Calling himself "the un-Lautenberg," '96 nominee/ex-Rep. Dick Zimmer (R) said 5/8 he'll work to reduce federal taxes if elected. Zimmer: "I'm not promising I'll win the pork barrel game. What I want to do is make it possible for taxpayers to keep their money in the first place." Zimmer noted that NJ has long ranked near the bottom of states in terms of tax dollars returned and accused Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) of being part of that problem. Zimmer: "Frank has worked hard to bring back the pork, but he has failed."
Zimmer said 5/8 that he is committed to running "positive" campaigns in both the primary and the general, "noting that he has not attacked either of his primary opponents and saying, in response to questioning, that he would absolutely not raise the issue of age against Lautenberg."
He "reiterated his support" for John McCain, adding: "But I disagree with him on a number of issues. I believe we should extricate ourselves as quickly as we possibly can, but in a way that does not leave the nation of Iraq in chaos or create a failed state that would be a haven for terrorists." He defended his "post-political" career with a DC law firm, including lobbying, saying "I'm proud of what I've done" and listing lobbying on behalf of the victims of the Marine Corps barracks bombing in Beirut and victims of asbestos exposure as among his achievements (Pearsall, Cherry Hill Courier-Post, 5/9).
Pro-Life, Pro-Choice, And Everything In Between
On abortion, the 3 GOPers "have taken three very different positions."
State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R) "would ban abortion nationwide through a constitutional amendment." '00 candidate/'97 Libertarian GOV nominee/Ramapo College prof. Murray Sabrin (R) wants to overturn Roe V. Wade and allow each state to set its own rules. Zimmer supports access to legal abortion, subject to "reasonable restrictions," based on his belief in "limited government. ... Government should play a minimal part in people's private lives. As a general rule, the government should not interfere in a decision that should be made by a woman and her doctor and her spiritual adviser and her family."
"Pennacchio, who said his views on abortion have 'evolved,' wants to amend the U.S. Constitution to state that life begins at conception." Pennacchio: "Innocent life in my view has to be protected." Sabrin "agrees, but favors a different approach. He supports legislation that would deprive the federal courts of jurisdiction over abortion." Sabrin: "Abortion is the destruction of an innocent human life. I've always believed Roe vs. Wade was an inappropriate decision, and I've always believed this should be handled at the state level, as it was prior to Roe vs. Wade."
At a recent debate, Sabrin said: "Being pro-life does not mean you want one-size-fits-all for the country. I believe that would be a mistake." Pennacchio, this week: "He punted. People want to know where you stand. They don't want you to go to Washington and punt it back to the states."
"Zimmer said he supports some restrictions, such as a requirement that abortions may not be performed on minors until after their parents are notified. He also supports the nationwide ban on partial-birth abortion -- although he voted against it when he was in Congress. He changed his mind in 1998 after the American Medical Association said partial-birth abortion is 'never the only appropriate procedure' for ending a late-term pregnancy."
Sabrin pointed to a '91 paper in which Pennacchio said "the issue of abortion has no absolutes." Pennacchio: "My position from 17 years ago is different. I am pro-life" (Schwaneberg, Newark Star-Ledger, 5/9).
This article appears in the May 9, 2008 edition of Latest Edition.