Friday, October 06, 2006

McNerney Flips the Script on Pombo in Tracy

Last night at the congressional forum between Democratic candidate Jerry McNerney and Republican incumbent Rep. Richard Pombo, one thing is for certain: McNerney won.

The entrances of each candidate set the tone for the night. Pombo walked into a chorus of boos from McNerney allies and cheers from his own supporters. Jerry entered to a standing ovation that dwarfed the response when Pombo entered. McNerney upstaged Pombo in his own hometown.

From there, McNerney took Pombo head on. Issue after issue, Pombo was put on the defensive on topics ranging from President Bush's failed Iraq War policies, ethical issues plaguing the highest levels of the Republican Party and questions regarding allegations of corruption levied against Pombo.

In a two- or three-part question regarding ethics and donor contributions, Pombo was specifically asked if he would give back the $18,000 he received from VECO Corp., an oil firm that is being investigated by the FBI for influence-peddlings. Pombo dodged the question by not addressing it.

On the issue of the Marianas Islands, Pombo was specifically asked about his involvement and, more importantly, his ties to Jack Abramoff. His response:

“I’ve seen myself described as one of (Jack Abramoff’s) closest allies in Congress. I met the guy two or three times in my whole life — he never once lobbied me on anything, never asked me to sign a letter, to vote for or against a bill, to introduce a bill; he never once stepped foot in my office.”

[ed. note: Abramoff personally donated a total of $7,500. One $500 donation on September 12, 1996, $2,000 on January 22, 2003, just days after he became chairman of the House Resources Committee, and finally, a $5,000 donation on September 29, 2003. Pombo donated $7,000 to charity. No word on the initial $500. Clients of Abramoff's donated tens of thousands, upwards of $40,000 by some reports.]

The Republican scandal du jour is the recent Child Predator Scandal surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley, but focused more on the actions (or, inaction) of House Republican leaders. Pombo denied any knowledge of the matter, stating he learned of it last week when news of it surfaced. However, Pombo fell short of calling for House Speaker Dennis Hastert's resignation. A recent SurveyUSA poll shows a plurality of Americans believe the Speaker should resign from Congress (43%).

As for the war in Iraq, Pombo claimed that Iraq was a threat to the United States prior to the invasion in 2003 and tried to envoke September 11, which (rightly) outraged the McNerney supporters in the room. McNerney returned fire, reeling off *facts* that have been established: Iraq was not a threat because there were no weapons of mass destruction and there was no pre-war relationship between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

Apparently, Pombo knows more about Iraq and its effect on U.S. efforts to fight the "War on Terror" than the entire U.S. intelligence community. Pombo joined Bush in disagreeing with the findings of all sixteen intelligence agencies in the recently declassified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) "key judgments" that concluded the Iraq War is creating more terrorists by fueling Muslim extremism, causing it to spread geographically.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great report! You guys should build on this and give more details about Jerry's answers to all of the questions asked at the forum. Crosspost on other blogs. Keep up the good work.

9:00 PM, October 06, 2006  
Blogger MorganHill Yahoo said...

Please note what just showed up on the website..this is from the lead article, which should be front page on tomorrow's NY Times:

"...analysts said the page scandal had raised new concerns about ethics in Congress, an unwanted focus for Republicans in races where Democrats have sought to make an issue of what they have called a Republican culture of corruption.
Those include re-election races by Representatives Richard W. Pombo and John T. Doolittle, both of California, who have been touched by the fallout from the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, as well as the contests to fill two seats vacated by Republicans who have quit the race, Tom DeLay of Texas and Bob Ney of Ohio.
“I would think the Ney seat is more of a problem because of another round of ethics problems,” said Stu Rothenberg, an independent analyst who studies Congressional races.
Amy Walter, an analyst who follows Congressional races for The Cook Political Report, said the Foley inquiry was having an indirect effect on races in which corruption might be an issue. “When the spotlight is where the spotlight sits right now,” Ms. Walter said, “on scandal and dysfunction in Congress, then people like Pombo and Doolittle suffer.”
Mr. Pombo has also been the target of advertisements by the Sierra Club and the League of Women Voters criticizing his record on environmental issues."

11:32 PM, October 06, 2006  
Anonymous JohnMac said...

Too bad the NYT didn't mention Jerry or Charlie Brown by name; but it is not like them to give out any free name recognition.

6:21 AM, October 07, 2006  
Anonymous Tom Benigno said...

More important the TV crew on channel 11 were giving Carl Foglani,all the time in the world to voice is lies about all the supporters for Mc Nerney were from the bay area. I tried to cut Fogliani statements off but this guy Peter Petroski from Danville jumped in and told the reporter that he was a pissed Republican. What I was going to tell the reporter was that there were a lot of Republicans there to support Mc Nerney who lived in Tracy. I ran against Pombo and I represented them who supported Mc Nerney. Petroski don't ever do that to us again, putting your agenda before the cause. That was not the way it's done.

Vote Mc Nerney

Tom Benigno

10:35 AM, October 07, 2006  
Anonymous trollpatrol said...

Ummm, Peter has every right to get up there and voice his frustration. Danville is in the district too. We need to start pointing out to Bay Area voters how dismissive Pombo and Sweaty Carl are to their needs. Pombo ignores them while in office and seems to be dismissing them while campaigning.

How dare he dismiss McNerney supporters by saying, "oh they are from the bay area"...well no shit sherlock. half your district is "in the bay area"!!

3:57 PM, October 07, 2006  
Anonymous Tom Benigno said...

Mr. Troll you are right but understand, Peter shushed me to make his statement. I am a very patient person, otherwise I would have told him bud out. In doing so I never got my message out for the thousands who support me. It is obvious that Peter's friends my not be mine, so I must do what is necessary cut people like Carl Fogliani out of his power position as he has me. I will stay focused on helping Mc Nerney win this race. So troll person we can all work for a common goal. That is not to find new candidates, it is to see that Jerry Mc Nerney wins this one.

Vote Mc Nerney.

Tom Benigno

7:31 PM, October 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter Petroski's goal is the same as everyones here... to get McNerney into office and/or Pombo out. He is just trying to be helpful. I think instead of going against your own side and making remarks like yours, Tom, you should embrace what Peter is trying to do.

3:14 PM, October 17, 2006  
Anonymous Tracy said...

All of us are working towards one common goal: to get McNerney into office and Pombo out. There is no use fighting for the spotlight. Just realize that everyone is working towards that goals and have different approaches to it. Don't get upset that you didn't get 2 minutes on the air and Peter did, be happy that the news is covering McNerney vs. Pombo and is making this a real battle for Pombo.

3:26 PM, October 17, 2006  

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