Codey says he opposes wheeling, needs to fine-tooth comb the rest

State Sen. Richard Codey (D-Essex) said he strongly agrees with the provision in Gov. Jon Corzine’s executive order that would ban the practice of wheeling, but he wants to look at the fine print in basically every other aspect of the ethics package.

"I would go further; I would make the anti-wheeling measure stronger," said Codey, who said he did not attend today’s press conference with the governor because of a scheduling conflict.

Not only does Codey support a ban on wheeling across county lines – but across state lines.

"I would say ‘you can’t wheel money in, and you can’t wheel out," the former governor said of that practiceby outside political action committees (PACs) of transferring monies to local political organizations to be distributed to local campaigns.

In a brief telephone interview late Wednesday, Codey turned his attention from Corzine’s proposed ethics reform to presidential politics, and specifically Sen. John McCain’s (D-Ariz.) decision to forego debating Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in their first scheduled presidential face-off on Friday evening.

Today, McCain canceled his debate appearance and suspended his campaign to return to Washington, D.C., to attempt – in his words – to address the country’s financial crisis in bipartisan fashion.

In an afternoon press conference, Obama expressed his desire to pursue the debate and said part of a president’s challenge is to be able to do more than one thing at the same time.

"I agree with Obama that they should go ahead," said Codey. "The debate would be a great forum for them to talk about what’s going on. If there are differences between them, the public would be able to discern them. It’s like Mohammed Ali used to say, ‘You can run, but you can’t hide.’"

Codey says he opposes wheeling, needs to fine-tooth comb the rest