News Column

Cruz Trades Potshots With Cuomo

May 6, 2013

By Fredric U Dicker; Inside Albany

Tough-talking Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is firing back at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for branding him an "extremist" and saying New York Republicans should cancel his fund-raising speech here at the end of the month.

Cruz, a strong defender of Second Amendment gun rights, blasted Cuomo's "misguided priorities" and said the governor, touted as a possible presidential contender, should spend more time defending the freedoms of New Yorkers and working to create jobs and economic development instead of telling home-state Republicans how to run their affairs.

"If defending Americans' constitutional liberties and fighting for policies that will spur job growth and economic recovery is [the] Democrats' definition of 'extreme,' it confirms that their convoluted, misguided priorities do not represent the best interests of New Yorkers," a spokeswoman for Cruz, a Princeton and Harvard Law honors graduate and one of just three Hispanics in the Senate, told The Post.

"They [New York Democrats] clearly have bigger problems to deal with than lobbing useless criticisms at a Republican senator coming to town to speak at an event for Republicans," the spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, continued.

Cruz's blast came after Cuomo political operative and state Democratic Committee Executive Director Rodney Capel called the Texas freshman "the most extremist Republican senator" and claimed that state GOP Chairman Ed Cox and Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos would be "permanently linked to the most extremist elements of the Sarah Palin wing of the GOP" by allowing Cruz to speak at the $1,000-a-person, May 29 fund-raising event.

Cox himself responded to Capel late last week by attacking Cuomo's "truly extreme position" on expanding abortion rights, which he claimed would "expand late-term abortions, even up to the day of a baby's birth."

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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's claim that he didn't know anything about disgraced former chief counsel Michael Boxley getting a job with a major lobbying firm is being discounted by legislative insiders.

Late last week, The Post disclosed that Boxley, who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a legislative staffer after initially being accused of raping her, had re-emerged as a principal with Brown & Weinraub, which has strong Democratic Party ties.

Silver claimed through a spokesman that he played no role in helping Boxley get the job, but a prominent lobbyist called that "ridiculous," noting, "No lobbying firm would take the risk of hiring someone of Boxley's notoriety without first running it by the speaker's office to see if they object."

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Sen. Dean Skelos is just one Long Island senator away from being ousted as Republican leader as bitter upstate members of the Senate's GOP Conference wonder how they'll survive next year's elections.

Skelos, widely seen as weak, disengaged and more interested in the perks of office than in providing leadership, was responsible for giving the go-ahead to the "message of necessity" that allowed Cuomo to rush through his anti-gun legislation in January.

Skelos, who hails from Nassau County, has a solid block of support from Long Island's all-Republican Senate delegation, but if a single crack develops, "there's a good chance he'll be taken out," said a GOP insider.

frederic.dicker@nypost.com

Originally published by Fredric U. Dicker; Inside Albany.

(c) 2013 The New York Post. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.




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