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Battle For Weiner's Seat In Congress Turns Into Referendum On Obama Policies

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The gloves are off.

The special election to replace Congressman Anthony Weiner has turned downright nasty.

It's as much a referendum on President Barack Obama's policies as on the candidates' credentials, reports CBS 2's Marcia Kramer.

Running in a Brooklyn/Queens district that is heavily Democratic and heavily Jewish, Republican congressional candidate Bob Turner got a two-for on Wednesday -- the cross-party lines endorsement of Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind.

"Bob Turner, getting to know him over the months, is just what we call a real 'mensch,'" Hikind said, referring to a Yiddish term that loosely translated means "a person of integrity and honor."

Democrat David Weprin responded with the endorsement of Jon Bauman, "Bowzer" of the singing group "Sha Na Na."

"Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba dang de dang dang vote for David Weprin," Bauman said.

Polls show the race to replace the disgraced Weiner is neck and neck and a referendum on the policies of President Obama and Washington, where proposals to cuts Social Security and Medicaid weigh heavily on the voters here. So do the president's policies on Israel.

"With regard to the well being of the state of Israel there is no question that Barack Obama is someone that we in the Jewish community don't trust," Assemblyman Hikind said.

"The Obama administration has pursued a course that is apathetical to Israel. Here is an opportunity to send a message," Turner said.

As a Democrat, Weprin has had a difficult time distancing himself from President Obama and so he attacked his opponent Wednesday by trying to wrap him in the Republican congressional positions of the last few months -- the need to shrink the size of government.

"The main difference between my opponent and I is he wants to solve all the budget problems by cutting, cutting, cutting. There's no question that there's fat in the federal budget. I don't disagree with that, but the way to cut the fat in the federal budget is with a scalpel, not with a hatchet," Weprin said.

"As a businessman I will approach things from a practical non-partisan way simply to get the job done," Turner said.

The special election is next Tuesday. In the war over newspaper endorsements, Turner is backed by the Daily News and the Post. Weprin has the endorsement of the Times.

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