Morning Digest: Oct.4, 2013

Christie and Stack hold tele-town hall

TRENTON – Bipartisanship was the theme for the night.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic state senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack sat side-by-side Thursday evening as they took calls from Hudson County and Union City residents in a tele-town hall meeting. (Arco/PolitickerNJ) 




At Trenton Central High, Buono bashes Christie, SDA for condition of building

TRENTON – The sign in the lobby of the Trenton Central High School proudly proclaims: “Welcome to TCHS: Home of the Tornadoes.”

The place looks like it was hit by one.

The high school – an 81-year-old one-time “ornament to the city” – that now suffers from asbestos, mold, peeling plaster, warped floors, cracked concrete, water leaks and an assortment of unidentifiable odors, became ground zero Thursday for two not-unrelated events:

*Gubernatorial candidate and Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono toured the dilapidated school as part of her election campaign. (Mooney/PolitickerNJ) 




Cory Booker’s lackluster campaign

Cory Booker is all but certain to win the New Jersey special election for U.S. Senate.

But as polls show Republican rival Steve Lonegan tightening the race, Booker is getting an uncomfortable reminder that he will have to campaign hard to defend the seat just a year from now, when he’d be up for a full term. (Haberman/Politico) 




Shutdown changes pace for White House staffers


Place a call to White House press secretary Jay Carney these days, and it’ll lead to something surprising on the other end: Jay Carney.

The White House is a building of gatekeepers — legions of assistants and special assistants and deputy assistants who protect their bosses and keep the place running. But the White House under the government shutdown, pared down to a fourth of its usual staff size, is a shadow of its hierarchical self. (Brown/Politico) 




Christie blasts Colorado Republicans as ‘hypocrites’ for seeking Sandy aid

BRIDGEWATER — Gov. Chris Christie tonight blasted a group of Colorado Republicans for opposing the $50 billion Hurricane Sandy relief package earlier this year only to ask for some of the money to help their state after last month’s ravaging storms. (Hutchins/Star-Ledger) 




Christie says NJ Transit employee, not director, is to blame for damage to trains during Sandy

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie says a low-level manager — not the state’s mass transit chief — was to blame for failing to move trains to higher ground during Superstorm Sandy, causing $120 million in damage. (The Associated Press/ 



Groups opposing same-sex marriage renew call for voter referendum


TRENTON — A new coalition opposed to same-sex marriage said today its members will aggressively fight legislative efforts to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of gay marriage, calling instead for a voter referendum. (Hutchins/Star-Ledger) 



 In D.C., an unlikely threat: Mom killed by police after ramming security gates with toddler in car

WASHINGTON — The woman who rammed security barriers at the White House and Capitol building on Thursday had a toddler with her, confounding everyone who watched her black sedan crash through gates and lead police through the heart of high-security Washington.

The frantic police chase ended with the woman shot to death, two law enforcement officers injured and the Capitol complex under emergency lockdown. (News Service Reports/The Record) 




 Grant to Farleigh Dickinson aimed at filling vacancies in hospitality ranks

Superstorm Sandy caused such damage to businesses across the state that labor officials, through two colleges, are helping employers find workers who want to carve careers in the retail, hospitality and tourism fields.

Fairleigh Dickinson University was given a $200,000 grant to help connect job-seekers with employers in this industry group, the third largest in the state, through a newly formed talent network. These businesses provide one in every four jobs across the state, labor officials said. (Williams/The Record) 




Lonegan ‘There’s room for compromise’

PARSIPPANY — Republican U.S. Senate nominee Steve Lonegan said that although “there may be some inconvenience” from the partial shuttering of the federal government, he would join Republican efforts to tie the budget to a delay in the Affordable Care Act. (Symons/Asbury Park Press) 




12 NJ doctors face painkiller ban

NEWARK — State officials are trying to prevent 12 New Jersey doctors from prescribing highly-addictive painkillers.

All but one of the physicians were convicted on charges stemming from their illegally prescribing controlled substances. (Associated Press/Asbury Park Press) 




 Booker, Lonegan Welcome Battle Over Federal Shutdown

Shutdown underscores stark differences over federal spending and Affordable Care Act heading into their first Senate debate

For Cory Booker and Steve Lonegan, the four-day-old shutdown of the federal government underscores the stark policy differences between the U.S. Senate candidates on the role and size of federal government, the Affordable Care Act, and the three-year battle between President Obama and the GOP-controlled House that has plunged Washington into gridlock and fiscal crisis.

Heading into their first debate tonight, it is a battle both Booker and Lonegan welcome, but for very different reasons. (Magyar/NJSpotlight) 




To hike or not to hike: N.J. business leader, politicians debate raising minimum wage

TRENTON — New Jersey’s battle over raising the minimum wage got maximum attention Thursday.

At a rally in Seaside Heights, where the boardwalk burned last month, small-business owners said they can’t afford to pay higher wages while the state is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy.

At a dinner in North Brunswick hours later, the state’s top two Democratic candidates — Cory Booker and Barbara Buono — said a higher minimum wage is needed now more than ever because New Jersey’s middle class is shrinking.

New Jersey voters will decide Nov. 5 whether to approve a constitutional amendment to hike the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 and install automatic yearly increases based on the Consumer Price Index. (O’Neill and Johnson/Star-Ledger) 




Obama, Republicans point fingers during shutdown’s third day

Washington— Prospects of quickly ending a partial government shutdown seemed unlikely today as President Barack Obama and Republicans continued pointing fingers at one another — and as Obama placed the blame squarely on House Speaker John Boehner. (The Associated Press/ 




 From the Back Room



Inverso unveils student coalition 

HAMILTON – Peter Inverso, the former 14th District state senator seeking to reclaim his seat, unveiled a student coalition Thursday that will support his campaign. (PolitickerNJ Staff/PolitickerNJ) 






Take your hands off the N.J. constitution: Opinion


The Legislature’s effort to insert new minimum-wage rules into the New Jersey Constitution is but the latest attempt to corrupt the document, from fundamental law to a collection of special-interest policies. It’s the Democratic majority’s petulant response to Gov. Chris Christie’s conditional veto of a bill to raise the minimum wage, followed by regular cost-of-living increases. (Connors/Star-Ledger) 





Republicans are fighting the wrong health-care war


I recently got an e-mail from the leader of a conservative activist group warning me of “the tyrannical abuse of government control foisted upon us by unyielding Democrats who want to make us slaves to the state.”

It seems those dastardly Democrats want to foist “single-payer, socialized medicine” on us.

One problem: They already did. That happened way back in 1965, when unyielding Democrats foisted a single-payer, socialized medicine program called Medicare on us.

The current government shutdown has nothing to do with that program, however. In fact the leader of the movement, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, recently rose to defend Medicare against even minor cuts. That was right before he rose to resist the implementation of the Affordable Care Act — aka “Obamacare,” aka “Romneycare.” (Mulshine/Star-Ledger)

Morning Digest: Oct.4, 2013