Posts containing my opinion of the race.

Riding Hobby Horses

The recent passage of H R 2764, the appropriations bill for the State Department and foreign aid, is a good example of why the public's approval rating of Congress hovers in the low twentieth percentile. The debate and aftermath of this bill show how some on both sides, including John R Kuhl Jr and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), would rather ride hobby horses than show leadership on difficult issues.

Because most constituents consider foreign aid about as often as they make use of differential calculus, Congress can use it to appease busybody squeaky wheels with impunity. On the Republican side, those squawking are the most narrow-minded factions of the religious right. On the Democratic side, it's the Israel lobby.

Let's start with sex: one of religious right's pet issues is the primacy of sexual morality over the practicalities of AIDS prevention. In a world where the onset of puberty continues to be at a younger age, and where sexually transmitted diseases are killing a broad swath of the population of developing countries, this interest group is squeamish about any AIDS prevention strategy that acknowledges the realities of human sexual behavior.

In Uganda, a country where an "ABC" program (Abstinence, Being faithful, Condoms) was perhaps having an impact, these latter-day Puritans reduced the program to "AB", since providing condoms might increase the incidence of pre-marital sex.

Condoms aren't the only issue. Brazil, a country that has an AIDS prevention and treatment program that is considered a model for the world, had to refuse US funding because the US program required condemnation of commercial sex work. Prostitution is legal in Brazil, and the Brazilian government wasn't going to sacrifice their pragmatic view of sex work to appease a few American Puritans.

The leader of these Puritans is Senator Sam Brownback. Here's his defense of the US position in Brazil:

We're talking about promotion of prostitution, which the majority of both the House and Senate believe is harmful to women.

That quote doesn't even pass the laugh test if you've studied the alternatives. In Uganda, prostitution is illegal, but 32% of young women are married before age 19, 1/5 of them in polygamous unions. Many of those women were married to get the "bride price", a payment from the new husband to the brides' family. The infection rate of young women to young men is 6:1 in Uganda. For women in Uganda, the alternative to prostitution is legalized enslavement to a husband who will have unprotected sex with his multiple wives.

That's why groups like the Gates Foundation are pouring money into barrier methods and microbicides that can be deployed by women. The smart money hopes to find a way that women can protect themselves. The dumb money looks to advance a moral agenda with eyes blind to facts on the ground.

So what does this have to do with the 29th? Let's look at Randy Kuhl's vote for an amendment [pdf] which would mandate that 1/3 of AIDS funding go towards abstinence education. That amendment failed, even though almost every Republican, and a few conservative Democrats, voted for it. The margin of failure (26) was close to the number of new Democrats elected in 2006.

I'd wager that a broad majority of the population would want us to spend our foreign aid on programs that work. Our own government studies [pdf] show abstinence-only programs don't work here. But no matter: Republicans in Congress are so wrapped around the special interest axle that they must continue to push the agenda of a tiny minority. This issue is one example of why the public is disgusted with its so-called "leaders" in Congress. Brazil and the Gates Foundation are leading in the fight against AIDS. Congress is following the dictates of a tiny group of vocal Puritans.

But let's not exempt the establishment Democrats from this critique. As soon as Randy Kuhl voted against the foreign aid bill, the DCCC sent out a press release criticizing his vote. The headline: "Representative Randy Kuhl Votes to Cut Funding for Israel". The template for this release was obvious: "[insert name here] Votes to Cut Funding for [insert well-funded vocal minority group here]". Every other worthy cause embodied in the bill (AIDS education, poverty relief, peacekeeping operations) wasn't a reason to criticize Randy's vote. Only the needs of another political squeaky wheel made the grade.

I understand that Israel is an important ally. I don't understand why we need to be pouring $2.4 billion into the economy of a country that has a per-capita GDP on par with Hong Kong, Australia and the state of West Virginia. But that's a question that a leader might ask, and we know there are precious few of those in Congress.

Amendment Nonsense

In today's Gannett News Service article, Bob Van Wicklin, Randy Kuhl's spokesman, gives the following rationale for Randy's vote against H R 2638:

Van Wicklin said Kuhl voted against the bill because it did not include two northern border security amendments he was seeking, including one that directed federal officials to study the economic impact of the proposed Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. The initiative would require Americans for the first time to show a passport or special PASS card when traveling across the U.S.-Canada border.

Sounds plausible. However, a look at the record shows that this is, at best, a transparently false excuse and, at worst, an exercise in deliberate obfuscation. But don't take my word for it. Let's take a look at Randy's statements [pdf] on those two amendments last Thursday on the House floor.

The first amendment Randy offered, Amendment 251, was a one sentence modification that instructed the GAO to conduct a study to determine the economic impact of the new requirement that all US travelers to Canada carry a passport. Seems reasonable, but, after making a short speech, Kuhl said the following:

Mr. Chairman, I understand that there is potentially a legal problem with this amendment. Having actually put it before the Congress for its consideration, certainly the chairman, I believe it's appropriate to withdraw the amendment at this time, and I would do so.

Immediately after withdrawing his first amendment, Kuhl offered a second. This one asked for another study, this time of security conditions on the Northern border. After another short speech, Kuhl said this:

I also understand, Mr. Chairman, that my colleague, the ranking minority member, has a problem with the correctness of this amendment.

So not dealing in wanting to further challenge this, I would withdraw my amendment and my statement addressing the needs that I feel are appropriate at this time.

In other words, another Republican had a problem with Kuhl's amendment, so he withdrew it.

Let's recap. Randy Kuhl's spokesman says that the reason he couldn't vote for the Homeland Security Appropriation Bill -- a bill that would provide billions of dollars to protect New York and the United States -- was because of two amendments [pdf] he introduced and withdrew. The first amendment violated the law, and the second offended another Republican.

That explanation is so weak that it doesn't even pass the sniff test. This was a loyalty vote, plain and simple.

Homeland Security Mystery Solved

As reader Zabriskie noted yesterday, the key to Randy Kuhl's last-minute change of heart on H R 2638 is apparently President Bush's veto threat. According to the OMB's statement of policy [pdf], the White House objection is twofold: the bill contains $2.1 billion more in spending than requested in the original budget, and it requires that all wages paid for federal projects must be paid at the same rate as prevailing wages in the area. (In other words, Homeland Security projects must follow the Davis-Bacon Act.)

The Massa campaign has issued a press release claiming that Kuhl's reversal was due to Bush's Friday afternoon announcement that he would veto H R 2638. That might be true, but I think the reason is not only Bush's announcement, but some serious behind-the-scenes arm twisting. The President's plan to veto the bill was not new information on Friday: the OMB document linked above, which is an official veto threat, was released last Tuesday. Kuhl had plenty of time to decide to tow the administration line, if that was his original intent. The muffed press release indicates that it wasn't. Someone or something changed his mind at the last minute.

As Exile of Rochesterturning points out, Kuhl was the only Western New York Republican to vote against the bill: Jim Walsh (NY-25) and Tom Reynolds (NY-26) both voted "Yea". It's telling that others facing tight races weren't willing to tow the administration line. Voting against Homeland Security in New York State is tough. I'm sure Kuhl is hoping that he'll have a chance to cast a vote for a final compromise bill after the Senate goes to work on H R 2638. In the meantime, the Massa campaign has already labeled this a "flip-flop", and they'll certainly try to make an issue of it.

Homeland Security Bill: Why?

Randy Kuhl's vote against H R 2638, the Homeland Security Appropriations Act, is puzzling for at least three reasons.

First, the bill was part of a larger procedural victory by House Republicans. As part of earmark reform, Democrats have pledged that all appropriations bills would list earmarks and sponsors before passage. Because H R 2638 did not include information about earmarks, Republicans staged a number of protest votes that delayed action on the bill. Democrats argued that they lacked time to get earmark information into the bill, but the Republican protest led to a compromise. Both sides agreed that H R 2638 and H R 2642, which funded the VA, would be allowed to pass without earmarks listed. Ten other appropriations bills would list earmarks.

A good summary of the earmark controversy is available here. Even if Kuhl objected to the lack of transparency on earmarks in this bill, his leadership was able to use the bill to force more transparency in later bills.

The second aspect of H R 2638 that should have garnered Kuhl's support is the delay in implementation of passport requirements. Kuhl voted for an amendment that postponed the requirement that all travelers to Canada must present a passport. This is an important issue in a region so close to Canada, and the delay and expense involved in getting a passport has received a lot of press recently.

The final reason that Kuhl's vote is a surprise is that his website is full of press releases celebrating the arrival of Homeland Security checks at local fire departments. I can't believe he'd want his opponent to call him a hypocrite for, on the one hand, touting federal largesse with Homeland security money, while, on the other hand, voting against Homeland Security appropriations. But that seems to be what happened on Friday.

Yet Another Anti-War Group Targets Kuhl

Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (AAEI), an anti-war coalition made up of progressive, veteran and union groups, will target Randy Kuhl as part of its "Iraq Summer" event. According to a New York Times story, AAEI will deploy a total of 86 activists, who will have the goal of organizing 1,000 events, by Labor Day. Kuhl, and Jim Walsh in nearby NY-25, are two of 40 Republican legislators targeted.

AAEI's press release says that these organizers will work for ten weeks in targeted areas, making contact with local activists and veterans groups. "A barrage of events, letter writing campaigns, endorsement efforts, and local legislative events are planned for each targeted state or district." is a major sponsor of AAEI, and this campaign sounds like the same old MoveOn tactics that energize the same set of players. My guess is that AAEI will make some noise, but they won't change the minds of either Randy Kuhl or the voters who supported him in the last election. When Kuhl starts getting letters that begin "I'm a Republican, I voted for you in the last election, and I'm going to vote against you because of your support of the Iraq War", then his position will change.

As for voters, I think they're looking for a more sophisticated alternative than "stop the war responsibly", AAEI's stated goal. They want a salvage plan that gets us something out of this misadventure. AAEI doesn't have that. I have no doubt that they'll generate some sound and fury, but they don't bring anything new to the table.

More Issues from Nachbar's Interview

The obvious pratfalls in David Nachbar's City Newspaper interview
-- dismissing a Navy veteran as a "government employee" and
saying that endorsements are "silly" -- have been discussed here and
elsewhere. Instead of dwelling on Nachbar's apparent
foot-in-mouth syndrome, I'd like to concentrate on two broader
issues raised by his interview: the difference between suppressing
a candidate and criticizing one, and the challenges faced by a corporate officer who wants to become a candidate for
public office.

Let's begin with this exchange:

How do you respond to criticism that your candidacy will rob Democrats
of money and manpower and that it will ultimately hurt Democrats'
ability to take the seat?

Elections are good. Choice is good. It tests candidates, it vets
them, it makes sure that all of the arguments are heard, and it makes
sure that the voters are well-informed. This is not the old communist
Soviet Union, this is America. This is about candidates, this is about
open debate, and this is about having people who are going to get into
the mix. And I think all of that's a good thing.

The notion that it's somehow un-American for party members to want to avoid a primary is laughable. Nachbar has a right to run for any office, from dogcatcher to President. Those who think it's a bad idea for him to run for office also have a right to oppose his candidacy. The debate on this blog and others has been a healthy expression of dissenting opinion. Unlike the Soviet Union, and unlike the hierarchical corporate world, dissent is tolerated in politics. As for the "openness" of the debate, Democratic Committee meetings are open to the public. It's Nachbar who refuses to participate in an open process.

Also notice that Nachbar didn't answer the question. His campaign
will consume money and manpower in a district that has
precious little of either. At best, it's a diversion. At worst, it
will ensure Randy Kuhl's election in 2008. Earlier in the
interview, he says that he believes he can "make the greatest
impact" and "serve the best" as a Member of Congress. That's great,
but sometimes it isn't just about where you think you fit the
best: it's also about where the party can use your talent. In
this cycle, the 29th isn't that place.

Moving on to Nachbar's corporate background, it's a sure bet that his
candidacy will be dogged with issues raised by his association with
Bausch and Lomb. For example, those who are tempted to believe
his assertion that he's "the only candidate in the race who knows
what it's like to create jobs" might want to take a peek at the following
in B&L's
2006 10-K [pdf]

Employee Relations As of December 30, 2006, we employed approximately
13,000 people throughout the world, including approximately 4,400 in
the United States. In general, we believe our employee relations to be
very good. Less than five percent of our U.S. employees (mainly in
our surgical products manufacturing facilities) are represented by

Apparently, David Nachbar excels at creating non-union jobs in
foreign countries. That might be good for investors and management
at Bausch and Lomb, but Nachbar will have to work hard to convince voters that he "knows what it takes" to create jobs in this area.

As for the overall performance of B&L, of which Nachbar is a highly
compensated member of the core management team, take a look at this
stock chart:

The time period is roughly the period of David Nachbar's employment.
The red line is the performance of Alcon, B&L's major competitor.
B&L's performance, represented by the blue line, has consistently
lagged Alcon's. Though
B&L's overall performance is lackluster, it took a big
hit in the past year because of possible problems with its
ReNu lens solution. B&L's answer to this problem was
a $4.5
billion private equity acquisition
by Warburg Pincus.

A better-managed company might have created more jobs and probably wouldn't sell itself to a firm that might want to cut jobs to raise profits. Nevertheless, B&L has managed to stay in business, remain profitable, and, most importantly, compensate David Nachbar.

Nachbar has received a number of option and stock
grants under different complex incentive plans. Examples of these
grants are shown in SEC filings for
in May,

and February,
. Some of these incentive compensation plans include
"phantom stock" that vests years in the future. If I'm reading the
most recent filing correctly, Nachbar's deferred compensation plan has a total value of
around $900,000 at today's price if Nachbar sticks around to
pick it up. In addition, Nachbar's recent sale of around
$400,000 of B&L stock included the disclosure that he still
owns about $900,000 of stock at today's price. In other words, over and above his (I assume) generous salary, Nachbar has
accumulated deferred and actual stock worth over $2 million in less than
five years of work at B&L.

I'll wager that primary voters in the 29th might want to know why a five-year tenure as the head of personnel for a mediocre company should net Nachbar millions. More importantly, they'll also want to understand whether he'll be working for the voters or for B&L. If Mr. Nachbar remains part of the B&L management team after the
buyout, what sort of incentives does he have to stay there? Does he plan
to quit B&L to campaign in the primary? In the unlikely event that
he does win the primary, will he be free to campaign full-time, or
will he work at B&L and campaign at the same time?

These are all fair questions. Mr. Nachbar has answered none of
them. Perhaps if he deigns to visit a Democratic Committee in the
29th, someone will ask him one or two of them.

Kuhl Responds on Immigration

Reader Elmer sends a page image [pdf] of yesterday's Corning Leader editorial page. Randy Kuhl has a guest editorial responding to last week's letter on Immigration from Eric Massa.

Kuhl's rebuttal is classic political rhetoric, designed to obscure one fact: he has recently changed his position on a guest worker program.

Kuhl's initial claim, "last year’s Democrat nominee claims that I am not a supporter of a guest worker program for the agricultural sector" is simply false. Massa did not make that charge. Instead, he accused Kuhl of "flip-flopping" on the issue. As documented in a newspaper article, Kuhl changed his position on immigration in late October, 2006, under pressure from local farmers.

Now, one man's flip-flop is another's "listening to constituents", and Kuhl could have simply said that he changed his mind. Instead, he tries to make it sound like he's supported a guest worker program all along. He cites his 2006 letter to the Republican leadership of the House asking them to support a guest worker program, but that letter was probably sent very near the election.

Kuhl's second point -- that he can't be accused of supporting Bush's immigration bill because it hasn't yet been introduced in the House -- is right. However, he goes too far when he says this:

As even an elementary school student could tell you, President Bush is not a Member of Congress and therefore is not able to introduce legislation in Congress. That privilege is reserved for citizens who have been elected to serve in Congress.

Yes, Randy, we've all paid attention to Schoolhouse Rock -- Presidents don't introduce bills. But this statement insults the reader's intelligence, because anyone who's been reading the newspaper knows that Bush has been pushing hard for this bill, and that he's twisting arms in his party to keep the bill alive. In fact, Bush will make a rare visit to Capital Hill this week to meet with Republican Senators to try to revive the bill. Most adults know what elementary school children can't tell you: Presidents use their clout to get bills passed.

Kuhl's final remarks concern a couple of statements Massa supposedly made about two of Kuhl's votes in the 109th Congress. According to Kuhl, Massa accused him of voting against a guest worker program when he voted for the House border security bill in December, 2005. Since that bill was moot on the guest worker program, Kuhl asks how Massa can accuse him of voting against something that isn't even in a bill.

I don't know if Massa ever made this accusation, but even if he did, Kuhl's using it to obscure a broader truth. Kuhl's stated position in 2005 was opposition to a guest worker program. He had no opportunity to vote on a guest worker program because his leadership removed it from the bill in committee and blocked floor amendments on guest workers. (Even the conservative Washington Times' account acknowledges that.) So, whether or not Massa made this accusation, it doesn't change the underlying fact: Kuhl was against a guest worker program for most of his first term.

Kuhl then alleges that Massa's statement about his non-vote vote is one in a pattern. He dredges up an old fight over minimum wage, where Massa accused him of opposing a minimum wage increase because of a vote on a technical amendment. The important point on this issue is that Massa got burned in July, 2006 and then stopped making that accusation. In the Fall, 2006 debates, the minimum wage debate centered around Kuhl blaming the Democrats for blocking a minimum wage bill he supported, as documented in this newspaper article. Again, accusing Massa of distorting his record obscures a broader fact. Kuhl's leadership consistently blocked action on minimum wage, and it was only when Democrats took control of the House that a minimum wage bill could pass.

Kuhl's letter ends with this statement:

So thank you, Mr. Massa, for providing everyone with an unfortunately not-so-rare glimpse of how you plan to run your future campaigns.

Unfortunately, Kuhl's letter also gives us a glimpse of how he runs his campaign. Instead of just owning up to the fact that he changed his mind, he chooses to twist and dodge, for no good reason . Kuhl could have made a virtue out of his ability to listen to area farmers. Isn't that what Representatives are supposed to do?

Kuhl, Massa on Stem Cells

The Hornell Evening Tribune is the only newspaper in the 29th that consistently attends and reports on Randy Kuhl's press conferences. In this week's press conference story, both the Kuhl and Massa conferences get coverage.

Federal funding of stem cell research is the main issue covered in the story. Massa supports the bill. Kuhl calls his opposition to the bill "ethical", and says "embryonic research destroys embryos and I don't believe we should be destroying life".

This argument is always fascinating to me, because the source of embryonic stem cells is extra embryos from fertility clinics practicing in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Aside from embryo adoption plans like the Snowflake program, which place a tiny fraction of those embryos, the rest of the surplus (currently 400,000 embryos) are simply thrown away.

The sponsor of the Snowflake program, the Nightlight Christian adoption agency, calls those embryos "pre-born children". If that's true, then why is it "ethical" to kill thousands of children to allow infertile couples to have babies? Apparently, the "Christian" position in the case of infertility is that the end justifies the means. It's OK to kill children to make children. In the case of stem cell research, which has the potential to alleviate the pain and suffering of millions, the end does not justify the means. It's not OK to kill children (who would have been killed anyway) to potentially cure diabetes or Parkinson's.

The National Right to Life Coalition's position IVF, as contained in their factsheet [pdf] on stem cells is to bury their head in the sand. They simply mention that a large percentage of parents use frozen embryos for a second IVF attempt, and then juxtapose the number of adoption seekers with the number of embryos, showing that more people are seeking adoptions than there are embryos.

That position denies two critical facts about IVF and IVF adoption: First, IVF frequently requires multiple implantation attempts during which "pre-born children" die. Second, IVF adoption, which involves out-of-pocket medical costs along with adoption and embryo transfer fees, is far more expensive and risky than regular adoption.

The NRLC position, and that of politicians like Kuhl who take their line, isn't "ethical" or "Christian" -- it's one of pure political expedience. It would be politically impossible for the right-to-life movement to challenge IVF. The backlash from infertile parents would spell the end of the movement as a viable political entity. So, instead, they hypocritically appropriate extreme language like "pre-born children" when it suits them to fight a battle that will garner media attention, contributions and votes.

In fairness, I should point out that IVF was also developed without federal funding, because of issues of "ethics". However, now that it's an established practice, those ethical concerns are largely forgotten. The same will undoubtedly be true of whatever cures come from private- and state-funded stem cell research. Today's right-to-life politician or activist may be tomorrow's cured Parkinson patient. It will just take a little while longer because they had to gather a few bucks, and a few votes, along the way.

Update: The Hornell Evening Trib changes its links the day after the story is published. The new link is updated now. Also, thanks to reader Elmer, the pdf images of the pages are here and here.

PR Snowball

Yesterday, the Democrat and Chronicle covered Randy Kuhl's Brighton Meeting. Today, they used that story as a peg for an editorial predicting a change in Kuhl's position come September.

Exile over at Rochesterturning asks an interesting question: Why Kuhl, instead of Jim Walsh (NY-25) or Tom Reynolds (NY-26)? Those other congressmen have records similar to Kuhl's on Iraq, yet they are avoiding the spotlight, while Kuhl is having stories and editorials written about his war stance. The answer is simple: Walsh and Reynolds carefully manage their availability to constituents. Kuhl does not.

Let's take a look at the last story published about Jim Walsh. Walsh is shown addressing a developers' meeting in Syracuse, informing the crowd about different federal funding initiatives. How about Tom Reynolds? The last thing I can find on him is a press release highlighting his appearance with breast cancer surviors at Roswell Park helping to publicize the importance of early screening.

While Walsh and Reynolds are addressing carefully controlled audiences on yawner topics like pork and mammograms, Kuhl is taking questions from gatherings full of angry constituents and anti-war protesters. Since the war -- not development or cancer -- is front-page news, Kuhl's efforts yield negative stories and editorials in the local paper. Walsh and Reynolds dodge the PR bullet by changing the subject and avoiding contact with unmanaged audiences. Kuhl's meeting afford him no such luxury.

Even the most ardent Kuhl opponent must concede that he's putting a lot more effort into meeting constituents than his peers, and he's getting more bad PR because of it.

Real Grassroots

Prior to tomorrow's Memorial Day parade in Pittsford, Eric Massa will be at Ted Nixon's house. Nixon is running for the Monroe County Legislature this year. After the parade, Massa will attend two coffee events. Earlier this year, he participated in door-to-door canvassing for Democratic candidates for village board, one of whom won, the first time that's happened in recent memory.

Given his level of involvement in Pittsford Democratic politics, it should come as no surprise that the Pittsford Democrats endorsed Massa on Thursday. Though Pittsford is the home town of David Nachbar, Massa's primary opponent, Nachbar's local committee instead chose to quickly and unanimously endorse someone from the other side of the district. The reasons for this are many. I'd like to touch on a few.

Let's begin with one of the most important: hope. In a district where most Republicans run unopposed, Eric Massa's view that he could win a seat that had been going to Republicans at up to 70-30 margins was an example of pretty audacious hope. Massa's example inspired hope in the party, and he has inspired more than a few candidates in 2007. Good candidates are the backbone of strong parties, and the hope that Massa inspired has been a key factor in the rebirth of a noticeable opposition in the 29th.

Hope begins a grassroots campaign, but a grassroots campaign in a tough district like the 29th is going to have lots of setbacks. Massa's can-do attitude and perpetual optimism has also inspired district Democrats. After losing in 2006, Massa announced that his next priority was electing more Democrats to town and county offices. Besides being smart politics, it was also a signal that he wasn't going to give up, and that he was patient enough to work on party foundations as well as his own campaign.

Massa's presence in Pittsford tomorrow also illustrates an interesting paradox of grassroots politics. The barriers for entry for a grassroots candidate are both extremely low and very high. The low barrier is money: at the beginning of the campaign, a grassroots candidate needs little more than gas money to get him to every committee meeting or party function, shake every hand in the room, talk and listen. The high barrier is time. Meeting everyone in the district, and gaining their trust, takes lots of time. There's no substitute for this level of personal involvement, and so far David Nachbar has shown little indication that' he's ready to do it.

Grassroots campaigns are by definition outsider campaigns. Though Massa works closely with the Wesley Clark wing of the Democratic party, and has also worked on Capital Hill, he is far from the typical "regular party" candidate. If the national Democratic establishment (as embodied in the DCCC) has a candidate in the 29th, it isn't Eric Massa. But, because Democrats in the 29th are relatively weak and disconnected from the national party, this works for Massa. Since the DCCC wasn't there to help the Democrats when the 29th was a 70-30 district, the local Democratic committees will see any interference from them as opportunistic meddling. Though he is careful to keep good relations with the Democratic party and never give voice to his feelings, if any, about the DCCC, Massa's supporters labor under no such stricture. For them, the DCCC's lack of support for their candidate in 2006 was shortsighted and unfair. Even a hint that Nachbar is the DCCC's candidate further galvanizes the Massa faithful.

Because he provided hope, a can-do attitude and an outsider's perspective at a time when district Democrats were ready to re-commit themselves to party work, Eric Massa can draw upon large reserves of respect and loyalty as he pursues his 2008 campaign. The Pittsford endorsement reflects the genuine grassroots nature of Massa's campaign, and it's one in a string that's almost certain to continue. I'll be surprised if Massa hasn't been endorsed by every committee in the district well before mid-summer.

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