Both Sides Claim Win In N.Y. Race
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Michele Norris.
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
Yesterday marked the first special congressional election of the Obama era. Voters went to the polls in an upstate New York district held most recently by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, who was appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton. The results are still too close to call. Democrat Scott Murphy leads Republican Jim Tedisco by - get this - about 25 votes. And there are more than 6,000 absentee and military ballots still to be counted. NPR's National Political Correspondent Mara Liasson reports.
MARA LIASSON: Reversing those fortunes posed a problem for the GOP candidate Jim Tedisco, who found himself searching for the right way for a pro-business Republican to attack a Democratic opponent who's also a rich venture capitalist. Here's how he started out.
JIM TEDISCO: They picked a multimillionaire, and just let me make a point about that, I did not spend my entire life making a lot of money, or trying to make a lot of money or becoming a millionaire.
LIASSON: But by the time the AIG bonus story broke, Tedisco had adopted a full- throated populist message as in this television ad.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV AD)
AIG: America is outraged about 165 million in bonuses paid to AIG executives after taxpayers bailed them out. Like AIG, Scott Murphy gave huge bonuses to executives in a company losing millions.
LIASSON: Unidentified Man: In the worst recession in a generation, upstate New Yorkers deserve someone with the right skills to represent them in Washington. That's why President Obama is supporting Scott Murphy for Congress.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV AD)
LIASSON: Yesterday, onboard Air Force One, the president's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, was busy lowering expectations.
ROBERT GIBBS: You know, this is a district that has a sizeable Republican voter registration advantage. So regardless of the outcome, to even be competitive in a district like that, I think demonstrates quite a bit.
LIASSON: Mara Liasson, NPR News, Washington.