"I went to Israel as the Scuds were coming down... Mr. Schumer ducked it."
--Senator D'Amato attacking Schumer for neglecting Jewish interests
"I think it's a shame that Al D'Amato would stoop to using the Holocaust for political purposes."
--Representative Schumer, who is Jewish, responding to D'Amato, New York Post, Oct. 19
We think the supposedly indefatigable Alfonse D'Amato stumbled onto something last week as he tried to explain away his broken promise that the 1992 Senate race was his last campaign.
"I was tired," the Fonz recalled. "I meant it at the time. It was a tough campaign, lots of nastiness." D'Amato: Too Tired for Too Long? Perhaps, but this excuse could be tailored a bit to place some other D'Amato lowlights into their proper context: Item:D'Amato mocks Judge Lance Ito on Don Imus's radio show. Excuse:The junior senator could claim that he was a bit "sluggish" that morning because of a poor night's sleep. "Claudia kept stealing the covers," he might claim. Item:Senate office becomes brother Armand's plaything. Excuse:Late-night D.C. poker games with lobbyists left Alfonse a bit groggy, susceptible to momentary ethical lapse. Item:D'Amato testifies as character witness for Mafia figure. Excuse: Again, judgment was temporarily impaired. Night before federal court appearance, Republican gorged himself on Mamma D'Amato's pasta and antipasti. Was left "bloated and loggy" for days. Probably wouldn't have vouched for a Luchese crime family associate on an empty stomach. Item:Disgraceful slam at Chuck Schumer in front of Manhattan Holocaust memorial. Excuse:Sleep deprivation the culprit again. Up until wee hours watching film The Devil's Advocate. Constantly replays his cameo appearance and wonders which of the film's stars he resembles most--Al Pacino or Keanu Reeves? Item:Vicious TV commercials portray Jacob Javits on death's doorstep. Excuse:Long, tiring campaign strolls on Nassau boardwalks left candidate "drained" and with blisters the size of Hauppaugue. In fact, may have still been a bit dehydrated when he gave consultant Arthur Finkelstein the go-ahead to mock Javits's motor-neuron disease. Item:Sells votes, influence, access for hefty contributions. Excuse:Making those telephone calls to fat-cat donors can leave a guy exhausted, compromised.