10:56 am Jan. 23, 20121
After a panel discussion on cyber crime this morning, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand seized on a New York Times story about one of her potential challengers, Republican businessman and anti-tax activist Marc Cenedella, whose personal blog reportedly featured posts about women, sex, and drugs.
"I think it fundamentally shows a lack of judgment," Gillibrand told reporters at the event at NYU's Kimmel Center. "And I have concerns because I feel like the nature of the rhetoric is very anti-women and very disrespectful and disregards women. And I think it's a matter of judgment that, and a level of inappropriateness, that's not appropriate for anyone seeking any office."
According to the Times, there were posts on Cenedella's blog about a "new holiday for men" that involved women providing steaks and oral sex, and a separate entry that endorsed a link to a Biblical justification of polygamy.
Representatives for Cenedella did not tell the Times whether Cenedella authored the posts, but a statement from the company said it was a "maintenance staging site." An unnamed adviser told the paper that the entries were from a previous site that had multiple authors.
In recent weeks, Cenedella has been traveling the state meeting with Republican leaders about a possible challenge to Gillibrand.
Last week, in his first on-the-record comments about the race, Cenedella attacked the senator for her support of the Protect IP Act, or PIPA.
"Kirsten Gillibrand almost destroyed the Internet itself with her misguided PIPA bill," said Bill O'Reilly, a spokesman for Cenedella, in an email responding to the senator's comments this morning. "That's a lot more relevant to New Yorkers than silly web links that appeared on a shared blog seven or eight years ago. Ms. Gillibrand should spend more time reading the legislation she sponsors and less time on muckracking opposition research projects. Pretty amazing that she wants to bring up the Internet at all this week."
On Friday, Gillibrand announced on Facebook that it was time to take "a step back and start over" on the bill.
Cenedella, who is on the "leadership council" of the anti-tax Club for Growth, has drawn considerable interest from local Republicans for his willingness to fund a large portion of what could be a very expensive race.
But his media rollout has gone somewhat less smoothly. A story in the Buffalo News last week reported that, on one of his western swings, former Erie County executive Chris Collins had been harshly critical of Cenedella's preliminary stump speech.
The Times story this morning noted that the paper had been made aware of the blog posts by an "opponent" of Cenedella. The only two declared candidates for the Senate race are Gillibrand and another Republican, Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos.
Gillibrand won election to the House in 2006 in a conservative-leaning upstate district in part by pouncing on and amplifying domestic-violence allegations against the Republican incumbent.
In early 2010, her Senate campaign reacted aggressively, if not swiftly, to a primary threat from former congressman Harold Ford.
Her Republican opponent last year, former congressman Joe DioGuardi, raised just over $3 million dollars for the campaign, to Gillibrand's $13 million.
This is the first time Gillibrand has explicitly criticized either of her potential 2012 challengers.