Bruno on the Loose (What was that about Bullies and Bloody Noses?)

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In what we hope will be a habit on the Political Notebook, Albany correspondent Karen DeWitt files this entry from the state capitol. Be ready for some talk by a leading figure in Albany circles about "bullies and bloody noses."

State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno seems to be increasingly on the outs with fellow Republicans these days in Albany, New York City and even Washington.

Bruno is sure to annoy his sometimes Republican ally Governor George Pataki , by urging his house to override a veto by Governor Pataki of a bill that would have extended prescription drug coverage to seniors caught in the confusion over the new federal Medicare Part D program.  (Check out Karen’s story here).

The Senate Leader is also escalating a dispute with New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Bloomberg, as reported in the New York Times on Sunday, may back a Democratic candidate against Queens Republican Senator Serph Maltese, in retaliation for Maltese’s’ support of a conservative candidate against Bloomberg in the 2005 mayoral race.

The beleaguered Bruno is already struggling to hold on to the Republican Senate Majority. In a speech to a union group, Bruno first said that he didn’t believe the news reports, and suggested that the media was “hallucinating”.

He also said if the reports were somehow true, then the people reported to be working against Republican Senators would be “ingrates”.     At a question and answer session with reporters later, Bruno elaborated further (take a listen).

Meanwhile, the Senate leader has been creating controversy for remarks he made last week about the war in Iraq. Bruno said it’s time to bring the troops home. When asked about rumors that White House advisor Karl Rove had called Governor Pataki to complain, Bruno reiterated his views. The 76-year-old Senator made his comments while climbing the six flights of stairs to his Capitol office.

Thanks Karen… there appears to be no lack of entertaining conversation in Albany.