Palatucci was a natural to become Bush's N.J. connection

Palatucci was a natural to become Bush's N.J. connection
Bill Palatucci, Chris Christie's former law partner, managed campaigns for Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Tom Kean.

Democrats seem determined to tie former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie to President Bush if he becomes the Republican nominee for Governor, but Christie’s allies say that it was the ex-Prosecutor’s friend and top strategist, William Palatucci, who avidly championed Bush when he began running for President in the late 1990’s.

Christie, who was Palatucci’s law partner, raised money for George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign as part of a bigger effort coordinated by Palatucci, a veteran Republican operative who ran campaigns for Ronald Reagan, Thomas Kean and George H.W. Bush.

“It’s hard to imagine the Democrats not using every opportunity possible to highlight the fact that Chris Christie was part of an effort that raised significant money for George W. Bush, one of the most unpopular politicians in a generation” said Ben Dworkin, director of the David Rebovich Institute of New Jersey Politics at Rider University. “He’s had an outstanding career as U.S. Attorney. But the connection is different from the one the Democrats tried to use against U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance.”

Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Fanwood), the Democratic candidate for Congress against Lance, ran repeated TV ads of Lance’s face interposed with that of Bush.  Lance won by nine percentage points.

“But Christie’s different than Lance because Lance didn’t become an assemblyman and senator because George Bush picked him,” said Dworkin. “Christie became U.S. Attorney because George Bush did.”

The main strand of the Bush-Christie connection hinges on what for Palatucci was a fortuitous encounter with the younger Bush as the then-Texas governor geared up for his 2000 presidential campaign.

At that point, Palatucci’s relationship with the Bushes was already long and recurring, and it was in his role as the New Jersey chief of the presidential campaigns of Bush’s father that he developed a relationship with the younger Bush.

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Willie Brown dies at 68; served 12 terms as Assemblyman

Former Assembly Minority Leader Willie Brown passed away on Monday.    He was 68.  Brown spent 24 years representing Newark in the State Assembly.

First elected in 1973, at age 33, he was a member of a freshman Essex Assembly delegation that included Richard Codey.  He was re-elected eleven times.  He was the Assembly Minority Leader in 1988 and 1989.  When Democrats took control of the Assembly in 1989, the caucus picked Joseph Doria for Speaker and Wayne Bryant for Majority Leader; Brown became the Speaker Pro Tempore.

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Potential mayoral battle looms in Secaucus

Secaucus can seem a little out of place in Hudson County.

Despite the looming New York City skyline, the Meadowlands-buffered town of about 16,000 is far more suburban than most of its county counterparts and seems to share more in common with neighboring South Bergen towns than Jersey City.

But just because everybody knows everybody doesn’t mean politics here are polite, and a race with the potential to get ugly is already shaping up.

Mayor Dennis Elwell, a Democrat who’s serving out the end of his third term, plans to run again. He has the support of the Hudson County Democratic Organization, and isn’t expected to face much of a challenge in the primary, though local attorney Peter Weiner has told at least one Hudson County official that he intends to run for the party’s nomination. And Republican Frank MacCormack, the octogenarian who ran a long-shot campaign against Elwell in 2005, is so disenchanted with the county’s Republican organization that he does not plan to run again. The real challenge for Elwell will be if Councilman Michael Gonnelli runs.

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Bush taps three New Jerseyans as last minute appointees

President Bush made some last minute appointments that included three New Jerseyans: U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and GOP fundraiser Cheryl Halpern were appointed to five-year terms on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. And the general manager of the New York Mets, Omar Minaya, was named to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

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Between Newark and Elizabeth, the election year forces of Hillside begin to mobilize

Between Newark and Elizabeth, the election year forces of Hillside begin to mobilize
Hillside At-large Councilman Jerome Jewell prepares for Tuesday evening's council meeting.

HILLSIDE – Crammed between highways in an industrial terrain just beyond the grip of two oxygen-hoarding metropolises to north and south, Hillside has that forgotten city feeling, as if residing within its limits between Newark and Elizabeth were actually the ultimate New Jersey emblem of honor, where the ironic allusion to being disrespected comes with a special appreciation of big and rough edges.  

Indeed, if Newark can claim to be the triumphant birthplace of Red Badge of Courage author Stephen Crane, Hillside was handed the unhappy task of burying the 28-year old wunderkind in the local cemetery. 

Peruse the names of native silver screen personalities, and Hillside fares no better.  Newarkers can brag of living in the birthplace of tough guys like Ray Liota and Joe Pesci while Hillside provided the early stomping grounds for the brilliant if largely unknown actor Michael Gazzo, whose claim to fame was getting bumped off in the Godfather II.

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U.S. Rep. Adler assumes seat on financial services committee

U.S. Rep. Adler assumes seat on financial services committee
U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill)

Sworn in to the 111th Congress today, U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) announced his appointment to the House Financial Services Committee. 


The committee oversees housing and financial services sectors including banking, insurance, real estate, public and assisted housing, and securities. 


Adler becomes the only Democratic Party member of the New Jersey Congressional delegation to serve on the committee. 

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Succeeding Crabiel: Barrett sworn in with Rios, Scott; Dalina becomes director

Succeeding Crabiel: Barrett sworn in with Rios, Scott; Dalina becomes director
Freeholders-elect, Carol Barrett (left) and Mildred Scott, await their swearing-in Tuesday.

EDISON - Carol Barrett assumed the oath of office here in a packed auditorium at Middlesex County Community College while her son and the widow of long-serving Freeholder David Crabiel and the Crabiel’s daughter stood by her side.

Judge Todd Mayo, chief judge of the East Brunswick Municipal Court, held Crabiel’s personal Bible where Barrett placed her hand. 

Later, Stephen J. “Pete” Dalina, a 20-year veteran of the board and Crabiel’s ally, received the board’s unanimous support for freeholder direct on a motion by Freeholder H. James Polos, seconded by Freeholder Christopher Rafano.

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The Back Room

The Wire: Christie's Springsteen vulnerability

The Wire has a piece this afternoon contrasting Gov. Chris Christie's birthday tweet to rock and roll icon Bruce Springsteen with Bruce's post-Bridgegate public mockery of the governor.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 23rd

Sources: pen/ben debacle going back to 2011 worsens Newark's woes They already knew the financial situation was bad in Newark - but it turns out it’s worse. In a conversation with the front office this morning in Trenton, Newark lawmakers expressed worry about the state’s relative sparse offering of...

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Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >


(Trenton, NJ) --  On September 23, 2015 I shall dig this up and eat whatever crow I've got coming, but in the meantime only a listicle... more »
Sports and politics do mix: Welcome the next NFL Commissioner, Condi Rice          There are many sports fans who insist on believing that old bromide that sports and politics do... more »
(9-17-14) Viral Video Prompts Questionable NJ Municipal Ordinance -  Socrates said, “While I might disagree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Enlisting Fox is another reminder of how much Christie has truly relied on insiders, including Democrats, to bolster his agenda or bail him out of trouble. Not long after arriving in Trenton in 2009, Christie began collaborating with George Norcross, the deeply entrenched Democratic Party kingmaker, to help him cut deals with a Democratic-controlled Legislature.
When his close ally David Samson resigned as chairman of the Port Authority over conflict-of-interest questions earlier this year, Christie replaced Samson with John Degnan, a pillar of the Democratic Party establishment. And now, confronted with a crisis, Christie has turned to “Jamie,’’ as Fox has been known throughout political circles since he began as an aide in the Democratic Senate in the 1980s." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record


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