Elsewhere: Espada Withdraws Support? Thompson Goes After Bloomberg, Opponent

In an interview with Nick Confessore, Pedro Espada said he is withdrawing his support for Malcolm Smith. A conference call ensued.

On NY1, Bill Thompson begins his mayoral campaign with a populist theme, saying Michael Bloomberg “doesn’t understand the people he represents.”

Two tax-raising bills were introduced to the City Council today, but only one of them definitely has support.

Nancy Pelosi doesn’t see “any reason” Charlie Rangel should step down from his chairmanship.

The House Ethics Committee is expanding its investigation into Rangel to include donations to his eponymous CUNY center

Phil Singer is skeptical that Pete King really wants to run for Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat.

If Mark Green runs for public advocate, he may want to take some of his supporters back from Eric Gioia.

A Willets Point tenants group that is meeting with officials is not standing together.

Among Staten Islanders, Vito Fossella’s political future looks bleak.

At a press conference with Al Gore, Barack Obama said he had no idea what was going on in indicted Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich’s office.

An Obama aide tells Ben that when David Axelrod said Obama did speak to Blagojevich, he was wrong.

Ben wonders if Valerie Jarrett’s abrupt withdrawal from consideration might mean the transition team was on to Blagojevich.

Did Rahm Emanuel tip off the feds?

Dick Durbin wants the Illinois State Legislature to call a special election to fill Obama‘s seat.

Joe the Plumber, in advance of the release of his book (title: Joe the Plumber: Fighting for the American Dream) throws John McCain under a bus.

Elsewhere: Espada Withdraws Support? Thompson Goes After Bloomberg, Opponent