COLONIE—As the national leaders of the Democratic party embrace him, Scott Murphy, candidate for the Congressional seat formerly held by Kirsten Gillibrand, is not only invoking President Barack Obama, but making an effort to channel him.
During the last debate—sponsored by radio station WROW and cable outlet Capital News9—before Tuesday's special election, Murphy made an effort to appear above the fray, echoing Obama's presidential campaign as he repeatedly said he wants to change "how they do things in Albany and Washington."
Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco, the Republican candidate, employed a line of attack similar to the one he used in the previous debate: He asked whether Murphy was aware that the stimulus bill contained language that did not prevent AIG from issuing bonuses when he said he would have voted for it.
"We can have everybody in the government just want to spend time throwing firebombs at everybody else about the situation," Murphy said, still not answering yes or no. "That's the old school of politics. That seems to be how they do things in Albany and Washington. What I want to do is solve the problem. That's what I want to do when I go to Washington. It's not about spending time on who did what to whom. The answer is, we need to get your money back, and we need to do that aggressively, and we need to do that in a timely fashion. That's what I'm going to work on doing in Washington."
Murphy also didn’t give a firm, specific answer when he was asked about immigration and whether he would support a deputizing local law enforcement officials or support declaring English the "official language" of the United States. (This was also the first new issue to come up in this race in awhile.)
"It's not unsolvable, and politicians for far too long have been throwing firebombs at each other," he said. "Let's talk to Democrats and Republicans and come up with a solution that works for everyone."
Tedisco said he would favor English as the official language.
Tedisco continued to attack Murphy along more or less the same lines that he did in the last debate. Murphy passive-aggressively attacked the attacker for attacking.
Tedisco, once again, emphasized that he has stood up as an elected official (Murphy has never been elected to office). Tedisco said that he has the experience to take the seat and immediately begin fighting to bring stimulus funds to the district—given his opposition to the bill, he had to tread a fine line here—and that listening to constituents has prepared him for Washington.
There wasn't much new, either, in how Tedisco presented himself Thursday evening; he continued to advertise himself as a vociferous representative, fighting for the people he identifies with, and who he hopes will identify with him.