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Politics on Rye

by James Besser

December 19, 2002 | 7:00 pm

Nationally, the big question is whether Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) can parlay his strong performance on the 2000 campaign trail into primary wins if he runs for the presidency in 2004. Locally, the big question is this: corned beef or pastrami?

Lieberman is just one of the politicians who will lend their names to sandwiches at Stacks, Washington's newest political hangout and only kosher deli, opened recently by Republican lobbyist and conservative activist Jack Abramoff.

Abramoff promised a nonpartisan approach to the name game, but in an interview, he revealed something of a partisan bias. Asked if dishes named after Republicans would cost more, he would say only that "they'll be the ones that'll have all the fat cut out."

One of the first political sandwiches will be named for Abramoff's best political pal -- Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), the incoming House Majority Leader. Will the DeLay Special be choice bologna?

"No, only the finest roast beef," Abramoff protested.

He forcefully rejected the notion of a Bill Clinton sandwich, but said that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) "is a possibility."

Among the other likely sandwich honorees: Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Rep. Peter Deutsch (D-Fla.) and Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), all members of the Jewish delegation in Congress.

That won't be a first for Ackerman, whose name appears on the menu of Ben's Best Kosher Deli on Queens Boulevard in Rego Park, Queens.

The "Ackerman Special": Open-face corned beef, breast of turkey, sliced onion and Russian dressing.

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