Now Pinch-Hitting for Eliot Spitzer: Charlie Rangel

Suozzi began the day attacking Eliot Spitzer. He ended it in an argument with Charlie Rangel.

Rangel, stepping nimbly into the role of Spitzer attack surrogate, sent a sharp letter earlier today to Suozzi demanding that he reject the political and financial support of Ken Langone, who said recently compared national Democrats to lunatics in an asylum.

“While Mr. Langone has been very good to you financially, it seems to me that he supports the immoral war in Iraq, the culture of corruption among Republicans in Congress, the deficit, and the failed political policies of the Republican leadership in the White House and in the Congress.

“I call on you to return the money he has given you in the past, to express your support for a Democratic takeover of Congress and to renounce any further support from Ken Langone for your campaign. In particular, he should be removed from the host committee of your July 11th golf fundraiser.”

Suozzi responded with a letter of his own saying that he “fundamentally” disagrees with Ken Langone when it comes to preventing Democrats from taking back Congress. But he also had some carefully measured words for Rangel, which he cleverly transitions into another attack on Spitzer.

Congressman Rangel, I have always respected your ability to move your agenda while understanding the practicalities of campaigns and politics. Candidates and their supporters do not always agree on every issue. I am sure that Eliot Spitzer does not agree with his supporters on every issue.

Eliot Spitzer supported the Iraq War, which you opposed. Eliot Spitzer supports the death penalty, which you do not. Eliot Spitzer supported New York’s version of the Patriot Act, the federal version of which you opposed in Congress. Eliot Spitzer litigated the Campaign for Fiscal Equity Lawsuit on behalf of Governor Pataki, against your position and the interests of your constituents.

- Jason Horowitz

CONGRESSMAN CHARLES B. RANGEL

June 15, 2006

The Hon. Tom Souzzi
P.O.Box112
Carle Place, NY 11514

Dear County Executive Suozzi:

I write today as a proud Democrat who maintains great hope that this fall a winning coalition will take back Congress from the Republican stranglehold it has struggled under for the last 12 years.

As such, I read with great displeasure the comments of your number one financial backer, Ken Langone, who a few days ago stated: “I can’t tell you how critical it is that we preserve and protect the Republican majority in the House of Representatives and as well in the Senate. This is not a time to turn the asylum over to the inmates.”

I find it hard to reconcile this statement with your comments in the past that Ken Langone is “a good man” and that you are “proud of his support.” As the Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Committee I hope to one day represent this state as its Chairman. It is your lead and most public fundraiser who has dedicated resources to making sure that people like me do not assume these important leadership roles and that we as Democrats do not take back the House. If the Democrats take back the House, it will not be “inmates” in charge, but people who care about the core values of justice, fairness and equality.

Some of us believe that the Republican party has taken our State of New York, as well as our nation, in the wrong direction. I certainly thought that you were one of us.

While Mr. Langone has been very good to you financially, it seems to me that he supports the immoral war in Iraq, the culture of corruption among Republicans in Congress, the deficit, and the failed political policies of the Republican leadership in the White House and in the Congress.

County Executive Suozzi / 2

This year we Democrats stand a good chance to change these policies and we have outstanding Democratic candidates throughout the country and even in our great State of New York.

I hope that your support of Democratic Congressional candidates, especially in New York State, would cause you to denounce Mr. Langone’s statements of Tuesday evening. I call on you to return the money he has given you in the past, to express your support for a Democratic takeover of Congress and to renounce any further support from Ken Langone for your campaign. In particular, he should be removed from the host committee of your July 11th golf fundraiser.

I respect your role as an outsider. But there is a fine line between being an outsider and turning your back on the Democratic Party and what it stands for.

I urge you to do these things and to get back to me at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

CHARLES B. RANGEL
Member of Congress

CBR/em

June 15, 2006

The Honorable Charles B. Rangel
163 West 125th Street, Suite #737
New York, NY 10027

Dear Congressman Rangel:

Thank you for your letter today.

Nothing will be more important to me when I am elected Governor of New York than to have you serve as the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. I have always, and will continue, to admire and respect you as a person and as an elected official. New Yorkers work too hard and pay too much in taxes to allow the status quo to continue, whether in Washington or Albany.

Ken Langone is a supporter of mine, but he and I fundamentally disagree on this issue.

I am a proud lifelong Democrat who fervently believes in taking back the Congress for our party – because our party, the Democratic Party best represents the interests and hopes of New Yorkers and all Americans. New Yorkers send more money in taxes to Washington than we get back in federal spending, and we are particularly under-funded when it comes to maintaining the security of our state and educating our children.

Congressman Rangel, I have always respected your ability to move your agenda while understanding the practicalities of campaigns and politics. Candidates and their supporters do not always agree on every issue. I am sure that Eliot Spitzer does not agree with his supporters on every issue.

Eliot Spitzer supported the Iraq War, which you opposed. Eliot Spitzer supports the death penalty, which you do not. Eliot Spitzer supported New York’s version of the Patriot Act, the federal version of which you opposed in Congress. Eliot Spitzer litigated the Campaign for Fiscal Equity Lawsuit on behalf of Governor Pataki, against your position and the interests of your constituents.

This year we Democrats have an opportunity to change everything – both in Washington and in Albany. We can turn the page on 12 years of Republican rule in the House of Representatives and 12 years of Republican neglect in Albany. Working together, we can chart a new course for New York that is based on our shared core values of justice, fairness and equality. It is why my candidacy is dedicated to fixing our schools, which you agree with – reducing property taxes, particularly for those striving to enter and stay in the middle class – which you agree with, and finding ways to create real jobs and opportunity – which you agree with.

Eliot Spitzer may be the “smartest man in the world,” and the polls and pundits may be against me, but I know that you know a thing or two about shaking things up and beating the powers that be.

That’s why I am committed to this race, and will work as hard as I can to make sure that these issues are fairly and widely debated. I deeply respect your role as a leader of our party in New York and as a voice for justice and fairness for all Americans, and I will keep working to earn your support.

Respectfully,

Thomas R. Suozzi
Democrat

CC:

Hon. Tim Bishop
Hon. Steve Israel
Hon. Carolyn McCarthy
Hon. Gary Ackerman
Hon. Gregory W. Meeks
Hon. Joe Crowley
Hon. Jerry Nadler
Hon. Anthony Weiner
Hon. Ed Towns
Hon. Major Owens
Hon. Nydia Velazquez
Hon. Carolyn Maloney
Hon. José Serrano
Hon. Eliot Engel
Hon. Nita Lowey
Hon. Mike McNulty
Hon. Maurice Hinchey
Hon. Louise Slaughter
Hon. Brian Higgins
Hon. Nancy Pelosi
Hon. Steny Hoyer
Hon. James Clyburn
Hon. Rahm Emmanuel
Eliot Spitzer