Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch joined Democratic Assemblywoman Grace Meng in her campaign’s attack on her congressional opponent, Republican City Councilman Dan Halloran, over his past support of the presidential candidacy of Ron Paul, specifically targeting Paul’s position on Israel.
Koch, who endorsed Meng this afternoon at City Hall, didn’t focus on Halloran’s support for Ron Paul at the press conference today.
But in a press release distributed before the endorsement, Koch said that Halloran was “Ron Paul’s most ardent supporter in all of New York City — a dangerous and alarming choice by an individual seeking a seat in Congress.”
“Mr. Halloran’s support for Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy is a clear indication that he does not prioritize the sacred bond between the United States and Israel,” Koch said in the statement.
At the press conference, Meng continued her criticism of Halloran over his support for Paul and Paul’s non-interventionist stance on Israel.
For Halloran “to place his support of Ron Paul as a presidential candidate clearly and fully expressed [his view] that aid to Israel is unnecessary – I think it’s a slap in the face to Jewish Americans in Queens,” Meng said.
Halloran has said that he supported Paul’s libertarian views on economic policy, but disagreed on Israel policy. Halloran is currently traveling in the country, where he is seeking to burnish his credential on the Israel issue, which is a major one for some Jewish votes in NY-6.
When asked about Halloran’s disagreement with Ron Paul on the issue of Israel, Meng stood by her criticism of Halloran, saying that his support of Paul “says that [he] doesn’t value that bond that America has with Israel enough to support another candidate.”
Koch memorably supported Republican Rep. Bob Turner in his 2011 special election victory against Democratic Assemblyman David Weprin, in an expression of displeasure with President Obama’s Israel policy. But Obama and Koch have since reconciled in the issue.
Koch backed Assemblyman Rory Lancman in the NY-6 Democratic primary over Meng, but is now backing Meng against Halloran.
Koch also commented on the presidential race, criticizing Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as his pick for vice president.
“By selecting Paul Ryan,” Romney has made the race a “throwback to the 1964 Goldwater-Johnson race” and “a question of party philosophy and if the public will allow gutting of social programs,” Koch said at the press conference.
Koch criticized the Republican party’s presidential ticket for what he sees as a “push to roll back women’s rights” in their social policies and the effort to “turn Medicaid into a block grant” instead of an entitlement program.
He further suggested that the Romney campaign was getting “a little buyer’s remorse” in their choice of Ryan after the scrutiny of Ryan’s economic proposals.
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