Shifting focus to jobs, Adler can’t outrun stalking horse

EVESHAM TWP. – U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) held a press conference at a closed down department store in Marlton, making a point about unemployment and tax loopholes that send jobs overseas. But standing in the hard-boiled asphalt parking lot, he left himself open to a drive-by. This one came on horseback, and he’s seen it before.

With his “From what I know…” answer during the debate at the Jewish Community Center in Cherry Hill this week, Adler’s denial of wedging stalking horse candidate Peter DeStefano between himself and GOP rookie candidate Jon Runyan is limited, soft, and short on particulars, at best.

The now-protracted question remains: Are reports that Adler, staffers, and advisors connived to create the Frankenstein monster, DeStefano the Tea Party Candidate, true?

“I’m comfortable with my answer,” he said today, with a line of unemployed locals standing behind him. He called the whole DeStefano circus an “unfortunate strategy” of the Runyan campaign.

He quickly downshifted back to jobs and loopholes. “I think those are the issues people in the district care about.”

After Adler closed a few more loopholes before a few members of the press, the conversations switched back to the horse.

But Adler cut PolitickerNJ off short on a question about whether he asked his staff about any involvement in the alleged third party plant.

“We’re going to talk about the issues we have here,” he said.

Real jobs, not snow job. Loopholes, not ballot trolls.

“Time after time, I voted to close loopholes,” Adler said, for instance those giving tax breaks to companies that move jobs overseas.

Another, he said, “prevents Swiss bank accounts from being private, secret.”

“The rest of us were subsidizing rich individuals and corporations,” he said.

He also fought for American businesses by reducing tax incentives for overseas companies that come to America, he said.

It wasn’t long before another poke at the flame reignited the debate.

What drew him back in was a question about Adler’s indignation over political operatives working for Runyan who spent “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said, on attack ads with his wife and son as targets.

Well, aren’t the reports linking campaign manager Geoff Mackler and South Jersey Democratic strategist Steve Ayscue to the DeStefano plant on the same plane, relatively speaking?

“It’s hard to tell what’s the truth (in those reports),” he said. “We know for sure Mr. Runyan hired people who did attack my family.”

“I’ve made sure going forward,” Adler said, that no on his team will have anything to do with DeStefano’s campaign.

Going forward? Did anyone have anything to do with it in the past?

“Not one of them,” he said.

As he kept moving the discussion back to jobs, he seemed to belittle the idea that voters want a fair election, as well as a candidate who can attack the issues.

“It think they’re getting a fair election,” he said.