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Debate Between Comptroller Rivals Continues

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Local and federal officials paid a visit to shopkeepers in Lower Manhattan, who are still reeling after Hurricane Sandy, as two candidates for citywide office accused each other of politicizing the storm. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

The tide didn't return a beloved Fiat to its familiar spot. Its owners at Pasanella and Son Vinters drove it in to send a post-flood message:

"We're back."

They are, and just days after Hurricane Sandy left it with significant damage, they're now dusting off the bottles. The problem is, too few others are back around South Street Seaport.

"Our bread and butter business is people living around the neighborhood, coming home from work, and picking up a bottle," said Marco Pasanella of Pasanella and Son Vinters.

Officials visiting Tuesday didn't come to pick up a bottle, but rather to tout loans the federal government is offering. Shepherding them around was Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

"I think it's very reassuring that after having a conversation with President Obama, where he told me and others on this conference call that we would actually come to Lower Manhattan, come to the seaport with resources, I think this is a very promising day," Stringer said.

But Stringer's smile tightens at the mention of Domenic Recchia, a possible rival for City Comptroller next year. On Monday, Recchia blasted the fact that Stringer announced his candidacy as inappropriate last weekend. Recchia said it came as New Yorkers, including his constituents, still struggle.

Stringer's response?

"I'll just say that I think that maybe he was a little bit tired when he made those remarks, and I like to think that we'll work together as we have, because the number one issue here is not the next political campaign," he said.

"Yes, he is correct, I am tired. I was tired when I spoke yesterday. I have not stopped working for the past three weeks," Recchia said. "And he is right. Now is not a time for politics. And he should learn from me. I lead by example. He should take my lead and work with me and not worry about his political future."

It may seem a bit early for city politics to grow so heated, but the political calendar may be getting compressed. Normally, primaries are held in September, but the state legislature is considering moving them up to June. That's giving people less time to elbow would-be adversaries out of the way.

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