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McCain and Obama come to New Jersey for last minute push accompanied by political superstars, Romney and Clinton offspring campaign in New Jersey, Corzine releases draft legislation for monetization plan.


Perhaps it wasn’t the best strategic campaign stop for John McCain, but he came to Hamilton today anyway accompanied by an entourage of nationally prominent Republicans and even one former Democratic vice presidential candidate.

Joining McCain today at the Colonial Volunteer Firehouse were Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Joe Lieberman [I/D-CT], Sen. Phil Graham [R-TX], Sen. Lindsey Graham [R-SC], Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Rep. Vito Fossella [R-NY].

It was also a time to shine for McCain’s tried and true New Jersey supporters – especially those who backed the candidate even when his campaign was hobbled by low cash and low poll numbers: State Senators Bill Baroni, Kevin O’Toole and Sean Kean; GOP State Chairman Tom Wilson; Morris County Freeholder John Murphy; former 9th district congressional candidate Vincent Micco and Bergen County Clerk Kathe Donovan.

Former Gov. Tom Kean, Sr. introduced McCain to the crowd of about 500. The only recent convert who spoke at the event was his son, Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr., who followed his father’s lead and endorsed McCain after Giuliani, his first choice, dropped out. (Friedman,


It was Bobby Kennedy in 1964 who inspired the young Bill Bradley to get into politics.

He would go through his hall of fame basketball career, but asBradley writes in his latest book, “The New American Story,” Kennedy ‘s leadership in the 1960s planted the seed for Bradley’s life of public servicefollowing his career with the New York Knicks.

On Monday, the day before Election Day, the late Bobby Kennedy’s memory was alive as both sides – the Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama campaigns – appealed to his legacy with the help of his heirs.

Even as Sen. Ted Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy mounted the stage in the Meadowlands to back up Obama, Bobby Kennedy, Jr., was preparing for a campaign appearance in Passaic on behalf of fellow New Yorker Clinton.

“We have a candidate for the president of the United States that will inspire a new generation of young people, bring our people together, and face the great issues that we should face in this century, at this time,” said Ted Kennedy in his introduction of Obama. (Pizarro,


It was a silentstare downbetween two presidents’ daughters Monday in that murky swamplandof North Jersey, as Caroline Kennedy and Chelsea Clinton took up opposing positions on either side of a rain-splattered Hackensack River.

Kennedy sat on a stool on stage with Sen. Barack Obama, lending the campaign not only her presence as a Kennedy but as the daughter of President John F. Kennedy.

A little later, the Sen. Hillary Clinton campaign stationed Chelsea Clinton, daughter of the senator and former President Bill Clinton, in the Tick Tock Diner, a bridge and short span of highway removed from Kennedy.

Clinton’s 11th hour placement, right in the path of reporters and crowd drift from the Obama campaign, was a handlers-heavy appearance which yielded little quotable material from the media shy former first daughter, according to observers. (Pizarro,



While he may not be all that different in age or appearance from the students who gathered to see him Monday afternoon, there is one factor that sets Craig Romney apart from your average 20-something: his father is running for president.

The son of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 26-year-old Craig Romney addressed a packed room of students and observers at Monmouth University’s Bey Hall in anticipation of today’s primary elections.

“It’s pretty surreal, to be honest with you, to have your dad running for president,” said Romney, who came to speak about his father’s position on the issues facing the country and to give a look at what his father is like personally.

“He’s not a guy who has spent his career in Washington, he’s not a guy who is connected to special interest groups,” said Romney, claiming that his father’s status as an “outsider” with experience in the business world puts him ahead of the other candidates in a race where the state of the economy has become a major issue alongside topics such as illegal immigration and the need for energy independence. (Biese, Asbury Park Press)



Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson and Joe Biden all are on today’s Democratic primary ballot.

So are Justin Woska, Margaret Wing, Tom Guarrieri, the Rev. Reginald Jackson and Stuart and Rochelle Kaplan.

They are among the 238 candidates running to be delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Some are veteran politicians. Others will see their names on a ballot for the first time.

One of them is Stacy Lubrecht, a 38-year-old mother of four in Brick. She was motivated to run by Obama’s message of change and his leadership style.

“He leads collaboratively. He’s not someone who says: ‘I will do it alone.'” Lubrecht said. “He’s someone who says: ‘We can solve our problems.'” (Schwaneberg, Star-Ledger)



It took more than a decade of trying, but New Jersey has finally moved its presidential primary up so we can actually be a player in the presidential nomination process.

We could not have picked a better time. 2008 represents the first time that this country has not had an incumbent running for president since 1952 — neither a president seeking reelection, nor a vice-president wanting to ascend.

It is also a time of incredible voter frustration. People are tired of what they have seen out of Washington in recent years – the gridlock, the acrimony. From around the country, our citizens are finally saying they want something more.

These factors have combined to make this year’s process a wild ride. And this exciting course may not end soon. It is possible that neither party will emerge from tomorrow’s “Super Tuesday” with its nominee firmly decided. (Whitman, Bergen Record)


Gov. Jon S. Corzine on Monday released draft legislation for his proposal to increase tolls on some of the nation’s busiest highways for decades to come to raise money to pay state debt and fund transportation. The legislation calls for creation of a new state agency to issue bonds to pay at least half of $32 billion in state debt and fund transportation projects.

To support the plan, Corzine wants to increase tolls 50 percent in 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022. Those increases would include inflation adjustments, and after 2022 tolls would increase every four years until 2085 to reflect inflation. The Atlantic City Expressway, Garden Parkway, New Jersey Turnpike and Route 440 would be affected.

Under the bill, which Corzine wants approved by mid-March:

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority would be renamed the New Jersey Capital Solutions Corp. and the expressway would be transferred from the South Jersey Transportation Authority to the new CSC. (Hester, AP)




Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine faced another skeptical crowd of more than 1,000 people last night as he went into a predominantly Republican county to make the eighth town hall pitch for his plan to revamp state finances through higher tolls.

The governor told those who clogged into the Marlboro High School auditorium that he plans to make deep cuts in the state budget to show he means business about reducing spending in Trenton, and disclosed he would not oppose a constitutional amendment to enforce his plan to permanently limit budget increases.

But he also said he doesn’t want to reduce items like taxpayer rebates, prison guards or aid to the developmentally disabled, and challenged residents and lawmakers to come up with ideas.

“Somebody’s going to have to help me figure out within the context of what we have where those cuts are,” Corzine said. “We have to come up with real suggestions.” (Donohue, Star-Ledger)



An angry crowd of 1,000 interrupted and shouted down Gov. Corzine at least a half dozen times during his presentation on his toll hike plan at Marlboro High School tonight.

Shouts of “cut the pensions!,” and “get rid of the tolls!’ — as well as derisive laughter — forced Corzine to momentarily stop his 30-minute presentation on his proposal to borrow up to $40 billion and raise tolls eightfold over 14 years.

Several times Corzine attempted to address the crowd’s concerns, but he often found that difficult.

“There’s no question this will hit Monmouth County people hard,” Corzine began at one point, but the rest the sentence was drowned out in shouts and catcalls. (Method and Higgs, Asbury Park Press)




Republicans on Monday vowed to try to lobby businesses against Democratic Gov. Corzine’s plan to increase highway tolls to pay state debt and fund transportation.

Meanwhile, a second Democratic congressman endorsed the proposal.

The Republican effort comes after the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce last week endorsed Corzine’s plan, angering many Republicans who claim the toll increases will hurt the economy and businesses.

Republicans Anne Estabrook, a former chamber chairwoman, and former Bogota mayor Steve Lonegan plan to launch a joint effort to build a new coalition of businesses opposed to the plan.

“It will hurt working families and drive businesses out of state,” said Estabrook, who is running for the state’s Republican U.S. Senate nomination this year……..

But Rep. Rush Holt endorsed Corzine’s plan on Monday, becoming the second Democratic House member from New Jersey to do so, following Rep. Rob Andrews. (AP)



A state Supreme Court disciplinary committee has filed a formal complaint against an Essex County judge accused of unleashing a string of profanities at an attorney he was throwing out of his courtroom.

The Advisory Committee on Judicial Misconduct charged that Superior Court Judge F. Michael Giles launched a tirade against Sebastian Bio when the attorney pressed him on a legal matter in 2006.

“I said get the (expletive) out of my courtroom,” Giles is accused of saying. “What the (expletive) don’t you understand? Shut the (expletive) up and get the (expletive) out of here. I have a meeting this afternoon.”

Giles spoke from the bench but did so after making sure court was not officially in session and on the record, according to the complaint filed by Candace Moody, the committee’s disciplinary counsel. (Kleinknecht, Star-Ledger)




Many area residents who work in Trenton but live elsewhere have a new incentive to move to the city: a state program that will pay a portion of their mortgage and offer low-interest, fixed-rate mortgages.

The Live Where You Work program will provide 5 percent of a home buyer’s first mortgage if they buy a house in Trenton or another area designated by the state for “smart growth.”

While Trenton is the first municipality in the state joining the program, any town can offer the incentives to first-time home buyers as long as the town agrees to promote the program, state officials said. Any home buyer can benefit from the program in “urban target areas,” which cover two-thirds of Trenton.

State Community Affairs Commissioner Joseph V. Doria Jr. said the program both would be good for the environment, by shortening workers’ commutes, and help maintain the middle class in cities like Trenton.

Doria said the program would have a “multiplier effect” in cities from residents spending more in their communities.

“You’re building the fabric of society,” Doria said of residents who join the program. (Kitchenman, Trenton Times)


WASHINGTON – A military “megabase” in Ocean and Burlington counties would receive $145 million in funding for construction projects in Fiscal Year 2009 under the budget the president proposed Monday, said Rep. Jim Saxton, R-3rd.

This is in addition to $112 million in the recently approved Fiscal Year 2008 budget, Saxton said. Several projects are already underway at McGuire Air Force Base, Fort Dix and the Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station. By law, they will merge into one megabase with Coast Guard and Marine presence as well.

“This is historic for South Jersey, and breaks the records for projects in a single … year at the bases,” Saxton said in a released statement. “The New Jersey economy will benefit tremendously from new construction jobs, and the new joint base itself will benefit from the modernization it needs to receive new missions.” (Rose, Press of Atlantic City)

Bound Brook learned yesterday the federal government has proposed an additional $10 million for Green Brook flood control for next year, bringing the long-planned flood project close to completion if the money is approved, Mayor Carey Pilato said yesterday.

In December, $10 million in federal funds was allocated to the project, months after a powerful nor’easter caused severe flooding in Bound Brook, Manville and other low-lying areas in Somerset County. (McCarron, Star-Ledger)


“I love being a judge but nothing compares to being a prosecutor,” said Superior Court Judge Paul T. Koenig Jr., who retired Thursday after 16 years on the bench. “There are only 21 county prosecutors in New Jersey. It’s a great opportunity to do things.”

While the Mercer County prosecutor, Koenig, 66, took on some high-profile cases, trying six of them himself including that of Jan Eric Reynolds. In that horrific case, Reynolds was convicted of a knifepoint rape of a Ewing woman in front of her 20-month-old son, be fore stabbing her 15 times in October 1985.

Well-known defense lawyer Jack Furlong represented Reynolds. Furlong said that in his questioning of an expert witness for the state, Koenig drew upon his experience hearing many drunken driving cases as a municipal prosecutor in Hopewell Township.

However, the witness was elusive and failed to yield the concrete testimony needed to show that Reynolds had acted with a mind unclouded by heavy alcohol consumption. (Stein, Trenton Times)


HAMILTON TOWNSHIP – Members of municipal boards here may want to bring a note from mom if they miss any meetings.

Under a proposal by Township Committeewoman Amy Gatto, members who sit on volunteer boards could be dismissed from those panels because of too many absences.

While Gatto said during Monday’s Township Committee meeting that she understands that there are reasons why board members would miss meetings, she also contends that it’s sometimes difficult for those boards to do business for lack of a quorum. Volunteers need to understand when they agree to serve on a panel that attendance is important, she said.

Gatto admits her proposal, which calls for a person’s dismissal for missing three meetings in a 12-month period, is in its preliminary stage and needs further discussion.

“It needs work,” she said. (Barlas, Press of Atlantic City)

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