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Pirro Fumbles During Senate Kickoff

Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 9:28 am
by Ted
Yes, this is rather picayune of me, but worth sharing non-the-less.
A minute can seem like an eternity when one is throwing ones hat into the ring and one cannot find the next page in one’s speech.
I was cringing…. absolutely embarrassed for Jeanine Pirro as she just stood there, looking for the missing page and then asking an aid to help her out.
Nice way to start a campaign that she is doomed to lose just like the buffoon Rick what’s his name Lazio who was trounced by Hilary
Try to catch her speech, it’s great TV
BTW, her jailbird husband was missing from her Waldorf Astoria announcement

Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:46 am
by Corlyss_D
Pirro Mania

Who are the winners and losers from the decision of Jeanine Pirro, the media-centric district attorney of Westchester County, to challenge Hillary Clinton for her Senate seat? In no particular order, the winners are:

1) Political consultants, especially those close to Governor George Pataki, who will earn huge fees on the tens of millions of dollars that will flow into Ms. Pirro's candidacy. Ms. Pirro is a hard-edged, feisty publicity hound. She will strike many conservative donors as exactly the kind of candidate who can take the fight to Hillary.

2) Ms. Pirro. Polls show her losing to Ms. Clinton by two-to-one now, but the final result will be much closer. If she actually loses to the incumbent by a smaller margin than the 12 points Ms. Clinton won by in 2000, she can claim a moral victory. A strong showing would enable the 53-year-old Ms. Pirro to run again statewide or land a radio talk show gig, as other prominent New Yorkers such as Al Sharpton and Mario Cuomo have done after their political careers tanked.

3) Dick Morris and other local columnists. Although Ms. Clinton will be savvy enough to limit any debates with Ms. Pirro, journalists will have endless angles to write about. Mr. Morris, a former confidant of the Clintons turned adversary, will be especially well placed to provide insights.

As for the losers:

1) Democrats who hoped that Ms. Clinton could skate through her re-election race without having to engage in ideological battle with a candidate who could expose her still largely liberal voting record. Democrats grudgingly admire Ms. Pirro's campaign skills. "She's a terrific candidate," admits former Democratic vice presidential nominee Gerry Ferraro.

2) Republican Senate candidates Ed Cox, a lawyer who is married to the late President Nixon's daughter Tricia, and John Spencer, a former mayor of Yonkers. Both are capable candidates but now face a daunting challenge in overcoming the publicity hype that will surround the Pirro candidacy. Yet both are also in a position to raise ethical questions against her, stemming from the legal troubles of Albert Pirro, Ms. Pirro's lobbyist husband. In 2001, Mr. Pirro served time in federal prison for tax fraud, and years earlier his wife was forced to withdraw as the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor after her husband refused to reveal details of his legal practice. However, journalists eager for a Clinton-Pirro matchup are likely to go easy on Ms. Pirro until after the GOP primary.

3) Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long. The head of New York's influential third party had sent strong hints that his party's endorsement wouldn't be available to Ms. Pirro, who is pro-choice on abortion and supports gay rights. In her 2001 reelection race, Ms. Pirro even opposed a ban on partial-birth abortions, a stand that Mr. Long says is a deal breaker for his party. Her candidacy presents him with a dilemma. Should he risk the wrath of Hillary critics who want to overlook Ms. Pirro's lack of ideological purity because they want to defeat Senator Clinton? Or should he abandon principle and alienate his party's base voters by watering down its strong socially conservative stands?

Ms. Pirro has set herself a nearly impossible task in trying to defeat the biggest celebrity candidate that Democrats have. But the consolation prize obviously also appears tempting, and there is always the chance that Mrs. Clinton won't run for re-election and will instead decide to run for president in 2008 as a private citizen. Back in 1990, before her husband ran for one more term as governor and foolishly promised voters he would finish his full four-year term, she advised him not to run for re-election. Her thinking was that he wouldn't then be distracted in his presidential run by having to hold an office he was no longer interested in. The idea just might appeal to her again when it comes to her own race.

-- John Fund

Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 8:08 am
by Ralph
Pirro didn't do well when she was last re-elected. Many observers doubted she could get a fourth term as Westchester D.A. Her office has done some very good things including a flagship online sting operation for snagging pedophiles that has gotten national attention. She has her supporters but many people I know - and I'm not talking about the legal community - are increasingly wary of a one-person nonstop media, self-promotion show.

No doubt that as a smart person she'll bone up on myriad issues. The stumble yesterday was atypical and meaningless. But she has zero experience in anything other than the courtroom and New Yorkers know that (those who even know about her).

But I think the Republican Pirro backers may be making a mistake by not understanding history. Pirro says she's the only person who wants the job for its full term and that Senator Clinton is positioning herself for an 08 presidential run. If that's true it will bring Ms. Clinton more support, not less. New York has a very rich history of persons running for high office but with sharp ambitions for the White House - Al Smith, F.D.R., Thomas Dewey, even John Lindsay. That's never prevented their election to other offices.

Those who voted for Senator Clinton before and will again have no problem with her seeking the White House. Those who voted against her before largely won't now. The non-issue of 08 won't affect the election.

Pirro's comment that she doesn't need a tour or map to familiarize herself with New York State, implying that the Senator is a carpetbagger, fails for several reasons. First, New Yorkers will be reminded of the enthusiastic and successful GOP support for Jim Buckley who literally was a Connecticut resident right before throwing his hat into the N.Y. senatorial race. Second, Senator Clinton has been spending much time in upstate New York where all polls show she's won over many by bringing money and jobs to distressed areas.

Then there's Pirro's problem with anti-Choice conservatives. Many will vote for the inevitable third candidate since Pirro and Clinton are essentially on the same page concerning abortion and gay rights.

Lastly, there's the Husband Factor. Al Pirro isn't just a former felon, he's a wheeler-dealer sleazeball, something well known to many Westchester and Hudson Valley folks. Bill Clinton may not be popular in Little Rock these days but it's not inaccurate to say he's one of New York's most popular personages. Very few care now about Lewinsky or the Starr Chamber inquisition. If he goes campaigning with her - something Jeanine can't ask Al to do unless she's lost her mind - that will have a real impact.

I do agree the race will narrow - Clinton's early numbers are unrealistic for 11/06.

Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 11:33 am
by Donald Isler
I'd love to see Al be a part of Jeanine's campaign (g)!

Seriously though, everybody already knows if they are Clinton lovers or haters. Nothing will change there. But Pirro, with a husband who actually did jail-time because of his financial dealings, may face some of the same problems Geraldine Ferraro had when she ran for VP in '84, because of HER husband's questionable finances.

Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 1:23 pm
by Ralph
Donald Isler wrote:I'd love to see Al be a part of Jeanine's campaign (g)!

Seriously though, everybody already knows if they are Clinton lovers or haters. Nothing will change there. But Pirro, with a husband who actually did jail-time because of his financial dealings, may face some of the same problems Geraldine Ferraro had when she ran for VP in '84, because of HER husband's questionable finances.

That her husband served time is one thing and by itself his conviction shouldn't be attributed to Jeanine. But very many believe she should have been indicted too. There's no question that she directly benefited, materially, from some of his write-offs where she had to know the nature of the transaction.

When she thought of running for lieutenant governor long ago, she withdrew when she had to release family financial information. Now she has to do it in the context of her husband's conviction. Of course current irregularities are highly unlikely but there's a kettle of worms there.

Re: Pirro Fumbles During Senate Kickoff

Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 1:38 pm
by Alban Berg
Ted wrote:Nice way to start a campaign that she is doomed to lose just like the buffoon Rick what’s his name Lazio who was trounced by Hilary
I don't blame Rick Lazio for his poor showing in that race. Rick Lazio was my congressman at the time he ran against Hillary, and he was well suited for the demands of a suburban congressional district as a junior member of the House. (And though I didn't vote for him when he initially ran against Tom Downey, I voted for his re-election.) But Rick was thrust into the race after Rudy Giuliani pulled out, and the role was too big for him. The Republicans needed a more experienced and charismatic candidate, and they apparently couldn't find one.

I don't even know what Rick is doing these days. He's been replaced by a Democrat named Steve Israel who hasn't once shown his face anywhere in my district that I'm aware of. At least I could count on running into Rick every couple of months at the grocery store.

Re: Pirro Fumbles During Senate Kickoff

Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 4:29 pm
by Corlyss_D
Alban Berg wrote:Tom Downey
Tom Downey! Boy, that name sure takes me back to the heady days of 1994.

Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:27 am
by Ralph
Disclosures Boost Pirro's Shot at Senate Seat:

New York Daily News -
Records: Pirro
took mob cash
Friday, August 12th, 2005

Jeanine Pirro declared "I have taken on the mob" when she announced her run for U.S. Senate this week, but she could have said "I have taken from the mob."

The Westchester District Attorney pocketed nearly $12,000 in campaign checks from firms and associates with alleged links to organized crime, the Daily News has found.

A review of campaign and court records shows at least six donors with ties to mob families who've contributed to Pirro since 2003. That casts a shadow on Pirro, who's basing her run against Sen. Hillary Clinton in part on her reputation as a tough prosecutor.

Pirro has been especially sensitive about the mob since The News revealed a gangster was caught on FBI tape last year claiming her husband, Albert, had discussed one of her pending cases with a Gambino associate.

Albert Pirro denied the allegation, although he admitted that the mob associate, a contractor, hired him as a lobbyist to resolve a payment dispute with the state.

"Jeanine Pirro has prosecuted more than 100 made members and associates of the mob and has been a leader in the fight against organized crime," said her campaign spokesman, Mike McKeon. "Any suggestion to the contrary is just ridiculous."

Since 2003, the following contributors with alleged mob ties have written checks for Pirro:

# Worth Construction of Connecticut gave $1,000 to Pirro's campaign in the past year.

In 2003, an FBI agent testified that Worth Construction owner Joseph Pontoriero is an associate of the Genovese crime family and that Worth had tried to bribe a local official.

Pontoriero did not return calls seeking comment.

# Yonkers Contracting wrote Pirro a $500 check in July 2004. Prosecutors say Yonkers paid $50,000 a year to a corrupt union official of Operating Engineers Local 15, a union allegedly infiltrated by Colombo mobsters.

Yonkers has not been charged with a crime. Owner Carl Petrillo did not return calls seeking comment.

# Byram Concrete owner Leonard Luiso helped co-chair a recent fund-raiser for Pirro at Mayor Bloomberg's Manhattan townhouse. The White Plains-based Byram has given Pirro $4,000 since October 2003, records show.

On FBI tapes, gangster Greg DePalma discussed the Gambino family's plans to get "tribute" payment from Byram after it purchased a mob-controlled concrete firm, Action Redi-Mix.

Byram's owner, Luiso, admitted talking "in passing" to Richard Vetter of Action Redi-Mix, who has been identified by the FBI as a Gambino associate. He insisted he never talked to DePalma. Luiso said his company has no mob ties and that he donated to Pirro because he has known her "for years."

# Bergassi Group LLC, an upstate bond firm, gave Pirro $500 in June. In 1996, a mob associate was recorded asking Edmond Bergassi to use his political connections to quash a pending investigation.

Bergassi denied any mob ties and said he donated to Pirro at the request of a colleague who was raising money for her.

# Richard Nasti and his wife gave Pirro $5,000 in October 2003. Bonanno crime family gangsters were recorded discussing the involvement of Nasti, a former New York Post executive, in a scheme to place gangsters in no-show jobs at the Post.

Nasti pleaded guilty to misdemeanor violations of the state labor law in 1992. He did not return calls seeking comment.

# Soft Drink Workers Local 812 gave Pirro $250 in July. On FBI tapes, Gambino capo DePalma claims the mob controls this union.

John O'Neill, political director for Local 812, said DePalma's claims were "news to me" and denied any mob involvement.

Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:42 am
by Ralph
Clinton: Hillary hasn't decided on 2008
Former president discusses wife's political future

(CNN) -- Former President Clinton said Thursday his wife has not decided whether to run for president in 2008.

He also answered an accusation made by a potential Senate opponent that the former first lady is using New York "as a doormat to the White House."

"Jeanine Pirro is wrong. Hillary has not used any doormat and, by the way, she doesn't even have a Republican opponent yet. I don't know who the Republicans are going to nominate," Clinton told CNN.

In her speech formally launching her Senate campaign Wednesday, Pirro, a three-term district attorney in Westchester County, said Mrs. Clinton is out of touch with New Yorkers.

"She asked us to put out a welcome mat, and New York did. But now she wants to use New York as a doormat to the White House," Pirro said. "If Hillary wants to be president, she should he honest with herself and her constituents and say so." (Full story)

The former president said his wife has "been a great senator for New York," and that New Yorkers "know she's been a good senator."

"I think the people will support her service in the election next year. That's what I think's going to happen."

Recent polls show Hillary Clinton is widely popular in the state and heavily favored to win re-election in 2006.

Her husband said the family follows a key political rule: "Don't look past the next election or you might not get past the next election."

So, he said, his wife is focusing on continuing her service for New York, not the 2008 presidential election.

"She's not a candidate, and I don't know that she will be," Clinton said. "I am convinced in my own mind she hasn't decided on that. And I don't want her to even think about it. I want her to focus on getting re-elected and on doing her job as a senator.

"There will be lots of time to think about that down the road."

Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 6:27 am
by Ralph
New York Daily News -
Jeanine looks at fund flap
Saturday, August 13th, 2005

Republican senate hopeful Jeanine Pirro said yesterday she would decide "case by case" whether to return several campaign donations linked to the mob.

Pirro, the Westchester District Attorney, was responding to a Daily News story revealing that six donors with ties to organized crime have written nearly $12,000 in campaign checks to her since 2003.

"We will take a look at the facts and make the appropriate decisions on a case-by-case basis," said Pirro spokesman Mike McKeon.

He declined to elaborate, but told The Associated Press that he believed the information about the donations had been "leaked" by someone in the camp of the woman Pirro will try to unseat next year, Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton.

The News obtained the information from campaign, court and other records and had no contact with Clinton or any of her aides in drafting the story.

Pirro did not address the issue at a campaign rally yesterday in White Plains, that was notable for the presence of her husband, Albert Pirro, a convicted tax evader.

During the rally, Pirro never mentioned Albert, who was not present at any of the eight previous campaign stops across New York this week. McKeon said that Albert - a longtime GOP fund-raiser - would not be raising money for his wife, although he might contribute cash and time to her campaign.

Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 7:23 am
by jbuck919
Sort of reminds me of Geraldine Ferraro. I don't think anybody uncovered anything shady about her New York real estate honcho husband, but everyone assumed someone eventually would, and then as the beneficiary of his tainted money she'd have been in the same boat as Pirro, only worse. Then Mondale would have lost for sure, not like he did. :roll: