Menendez: Menendez didn't have to take low road but, hey, this is N.J.

Menendez didn't have to take low road but, hey, this is N.J.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Star Ledger

New Jersey Democrats are in trouble again over ethics, as if gripped by a curse that will simply not let go.

With FBI agents on their trail, they were sinking into deep denial last week, inventing conspiracy theories to explain away their own bad behavior.

This time the candidate on the hot seat was Sen. Robert Menendez, who faces voters in just two months.

The problem for Menendez is that he did personal business with a group that depends on his help in Washington -- a move that can be defended only by someone with long experience in Hudson County.

For one brief moment, there was a chance the party that bought us Jim McGreevey, Robert Torricelli and Sharpe James might take the high road this time.

A few hours after the news broke Thursday night that the FBI was looking at these dealings, senior Democrats were burning up the phone lines discussing how to react. Some wanted to take a low-key approach, to deny wrongdoing but promise to cooperate with U.S. Attorney Chris Christie.

Call that the reasonable option.

The pit bulls wanted to fight instead, by making the strained case that Christie is a political hack who was acting as the point man in a conspiracy inspired by Karl Rove, the evil genius of the Bush White House.

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