican, and Mr. Corzine questioned whether the timing was politically motivated, and his support of Mr. Menendez calmed frazzled Democrats.

?He?s always talking about Menendez,? Mr. Codey said. ?That?s the first thing he brings up ? we need to get this guy to win. He?s keenly plugged into it, and he?s sensitive to making sure that Bob wins.?

So it was apt, perhaps, that Democrats flocked to Thursday?s rally here, home to both Mr. Corzine and Mr. Menendez, in which the featured visitor was Mr. Obama, whom Mr. Corzine had helped to recruit in 2004.

Mr. Corzine was there, but his name did not appear in press advisories for the event, and he seemed satisfied to let the others share the spotlight.

David Kocieniewski contributed reporting.
NEW YORK TIMES

Posted on: 2006/11/3 14:46
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Washington Post: Menendez Seeks to Bury Image of a Shady Dealer
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WASHINGTON POST LINK

Menendez Seeks to Bury Image of a Shady Dealer

By Michael Powell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 3, 2006; Page A02

ATLANTIC CITY -- A balding labor chieftain explains why his hard-hats should vote for the plump candidate who stands here in a muddy construction site dressed in a white knit cotton shirt, a pinstriped suit, loafers and a perfectly knotted tie.

"Bobby Menendez is a fighter !" Billy Mullen bellows at his guys on this balmy autumnal day. "He's been in the gutter , he's rolled around down there his whole life . . ." The hard-hats do much appreciative thumping of hands and waving of fists.

Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat, gives a pained smile suggestive of intestinal discomfort. He rarely answers to "Bobby." And there's a very good likelihood -- no, let's make it a certainty -- that he is not enamored of this particular compliment.

The notion that Menendez, 52, rolls in the gutter before lunch, that he is a political boss as expert in the manipulation of political IOUs and shivs as he is in the intricacies of trade policy, has trailed like a mutt after Menendez throughout his Senate campaign.

His opponent, Republican Tom Kean Jr., a semi-obscure state senator and the trust-fund scion of a multigenerational political powerhouse, cannot clear his throat without intoning that Menendez is "under federal investigation." There are, in Kean's telling, Menendez's questionable rental contract with a local not-for-profit, the pressure his advisers applied to get an ally hired at a local hospital, and so on and on.

Even if these charges prove true, it's not clear such behavior is illegal or disabling. In New Jersey the operating political philosophy is described as "pay to play," and the occasional indictment might be viewed as part of the life cycle of politics.

"We are a very, very nonjudgmental state," noted Clifford Zukin, a professor of public policy at Rutgers University. "Unless you are rich and can buy in from the outside, it takes a great deal of skill and toughness to rise up."

Still, the charges -- repeated in countless commercials -- take a cumulative effect. New Jersey has trended Democratic for years. But Menendez, who was appointed in January to fill the Senate seat vacated by Gov. Jon S. Corzine (D), stands a bare notch ahead of Kean in polls.

One public poll asked voters what jumps to their mind when they hear the candidates' names. Kean? He's the son of a former governor.

As for Menendez? The greatest number of poll respondents -- 21 percent -- say the words that come to mind are "corruption/crooked."

Menendez sits in the back of a coffee shop at the Borgata casino after his Atlantic City labor rally and wags his head. It's Halloween, and a waitress dressed as a giant Hershey's Kiss has just served coffee.

"In the end of the day, have all the negative ads taken effect? It's hurt." Menendez favors a softly wounded tone. "I didn't expect this."

The word "complicated" hangs over Menendez's head like a thought balloon.

One on one, he's neatly coifed and studiously bland, a pug-nosed lawyer at ease with the arcana of trade policy and Iraq. He's the immigrant's son -- his parents grew up in Havana and fled the dictator Fulgencio Batista -- and a skilled infighter for a higher minimum wage and low-cost student loans, and a determined opponent of the war in Iraq.

On the stump, he's curiously diffident. He attended a Veterans Day breakfast in Cherry Hill, a hall thick with old vets speaking in the emphatic manner of the hard of hearing. Max Cleland, the former Georgia senator and Vietnam amputee, had flown to campaign for him. The old Georgia pol coached the candidate.

"Go ahead, Bobby," Cleland whispers. "Push my wheelchair out there."

Menendez tends to step on his own applause lines. One vet after another ambles up to shake Menendez's hand but the candidate's handshake is as fleeting as his attention.

You might not guess that politics has been Menendez's chosen -- and highly successful -- calling since he ran for school board at the age of 19. He grew up in a tenement in Union City, a working-class immigrant city that hangs like a vine to the cliffs of the Palisades overlooking the Hudson River. The city sits in Hudson County, which for more than a century has exemplified a style of politics known as Early Feudal.

As Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) recently explained to the Record of Hackensack: "You don't take prisoners in Hudson County, you shoot them."

Another piece of the county's political DNA was laid down by Frank Hague, mayor of Jersey City from 1917 to 1947. He had a desk constructed with a lap drawer so visitors might deposit charitable envelopes of cash. Hague's salary never exceeded $8,000; his net worth at the time of his death was $10 million.

Menendez' first job came with William V. Musto, the intermittently reformist mayor of Union City. Later Menendez, who wore a bulletproof vest during this time, testified that Musto took bribes. Musto was convicted, and then he was reelected the day after he was sentenced.

Menendez has put in place mayors of Jersey City and Union City -- and upended the same men. But he recoils at any notion he's a boss. "Tom Kean rises to the top of his county machine with no experience and it's 'leadership,' " Menendez says in that professorial manner. "But we pick a candidate here in Hudson County and it's bossism. That's very outdated."

It must be said, however, that Hudson County politics retain a high entertainment value. Robert Janiszewski, the former county executive of Hudson County was forced to go into the witness protection program in 2001 after it was revealed he had worn an FBI wire. Janiszewski was sentenced to 41 months but in prison he's resurfaced as a pen-pal adviser to Kean's campaign.

Menendez frowns.

" In that case , the history of Frank Hague lives. But that history is not reality for the rest of us."

WASHINGTON POST LINK

Posted on: 2006/11/3 14:41
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