Menendez Mendacity Continues and the AP Spins
Then the New York Times posted a second piece because it was Menendez rather than Kean who was snared in the trap. Trochilus Tales has the details.
The New York Times followed up the two posts with an article that proves Menendez lied twice to the voters and then later tried to pressure the Times’ reporter to change Menendez’ comments on the Times’ posts.
To counter that damning report, the Menendez campaign has managed to get the Associated Press to publish an article that enables Menendez to revise and extend his remarks and spin the story against Kean.
From the New York Times' latest article (entire article here):
On Wednesday night, the two United States Senate candidates in New Jersey addressed several hundred people at Temple Beth Shalom in Livingston, N.J., as part of a forum sponsored by the Metro West Jewish Federation.Now read the AP’s version of the story, apparently ghostwritten by the Menendez campaign (the entire article here):
During their hourlong sessions, Senator Robert Menendez, the Democratic candidate, and his Republican opponent, State Senator Thomas H. Kean Jr., were asked about Mr. Lieberman, who declared his independent candidacy in Connecticut after being defeated in a Democratic primary by Ned Lamont.
In a written question from an audience member, Mr. Menendez was asked why he supported Mr. Lamont. Mr. Menendez said that his support of Mr. Lamont was a “mischaracterization,” adding that he supported Mr. Lieberman’s run as an independent candidate.
“I wish him well and hope he returns,” he said.
With that, Mr. Menendez — who 24 hours earlier had been engaged in a tense radio debate with Mr. Kean — warned the crowd that Mr. Kean, who was to speak next, would try to tell the crowd that Mr. Menendez supported Mr. Lamont.
About 40 minutes later, when Mr. Kean was asked about Senator Lieberman — who despite his independent candidacy said he would continue to caucus with Democrats — said, “I think he is the right individual and I look forward to serving with him.”
After a pause, he added, “My opponent, by the way, supports Ned Lamont.”
It appeared that Mr. Kean had played right into his opponent’s hands.
But yesterday morning, after the two New Jersey candidates’ comments were posted on the “Empire Zone,” a New York Times political blog, a spokesman for Mr. Menendez called this reporter and asked that the senator’s comments be changed.
“What he was meaning to say is that he has enjoyed working with Senator Lieberman and looks forward to serving with him should he be re-elected,” said the spokesman, Matthew Miller. “But his official endorsement is for Lamont, and he supports the party.”
When asked why Mr. Menendez had endorsed Mr. Lieberman at the synagogue but tried to back off the next day, Mr. Miller would only say that Mr. Menendez supported the Democratic nominee.
Not surprisingly, the Kean campaign jumped all over Mr. Menendez.
“Bob Menendez went before a group of concerned Jewish voters and tried to hoodwink them,” said Jill Hazelbaker, a spokeswoman for Mr. Kean.
The latest dust-up in the state's contentious Senate race has nothing to do with New Jersey politics. It's over whether New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez supports fellow incumbent Joe Lieberman or his Democratic challenger, Ned Lamont, in the Connecticut Senate race.
On Friday, the Republican Jewish Coalition accused Menendez of deceiving a crowd during a recent candidates forum during which he said he supported Lieberman, who is an Orthodox Jew.
During that event, which was sponsored by a Jewish organization, Menendez was asked why he supported Lieberman's Democratic challenger, Ned Lamont. Menendez has thrown his support behind Lamont, who defeated Lieberman in the Democratic primary. Lieberman is running as an independent.
"I didn't support Ned Lamont and not Joe Lieberman," Menendez said during the Wednesday night forum in Livingston. "The reality is I'm privileged to serve with Joe Lieberman. I think he is a tremendous United States senator and certainly I supported him when he was running in his primary."
The audience broke into applause as Menendez added, "I wish him well."
Menendez spokesman Matthew Miller said the senator endorsed Lamont after he beat Lieberman in the primary, but that he had supported Lieberman in the primary. Miller put the blame for the spat over his candidate's statement on the shoulders of the Republican state senator looking to unseat Menendez.
"This is another desperate attempt by Tom Kean Jr. to make something out of nothing," said Miller. "Bob Menendez has great respect for Joe Lieberman and would be proud to serve with him in the Senate if he wins his re-election campaign, but he supports the party's nominee and that has not changed."