Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) and Rep. Rob Andrews (D-01) "traded charges of hypocrisy" 4/16 "as they squabbled over debates and who is behind an effort to disqualify" Morristown Mayor Donald Cresitello (D).
Andrews spokesperson Bill Caruso said the camp is "absolutely not" behind an attempt to knock Cresitello off the 6/3 primary ballot. But "at a hearing to determine whether Cresitello's nominating petitions" contained 1k valid signatures, atty Jean Lidon "said she was there on behalf of Andrews," who "wants to make sure the process is held in accordance with regulations." Her fellow atty John Kwasnik "jumped in and contradicted her." Kwasnik: "I'm not representing anyone, just myself." Kwasnik "filed the challenge to Cresitello's petitions" 4/11. Lidon "then backtracked." Lidon: "I was confused. I know nothing about politics."
Caruso said Kwasnik and his law firm "are not our attorneys. They do not represent us." But that did not stop Lautenberg spokesperson Julie Roginsky from accusing Andrews of "remarkable hypocrisy." Roginsky: "He claims to want to give voters a choice in this election, yet here he is exposed trying to knock other Democrats off the ballot." Caruso: "What's hypocritical" was that when Lautenberg first ran for SEN'82 he "insisted that five debates was not enough, yet has refused to accept even one debate to date" (Schwaneberg/Coughlin, Newark Star-Ledger, 4/17).
Andrews: "The senator has said he'd be willing to have debates if they were sponsored by legitimate organizations, and we've received nine offers of debates from legitimate organizations." The organizations: AP, the Bergen Record, NJ 101.5, NJN News, the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC 10, the Press of Atlantic City, Telemundo, WOR TV, and 1210 radio (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ.com, 4/16).
More Andrews: "I'm making a respectful, serious request that he do the right thing, come before the voters of the state and answer the questions voters are asking." Roginsky said Lautenberg would debate Andrews, but "she wouldn't offer specifics on how often or when." Roginsky: "Yes, we will debate him, but we're not going to debate debates with him" (Santi, AP, 4/16).
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Meanwhile, Andrews "could find it difficult to boost his name recognition in Central and North Jersey because he doesn't have as much money" as Lautenberg. Andrews had $2.2M as of 3/31, compared to Lautenberg's $4.7M. Andrews must get his name out among North Jersey voters -- and $2.2M "may not be enough to blanket an area of the state where Lautenberg lives and is better known" (Chebium, Cherry Hill Courier-Post, 4/17).
Andrews also "took a shot" at Lautenberg "over the Iraq war, telling reporters that he assumes Lautenberg holds the same pro-war position" as Sen. Joeseph Lieberman (I-CT) because Lautenberg "enthusiastically supported" Lieberman in his '06 race. Roginsky countered that that is "absolutely not the case" and that Lautenberg endorsed Dem candidate Ned Lamont over Lieberman. After each camp "produced" articles supporting their own point, Andrews said the "senator has confused his record on this issue" (McPike, CongressDailyPM, 4/16).
This article appears in the April 17, 2008 edition of Latest Edition.
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