It's the type of thing politicians normally try to avoid in the midst of their party focusing on its messages at a national convention. But Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner finds herself at the center of a controversy over remarks she made about the GOP. YNN's Bill Carey says it all stems from a Democratic Party rally in Syracuse last week.
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- TStephanie Miner was firing up campaign workers, citing what she claimed were a series of steps by the GOP to change the country's direction in both economic and social policy.
At one point, a newspaper reporter quoted the mayor as saying, "They are the party of hatred that wraps up their hatred in clever 30 second sound bites.”
“I mean, really mayor? Come on,” said Onondaga County Republican Chairman Thomas Dadey.
The man who heads Onondaga County's Republican Party, Tom Dadey, is no fan of the mayor. While state GOP chairman Ed Cox demanded an apology, Dadey went further, wondering aloud whether Miner can work effectively with republicans in local, state and federal government after making such a claim.
“I think Stephanie Miner has a choice to make. She needs to figure out if she is going to be a party leader for the state of New York, for the Democratic Party, or if she is going to be the mayor of the City of Syracuse, which she was elected to do, and fulfill a four year term. She can't do both,” Dadey said.
It didn't take long for the dispute to spill over into another race: The contest for Congress in the new 24th District.
Miner's target at last week's rally was Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle, who is locked in a rematch with the democrat she ousted two years ago, Dan Maffei. Buerkle called on Maffei to denounce the statement.
Buerkle said, “These incendiary remarks aren't helpful. They don't encourage a dialogue. They're useless.”
Maffei did not criticize the mayor and seemed more concerned about distancing himself from the dispute
“I'm about working together. I can't speak for the mayor, but I can speak for myself. I want to reach out to republicans and I have. I did that when I was in office. I would continue to do that again, going back. You know, we need to get things done. We need to drop our party labels in order to do that,” Maffei said.
Miner, who's helping to lead the New York delegation at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, dismissed the republican statements, saying Ed Cox and others were trying to avoid talking about their party positions on everything from Medicare to tax cuts.
“That they are really undercutting all the values and beliefs that we have as a country. So what do you do when you don't want to talk about policies? You talk about words and rhetoric,” Miner said. “That's his job. Have at it.”
Miner is not apologizing and is not giving up either job.