Category Archives: The New York Times

Poll: Bush still blamed for economy

From CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

More Americans blame the Bush administration for the nation’s economic troubles than the Obama administration, according to a new poll.

(CNN) – More than a year after President George W. Bush left office, more Americans continue to blame his administration over any other entity for the nation’s economic woes, according to a new poll.

In a New York Times/CBS News survey out Friday, 31 percent of Americans said the Bush administration is at fault for the current state of the economy while only 7 percent pointed their finger at President Obama and his team.

An additional 23 percent said the fault lies with Wall Street institutions while 13 percent assign the blame to Congress. Nearly 10 percent said the blame lies with all of them.

In a CNN/Opinion Research poll released last November, the public appeared split on who should be blamed if economic conditions don’t approve: 47 percent said Bush and congressional Republicans while 45 percent said Obama and congressional Democrats.

“The public still tends to blame the Republicans for current economic conditions,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “But looking forward is another matter. Americans think the GOP is responsible for getting us into this mess, but they think both parties are responsible for getting us out of it.”

The poll, conducted February 5-10, interviewed 1,084 Americans and carries a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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Filed under CBS News, CNN, opinion poll, President Bush, Republicans, The New York Times

Giuliani Not Running for NY Senate or Governor

NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani says he isn’t running for political office next year so that he can concentrate on his lucrative law and consulting businesses.

Giuliani says his businesses have ”significant commitments” for next year that would make it impossible to run for either governor or the U.S. Senate.

Giuliani spoke at a news conference in Manhattan to endorse former U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio in the governor’s race. He told WABC-TV earlier Tuesday that he would not go into politics this year.

His most recent foray into politics ended with a stinging loss to John McCain in the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is >>> HERE.

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Filed under Associated Press, Rudy Giuliani, The New York Times

NEW CHRISTIE BOMBSHELL-NYT: Christie May Have Gotten Improper Aid

The New York Times – By DAVID M. HALBFINGER

When news broke in August that the former United States attorney, Christopher J. Christie, had lent $46,000 to a top aide in the federal prosecutor’s office, he said he was merely helping a friend in need. He also said the aide, Michele Brown, had done nothing to help his gubernatorial campaign.

But interviews with federal law enforcement officials suggest that Ms. Brown used her position in two significant and possibly improper ways to try to aid Mr. Christie in his run for governor.

In March, when Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s campaign requested public records about Mr. Christie’s tenure as prosecutor, Ms. Brown interceded to oversee the responses to the inquiries, taking over for the staff member who normally oversaw Freedom of Information Act requests, according to federal law enforcement officials in Newark and Washington. The requested information included records about Mr. Christie’s travel and expenses, along with Ms. Brown’s travel records.

In mid-June, when F.B.I. agents and prosecutors gathered to set a date for the arrests of more than 40 targets of a corruption and money-laundering probe, Ms. Brown alone argued for the arrests to be made before July 1. She later told colleagues that she wanted to ensure that the arrests occurred before Mr. Christie’s permanent successor took office, according to three federal law enforcement officials briefed on the conversation, presumably so that Mr. Christie would be given credit for the roundup.

The federal law enforcement officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were barred from speaking on the record.

Ms. Brown declined to be interviewed for this story. In an e-mail message to The New York Times, she called the allegations “outrageous and inaccurate,” but declined to answer further questions. Through a spokesman, Mr. Christie stood by his earlier assertions that Ms. Brown had not assisted his campaign in any way.

News of Mr. Christie’s loan to Ms. Brown broke in August, dealing a blow to his candidacy, and he apologized for failing to report it on his tax returns and ethics filings.

Less than two weeks later, Justice Department officials told Mr. Christie’s interim replacement, Ralph Marra, to remove Ms. Brown from acting as coordinator of the Freedom of Information Act requests about Mr. Christie’s tenure because of the obvious conflict of interest, according to a federal law enforcement official briefed on the communications. Ms. Brown resigned from the prosecutor’s office the same day, the official said.

She took a job at a law firm with close ties to Mr. Christie — a firm that represented one of five companies identified as targets in his office’s investigation of kickbacks among makers of artificial hips and knees. Ms. Brown had led the case and, with Mr. Christie, negotiated a settlement in which the company paid a fine and avoided criminal charges.

Allegations that Mr. Christie played politics as a prosecutor have dogged him; reports that he discussed a run for governor with Karl Rove in 2006 led Democrats to assert he had violated the Hatch Act, which forbids candidates from “testing the waters” for a run for office.

The possibility that Ms. Brown may have helped Mr. Christie’s campaign from inside the United States attorney’s office casts a new light on their relationship and on the prosecutor’s office. Federal law and Justice Department policy prohibit prosecutors from using their “official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.”

The arrests of 44 people in the corruption and money-laundering case on July 23 drew national attention and put a spotlight on New Jersey’s reputation for corruption. Mr. Christie had built his reputation battling public corruption, and the case served to remind voters of his record and underscore that corruption remained a persistent statewide problem, one that could require a new governor to root out.

As it turned out, there was no need to hurry up the corruption arrests to ensure that they would redound to Mr. Christie’s credit: the Obama appointee who replaced him, Paul J. Fishman, was not installed until last Wednesday.

Mr. Christie has said he and his wife are close friends of Ms. Brown and her husband. The couples live a few hundred yards apart in Mendham, N.J.

Read More >>> Here

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Filed under Chris Christie, ethics, Freedom of Information Act, Gov. Jon Corzine, Michele A. Brown, repayment of loans, The New York Times, US Attorneys Office

NYT Endorses Corzine for Governor


Yesterday for those who may have missed it, The New york Times came out in suppor of Jon Corzine by endorsing his candidacy for the governorship of New Jersey.

Here’s what they had to say:

Like almost every other state in the union, New Jersey is in bad shape. Revenues are down. Unemployment is up. A state deficit is looming. Taxes are high, and more borrowing is taboo. Unfortunately for Gov. Jon Corzine, it is also election time. Mr. Corzine, a Democrat, has struggled through his first term, partly because of a legislature that will not make the tough decisions. He still has lessons to learn about communication and leadership, but he is a better choice for New Jersey voters than either of his challengers. He has earned another four years to deal with the state’s budget problems and culture of corruption.

Despite his support from President Obama, Governor Corzine faces two formidable opponents who have made the most of his stormy first term. The Republican, Christopher Christie, a former United States attorney, has made headway by talking about slashing taxes and state programs. But his talk is far too vague, and he has no record to back it up. Further, there are concerns about whether he appointed politically connected friends to lucrative positions. There were also reports that his office targeted Democrats, including Senator Robert Menendez, close to election time.

An engaging independent candidate, Christopher Daggett, has also done well, even though New Jersey’s infamous political bosses have made sure that only the most intrepid voters will find him on the ballot. Mr. Daggett’s contribution to this campaign has been his thought-provoking ideas about cutting property taxes and shifting some of the tax burden to high-end services like architect’s or lawyer’s fees or fancy haircut parlors.

It is far easier to come up with campaign themes than slog through the real-world quagmire of New Jersey politics, as Mr. Corzine has done. He inherited corruption that is legendary and a budget that his predecessors, Democratic and Republican, had milked nearly dry. Governor Corzine took some difficult steps, like his smart but unpopular plan to increase highway tolls. He shut down the state government when lawmakers refused to back his extra-lean budget. He has managed to increase the contributions to the underfunded pension plan. And he has begun the hard task of reforming state government by limiting some perks for state workers.

Mr. Corzine is hardly the perfect politician. Most New Jersey voters find him astonishingly inarticulate, and his credentials as a former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs do not seem as impressive as they did before the financial meltdown in 2008. He has poured lots of his personal wealth into this race, far too much of it for biting — and sometimes juvenile — attacks on Mr. Christie. In his second term, we would like to see him back away from the state’s unions.

A New York Times poll completed last week captured the way New Jersey voters have been grumbling about all their choices for governor. But Jon Corzine, who is slightly ahead among likely voters, is a decent man with a laudable set of goals for his state. We endorse him for re-election in New Jersey on Nov. 3.

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Filed under endorsement, Gov. Jon Corzine, New Jersey, The New York Times

Barack Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

New York Times

OSLO — In a stunning surprise, the Nobel Committee announced Friday that it had awarded its annual peace prize to President Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

“He has created a new international climate,” the committee said in its announcement. President Obama’s name had not figured in speculation about the likely winner until minutes before the prize was announced here.

Likely candidates had been seen here as including human rights activists in China and Afghanistan and political figures in Africa.

The committee said it wanted to enhance Mr. Obama’s diplomatic efforts. “We are awarding Obama for what he has done,” the committee said. “Many other people and leaders and nations have to respond in a positive way” to President Obama’s diplomacy.

The announcement noted the special importance the committee attached to President Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons. “Obama has as president created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play,” the committee said.

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Filed under Barrack Obama, Nobel Prize, President of the United States, The New York Times

1,660 Jobs Coming Back to New Jersey

Lost during this holiday weekend was news about how new jobs are being created in the State,both the New York Times and the New Jersey Newsroom published stories about it on Friday. Here is what both reported:

The New York TimesNew Jersey Wins 1,600 Financial Jobs
The fierce tug of war between New York and New Jersey over 2,300 financial jobs in Lower Manhattan is just about over.

New Jersey has come out ahead, winning most of the jobs, said government officials and real estate executives. But New York keeps the headquarters.

The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation, a critical part of Wall Street’s financial machinery, had threatened early this year to move its entire operation to New Jersey, enticed by lower costs and a subsidy package worth well over $70 million.

Then followed nine months of wooing and pleading by top officials on both sides of the Hudson River, including Gov. Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey.

Now, Depository Trust appears to have reached a decision to keep its headquarters and roughly 700 employees at its current home at 55 Water Street, according to the officials and executives, who declined to be identified because the company has not formally announced its decision.

Most of its work force, however, will move to the Newport office complex on the Jersey City waterfront.

Read more >>> Here

New Jersey NewsroomNew Jersey support brings EvaTees and 60 new jobs to the state.

New Jersey and local officials Thursday toured Eva Tees Inc. a company that moved to Piscataway in March with 60 new jobs.

Eva Tees, a wholesale distributor of clothing and other merchandise, was awarded a Business Employment Incentive Program (BEIP) grant from the state Economic Development Authority (EDA). The move also included a capital investment of over $17.9 million.

“Attracting jobs and encouraging private investment is critical to ensuring New Jersey emerges from the national economic recession,” Gov. Jon Corzine said. ” We’ve taken measures to encourage business growth during these challenging economic times and Eva Tee’s decision to make New Jersey its home is great news.”

Eva Tees was originally established by Mayer Neuhoff in 1950 as Eva Hosiery and Underwear Company. In 1974, Neuhoff’s son joined the company and expanded the business to include imprintable active wear. Over three decades later, the company continues to grow and is now run by the third generation of the Neuhoff family.

Eva Tees offers a full line of active wear, corporate casual wear and accessories. Its product line includes styles from popular manufacturers like Hanes, Bill Blass, Izod, Fruit of the Loom, Gildan, Jerzees and Van Heusen. The state grant, which will amount to an estimated $153,900 over 10 years based on 57 new jobs, was a major incentive for Eva Tees to consolidate three sites in New York and establish a larger site in Piscataway.

Read more >>> Here

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Filed under EvaTees, financial jobs, Gov. Jon Corzine, Labor Day, Manhattan, New Jersey Newsroom, The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation, The New York Times, Wall Street

Democrats Pounce After Christie’s Misstep

By DAVID M. HALBFINGER – The New York Times

Democratic BlackBerrys up and down the East Coast started buzzing at 12:18 a.m. on Tuesday with news out of New Jersey: The Republican candidate for governor, Christopher J. Christie, had lent $46,000 to a subordinate and failed to disclose it as required by law.

For Democrats, who have watched, despairingly, as he galloped ahead of the incumbent, Gov. Jon S. Corzine, in the polls, it was a rare stumble by Mr. Christie, a former federal prosecutor running on a platform of ethics reform.

They were gleeful, and determined to strike. Into the wee hours and over the next few days, Mr. Corzine’s aides strategized with White House aides and other Democratic operatives about how to make it a national story, suggested loaded questions for bloggers and reporters to ask Mr. Christie, enlisted the state party to file a complaint with elections officials, and sent young staff members out to dog Mr. Christie’s events with signs spelling “$46,000.”

It is unclear what the misstep will mean for Mr. Christie, who quickly and profusely apologized. But the gaffe marked a pivotal moment, with both sides battling not only over the issue, but also about what this expensive, marquee governor’s race will be fought over.

Republicans, who cheered in July when a federal investigation resulted in corruption charges against dozens of local officials, believing they underscored Mr. Christie’s strengths, are now calling for him to focus on more conventional issues like property taxes, jobs and education.

Democrats, seeing a chance to turn a referendum on an unpopular incumbent into a referendum on a challenger with some holes in his armor, want to talk about nothing else.

“There’s a lot more optimism around Jon Corzine’s candidacy now,” said David Plouffe, President Obama’s campaign manager, who cut his political teeth in New Jersey. “When the real economic questions are put in front of voters, and now you’ve got questions about Christie’s character and ethics, there’s a pathway that’s a little wider. It’s still a tough fight and a little uphill, but there’s a pathway.”

New Jersey is enjoying outsize attention the year after a presidential election because it is one of only two statewide contests in the nation; the other is in Virginia. And New Jersey is still considered far more friendly to Democrats than Virginia is; the party holds a 650,000-vote registration edge, and a Republican has not won statewide in 12 years.

Still, what were once considered Mr. Corzine’s political assets now look a lot like baggage. He is a former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs precisely at the high-water mark of revulsion against Wall Street. He is a proponent of expensive health care and prekindergarten programs at a time of growing nervousness about soaring deficits and ambitious spending plans.

Those who have lived through past New Jersey campaigns believe the contest will ultimately be decided on pocketbook issues. Mr. Christie, who spent seven years as a United States attorney, has compiled a withering indictment of the governor: higher taxes, unemployment higher than in New York or Pennsylvania, a business climate rated among the nation’s worst, an exodus of college students and corporations. Mr. Corzine said things would have gotten far worse had he not been in charge. But that is harder to prove, polls show that most voters do not buy it, and Republicans believe many people have run out of patience with the governor.

“There is such Democrat fatigue in this state,” said Kevin O’Toole, the Republican chairman in Essex County, which includes Newark. “Obama’s right, it’s time for a change.”

Worse still, for Democrats, Mr. Corzine has struggled mightily to excite the party’s base. Blacks and Hispanics have openly flirted with Mr. Christie over issues like school vouchers. Environmental advocates have already deserted Mr. Corzine. The Corzine campaign is aggressively lobbying gay men and lesbians to stick with the governor.

Mr. Corzine’s aides had been saying for months that they only needed to fight Mr. Christie to a draw on the subject of corruption, because they believe if the campaign is about the issues, they will win, given the Democrats’ registration advantage. But despite the campaign’s costly barrage of television commercials accusing Mr. Christie of cronyism, his disapproval rating is still only about half the governor’s.

That is why they began to grow excited this month, with the news that Karl Rove had spoken with Mr. Christie, as early as 2006 or 2007, about Mr. Christie’s interest in the governor’s office. The Hatch Act bars federal prosecutors from even testing the waters for a candidacy, and by Saturday, Mr. Corzine, speaking to liberal bloggers in Pittsburgh, was calling Mr. Christie a “lawbreaker.”

Some Democrats felt it was a stretch. But then, last Tuesday, another break: Mr. Christie came forward to acknowledge he had given a top aide in the prosecutor’s office a second mortgage to help her out of a financial jam, but failed to report it on his ethics filings and tax returns.

Full of outrage when announcing indictments, Mr. Christie was subdued but frank in owning and apologizing for his mistake. But he had to contend with questions about why his lapse — he had failed to report $420 in interest income on his taxes — would not have been worth prosecuting.

From Washington to Trenton to the governor’s adopted hometown, Hoboken, Mr. Corzine’s allies grabbed hold of the story as if it were a defibrillator.

Aides to Senator Robert Menendez put calls in to reporters pressing the attack. Representative Frank Pallone Jr. accused the United States attorney’s office — where the woman who received the loan from Mr. Christie is now second in command — of playing politics. The Corzine campaign filed a lawsuit seeking records of Mr. Christie’s communications with his old office.

Read More >>> Here


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Filed under Chris Christie, Congressman Frank Pallone, David Plouffe, Gov. Jon Corzine, Karl Rove, Monmouth County, President Obama, The New York Times, US. Sen. Robert Menendez