Good afternoon. Today’s points:
- National $$$ in 1st CD
- Cardinal in the middle
- The tape of Rice vs. Gurfein
Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will square off in their final debate Wednesday night. But a day later, they’ll be standing a few feet apart once again in a less combative setting: the 71st Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner.
The exclusive white-tie charity affair is conducted annually by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, but becomes the hottest ticket in town in presidential election years. Since 1960, the event at the Waldorf Astoria has featured almost all major-party presidential nominees. They share a stage and put “partisan politics aside” for an evening, said longtime archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling.
The candidates are scheduled to appear together on a traditional receiving line before the dinner. Zwilling told The Point he’s attended the last 33 dinners, and that has always been the case.
For the dinner itself, the two candidates — who have spent months calling each other bigoted and crooked, among other niceties — will be seated on the dais separated only by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, who will have his well-known jovial personality put to the test.
Zwilling says the tone of the dinner has always been “good natured” with “self-deprecating” humor. He doesn’t expect that to change.
PAC backing in 1st CD
A national women’s PAC is dumping mailers into the 1st Congressional District race in hopes of convincing women voters that Rep. Lee Zeldin is “too extreme,” and noting Zeldin’s continued support of Donald Trump for president.
Emily’s List, an organization that works to elect Democratic women who favor abortion rights, is sending six mailers in favor of challenger Anna Throne-Holst to 40,000 1st CD women — a value of about $150,000.
That won’t nearly match the super-PAC spending for the first-term Republican, however. Zeldin is receiving close to $1 million in advertising from the Congressional Leadership Fund, which is backed by Las Vegas casino owners Sheldon and Miriam Adelson. The fund describes itself as “exclusively dedicated to protecting and strengthening” GOP control of the House. It is running TV ads saying Throne-Holst is weak on national security.
Making Their Point
Watch and see
As part of its ongoing endorsement process, Newsday’s editorial board met with the candidates in the 4th Congressional District, Democratic incumbent Kathleen Rice and Republican challenger David Gurfein, who goes by the apt nickname of “Bull.”
Gurfein, an ex-Marine, laid out some strong, conservative positions — from his advocacy of war and a potential occupation of the Middle East by the United States and its allies, to his support of a flat tax at home. Meanwhile, Rice stuck to traditional Democratic talking points on gun control, the environment and immigration, although she departed from her colleagues’ position on trade.
Randi F. Marshall