With Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) looking to challenge Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in the 2010 Democratic Senate primary, much is being made of Maloney is doing so much to the dismay of the Obama administration. But Rep. Charles Rangel thinks President Obama should stay out of race—and the NY Times says the same in an editorial!

President Obama called Rep. Steve Israel (D-Long Island) to tell him not to run and Vice President Joe Biden called Maloney essentially asking the same. Rangel told the Daily News, "I really cannot say anything negative about a senior member who wants to run and whose polls, at this point in time, appear to be in her favor... Nobody can challenge that she's not a hardworking member of Congress." He hasn't endorsed either Maloney or Gillibrand, but added, "I really don't understand why President Obama got involved in our primary. I don't want to use the word wrong, but it doesn't seem like the astute political thing to do."

The NY Times editorial is pretty pointed:

It was hard to know what standards of qualification Mr. Paterson applied when he elevated Ms. Gillibrand. It’s just as hard to fathom why President Obama and his team are now trying to stop other Democrats from challenging the appointed senator.

If that sounds heavy-handed and undemocratic, it is. An election should offer choices.

Senator Gillibrand is a personable and energetic politician and a phenomenal fund-raiser. But we’re still figuring out how much credence to place in her overnight conversion to more progressive stands on issues such as gun control and immigration...

At this point, we don’t think Mr. Obama or anyone else should be trying to discourage candidates from running for office. That should be especially true of President Obama’s team. Remember how people tried to dissuade him from running against the unstoppable Senator Clinton in 2008?

A June Quinnipiac poll showed that Maloney with 27% to Gillibrand's 23%, but 44% were undecided. At the time, Quinnipiac's Maurice Carroll said, "The New York cliche, that a liberal wins a Democratic primary, looks like it holds true in this poll. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, a city liberal, edges Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, an upstate moderate, but almost half are undecided. They each beat Congressman Peter King, a Long Island Republican, by about the same."