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140 characters worth of fighting words

Good afternoon and welcome to The Point!

Daily Point

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Former Congressman Gary Ackerman called The Point on Friday to challenge us to identify an elderly man who happily shook hands with Rep. Tom Suozzi at his town hall meeting the night before.

Here’s a hint: Like Ackerman, he, too, once represented part of Long Island in the House of Representatives, although the precise lines of what is now New York’s 3rd District have changed many times since then.

The fan was Lester Wolff, a Democrat who served for seven terms until his defeat by Republican John LeBoutillier in the Ronald Reagan wave of 1980. Wolff turned 98 in January, but still felt spry enough to greet his successor (several times removed) at the Mid-Island Y JCC in Plainview on Thursday. Suozzi, who says he ran into Wolff on the campaign trail, introduced him to the audience.

As Wolff did, Suozzi serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee. If he needs any advice on China policy, Suozzi might consider turning to his predecessor, a longtime advocate for the interests of Taiwan against the government in Beijing.

Rita Ciolli

Talking Point

Tweet wars

The presidential Twitter wars just got a little hotter.

A “shadow cabinet” of social media-savvy progressive heavyweights debuted Monday morning under the Twitter handle @ShadowingTrump. The group, assembled by former NYC Public Advocate Mark Green, describes itself as an “agency-by-agency one-stop portal debunking Trump & staff. Because truth trumps error.”

The roster includes Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe as attorney general, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich as secretary of both labor and commerce, Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers chairwoman Laura Tyson as secretary of the treasury and trade, and NYU professor and author Diane Ravitch as education secretary.

The cabinet, which promises real-time tweets on statements, actions and tweets by President Donald Trump and his administration, has more than 22,000 followers already.

Ready . . . aim . . . tweet.

Michael Dobie

Pencil Point

Trump vs. the media

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Quick Points

The rumor mill is churning

  • Now we know why Hillary Clinton waited so long to make her concession speech. She was hoping for a “Moonlight” moment.
  • New National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster set a record when he publicly disagreed with his boss, President Donald Trump, by saying that Muslim terrorists are perverting their religion. No, he wasn’t the first to break ranks, just the fastest.
  • Investing legend Warren Buffett in his annual letter praised the “miraculous” qualities of the American economy. President Donald Trump says he inherited a mess. Hmm, whom to believe?
  • After former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, a Hillary Clinton supporter, won the race for chairman of the Democratic National Committee by defeating Rep. Keith Ellison, supported by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Perez asked Ellison to be his deputy. Makes you wonder what would have happened if Clinton had asked Sanders to be her No. 2 after she won their race.
  • White House sources say President Donald Trump’s speech to Congress Tuesday night will be “optimistic and uplifting.” So now he wants to deliver his inaugural address?
  • The Alliance for Quality Education is preparing a video attacking Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for being like President Donald Trump for saying among other things that the education system should support students, not the bureaucracy. Most people would consider that an endorsement, not criticism.
  • When White House press secretary Sean Spicer would not go on the record with The New York Times on where he was born, that started tongues wagging. Then published reports revealed his secret: Spicer was born on Long Island, in Manhasset.

Michael Dobie

Columns