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New York City Comptroller John Liu took part in a mayoral candidates' forum with four other Democratic hopefuls and two Republican would-be nominees. Rather than have his rivals raise the issue -- which they might not have since he's in single digits in the polls -- Liu twice mentioned that his campaign funds have been under investigation by the FBI. His point in doing so seemed to be that the probe, which resulted in criminal trial of a fundraiser and a campaign aide, is excessive and expensive and needed to be resolved already. Liu himself has not been accused.
But Liu said forcefully popular things for this audience -- at the First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem -- with his backers in one section cheering him on with shouts of "Liu" and "Liu you know what to do!"
For example, he went past the positions of fellow candidates and called for the minimum wage to be raised to $11.50 an hour in New York. He also drew cheers by calling for an outright end to the "stop and frisk" police strategy.
The theme of the forum, moderated by WNYC's Brian Lehrer, was "The Race for Mayor: What's In it for low-income New Yorkers?" sponsored by the Community Service Society, the union 32 BJ and other organizations. Liu has played on the campaign's widely-publicized troubles before, for example, calling himself the "besieged" John Liu in apparently amused defiance.
Just this week, three people arrested on charges of stealing from a Queens lunch program for senior citizens, included Veda Jamoona, a staffer in Liu’s comptroller office. She's been suspended without pay, it was announced.