Stop the tabloid presses: Steve Levy did not — repeat, did not — drive that beat-up old Ford Taurus up to Albany last week when he launched his new career as a Republican running for governor.
Yes, you might well have thought he did because you too saw the marvelous photo of the Suffolk County executive leaning against his man-of-the-people wheels in front of the state capitol. That was the shot that led the March 17 Times story about his pending candidacy. The caption stated that this was “the Ford Taurus he says he drives to work most mornings.” The story also noted this admirable claim: “He drives an old Ford Taurus to work most mornings.”
I also wrote this as though it were a fact in this week’s column: “Steve Levy drove his old Ford Taurus last week from out east on Long Island up to Albany.”
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Journalism students take note: After receiving several reader protests that Levy drove a different car to Albany, we tracked down the real story and we now bring it to you exclusively, which is the only way we do things here at the Voice:
“The Taurus is his county car,” explained spokesperson Rene Babich yesterday. “Steve also has a car that’s rented for the campaign. It’s a gray Camry….He had been up there [in Albany] doing campaign business, and he did have his Camry. That’s what he drove up in.”
But the county exec also wanted to present his county legislative agenda to the legislature. To help him with this task, three of Levy’s aides drive up from Hauppauge to be there for the presentation. And guess what car they drove?
“One of Steve’s deputies and two other intergovernmental affairs guys drove the county Taurus up to meet Steve for the county work,” said Babich. “Then they drove back in the county car and Steve drove back in his rental car.”
So was it possible that Levy wanted the old Taurus up there just for that man-of-the-people photo op? Was he maybe thinking about his idol, the GOP’s Scott Brown, who won Teddy Kennedy’s old senate seat after letting voters know he was driving a GMC pickup with 200,000 miles on the odometer?
No, said Babich. “It was unplanned,” she said of the Times photo. “It was spur of the moment.”