CAMPAIGN CONFIDENTIAL

By E.J. Kessler

Published July 18, 2003, issue of July 18, 2003.
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Hamptons Holiday: Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman is spending the weekend of July 26 and 27 in New York’s posh Hamptons resort area, in particular Westhampton, where he is speaking on the Sabbath at the Westhampton Synagogue and attending a fundraiser on Sunday at The Prime Grill. The Orthodox synagogue is led by Rabbi Marc Schneier, who called us to tout his house of worship, where New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke last weekend. “In terms of a political junket in the Hamptons, this is a must-stop,” he said, adding that he has heard interest in setting up speaking engagements from a gaggle of New York politicians, including Governor George Pataki, Senator Charles Schumer and City Comptroller Bill Thompson.

* * *

Justice, Justice: In other Lieberman news, the senator’s daughter-in-law, Ariella Migdal, is returning to the United States to start a clerkship with Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Migdal is married to Lieberman’s stepson, rabbinical student Ethan Tucker, a former Forward intern. They have been living in Israel.

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Foley Friends: Several well-known names from the world of Jewish philanthropy have agreed to hold fundraisers for Florida Republican Rep. Mark Foley in coming months. Those include investor Martin Gruss, Estée Lauder scion Leonard Lauder and adviser to presidents Max Fisher, according to Foley spokesman Christopher Paulitz. The congressman, who is running for the Senate seat being vacated by presidential aspirant Bob Graham, evidently has picked up some high-powered supporters among the Sunshine State’s “snowbirds.” Among other notable folks found in Foley’s second-quarter contributions filing are Donald Trump, AIG Insurance chairman Maurice Greenberg, Broadway producer Terry Kramer, real-estate developers Earle and David Mack and Bill Rudin, investment banker Ira Harris of the Pritzker Organization, Whitney heir John Whitney Payson and Eva Abraham, wife of Slim-Fast mogul S. Daniel Abraham.

* * *

New York News: The apparent decision of the New York Republican State Committee to mount only token opposition to Democratic Senator Charles Schumer in next year’s election is being seen as yet another sign that the national GOP is setting its sights on winning the Empire State’s Jewish vote for President Bush. Schumer, who is Jewish, is a popular figure in the Jewish community and a big drawer of Jewish voters to the polls. The Republicans, according to one political analyst, want to keep him as quiescent as possible and out of sharply partisan mode. “It’s a matter of where you put your pressure,” the analyst said. “If you take him off the field, you leave [the Jewish vote] open for Bush’s people to go after it.”

* * *

Updating Ourselves: The New York Times apparently has lost out to two other news outlets in its bid to hold a debate among the Democratic presidential candidates in New York City. This column reported in May that the Times was forced to postpone a debate it had proposed for midday on Saturday, June 21 — the Jewish Sabbath — because of undisclosed “scheduling conflicts,” one of which, presumably, was that fact that Senator Joseph Lieberman, an observant Jew, could not have participated in person. Recently, the Democratic National Committee announced that the candidates had agreed to a schedule of debates, including a September 25 debate in New York City to be held under the auspices of CNBC and The Wall Street Journal. So what became of the Times’s proposed debate? It looks to be dead in the water. “There are no scheduled New York Times presidential debates at this time,” said Times spokesman Toby Usnik.

Good news for Lieberman: September 25 is a Thursday.






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