Archive (2008)

D&C Backgrounder

The Democrat and Chronicle is running a series of stories on each of the four Congressional races in the area. Today's covers the 29th and does a good job of summarizing the candidates positions on some issues, as well as the state of the race.

Grins and Groans: Massa and Kuhl

Reader Tom sends a scan of today's Corning Leader editorial. It's a "grins and groans" edition which takes both candidates to task.

Eric Massa gets dinged for crashing Kuhl's press conference. Randy Kuhl's groan is for misleading voters about drilling, and for failing to acknowledge that his press conference was a campaign event.

Morning News: Dunning on the Rumble and the Salamanca Press

Corning Leader Managing Editor Joe Dunning has a column [pdf] on the "Kuhl, Massa tiff" which is, as usual, smart and perceptive. Thanks to Reader Elmer for sending it in.

The Salamanca Press was founded in 1867 and is now on the web. Here's a recent story about Massa stumping at Kill Buck in the Southeastern corner of the district.

Massa's Father Asks for Kuhl Apology

Rochesterturning has a scan of today's Corning Leader, where Emiddo Massa, Eric Massa's 80 year-old father, writes to demand an apology from Randy Kuhl for remarks made Thursday.

Mr. Kuhl is completely out of line to be making an attack on myself and my wife of 57 years. Attacking a 79 year-old woman on her parenting skills is so inappropriate that I almost can't find words.

Update: Reader Elmer sends the whole editorial page [pdf], which also includes some comments from the Leader website.

Gannett Sidelight

The recent layoffs at Gannett seem to be showing at the Star-Gazette. Every other media outlet covering yesterday's press conference led or featured the Kuhl/Massa confrontation. Yet, reading the Star-Gazette story, one gets the impression that it was a run-of-the-mill press conference.

Comparing that story with Kuhl's press release, it's pretty clear that the S-G story was just a re-write of the release. That's pretty common practice.

What's strange is that nobody at the S-G reacted to the television coverage of the early afternoon, or even to the campaign press releases. No editor tacked on another paragraph acknowledging that the press conference didn't go as planned. I wonder if that would have happened before Gannett's recent layoffs.

Because the S-G allows comments, the commenters are now filling in the gaps in the story. Well, somebody has to do it.

Beach Volleyball

My posts on yesterday's rumble in Corning were tongue-in-cheek for a reason. I don't think much of what is said in campaigns in August resonates with most voters.

Politics is a bit like the Olympics in that regard. Some people follow swimming or curling closely. The rest of us pay attention for two weeks every two years. Between Olympics, some great achievement might register, but it's mostly background noise.

Since politics has more impact on our daily lives, and is more widely covered than, say, synchronized swimming, this analogy isn't perfect. That said, I do talk to a wide variety of fairly well-read and well-educated district residents who have no clue who represents them in Congress.

Keeping that in mind, I think yesterday's dust-up probably made its biggest impact on those who already have a set view of either candidate. For tuned-in Massa supporters, it shows that he's a fighter. For Kuhl supporters paying close attention, it shows that Massa is an upstart.

For everyone else, it's like beach volleyball in May. We know it exists, but we're going to wait for the Olympics to pay attention.

Rumble Coverage

Corning-area media covered yesterday's confrontation a bit unevenly. On television, WENY has a short story that lacks the color of yesterday's WETM account. In print, the Corning Leader has a longer story in today's edition. The Elmira Star-Gazette has a story about the press conference, but it doesn't mention the confrontation. I guess the S-G reporter left before it happened and his or her editors don't watch TV.

Evan Dawson at the 13WHAM blog compares the situation to Harold Ford's in Tennessee and wonders if it will hurt Massa. Exile at Rochesterturning thinks it's not a big deal.

Update: Syracuse News 10 also has a story.

More Trash Talk

Randy Kuhl's Congressional Office and Eric Massa's campaign have issued press releases about this morning's rumble. Drill in below to read more.

Kuhl surrogate Meghan Tisinger is out of the box first, taking a "Disrespecting the Bing" line:

Congressman Kuhl held a press conference today to raise awareness on the strain that our first responders are being forced to deal with due to the high gas prices. By Massa turning this press conference into a political spectacle, it demonstrates his complete lack of respect for our brave men and women in uniform protecting our streets everyday. This event was not campaign related and it was shamefully and frankly sad, that Mr. Massa tried to turn the attention away from our first responders and back to himself. Our police officers and firefighters deserve better than to have this critical issue ignored because a career candidate wants to be in the headline.

Um, I think the little Kuhl/Massa set-to happened after the press conference, but no matter. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, baby. That's what it means to Randy, and Meghan's bringing it.

But wait, what's this in my inbox? A Massa press release from Jared Smith, and Jared's got Eric bringing his friends:

Dan Kane, City Councilman for the 1st Ward stated: "I don't understand why Randy Kuhl refuses to answer the public. He said this wasn't a political event today, but his only staffer there was his campaign manager. Randy Kuhl has stopped his town hall meetings, won't take questions from the public, and refuses to respond to invitations to debate the issues of the day. He has stated that Congress is on vacation, but he still refuses to debate Eric Massa in public, even when the local media and prominent local educational institutions invite him. I'm also confused about why he was here. We all know we're hurting, but he's here campaigning in front of the cameras. How does that help families in Corning? It's a shame, but that's Washington as usual."

What about that, Kuhl campaign? A press conference by a Congressman three months before the election, and it was all about politics! Say it isn't so.

Update: Meghan Tisinger says that the person with Randy was the Congressional District Director, not campaign staff.

Corning Confrontation

Eric Massa attended a Kuhl news conference this morning to ask Kuhl about scheduling time for a debate. Things got a little heated, as this WETM story recounts.

According to the report, Kuhl, who was "visibly unamused", talked a little smack after it was over:

"That's not the way I was raised," said Kuhl of Massa's behavior. "Unfortunately, there are people who didn't have the luxury of having wonderful parents like I did who taught about parental respect."

I understand the first part of Kuhl's taunt: Massa had bad parents (i.e., "Your Momma"). The second part, about parental respect, doesn't quite make sense. Is Massa supposed to treat Kuhl like his Daddy?

Video after the break:

Morning News: Trade and Charity

WETM and Syracuse's News 10 both have coverage of Eric Massa's trade plan.

Sean Carroll at 13WHAM has a nice piece about the charities and public service organizations supported by Massa and Randy Kuhl.

Massa Press Conference: His New Trade Plan

Eric Massa had a short press conference this morning to announce his new trade plan. The plan is available on Massa's site[pdf]

Massa began the press conference by noting that he had just returned from a press event at a closed Toshiba plant in Horseheads, which he said closed because of "unfair trade policies." Massa said that the area lost 900 "living-wage jobs" when the plant closed in 2004, and that the plant closure highlights the affect of trade politics that "cut across both sides of the aisle". Massa added that "NAFTA has cost us over 1 million living-wage jobs", and added that, between 2000 and 2005, Elmira lost 31% of its manufacturing jobs.

I stand for fair trade. Free trade has failed us. Fair trade means [first and foremost] that we require our trading partners to live by the trade agreements that have been signed.

Massa cited the refusal of the Chinese to follow World Trade Organization guidelines and trade their currency on the international market as one example of many. "Our trade deficit with China is $201 billion."

As a Freshman Member of Congress, I'll make this one of the absolute cornerstones of any legislation I sponsor, cosponsor [or support]. American politicians must take care of America. There's nothing wrong with serving the interests of those paying the salaries of Members of Congress. If you keep taking [...] thousands of dollars from overseas interests, it's not going to serve the needs of other constituents.

I asked Massa what else was in his trade plan other than making countries live up to the trade agreements.

He said that it was a "huge first step", but he also advocates moving to a fair trade system of partner nations. New agreements must respect intellectual property, the environment, and child labor laws.

We must also put into these relationships the fundamental respect of human beings. Child labor is rampant in many of our trading partner's countries.

Massa also cited workplace safety and retirement benefits for the elderly as items that need to be part of the trade solution.

Energy and Protesters Now and Then

Jeremy Moule at Rochester's City Newspaper has filed his take on Monday's Boehner/Kuhl press conference.

The Corning Leader has a story on Greenpeace's delivery of 1,000 signatures to the Massa campaign asking him to fight global warming.

The anti-war protesters who occupied Randy Kuhl's Bath office last year argued their appeal in court yesterday. More coverage here and here.