Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

Rick Lazio, aspiring GOP candidate for governor, today issued a challenge to front-running Democrat and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo seeking to debate the lattter's decision not to investigate financing behind the controversial Cordoba project on Park Place near Ground Zero. Here's one take on the matter; Below is Lazio's letter to Cuomo as issued.

"I understand that there will be plenty of time for us to debate the important issues of concern to the citizens of New York in the fall. But the time to debate the Cordoba Mosque proposed to be built on the sacred land at Ground Zero is now.

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"Many questions about the funding for this project have surfaced in the press in recent weeks; including the funding for the project itself and the sourced funding for the land and building donation. However obscured and concealed these funding trails are, the people of New York have a right to know the identity of all the figures behind the project given many of their inflammatory statements by the public faces of the project.

"As Attorney General, it falls under your jurisdiction to oversee the funding sources of 'charitable' organizations such as the Cordoba Initiative. Many are wondering how the proprietors of this project came into so much funding so quickly for a project which is dividing the community.

"You have called those of us who oppose building this mosques racist and bigots. You should be ashamed of yourself."

"To get real answers I suggest that we debate this issue in an open forum to be covered by the news media.

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"Your position on this issue is so wrong and I recognize you may not want to defend it but all the same I am asking you to do just that. I am sending a copy of this request for debate to all television stations and all newspapers in New York. I believe the debate should be held where the audience can watch and respond as well as ask questions of us.

"I hope you will respond positively to my request for the debate."

GOP gubernatorial hopeful Rick Lazio, left, and Democratic candidate Andrew Cuomo. (June 2010)