Saturday, September 4, 2010
BUBBA NOD TO S.I. CANDIDATE A SHOT ACROSS BAM’S BOW
By CAITLIN BLACK and CARL CAMPANILE
Bill Clinton strongly endorsed “independent” Staten Island Democrat Rep. Mike McMahon’s re-election bid yesterday — even saying it was OK for the incumbent to buck President Obama by voting against health-care reform.
“The one thing you got to say about this guy is he has been truly independent; he is not partisan,” Clinton said while stumping for McMahon at Wagner College.
“He has not voted for the president on every issue. On health care, for example, we New Yorkers have a special problem. We have a lot of immigrants here who are undocumented, and our hospitals claim real problems under this health-care bill,” Clinton added.
The former president said McMahon “wants to fix it the right way” while Republicans want to put the insurance companies in charge of health care.
“When I was president, I loved congressmen like Mike, people who didn’t always vote for me but were always thinking and listened to the evidence and looked for solutions,” Clinton said.
Clinton’s backing of McMahon during a rally attended by 1,600 was a boost for the incumbent, who caught flak from Democratic activists for voting nay on the health-care overhaul.
McMahon is expected to face a tough general election against a Republican challenger in the conservative-leaning district, which voted for Republican John McCain over Obama in the 2008 presidential race.
McMahon, while appearing alongside Clinton, did not utter the name “Obama” at all during his speech.
Meanwhile, Clinton steered clear of the controversy surrounding the proposed mosque near Ground Zero. He repeatedly ducked the issue when The Post asked him whether the mosque and Islamic community center known as Park51 should be built two blocks from the World Trade Center site.
Clinton, whose reputation for skirt chasing is legendary, drew laughs when he said, “The great thing about having a wife as secretary of State who only comes home on weekends is … ”
He quickly followed up with, “ … I’m home a lot, so I watch television for the first time in my life.”