NY13 Blog; Retaking NY-13 from Rep. Vito Fossella

Following the corruption, ineffectiveness and hypocrisy of Rep. Vito Fossella.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Bush and Fossella flying around together

Remember this when Rep. Vito Fossella tells us he is independent. Remember this when he rolls out his one time he disagrees with Bush and claims he is above partisanship. Via Tom's polit.bureau

Bush was flying back to Washington, D.C., from New York last week with Fossella's nephew, Rep. Vito Fossella (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn), when the congressman told him that his uncle was a little under the weather.

That picture is one of the many other times Fossella has flown around with Bush on Air Force One, not this time around, although for visual reference I have to believe it is close enough. We can only imagine that Rep. Vito Fossella is chiding the President for threatening to veto the Congressional bill funding troop training, equipment and plans to bring them home safely. Who in their right mind vetoes troop safety?

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Fossella contradicted by General Patraeus

via CNN;

"There is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq," Petraeus told a news conference, adding that political negotiations were crucial to forging any lasting peace.

In case you haven't kept up with all the general rotations in and out or Iraq, General Petraeus is commander of Multinational Force Iraq (MNF-I), the four-star post that oversees all U.S. forces in the country.

Our words have consequences, as powerful as our actions. We must choose them carefully for they are being listened to all over the world.

Hear that General? From now on please make sure Fossella signs off on any public comments of yours ahead of time so you don't fly off the handle like that again. That quote of course is Rep. Vito Fossella on the floor of the House explaining why funding measures to ensure the safety of our troops is such a horrible plan. I wonder when Fossella will go after Patraeus with the same vitrol he attacked Democrats for supposedly harming troops with their comments.

With an open mind I have spent hours this week listening to the debate. Like many Americans I was willing to listen to new ideas and explore a new course in Iraq.

Ah Vito your uncanny sense of humor really makes blogging enjoyable. After all it was the members of the Iraq Study Group who outlined needs aside from military force as a means to attempt to quell the fiasco that has turned into a civil war in Iraq. They suggested diplomacy and as part of the Republican majority in Congress you helped make sure a vote approving their findings never made it to the floor of the House (you were busy occupying it talking about stamps after all).

"There is no action the American military can take that, by itself, can bring about success in Iraq." (Iraq Study Group, page 70)

Rep. Fossella complains about and votes against the House Supplemental bill which provides funding for troop safety.
The Iraq Strategy Group suggests things like diplomacy and Rep. Fossella supports Republican efforts to not vote on it.
Is there a plan that Rep. Vito Fossella will not oppose?

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bush & Fossella, wrong then, wrong now

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Americans don't support Bush and Fossella veto

via MSNBC;

As the Democrat-controlled Congress and the White House clash over an Iraq spending bill, with President Bush vowing to veto it because it contains withdrawal deadlines, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that a solid majority of Americans side with the Democrats.

In addition, a nearly equal number believe that victory in Iraq isn't possible, and about only one in eight think the war has improved in the three months since Bush called for a troop increase there.

69% of Americans don't approve of the way Bush is handling Iraq

60% of Americans want a deadline set before fall 2008 for the removal of US troops
55% of Americans do not think victory in Iraq is possible

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Fossella supports Bush's partisan stall tactics

Back in February when Congress was discussing a new strategy for Iraq, and put forward a Supplemental bill that among other things required troops training, preparedness and benchmarks Iraq needed to met, Fossella bravely stood up on the floor of the House attacking the plan, with these remarks (via the SI Advance);

With an open mind I have spent hours this week listening to the debate. Like many Americans I was willing to listen to new ideas and explore a new course in Iraq.

But an opportunity was wasted because all I have heard is “no” from the other side. I have not heard a plan…nor have I heard a strategy.

Apparently Fossella has forgotten that as part of the Republican majority that controlled Congress, he voted for this war, and voted to authorize the President to have a blank check to do as he pleased all in the name of the war on terror. Despite that, he thinks it is Democrats job to produce an alternative plan (we got you into this, now you get us out), which in part I commend he for. After all this is nothing short of realizing Americans voted for a change, especially in Iraq and not more of the same. While Fossella attacks Democrats for not having a plan, then voting against their plan, he continues to stand behind President Bush. Via Yahoo News;

President Bush, standing firmly against a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, said Tuesday that he will veto the latest war spending bill taking shape in Congress.

"I'm disappointed that the Democratic leadership has chosen this course," Bush said.

"They chose to make a political statement," he said. "That's their right but it is wrong for our troops and it's wrong for our country. To accept the bill proposed by the Democratic leadership would be to accept a policy that directly contradicts the judgment of our military commanders."

So Rep. Vito Fossella with that open mind of yours you talk about, why is it that you support President Bush and oppose a new course of action in Iraq? It appears a great opportunity is indeed wasted, to borrow your words, because all I hear from you and Bush is vetoing a plan you have been asking for.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sen. Reid vs. Bush & Fossella

via Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid;

The President apparently remains in a dangerous state of denial about the situation on the ground in Iraq and its impact on our security at home. Although the President rightly stated that the American people voted against failure in Iraq last November, they also clearly voted against a policy that is leading us to failure - and that's what the President's stay the course strategy does.

While ten more of our brave men and women died yesterday in one of the deadliest days of this war, President Bush continues to offer more of the same: a failed policy that has our troops mired in an open-ended civil war that risks our security at home. The Iraq policy set forth in the Supplemental bill has been supported by the American people, senior military leaders and a bipartisan majority in Congress. It changes the course by fully funding our troops and providing a responsible end to this war. It holds the Iraqis accountable for securing their nation and forging political reconciliation. It ensures our troops are combat-ready before being deployed to Iraq, and provides them with all the resources needed on the battlefield and when they return.

Most importantly, it recognizes that each day we stay the course in Iraq further weakens our fight against terrorism and other threats throughout the world. The President repeatedly used the phrase "precipitous withdrawal" in his remarks. There is nothing precipitous about insisting that the President change course after more than four years of his failed policy. We hope the President will join us in giving our troops the resources and strategy they need and deserve.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Americans support our troops, Fossella supports Bush

From Iowa comes this poll of likely Republicans caucus attendees;

Do you favor a withdrawal of all United States military from Iraq within the next six months?

Yes 52%
No 39%
Undecided 9%

In Kentucky, home of two Republican Senators and a Republican Governor (opposite of NY), is this poll;

Would you favor or oppose a plan to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq this summer, and have almost all troops out of Iraq by the middle of next year?

Don't know.....7%

As you may know, President Bush has proposed an increase of twenty-one thousand additional troops in Iraq. Do you favor or oppose President Bush's troop increase in Iraq?

Strongly favor......21%
Somewhat favor......15%
Total favor.........36%
Somewhat oppose.....14%
Strongly oppose.....45%
Total oppose........59%
Don't know...........4%

Rep. Vito Fossella, you support President Bush's troop increase, in fact you voted against the House resolution opposing the escalation choosing to side with Bush over the American people. What is your deal? If you would, and I don't mean to use the word 'benchmark' or 'time table' but could you give us an indication or reference point at which time you feel the interest of Americans will outweigh the interest of President Bush in your decision making?

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Monday, April 23, 2007

LTE: Fossella could demand the President sign Stem Cell Research

In a Sunday 'Letter to the Editor' (LTE) in the SI Advance a writer discussing the Stem Cell Research Bill that passed the House with Rep. Vito Fossella's backing, but more than likely will be vetoed by President Bush. The letter is an open letter to Fossella;

I urge you to have the appropriate legislative committees, and ultimately our president, consider and reconsider the benefits, even to the unborn, where medicine can further advance in this era of knowledge.

You can read the full letter here. Rep. Vito Fossella actually has been supportive of Stem Cell Research for many years now. What he has not been able to do though is get that President of his to even consider signing such a bill into law. Rep. Vito Fossella may do photo ops with the President, but he has no influence on him, he just sits back and takes orders.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

9/11 Worker Health Care could have been funded if Fossella wanted

Mayor Bloomberg recently released the 2007 New York City Card, which gives lawmakers in DC an idea of the needs of the city in terms of financial funding. On that list of just 6 items is;

- 9 /11 Worker Health: The City is requesting $150 million in annual federal funding to ensure health treatment and monitoring for all individuals affected by the catastrophic 9/11 terrorist attacks.

While NY Senators and members of Congress fight to get this healthcare funding, we could have been funding a large portion of this cost by simply moving funding away from misguided Abstinence Only education funding that Rep. Vito Fossella has supported in the past to 9/11 worker health care needs.

Mr. Bloomberg, we know you have Fossella's ear if you want it. Why not ask him to stop pandering to the religious conservatives from DC and start worrying about the needs of our own New Yorkers.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Rep. Vito Fossella and Rep. Doolittle connected in corruption

On Thursday, Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA-04) resigned his seat on the House Appropriations Committee after the FBI raided his home. The FBI it appears is continuing its investigation into the corruption case of Jack Abramoff. Via the Modesto Bee;

Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions, Julie Doolittle's company, was hired by Abramoff to do fund-raising work for a questionable charity from 2002 to 2004. But her one-person company, in the couple's home, continued to be paid long after the one event it was hired to coordinate was canceled. Senate Indian Affairs Committee records made public as part of its Abramoff investigation showed that the company was paid $67,000.

About the time that work was ending, Sierra Dominion started working for Doolittle's political action committee and then his re-election campaign. It was paid a commission of 15 cents for every dollar it brought in. There have been questions about whether those commissions were a way to steer money from contributors into the congressman's pocket

A former aide to Doolittle resigned from his job on Thursday and Abramoff has been offered a newly reduced sentence, both potential signs that prosectutors are looking to go after Rep. Doolittle.

Rep. Vito Fossella of course has taken money from Doolittle, just as he has from many other corrupt Republicans. You can see a sampling of those other donors to Rep. Vito Fossella on the right side of this site.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Americans trust Democrats on Iraq

via Washington Post/ABC News poll;

Democrats appear to be standing on firm political ground, as they work toward a final bill. A Washington Post-ABC News poll of 1,141 adults, conducted April 12-15, found that 58 percent trusted the Democrats in Congress to do a better job handling the situation in Iraq, compared with 33 percent who trusted Bush.

The good news for Rep. Vito Fossella is that the wording was do you trust Dems or President Bush. The bad news is the Fossella supports President Bush's Iraq strategy.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

LTE: Fossella should do the right thing on Iraq

In a Monday 'Letter the Editor' (LTE) in the SI Advance, a writer calls Rep. Vito Fossella out for blindly supporting President Bush against reason and logic;

Doesn't it bother you that men and women are dying, losing limbs, being disfigured and shattered emotionally and morally and that innocent Iraqis are suffering because of this pre-emptive war? Iraq is worse off than pre-invasion. American soldiers are questioning why they are in Iraq.

Do the right thing, or are you aware anymore of what that is?

You can read the full piece here.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Fossella's financial troubles

Rep. Vito Fossella filed his April quarterly report, disclosing the cash he brought in and the expenses his campaign covered from Jan 1 through March 31 2007. By now you probably know he is starting his re-election bid in debt, a lot of debt (-209k). What you may not know is how much of a hole is starting off in, compared to this time in 05 and 03 coming off of much easier re-elections. Here are the April Qtr 2007 numbers;

Net Contributions: 133,150.00
Net Expenditures: 62,167.12
Cash on Hand: 82,885.69
DEBT: 173,750.46

For comparison here is where he was at at this point in 2005, after the 04 elections;

Net Contributions: 59,227.22
Net Expenditures: 77,623.16
Cash on Hand: 136,653.42
DEBT: 15,306.32

Comparatively he has $46,000 less on hand in 2007, and $158,000 more in debt in 2007. And here is where he was at at this point in 2003;

Net Contributions: -1,810.44
Net Expenditures: 52,910.64
Cash on Hand: 116,088.66
DEBT: 12,822.52

Comparatively he has $34,000 less on hand in 2007, and $161,000 more in debt in 2007.

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Fossella supports failed abstinence education

From the 2006 House Appropriations bill;
- Rep. Vito Fossella voted in favor of $120 million in funding and grants for national abstinence education campaign (HR 3010, 11/1705)

This past week, reports came out that found the Abstinence Only Education promoted and funded at the request of the Bush Administration has been a failure with no measurable results.

Sexual education programs which advocate teaching children to avoid sex until marriage have been found to be a failure.


Abstinence-only education programs are strongly supported by the administration of President George W. Bush and the report has re-ignited the debate on the government's attitude towards birth control.


Senator Waxman, chairman of the House of Representatives Government Oversight Committee, says the data demonstrates that abstinence-only programs do not protect teenagers health and are a waste of American taxpayers money. [source: news-medical.net]

Rep. Vito Fossella's vote above, was to distribute $120 million in 2006 to this program. Rep. Vito Fossella must be so complacent with our war in Iraq, that he didn't see the need to push for these funds to go to troop armor or training, and instead supports distributing this money to what essentially is nothing more than federal pork funds. Why don't we just send him around to all the schools and let him teach the students 'you can't support the troops if you have pre-marital sex.' After all it will be as effective as blowing $120 million on negligent curriculum.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Does Fossella support 9/11 first responders?

In a March 2004 interview on CNN, Rep. Vito Fossella and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D - Manhattan and Brooklyn) were brought on to debate President Bush's campaign ad using September 11 references;

ZAHN: Congressman Fossella, I'm going to start with you this evening. The head of the International Association of Fire Fighters has called this ad "disgraceful," and went on to say this, "Bush is calling on the biggest disaster in our country's history, and indeed in the history of the fire service, to win sympathy for his campaign."

How do you explain to some of the families from your district why you're not opposed to this kind of ad?

FOSSELLA: The president of the United States happened to be George W. Bush. I personally believe that he responded in a -- and has responded in a steady and consistent way, has been a true leader for not just this country but has engaged the war against terror.


FOSSELLA: The president should be proud of his record of fighting and leading in this war against terror. And we can't just ignore the reality of September 11, if we're going to move forward as a nation.


But at the same time, I think we need to understand, as a nation, if we're going to go forward against this war on terrorism -- because there are those who are out there who still want to bring carnage and wreckage and evil and spread it throughout this country [note: this though has since been debunked yet Fossella continues to use it] and throughout the free-loving people of this world. We have to understand that we can talk about these things and acknowledge the truth. This isn't a representation, this is the truth. This is a tragedy that actually occurred...

ZAHN: Jump in there, Mr. Nadler. We've got to do it in 10 seconds.

NADLER: We can debate what Bush did after and before and we should, and we can debate why they still won't pay for the medical treatment of the firemen and the other firefighters who were injured in the first response. But whether you like President Bush or not, we can debate his actions before and after. But to exploit this emotionally, the way these ads are doing, is, frankly, disgusting.

Bold text and note are my own

So while Rep. Vito Fossella used his sound bites to say terror! as often as possible, it wasn't until Rep. Nadler (D) spoke second, that he brought up the point about President Bush refusing to cover the costs of medical tests and treatment for our own firemen. Given the chance to use his appearance to demand funding medical coverage for these first responders, Rep. Vito Fossella instead used his time to praise President Bush.

Rep. Vito Fossella, Independent of his constituents needs since 1997.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Vito Fossella vs. Americans

via CBS News polling (links to pdf);

Do you think the United States should or should not set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq sometime in 2008?

Should 57%
Should not 38%
DK/NA 5%

Rep. Vito Fossella equated any call to withdraw with "appeasement" and said it would amount to "surrender to the beast." [SI Advance]

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Friday, April 13, 2007

LTE: Fossella failing constituents

In a Thursday 'Letter to the Editor' (LTE) in the SI Advance a writer comments on a topic we have started diving into recently, the fact that Rep. Vito Fossella no longer represents the views of his district on many things;

As the misbegotten war in Iraq enters its fifth year, I am astonished how little Vito Fossella, my congressional "representative," represents me.


While the public has been increasingly critical of the war and the way it is being waged, Vito Fossella still mouths the official Republican Party line.

You can read the full piece here.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Candidates and their backers

Being a blogger outside of the political circles that I often write about can sometimes be hard when it comes to understanding the behind the scene dynamics of the party and party leaders. Here in the congressional race we see some early names being floated around and some potential established backers;

Councilman Recchia announced his interest, and we saw that Councilman McMahon expressed support in seeing Recchia consider the race.

Earlier we saw Assemblyman Cusick pick up some public comments (did he solicit them?) encouraging him to run from Rep. Anthony Weiner.

During the 06 election we saw Rep. Weiner support Harrison as one of the few big names to lend any support, and word is that Weiner made some curious post race comments about how close it was on Harrison's limited budget. A little hindsight regret possibly. You might recall these comments;

"I just hope this isn't one of those things where the day after we're kicking ourselves that we didn't do more to help him."

Also it appears that some of the local Democratic clubs that backed Harrison in 06 would be willing to do so again.

So in terms of support, it almost seems as though for another potential candidate to jump in, they would need to pull the endorsement/support from one of the above. I am not sure that leaves a lot of room for a candidate like Hyer-Spencer, not that there is any indication she would run, and this no way is meant as an opinion on her as a potential candidate. Still unknown is if state senator Diane Savino has a favorite. Anyone out there better connected than I am and have a scoop on this?

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

More on why Fossella needs us in Iraq

In the first edition of this thought, we explained that Rep. Vito Fossella needs the US to stay in Iraq for as long as possible because his mantra of support the troops would be exposed should they return home and focus shift to his numerous votes against troops and veterans; against healthcare for reservists and national guard, against pay increases for our troops, against requiring they are trained before sent into war, and against veteran access to educational benefits.

Today, let's revisit his speech on the floor of the House before voting against the Supplemental bill Bush is now threatening to veto;

I ask if we surrender this battlefield, which battlefield will our enemy choose next?

New York…Los Angeles…Washington?

I mention this because on Friday, April 6, there is a McClatchy article that starts;

In speech after speech, in statement after statement, Bush insists that “this is a war in which, if we were to leave before the job is done, the enemy would follow us here.”

It is amazing how similar both Rep. Vito Fossella and President Bush think on the issue of Iraq, despite Vito's repeated claims that he is an independent thinker for the island, unless that means independent of what his constituents think. The article goes on to address Bush's comment that the war will come here if we don't fight them over there, so by default they also address Fossella's claims of the same thing. Here is what think tanks from his own party and what our own military are saying;

“The president is using a primitive, inarticulate argument that leaves him open to criticism and caricature,” said James Jay Carafano, a homeland security and counterterrorism expert for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative policy organization. “It’s a poor choice of words that doesn’t convey the essence of the problem - that walking away from a problem doesn’t solve anything.”

U.S. military, intelligence and diplomatic experts in Bush's own government say the violence in Iraq is primarily a struggle for power between Shiite and Sunni Muslim Iraqis seeking to dominate their society, not a crusade by radical Sunni jihadists bent on carrying the battle to the United States.

So support the military, just don't listen to them is what Rep. Vito Fossella must be telling us.

While acknowledging that terrorists could commit a catastrophic act on U.S. soil at any time - whether U.S. forces are in Iraq or not - the likelihood that enemy combatants from Iraq might follow departing U.S. forces back to the United States is remote at best, experts say.

“There are very few foreign fighters who are going to be leaving the area because they don’t have the skills or languages that would give them access to the United States,” said Benjamin, who served as the National Security Council’s director for transnational threats from 1998 to 1999. “I’m not saying events in Iraq aren’t going to embolden jihadists. But I think the president’s formulations call for a leap of faith.”

"The war in Iraq isn't preventing terrorist attacks on America," said one U.S. intelligence official, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because he's contradicting the president and other top officials. "If anything, that - along with the way we've been treating terrorist suspects - may be inspiring more Muslims to think of us as the enemy."

So should Congress revoke the war powers granted to the President, and should Congress bring our troops safely home, once again Fossella is left with his own words haunting him. As long as our troops are stranded in Iraq, Fossella can run around crying wolf and telling us the terrorists will follow us here if we leave, despite what military and policy strategists who address these issues are saying to the contrary. And thus ends another installment of the 'Hypocrisy of Fossella.'

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Fossella's failing escalation in Iraq

First there was Rep. Vito Fossella telling us all is good in Iraq.
Then there was Sen. Reid (D-Maj. Leader) calling for troop support, not escalation support.
Now this is what reporters are saying, via the NY Times;

But there is little sign that the Baghdad push is accomplishing its main purpose: to create an island of stability in which Sunni Arabs, Shiite Arabs and Kurds can try to figure out how to run the country together. There has been no visible move toward compromise on the main dividing issues, like regional autonomy and more power sharing between Shiites and Sunnis.

For American troops, Baghdad has become a deadlier battleground as they have poured into the capital to confront Sunni and Shiite militias on their home streets. The rate of American deaths in the city over the first seven weeks of the security plan has nearly doubled from the previous period, though it has stayed roughly the same over all, decreasing in other parts of the country as troops have focused on the capital.

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Fossella in debt

One of the advantages of running hard races in districts Democrats normally write off, is that some times is pays off with a victory, and some times it sets the stage for the next election by exposing the incumbent's flaws. The latter is what Harrison accomplished in 06. But if you don't believe me take a look at Fossella's last financial report of 2006 (via the FEC).

8. Cash on Hand at Close of Reporting Period $12,402.81
10. Debts and Obligations Owed BY the Committee $209,009.84

In 2002 Fossella started with $310,000 CoH.
In 2004 Fossella started with $176,000 CoH.
In 2006 Fossella started with $163,000 CoH.
In 2008 Fossella is only starting with $12,000, while his PAC Friends of Fossella incurred $209,000 of debt.

While we await Fossella's first quarter filing for January-March 2007, we know that he is starting his re-election with the least amount of cash on hand that I can find records of, and that he is carrying over an even greater debt. He very well could spend his first few fund raisers just closing out debt from 06, while the Democratic nominee may take the lead in fund raising. A first that I am aware of.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Democrats on troop support, not escalation

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid;

Democrats are continuing to fight to give our troops the resources they need, including a strategy for success worthy of their sacrifices. The President's new plan to follow up his ill-advised escalation by sending ill-prepared National Guard troops to Iraq is another misguided strategy neither our troops nor the American people can afford. Nearly 90 percent of the Army National Guard has less than half the equipment they need to respond to a national crisis, and the war in Iraq is endangering our National Guard at home.

President Bush has done more than anyone to damage troop readiness, which are at levels not seen since the Vietnam War. While the Administration continually shifts its stance on when the escalation will end and when we will see results, our military is stretched too thin and our troops are returning to combat too soon and with too little training.

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Vito's escalation, part II

So you recall Rep. Vito Fossella adamantly speaking against the Congressional effort to limit President Bush's plan to send more and more troops into Iraq to support his 'accomplished' mission? Just in case you don't, here is what we wrote on March 20;

At the time the President was saying we would need 21,000 more troops.
Vito applauded.
Then he said 4,400 more on top of that.
Vito applauded.
Then the top US commander in Iraq asked the President for 3,000 more troops.
Vito, I am sure applauded.

So that is 28,400 of the 21,000 Bush told us about, and Fossella backed. Now 12,000 more;

Coming on the heels of a controversial “surge” of 21,000 U.S. troops that has stretched the Army thin, the Defense Department is preparing to send an additional 12,000 National Guard combat forces to Iraq and Afghanistan, defense officials told NBC News on Thursday. [MSNBC]

40,400 mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters out of the only 21,000 Fossella told us was necessary. How many times until Fossella's attempts to mislead us catch up with him?

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Candidate speculation: Recchia

From the SI Advance, via Crain's;

"I'm looking at the race," Democrat Domenic Recchia told the Advance yesterday. "I've not made up my mind."

Recchia, 47, a Gravesend resident whose City Council district includes some of the bi-borough congressional district, said he has been consulting with people both here and in Washington, D.C., about a possible campaign. He is term-limited out of the Council in 2009.

He has raised about $88,000 for an undeclared city race, according to the city Campaign Finance Board, money that potentially could be transferred to a congressional campaign.

With that let's update our candidate speculation list, now with colorful indicator arrows and links to speculation coverage:

no movement
positive movement (towards candidacy)
downgraded movement (towards candidacy)
Stephen Harrison
Council Member Recchia
Assemblyman Cusick
Assemblywoman Hyer-Spencer
State Senator Savino
Council member McMahon

Sen. Savino is downgraded. I didn't realize last time around she doing recruitment for the Democratic State Senate Campaign Committee.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Pole position in 2008

The election ballots in NY State are laid out based on which party controls the governor's mansion up in Albany. With Elliot Spitzer easing walking into that position, Democrats have now picked up the first column on the ballot. That means when voters head into their polling booths in Nov. 2008 they will see the Democratic nominee in column A and Rep. Vito Fossella in column B. However the implications could be much more drastic.

In a NYTimes op-ed piece on November 4, 2006, Jon A. Krosnick wrote a piece called "In the Voting Booth, Bias Starts at the Top." In his piece he asserts;

Candidates listed first on the ballot get about two percentage points more votes on average than they would have if they had been listed later (flipping a 49 to 51 defeat into a 51 to 49 victory). In fact, in about half the races I have studied, the advantage of first place is even bigger — certainly big enough to win some elections these days.

How do we know this? Well, consider this: In California’s 80 Assembly districts, candidate name order is randomly assigned. In 1996, Bill Clinton’s vote tally was 4 percentage points higher in the Assembly districts where he was listed first than in the ones where he was listed last — a difference that persisted even after we took into account pre-existing Democratic registration levels in the districts.

In 2008, unless there are some major changes, voters are going to walk into their polling locations and see a Democrat listed ahead of Fossella. If that voter turned out like they do once every four years to vote for President and move on, they have a much higher likelihood that they will vote for the Democratic challenger.

Monday we explained the PVI and how Rep. Fossella is in the 12th most Democratic leaning district of all the Republicans in Congress.

Tuesday we discussed the getting out the vote effort needed in 2008, and that based on 2004 numbers we could be starting out with 45% of the vote, based solely on if Democratic Presidential voters, also are encouraged to vote down ticket for this Congressional race.

Wednesday, today, we see that the Democratic challenger could go into November 08 with a theoretical ~2% advantage.

Rep. Vito Fossella is looking more and more like an endangered Republican. Time to bring on a challenger, it is April after all.

LTE: Middle Class vs. Republicans

In a Wednesday 'Letter to the Editor' (LTE) in the SI Advance, a writer comments on a previous LTE covered here about why working class voters support the Republican party on Staten Island;

So many fellow Staten Islanders seemed so worried about the threat of same-sex marriage and fell right into the hands of the moral propaganda the last presidential election, and seemed to vote not for Bush as much as against Kerry. They were hell-bent on keeping gays apart and not focusing on the real issues, i.e., this horrible war, failed health care, loss of jobs, pandering to big business like the oil and pharmaceutical industries, grave environmental issues, etc., all products of this wretched George Bush Republican administration.

You can read the whole piece here. However I will ruin it for you by giving you the closing line;

Wake up, America! The next time you see some pro-Republican "All-American jerk" declaring his or her patriotism and in favor of this war and shouting fight, fight, fight, tell them to get out of their comfortable home and big car and go there personally and fight for the liberty of Iraq and see how fast they change their tune and think it is time to end the insanity!

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Vito opposes majority of American's desires

In a USA Today poll from March 23-25, 2007 come the following;

8. Would you favor or oppose Congress taking each of the following actions in regards to the war in Iraq?

Requiring U.S. troops to meet strict readiness criteria before being deployed to Iraq;
Favor - 80%
Oppose - 15%

Setting a time-table for withdrawing all U.S. troops from Iraq no later than the fall of 2008;
Favor - 60 %
Oppose - 38%

9. Based on what you have heard or read about the recent surge of U.S. troops in Baghdad, do you think the increase in the number of U.S. troops in Baghdad is making the situation there better, not making much difference, or is it making the situation there worse?

Better - 29
Not making much difference - 43
Worse - 22
No opinion - 5

Rep. Vito Fossella recently voted against the Supplemental bill that President Bush is now threatening to veto. That bill required that troops be properly trained and equiped before the President could send them into war and you may recall a fellow Republican trying to remove that requirement from the bill, we covered it previously;

Ranking Member Jerry Lewis (R-CA) offered an amendment during the committee markup which would have stripped language from the Iraq supplemental restricting the use of troops who are not properly equipped or trained

And here is what Fossella thinks about 60% of Americans who want out of Iraq by fall of 2008;

Fossella, a Republican from Staten Island who represents the 13th Congressional District, equated any call to withdraw with "appeasement" and said it would amount to "surrender to the beast." [SI Advance]

Don't forget that we are Vito's boss. Even if you didn't vote for him, he serves in DC at the discretion of the citizens of his district. If he refuses to support the will of the majority of his district in order to support the whims of this President, then you need to put him on the unemployment line, and send someone new to DC to represent you.

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Getting out the vote

Yesterday I talked about the PVI of this district being D+1 and the trouble that puts Rep. Vito Fossella in (he has the 12th least Republican district of any Republican in Congress). While this does not necessarily mean the Congressional candidate should trend towards a 1% advantage or even a 1% increase simply because it is a Presidential election year, it does provide yet another hurdle Fossella will face.

Revisiting some analysis from back in December 2005, I pointed out this bit of information;

If the Kerry/Edwards voters continued to vote down the ballot, last year's results would have been 55%-45% for Fossella (vs. Barbaro), instead of 59%-41%. Fossella and Bush had nearly indentical vote totals in each Assembly District, there was about a 6% drop off for the Democratic challenger Barbaro from Kerry's numbers in each Assembly District.

With a strong ground game (see WFP's efforts in the Craig Johnson race), and some basic voter awareness, we have the potential to be starting off at 55-45%, although the district has been trending more Democratic since 2004 and those numbers in reality are probably a percentage closer. Remember this is a district that went for Gore in 2000, so it is not improbable that a strong Democratic effort paired with a non exciting Republican (anyone other than Giuliani) and this Congressional race could be at 55-45 if not 54-46 before we account for the dynamics of the Vito's corruption and the Democratic nominees strength.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Fossella and the PVI

From the Cook Political Report;
"PVI: The Partisan Voting Index (PVI) is a measurement of how each district performs compared to the nation as a whole. The PVI listed here reflects the results of 2000 and 2004. A PVI score of D+2, for example, means that in the 2000 and 2004 Presidential election, the district per formed an average of two percentage points more Democratic than the nation as a whole, while an R+3 score means that the district per formed three points more Republican than did the nation."

The Cook Report lists its 2008 potentially competitive races, listing Rep. Vito Fossella as tied for the 12th most endangered Congressional seat based on the PVI. NY13 is listed as D+1, which does not bode well for a Republican running for re-election in a presidential year, since the district is trending to turnout for Democratic Presidential candidates more so than Republicans.

Two Republican incumbents from NY are listed with a more dangerous PVI, and that is Rep. Walsh with a D+3 and Rep. Peter King (NY-03) with a D+2. Walsh barely squeaked past Maffei and King had a late entering opponent in Mejias, who if he runs again should give King a real fight for his seat.

Hall and Arcuri flipped seats with an R+1 PVI and Gillibrand did so in a district with a R+3 PVI. This is not good news for Rep. Vito Fossella

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Bush Aide condemns President on Iraq

Matthew Dowd, President Bush's chief campaign strategist spoke with the NY Times, and had some rather harsh criticisms of the President's leadership abilities.

He criticized the president as failing to call the nation to a shared sense of sacrifice at a time of war, failing to reach across the political divide to build consensus and ignoring the will of the people on Iraq. He said he believed the president had not moved aggressively enough to hold anyone accountable for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and that Mr. Bush still approached governing with a “my way or the highway” mentality reinforced by a shrinking circle of trusted aides.

“I really like him, which is probably why I’m so disappointed in things,” he said. He added, “I think he’s become more, in my view, secluded and bubbled in.”

In speaking out, Mr. Dowd became the first member of Mr. Bush’s inner circle to break so publicly with him.

He said his decision to step forward had not come easily. But, he said, his disappointment in Mr. Bush’s presidency is so great that he feels a sense of duty to go public given his role in helping Mr. Bush gain and keep power.

Dowd, a senior advisor to the RNC in 2002, is the highest Republican aide to come out against Bush. Fortunately for us, Rep. Vito Fossella is standing strong behind President Bush and all of his decisions.

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