The schedule of the campaign trail will keep me from being able to liveblog today but I wanted to bring our team of netroots supporters up to date with a few sound bites from the campaign trail.
While some will say that the candidate is almost always overly positive, I have to relay that the momentum for this race is clearly on our side. My opponent has decided to make validation of President George Bush's war in Iraq the number one issue in this race. He decided to go to Iraq 100 days prior to the election and afterward he returned to announce that all is well and if only the press would report all the great things that are going on we would see that as clearly as he had. He stated that the Iraqi Army was as well trained as the American Army and that our taxpayer dollars are being well spent. In short, he got off the plane and read the talking points that the White House had given him. (link, link, link)
That statement comes from a rubber stamp for a President who invaded Iraq to create a false democracy. This from a member of Congress who talks about how great it is that we have built a 15 square mile base in the middle of Iraq and how much like any American town that base is. He sees no issues with us building and maintaining permanent bases in the middle of Iraq and states that our taxpayers' dollars are being well spent. He is so out of touch with everyone except Karl Rove and Tom Delay that it is off the chart.
The voters know this and one of them, retired Major General Batiste called Kuhl's comments naïve and stated that we need new leadership. This, after he stated that he was a conservative Republican! (link) Other voters are speaking out also. Here is a snippet from a letter to the editor in a local paper today:
I am trying to understand Kuhl's recent trip to Iraq and the obvious conflict in your Aug. 4 edition. In your article regarding his trip, Kuhl tells that his trip to Iraq has reassured him that "our tax dollars are being well spent" and that "significant numbers of troops" will be coming home by the end of this year. But in the same edition, in the article covering Senate hearings on the war, Kuhl's statements are directly contradicted by testimony of our nation's top generals. It was easy to tell from the Senate hearings that we are in deep trouble in Iraq and that things are getting worse. Clearly, our nation's top generals are not reassured.
Mr. Kuhl's opponent, Eric Massa, is a former U.S. Navy officer with fine credentials. After meeting him, I am impressed by his campaign and his qualifications. I hope that we can get the benefits of a debate series by these candidates as part of their campaigns.
This week I was the guest speaker here in Corning at a VFW event honoring WWII veterans and at public street parties like the one in Fairport in the northern part of our District, where there was a celebration to mark the opening of the cross Erie Canal bridge. There were press conferences in front of the University of Rochester Medical Center, where I challenged my opponent's support for the President's Veto of the bipartisan stem cell research bill. (link) In all of these places the reception has been overwhelmingly positive.
The statewide AFL-CIO issued their full endorsement of our campaign in a surprise reversal of a previous endorsement of my opponent. (link) They cited his voting record and their inability to count on him to support the working families of the District. The New York Teachers (NYSUT) also reversed a previous endorsement and endorsed our campaign (link) along with the statewide sheet metal workers. (link) They join the Trades, the PEF, United, Steelworkers and the UAW in endorsing our campaign. (link) Tomorrow I will drive to New Jersey to be the opening speech at the UAW leadership council. I have been told to wake them up. We hope to record the speech and put it on the web so stay tuned. Our goal is nothing short of a sweep of endorsements from the American labor movement. And that's a straightforward goal that is part of fighting for the working families of the 29th District.
On other fronts, we continue to maintain our fundraising success, building on past outreach. I stood with Congressman John Murtha, a man whom I greatly admire, (link) and he is going to the mat for our team. We have some 36 in-District House parties in the next few weeks, sometimes three a day.
We are waiting for a response from Randy Kuhl for a series of open and fair debates. As of now the League of Women Voters, a Church group in Ontario County, a major radio station in Rochester, the NRA, and one of the major TV stations in Elmira have all invited us to debate. To date we have not heard back from my opponent on any of these. He challenged me to a radio debate at a small station but has yet to finalize the dates for that as well. The issues of the day demand an open and complete debate and we are waiting for Kuhl to accept his own challenge to debate me.
Volunteers are turning out in ever greater numbers. Over one hundred supporters marched with us in the Italian American Festival in Watkins Glen. I ran the parade route shaking hands, (some 2560 in total), and then walked the festival grounds with all the volunteers. Our mailings are going out, our new palm cards are being printed, and both of our main offices are now open.
This is a full-fledged, fully staffed, fully funded neck and neck race. And all the issues are breaking our way. I know that they will hit us with a national October surprise. I know that my opponent will start to sling made-up mud. He already has. But we will maintain a positive, issues-oriented campaign. And in so doing and with your help we will win this race and become part of a new majority in the House of Representatives so that we can put an end to the Bush Agenda and move this country forward to a brighter future.