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Archive for the ‘Kim Guadagno’ Category

It’s that time of the year again. The New Jersey Press Association presents the Legislative Correspondent’s Club annual show.

Basically, the state’s  ( now dwindling ) press corps performs a series of skits and songs that mock the political and media elite of the Garden State. It is often quite funny replete with costumes, wigs and other flamboyant accessories that would make even Elton John blush.

As for my role…well, I am El Presidente this year. That means I don’t actually have to sing ( which is not my strong suit ). I have to deliver the introductory speech which is supposed to be funny and slightly mean spirited. Well, I don’t know how funny it shall be, although I’m working on it. It will most certainly be biting, and of course familiar.

Then of course, after the show is over, people get to stand around and hang out in a cocktail party-type atmosphere which is even more fun. And the whole evening is off the record. So, if you are remotely interested, I urge you to purchase tickets. Proceeds go to charity.

Contact Peg Stephan 609-406-0600 ext. 14. or pastephan@njpa.org

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Well, I suppose it was only a matter of time. The gloves had to come off and the true colors had to come out. The differences on this budget are just too stark. You saw flashes of it during the confirmation hearings of Hal Wirths and Janet Rosenzweig ( who withdrew her nomination late Friday afternoon ). And you saw evidence of volcanic activity just below the surface during Bret Schundler’s testimony before the Senate Budge Committee. Then of course there was the dust-up between DCA’s Lori Grifa and Assembly Budge Chair Greenwald.

But there was a particular brand of unraveling that began this week. It all started When Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono did not sign onto the recommendations of the much ballyhooed Red Tape Review Group. Then the Repubs circled the wagons when an AP report accused the Christie Administration of boosting payroll in the Executive offices ( btw – I’m not sure this had anything to do with the Democrats but it certainly didn’t help foster a climate of peace and reconciliation ). And then Tuesday, the gloves came off during budge hearings in the Senate. First Chairman Paul Sarlo squared off with LT Gov. Kim Guadagno. Then Buono and Guadagno went back and forth about the budget ( although they also exchanged barbs over Red Tape Review ). Then Senator Bucco tried to defend Guadagno who then turned around and accused him of arguing with Sarlo. So, it was a bit of a three-ring circus…although I must admit an unusually entertaining one ( I’ve actually always hated the circus…I find clowns to be a bit sinister. And yes, I have seen “Killer Klowns From Outer Space” – that terrifying B movie…although Dean Wormer from “Animal House” plays the cop, which is kinda awesome ).

Anyway, it was bound to happen…even if it’s enough to make your head spin. After all, elected officials of both parties are realizing that they are going to make their constituents very unhappy no matter what. That is not a recipe for bi-partisanship…or perhaps it should be?

Programming note – the title comes from the original ’80’s hit by the band “Dead or Alive.” The song’s ( hehe ) chorus was recently co-opted in a remake by “Flo Rida.” And I give credit to my friend Josh who once asked the brilliant rhetorical question ‘how did it take any Florida-based rapper this long to come up with the name “Flo Rida?”‘

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It has got to be one of the most stunning questions ever asked in a political debate.

I mean, enough about substance. Let’s get to the heart of the matter here, folks…it’s not driving records or financial entanglements it’s Christie’s weight.

Both Weinberg and Guadagno handled the matter with aplomb. And in fairness, it was in the context of a question about negative campaigning. But what an awkward thing to have to answer. And unfortunately, it sorta overshadowed some of the other answers on topics that were handled thoughtfully by all three candidates.

I agree with Alan Steinberg who felt Guadagno was effective Thursday night in blunting criticism over Christie’s health care proposal that has devolved into a shouting match over mammograms. In fact, where has she been? They mighta sent her out for interviews before independent women started breaking D.

As for Weinberg, It seemed like the deck was stacked against her a bit. The crowd was raucous and clearly not on her side. And she was bullied to give better answers, which came off a little harsh. She was a bit short on substance in explaining what more would be done with another four years.

Esposito was reasoned and measured. He didn’t quite shoot to super stardom with his performance ( a la the romance that blossomed after the Gov debate between the media and Chris Daggett ), but he needed to make a case for an alternative, and clearly managed to do that.

It’s an interesting thing to be adding a new statewide office holder. It truly changes the nature of gubernatorial campaigns in a  significant way. It also changes that weird dynamic which put the Senate President in charge on the executive branch should the Governor become unavailable to serve.

So, history was made last night as people got a closer look at the candidates who would fill this brand new position. History was also made when the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor  was asked to assess the lb’s of the man who wants to defeat the incumbent.

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Day 3 of the Christie loan story, and if you thought the Dems were a bit muted in their initial response – well, that has changed.

Democratic Congressman Bill Pascrell called for a federal investigation of Christie.

DSC Chair Joe Cryan filed an ELEC compliant against Christie for his nascent April mis-filing which did not declare the 5.5% interest as income

Tom Shea from the Corzine campaign asked again for travel records and other information related to Michele Brown’s tenure within the US Attorney’s office. The campaign actually filed a FOIA request several months ago.

And Democratic Lt. Gov. candidate Loretta Weinberg asked how it was possible that Christie took out a $46,000 lien on Brown’s property and received $500 checks each month but somehow failed to disclose it.

It’s an interesting strategy on the part of the Dems. They let the story build for a coupla days  – merely holding their fire. But today as some of the papers backed off they “unleashed hell” just like Russel Crowe said in that scene in “Gladiator” when the solders release the fire-tipped arrows in unison.

For his part, Christie stayed away from reporters. We were told by the campaign that there would be no availability today. Although apparently, the Star-Ledger’s Josh Margolin did manage to get a question answered about the latest unemployment figures which show NJ going up last month to 9.3%.

I suppose if I were in charge of the Christie campaign I would also keep him out of the news in the hopes of snuffing out the fire, but there are still some lingering questions and he will have to face reporters eventually. For example, would he refinance the loan or do something to wrap it up quickly if he were elected Governor? The campaign said today that Christie was “pretty clear” that he doesn’t see a conflict yesterday when he did candidly answer a barrage of reporter questions. But what changes if you win? That is the $46,000 ( hehe ) question, and it wasn’t specifically answered yesterday or today.

We are also trying to find out what exactly Christie’s relationship is with Mike Guadagno. the husband of Kim who is Christie’s running mate. Christie and Gudagno-the-man overlapped at the US Attorney’s office. Mike Gudagno is now a judge. Was their parting of ways amicable?

So where does the story go from here? Well, there was certainly a fair amount of Democratic piling on today, which I suppose is inevitable when the Christie campaign refuses to talk and the Dems have majorities in both houses with control of the Guv’s office. There is probably no shortage of “new developments” that the Dems can leak to ( what is left of ) the local media over the next several days. We’ll just have to see what sticks.

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