On the eve of tomorrow’s GOP primary in New York’s Fourth Congressional District, Long Island Republicans are weighing a campaign mailing from candidate Bruce Blakeman that attacks his rival Frank Scaturro — an attorney, long-time conservative activist, and friend of mine. In a desperate attempt to slam Scaturro, Blakeman recycles a dirty trick played by Scaturro’s 2012 GOP primary opponent. This hit piece also employs creative editing that is nothing less than stomach turning.
The circular — “Paid for by Blakeman 2014, Inc.,” as it reads, and mailed from Hicksville, New York — echoes the discredited meme that Scaturro is a liberal Republican because he worked for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee while it was chaired by the late Senator Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) “We don’t need another RINO (Republican in Name Only) in Washington!!” Blakeman’s flyer hollers.
While Specter was a liberal Republican who became a Democrat in April 2009, Scaturro has been endorsed by such screaming leftists as Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R., Okla.), Senator Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) (for whom I interned in college), Rep. Trent Franks (R., Ariz.), former governor Luis Fortuño (R., Puerto Rico), Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher, and the Rockville Centre Tea Party Patriots. “We overwhelmingly support Frank Scaturro for Congress,” the RCTPP declared in an invitation for a June 14 pro-Scaturro rally.
Scaturro argues that he broadly served all of the Judiciary Committee’s Republican members, including Coburn and Hatch, not Specter exclusively.
Regardless, it is highly hypocritical for Blakeman to hammer Scaturro for working under Specter when Blakeman and his company, Madison Strategies, Ltd., donated $4,400 to Specter over the years (“Blakeman asked for his money back after Specter became a Democrat, and Specter returned $1,100,” says Blakeman’s spokesman Matt Coleman.) I documented this in depth on The Corner yesterday.
Blakeman debases himself even further by running a doctored photo of Scaturro “with” Specter. Actually, this is the same “picture” that Scaturro’s previous primary opponent, Francis X. “Fran” Becker, deployed in a high-tech dirty trick in 2012.
The Becker campaign took a picture with Scaturro standing beside then-New York congressman Bob Turner, the conservative Republican who won a special election to replace former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D., N.Y.) after he resigned in disgrace for multifarious sexcapades. Team Becker Photoshopped this picture, removed Turner, inserted Specter, and then — in the coup de grace — erased Scaturro’s American flag pin.
I denounced this revolting photographic lie in 2012. So I was stunned to see that same fabricated photo in Blakeman’s mailing over the weekend.
But Blakeman did not stop there.
He attacked Scaturro for helping Specter write Never Give In, “the ultra-liberal senator’s autobiography!!” — as the Blakeman flier calls it.
“The deception here is twofold,” Scaturro tells me. “Their propaganda is all about deceiving people into thinking I worked with Specter after he became a Democrat, when the book is about a narrow slice of his service while chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee (2005-2006) going to bat for Republican judicial nominees. They keep saying I wrote Specter’s autobiography to suggest it covers the later time period.”
Scaturro adds: “The book is even more specifically about a man’s struggle with cancer while doing the aforementioned service to Republicans. These sleazy people excise that context to turn this into a political attack.”
It would be bad enough had Blakeman left it at that.
But it gets even worse.
It would be unseemly to criticize Scaturro for helping a cancer victim inspire others by discussing his fight against a deadly disease.
No problem! Just hide the evidence that Specter coped with cancer.
The original cover of Specter’s book clearly shows its subtitle: “Battling Cancer in the Senate.”
However, Blakeman’s flier shows the same book cover, but with the cancer-related subtitle conveniently erased. Also removed: a laudatory quote from actor Michael J. Fox, a highly sympathetic figure who bravely has grappled with Parkinson’s disease.
This is vulgar. Bruce Blakeman should hang his head in shame. More important, Long Island Republicans should reject him at the polls tomorrow.