Morning Read: 'Piss on the President’s Shoe'

President Obama speaks during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting (Photo: Getty)

President Obama speaks during the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting (Photo: Getty)

Capital New York’s Josh Benson has a balanced take on the controversy surrounding a certain report on Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

Ola Alabi, who ran an unsuccessful campaign against Walter Mosley for Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries‘ former district, looks like she’s ready to jump into the race for outgoing Councilwoman Tish James‘ seat based in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. Yesterday, she filed campaign paperwork for the likely bid, joining a crowded field that includes local museum founder Laurie Cumbo and Councilman Jumaane Williams’ former chief of staff Ede Fox, among others.

The Perez Notes has a collection of other new council candidates looking at gearing up campaigns.

Congressman Michael Grimm‘s legal debt continued to pile up in the latest FEC filing, where it now stands at $678,000. Previously, Mr. Grimm, who’s apparently being investigated by the Department of Justice, reported about half that.

Former Senator Craig Johnson, one of the staunchest supporters of the Independent Democratic Conference and its leader Senator Jeff Klein, sat down for an interview and argued their case. “Jeff is now in that room representing the Democratic portion of the coalition to talk about the budget issues, whether fiscal or non-fiscal that got interpreted into the budget. Anybody’s who’s going to criticize [doesn't] really want this coalition to succeed,” he said. “That’s unfair. This isn’t about personality; it’s not about politics. What this is about is policy and making sure that New Yorkers, as a whole, their interests are best represented. I think we’ve all heard the same tired line of, ‘On Election Day the voters wanted Democrats in charge.’ Look, I don’t know about you, but when I went into the voting booth and I went through my votes, I only had one option when I voted for the New York State Senate.”

One gets the feeling that Senator Mike Gianaris disagrees, however. On Inside City Hall he said the breakaway Democrats never gave them a chance. “I know what the members of the senate are saying and if there was some concern about who would be leader in all of the internal workings of the senate, let that conversation happen,” he said. “The truth is that there was never any real conversations that happened between Senator Klein’s group and ours. There was one meeting with Senator Sampson and then there was a lot of unreturned phone calls from that point forward.”

NAACP President Hazel Dukes sounded similarly unhappy in a letter he wrote to Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging him to take action. “This ‘cozy’ little cabal excludes women, gay and Hispanic legislators from most important leadership positions,” he argued.

For his post, MSNBC host Chris Hayes said he’s not through with Mr. Cuomo, and indeed that he’s been in contact with his office after he repeatedly blasted the governor. “If the governor’s people decide that they’re mad at me and they never want to talk to me again—which they haven’t, I’ve been in contact with the office—but if they decide that I’ll never be able to interview Andrew Cuomo, that’s fine,” he told Crain’s Insider. “I’m operating in a universe where I just don’t have to worry about that stuff. I cover what I want to cover, and I say what I think is true.”

The Scott Stringer machine rolls on….

Congressman Gary Ackerman on his way out, ladies and gentlemen:

“The Prime Minister and I spent the better part of the weekend at the Brooking Institution Saban Forum over the last several days, and I want to tell you he stayed for every single session, he didn’t just pop in. He is part of the history of this planet. He is one of the legendary heroes of the history of Israel. And he is most famous for his activity as a Prime Minister who went to the White House and did not piss on the President’s shoe. [Laughter] It’s only common sense. I want to note that my successor in Congress honors us by being here tonight, Grace Meng; Grace, you’ll all get to know her and she is going to be a very worthy successor.”