While Steve Levy combined his budget-crackdown message with his brand-new identity as a Republican, Rick Lazio plays on Levy's recent identity as a Democrat and his tweaking of what he'd said in the past to fit the moment.
First, sent out by Levy:
"Steve Levy, Republican gubernatorial candidate, today called on the New York State legislature to seize the opportunity in this year’s budget crisis to enact a series of long-term budget reforms to save New York State from fiscal insolvency, as Republican legislators have been promoting. Key among Steve Levy’s call for fiscal reform is that the legislature immediately impose a cap on state spending and a cap on local property taxes."
And, sent out by Lazio:
"Steve Levy has a problem with the truth"
New York, NY - Lazio 2010 today reminded New Yorkers of Steve Levy's words:
March 24, 2010 - Steve Levy appears on Fox 5's Good Day New York. He was asked "Did you say Andrew Cuomo would be a good Governor?"
"I said he is qualified."
January 4, 2010 - The New York Daily News reports that "Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy . . . went out of his way to praise the two Democrats against whom he might face off this fall . . .When I asked if Cuomo would make a good governor, Levy said:
"I think he would; I think there's a lot of very talented people out there, and the public is blessed with having some potentially fantastic choices."
Lazio 2010 Campaign Manager Kevin Fullington said, "Steve Levy has a bizarre indifference for the truth. Yesterday, Steve Levy said he was not endorsed by the Working Families Party in his last election. That is untrue. Today he is denying his support for Andrew Cuomo. This guy will do anything to get elected, but he can't hide his record from the people. He voted for the largest tax increase in the history of New York State. He supported the Obama stimulus package, saying that it "would save lives." He is supported by the Working Families Party and, yes, he thinks Andrew Cuomo would make a good governor. Steve, you can try to hide your liberal record but please don't blatantly lie about it."
Responding to Lazio's signing of a no-tax-hike pledge with Conserevative chairman Mike Long, the Levy camp shot back:
"The last time Lazio pulled this pledge gimmick was when he marched across the debate stage with a pen and paper in Hillary Clinton’s face to pledge that they would not do soft money in their campaign. That pledge was broken within a few weeks," said Mike Dawidziak, consultant to Levy For New York.
“You don’t close budget holes with gimmicky promises, like all politicians do, you close a budget whole with specific spending cuts which Steve Levy has a history of doing as a cost cutting executive."
"Anyone can promise not to cut taxes. In fact everyone who runs for office does. It is a rare public official that has actually cut wasteful spending in government."
Update (6:23 PM): And as for the charges of lying, Dawidziak called it a case of Lazio desperately splitting hairs.