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McCall Critical of Pataki's Economic Record

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Democratic gubernatorial candidate H. Carl McCall delivered a message yesterday that he has a plan, and Governor Pataki does not, on a variety of issues affecting New York.

McCall held a news conference outside the Buffalo News Tuesday, just prior to his meeting with the editorial board where he presumably made his pitch for the paper's all important endorsement. That won't be released for a couple of weeks yet. But McCall is stepping up his attacks on Pataki as a Newsday/NY1 poll released late last week shows Pataki's lead over McCall has dwindled to just nine points. One area that McCall is emphasizing is education.

"My plan to improve education is to make sure our kids have smaller classes that are manageable," McCall said. "We need to insure that our teachers get the pay and the benefits they deserve and that we hold our teachers accountable."

But one aspect of that Newsday/NY1poll that might not please McCall is that it does show that voters are evenly divided over whether Pataki or McCall on the education issue. The poll also showed more voters side with Pataki than McCall on economic issues. During his Buffalo appearance, McCall accused Pataki of ignoring the Western New York economy. He also downplayed Pataki's role in the $100 million state investment in UB's Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics.

"I haven't seen the money, have you seen the money?" McCall asked. "Where's he been for the last seven-and-a-half years. He shows up all of a sudden with a big bag of money for a program that has not been developed and put into place. I think you have to be suspicious.

Local Republican Party Chairman Bob Davis accuses McCall of having a "record of failure" in Western New York. He called McCall's attacks yesterday "desperate."

McCall says he wants to engage Pataki in a series of one-on-one debates across New York. But so far, the governor has only agreed to debates that include minor party candidates.