Scanning Tedisco-Murphy, take 4

Tedisco-MurphyWe've been reading the cover of the special election for the 20th Congressional District so you don't have to. (The scan from last time.)

In the last few days "bonus" has become a dirty word. Let's get to it...

The forum

+ WMHT and the TU held a candidates "forum" this week. Scott Murphy and Libertarian candidate Eric Sundwall were there. Jim Tedisco was not.

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+ Murphy used the forum to reiterate his support of the federal stimulus package -- though he said the federal bailout of the banking industry was done poorly. [TU]

+ Sundwall said the recent public outrage over bonuses at AIG should instead be focused "the entire bailout of AIG." [CapNews9]

+ Afterward, WMHT's Susan Arbetter posted on her blog that Murphy and Sundwall seemed to actually think about their responses and were "not just parroting a script... most of the time."

+ Instead of attending the forum, Tedisco participated in a "3-D People's Town Hall" based at his headquarters in Clifton Park.

+ There are two debates scheduled for next week -- on Tuesday (WNYT) and Thursday (WROW)

The back and forth

+ The AIG bonus furor has become a main topic of conversation. Tedisco has been calling on Murphy "to explain why he backed legislation that handed out bonuses to greedy Wall Street executives. Did he knowingly do it, or did he simply not read the bill?" Murphy says Tedisco is trying to create confusion between the banking bailout (which Murphy says he would have voted against) and the stimulus bill (which he says he supports). The TU's Irene Jay Liu says Tedisco's claim on this case is "a stretch" -- though Murphy's claims are "semantically misleading." [AP/Newsday] [Saratogian] [TU]

+ Tedisco called for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to be fired over the AIG furor.

The political chatter

+ Of this race, Politico's Andy Barr wrote: "The March 31 special election to fill the House seat left vacant by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is suddenly taking on exaggerated importance, viewed by many insiders as the first real gauge of the Obama-era electorate."

+ Of Murphy, who according to a Siena poll is four points behind Tedisco, PolitickerNY's Jimmy Vielkind recently wrote: "Murphy isn't supposed to be this close. Anywhere near this close."

+ Stuart Rothenberg says the race has become "a barnburner" and the race appears "to be repeating a troubling pattern" for Republicans as Murphy seems to be building support among independents.

+ But Commentary's Jennifer Rubin thinks the AIG bonus outrage could start pushing things in Tedisco's direction.

+ Former Republican Senator and prez candidate Fred Thompson says a Tedisco victory would be "a very public repudiation" of the Democratic Party. [CNN]


+ The Murphy campaign has raised a bit more money than the Tedisco campaign. Both candidates have loaned their campaigns more than $200,000 of their own money. [AP/Newsday]

+ The two national parties have spent more than $600,000 combined on this election. [Daily Gazette]


+ From the Murphy campaign:

Tedisco has said he would have voted for the stimulus bill if it didn't include $300 billion of what he describes as pork.

+ From the Tedisco campaign:

In an "ad watch," the TU's Liu writes the claims in this ad "range from the hyperbolic to outright distortion of the facts."

The website FactCheck says the ad didn't put its comments in context.


The folks outraged over the AIG bonus thing need to keep several items in mind...

1) In some sections of the financial industry, the 'bonus' is often the majority of the annual paycheck. However, I freely admit I don't know if AIG fits into that category.

2) The total for the AIG bailout is $175,000 Million. The bonus total is $165 Million. Let's put those two numbers together:


So folks are getting outraged over where less than 1/1000th of the money went. You think there wasn't a larger wastebin someplace?

Never mind, the majority of it went to people who spend that money to live. Maybe some live very well, but many of them are worker bees.

Should they all have gotten bonuses? Probably not. But it sure seems like a waste of good outrage that could be used on the folks who got us into this in the first place, namely the ones who created the mortgage backed securities in the first place. Though those who insured them (AIG) are on the list, I'd place only secondary blame on them.

xkcd put it much more sussinctly this morning:

@komradebob. Seriously. I can't believe how much hoohaw is being made of these piddly bonuses. Capitol Hill has wasted THREE FRIGGEN WHOLE DAYS dealing with this, to look good. Have you noticed the people living in cardboard boxes outside your window, Congress? Sure it's unfair, but guess what, life can be that way. Let's learn our lesson, dust ourselves off, and start preventing the looming catastrophes that may lay ahead, and fixing those behind.

Assemblyman James Tedisco has something we haven't seen in a candidate in a while. Lots of experience, as minority leader of the Assembly. He has been successful in promoting new ideas, working with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle and getting things done as a member of the minority. When Mr. Tedisco is on the right side of an issue, he never gives up

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