Morning News Digest: Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lautenberg, Zimmer disagree on almost everything in debate

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and his Republican challenger, former congressman Dick Zimmer, disagreed about taxes, benefits for illegal immigrants and their records as they met in their first debate last night, less than a week before Election Day. (Robert Schwaneberg, The Star-Ledger)

Corzine presses for second stimulus bill

WASHINGTON — Gov. Corzine today urged Congress to spend between $250 billion and $350 billion for a second economic stimulus package. (Gannett)

Corzine says he'll avoid sizable cuts for schools

ATLANTIC CITY — State education dollars should be largely insulated from major cuts in next year's budget, despite the national economic crisis impacting tax revenues and financial security, Gov. Jon S. Corzine said Wednesday. (Joseph Gidjunis, The Courier-Post)

Menendez rallies Obama supporters in Newark

NEWARK – Standing on a stage crammed with Essex County politicians in the Robert Treat Hotel, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-Hoboken) cranked up the volume tonight with a speech in support of the Democratic presidential nominee in front of a crowd calling itself “Latinos for Obama.” (

Tuitions, fees – and debt – soar for college students

With the economy in a tailspin, college-bound students have one more thing to worry about — tuition and fees are rising and more people are going into debt to pursue a degree. (Ana M. Alaya, The Star-Ledger)

Budget troubles endanger $350M preschool plan

Mounting state budget troubles may force New Jersey to delay plans for a $350 million expansion of public preschool programs, but such a move would be a last resort, Gov. Jon Corzine told a convention of school board members yesterday. (Dunstan McNichol, The Star-Ledger)

Whatever happens, Spencer readies for next year

NEWARK – Assemblywoman Grace Spencer (D-Newark) welcomed friends to the Robert Treat Hotel for a low-key fundraiser on Wednesday night, including State Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Newark), Newark Mayor Cory Booker,Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic), and Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-South Orange). (

1st District hopefuls in final duel

It was the last chance for the two major-party candidates in the 1st Congressional District to meet head-to-head during what has been a highly publicized campaign. (Pete McCarthy, Gloucester County Times)

Pol pleads to lesser charge

After months of delays, and after an unsuccessful attempt to have the charges dropped, former Hoboken Councilman Chris Campos pleaded guilty to driving while impaired Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court. (Carly Baldwin, Jersey Journal)

N.J. waits for court to act on Tropicana

ATLANTIC CITY — It will be 2009 before anyone knows who might end up with the Tropicana Casino and Resort. (Associated Press)

More N.J. voters using absentee ballots

More than 250,000 New Jerseyans already have decided to vote early this year using "no excuse" absentee ballots. Voters can still apply in person until 3 p.m. Monday. (Cynthia Henry, Philadelphia Inquirer)

College campuses all abuzz about presidential election

LAWRENCE — With less than a week before Election Day, political organizations on nearby college campuses are pumping last-minute oomph into campaigns for their candidates. (Carmen Cusido, Trenton Times)

Republicans want to reverse county trend

The direction in which the county is headed is the reason three Republicans are running for Cumberland County freeholder this year. (Matt Dunn, Bridgeton News)

Stender says ads are 'comparative,' not negative

Talking to before addressing a group of senior citizens with State Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Woodbridge), Stender said that ads run waged by her opponent and the third party groups that support him — rhyming her last name with "Spender," "truth bender" or putting anti-Stender lyrics to the tune of Yankee Doodle — are insulting to the voters of the 7th Congressional District. (

Stile: Local voters playing different cards this time

Vincent "Red" Forte, a veteran of the Korean War era, was trained to jump from planes into hostile territory. It took nerve. The wiry ex-paratrooper showed some of that nerve by declaring that he might vote for Democrat Barack Obama during a round of gin rummy at the AMVETS Post 20 Hall in Lyndhurst — a redoubt for Republican John McCain. (Charles Stile, The Bergen Record)

Up against union muscle in Central Ward, Bell blasts Booker

NEWARK – Holding a street sign accusing him of waste and corruption, former Councilman Charles Bell denounced a high-end campaign launched against him by “They Work for Us,” a labor organization based in Washington, D.C. (

BIll Clinton to stump for Stender on Saturday

Former President Bill Clinton will be come to New Jersey on Saturday to campaign for Assemblywoman Linda Stender’s (D-Fanwood) Congressional bid, according to a Democrat close to the campaign. The time, place and date have not yet been set, but it will be somewhere in the 7th District, where Stender is facing off against State Sen. Leonard Lance (R-Flemington). (

Democrats: GOP plan will lead to tax increase

BRIDGETON — The Cumberland County treasurer asserts that a Republican plan to lower taxes could lead to tax hikes down the road. (Joseph P. Smith, The Daily Journal)

Camden County melts down confiscated guns

It takes seconds for a handgun or rifle to liquefy in the heat of a 2,000-degree furnace. Afterward, the molten metal can be transformed into many things. Iron pipe. A manhole cover. An anchor. (Allison Steele, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Backed by 2 on council, he'd end BLRA 'giveaway'

Growing up as one of eight children of a poor family in downtown Bayonne, Patrick Conaghan acquired job skills at an early age. "It was right after the Depression. I remember my father listening to the war news on the radio. We couldn't afford a TV," Conaghan recalled. (Ronald Leir, Jersey Journal)

Council member calls for chief's job

PATERSON — Second Ward Councilman Aslon Goow Sr., who heads the City Council's Public Safety Committee, has called for the termination or resignation of Paterson Police Chief James Wittig, saying the department lacks strong leadership and oversight at the top. (Alexander Macinnes, The Bergen Record)

Princeton executive catches eye of Hollywood, state GOP

In the frenzy of their party's national convention in Minnesota in September, New Jersey Republicans had only a few must-attend events on their calendar. (Claire Heininger, The Star-Ledger) Morning News Digest: Thursday, October 30, 2008