Has the campaign for Congress in Central New York become too personal?
Democratic Congressman Dan Maffei stood before reporters Wednesday with a message to his republican opponent, John Katko, "Let me make this clear. My wife and my daughter have no place in this campaign. They should not be mentioned... period."
Maffei is referring to remarks made by Katko during an appearance in Auburn Tuesday. In response to a question Katko was quoted by the Auburn Citizen as responding, "He'll tell you he lives here, but here's the deal, his wife (Abby) lives and works in Washington DC. That's where her job is. He just had his first child in Sibley Hospital which I congratulate him on. But the fact of the matter is the child was born there. He bought a $700,000 house there. He's got a much less expensive house here....Quite frankly, the only district he really cares about, in my opinion, is the District of Columbia, not our district."
Maffei told reporters, "to criticize the choices that Abby has made for her career, he also criticized Abby and I for the hospitals and doctors we chose to assist her for her pregnancy and birth of our child. Let me make this clear to Mr. Katko or anyone else involved in this campaign. My wife and my daughter are off limits."
Within minutes, Katko fired back and defended his comments. He said Maffei's wife's job, the birth of their baby, Maya, on July 3 and the purchase of their home are "public record." Katko added, "so I don't think I cross the line because I simply answered a question in the context it was asked. I would never make a personal attack. As a matter of fact, when his child was born I sent him flowers. I congratulated him repeatedly."
Katko called Maffei's news conference "a stunt."
"This is a distraction, the fact of the matter is he's upset when people talk about the fact that he lives in D.C. That's where his priorities are," said Katko Wednesday afternoon.
Katko said if he is elected, he will spend the nights inside his congressional office in Washington, sleeping on the couch.