Dan Maffei earned the endorsement of former President Bill Clinton this week in his bid for the 24th Congressional District seat.
Clinton came to Syracuse to speak on Maffei’s behalf at a rally that drew around 800 people. The Syracuse stop was part of a whirlwind tour across the Northeast that also included stops in Pittsburgh and Rochester, during which he stumped for President Barack Obama and Democratic Congressional candidates.
During a speech that lasted about half an hour, Clinton lambasted Maffei’s opponent, Republican incumbent Ann Marie Buerkle, calling her “a tea party extremist” and criticizing her support of Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney and his policies.
““Why in the wide world would people give me a tax cut and cut benefits to kids with disabilities?” Clinton said.
Buerkle’s camp was unimpressed, issuing the following statement:
“Bill Clinton campaigned for Dan Maffei two years ago, and it didn't make any difference. This election is between Ann Marie Buerkle and Dan Maffei and we're confident the voters will select Ann Marie, just like they did two years ago when they kicked Dan Maffei out of office.”
Green Party candidate Ursula Rozum was also critical of Clinton and Maffei. In her own release, Rozum said Clinton and Maffei have failed to reject “the extremely conservative policies of the Newt Gingriches and Anne Marie Buerkles of the Republican Right,” which is why she was compelled to run. She called Maffei “a conservative corporate-financed New Democrat, just like President Clinton was.”
“The most effective way to defeat the Right is to elect progressives who resist the Right, not moderates who adapt to the Right,” Rozum said in the release. “Bill Clinton and Dan Maffei represent the moderately conservative Democratic alternative to the extremely conservative Republicans. I am running to give the people of the 24th district the progressive Green alternative.”