NY-20: Democrat Scott Murphy Dodges a Few Questions (Update: Murphy Spokesman Says He Would Have Voted for D.C. Gun Rights)
4:45 PM, Mar 16, 2009 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
A Siena poll released last week showed that Tedisco's lead had shrunk to 4 points (in late February, a Siena poll showed Tedisco up by 12 points). During a campaign event at Bard College yesterday, Murphy said that the White House has taken a keen interest in the race. "A week and a half ago," Murphy said, "I spent an hour and a half in [the White House] situation room talking to [Obama's] political advisers about the race and how they could be involved."
Murphy has been attacking Tedisco for allegedly failing to say whether or not he would have voted for the stimulus plan. Tedisco has said that he would have voted for the stimulus bill if it included an amendment to cut pork and speed up the rate of spending. Nevertheless, Murphy repeated this criticism at Bard College yesterday.
"I may be wrong about the economic recovery act. It may not work, but I'll tell you I would have voted for it, and I'll work hard to make sure we get our fair share here in the 20th district," Murphy said. "My opponent seems to think you can avoid saying that. I guess it's something you learn in Albany after 27 years--ways to answer questions without telling people anything. I don't think that's the way you govern. I don't think that's the way that you should lead."
Murphy fleshed out his beliefs somewhat during the Q&A: He supports card-check, cap-and-trade, nuclear power, taxpayer-funding of abortion, and civil unions but not marriage for same-sex couples. (See below the fold for full quotes.) But Murphy was less than forthcoming on other issues. After the Q&A, as he walked to his car, I asked Murphy if he supports the Solomon Amendment, which bars federal funds to colleges that keep military recruiters or ROTC off of campuses. "I haven't looked into it. I've got to do some more research," Murphy said.
While a student at Harvard, Murphy co-signed an editorial in 1989 that argued that ROTC shouldn't be allowed on campus because the military was racist, sexist, anti-gay, and the "values enforced by the military - submission to authority, unquestioning obedience, and a hierarchy of power - are contrary to the University's values of independence, thoughtful inquiry, and equality for all."
Yesterday, Murphy said of his 1989 editorial: "That was, I said that at the time, and I have changed my opinion, in part because the military's moved its position" on gays in the military toward Clinton's â€˜don't ask, don't tell' policy.
Does that mean Murphy supports gays in the military?
While Murphy said he opposes an assault weapons ban with a simple "no", he didn't say how he would have voted on the recent Ensign amendment to restore D.C. gun rights. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand voted against the amendment.
Update: Murphy's spokesman Ryan Rudominer, whom I emailed last night for clarification on Murphy's dodges, writes in an email: "Scott is a strong supporter of the second amendment. Scott would have voted in favor of DC gun rights." Still no word on Murphy's position on gays in the military and the Solomon amendment.Here's what Murphy had to say about a few other issues.
On taxpayer-funding of abortion through Medicaid and a national health care plan:
On nuclear power:
On gay marriage:
On the war: