Assemblyman and congressional candidate David Weprin bowed out of a scheduled debate against opponent Bob Turner in Queens on Monday night, with his campaign stating that due to the hurricane, traveling to the debate was impossible.
Hmm, we wonder what all of those people who got up Monday morning and somehow made it to their jobs - approximately 12 hours before the debate was even scheduled - think about that excuse?
Well, the Turner campaign didn't waste any time jumping on Weprin dropping out. First, Turner's camp mocked him.
Turner's people sent out a press release offering to pick Weprin up and drive him to the debate. Then they sent a Turner campaign volunteer out to Weprin's office in Forest Hills and had him drive to the debate location - Bel Mondo Restaurant in Middle Village - to show that it could be done. To prove it, they even sent a photo of the campaign volunteer's car in front of Weprin's office, which is apparently doubling as a C-Town supermarket.
We did think press release did include this pretty hilarious statement:
"Our intrepid volunteer braved sunny skies and clear roadways this afternoon to chart the course between Mr. Weprin's headquarters in Forest Hills and the site of tonight's debate in Middle Village," said Turner campaign spokesman William O'Reilly. "What he discovered is that, indeed, the 22-minute trip can be made, if one is willing to brave two turns and several traffic lights. Now that he knows the route, our volunteer is offering to pick up and drop off Mr. Weprin this evening - so Mr. Weprin can no longer say he can't get there."
Then the Turner campaign tried to surmise a reason for Weprin backing out of the debate, and suggested that Weprin was stinging from a scathing piece in The Daily News the day before the debate, lambasting Weprin for failing to know the size of the nation's debt.
Here's the exchange between Weprin and the News editorial board that was printed on Sunday:
Daily News: "Right now, how big is the debt?"
Weprin: (Pause) "Trillions."
News: "But how many?"
Weprin: (Deer in headlights look.) "I got caught up on this once before," referring to his inability while running unsuccessfully for city controller in 2009 to state that office's budget.
News: "This is central to what is going on in Washington."
Weprin: "About 4 trillion."
News: "Four trillion is the debt?"
Well, he was off only by a $10 trillion order of magnitude.
That's pretty embarrassing, indeed, but what the Turner campaign conveniently left out of all of its releases and statements was the other half of the story, and that was the account of his sit down with the same editorial board.
Turner was also heavily criticized, namely for opposing the proposed Islamic cultural center in Lower Manhattan and the federal James Zadroga act, which will provide compensation and health care to 9/11 first responders, without having a real grasp of the complexity of the issues.
In fact, if the Daily News piece was supposed to be an endorsement, judging from the headline - "Candidates in congressional special election are enough to make voters yearn for Anthony Weiner" - it appears the news is endorsing the man who was forced to resign from office! Can you say "write-in candidate?"
Well, both Turner and Weprin are going to get a do-over of sorts, as both are sitting down with this paper's editorial board this week, unfortunately after Pol Position is forced to go to press. (Not that it would have mattered. There's no way we would have been allowed in the meeting, or even within a three-block radius of Ledger/Star HQ!)
So check this paper next week for our endorsement. We're reasonably confident it won't be for Anthony Weiner (reasonably confident).