Ebola Press Conference



Thursday night Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo held a press conference at Bellevue Hospital to announce that a New York City resident has tested positive for the Ebola virus.  City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, and president of the Health & Hospitals Corporation Dr. Ram Raju joined de Blasio and Cuomo.  Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control, participated by phone. Continue reading

Abortion and a Catholic Governor



The centerpiece of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s reelection campaign is the “Women’s Equality Party” and it’s “Women’s Equality Agenda.”  Leading that agenda is an effort at enacting state laws expressly providing for a right to abortion, now provided by the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade.

Cuomo is Catholic.  His religion and faith are not a central part of his public personalty, but he’s mentioned his catholic faith several times in recent days while discussing his “Women’s Equality Agenda” and Rob Astorino’s opposition to abortion.  (Astorino is also Catholic and, following church teaching on the subject, personally and politically opposes abortion.)  Elected officials who are Catholic and support abortion rights have long faced a challenge in the divergence of their church and their politics, Mario Cuomo notably among them. Continue reading

Cuomo & Clinton (Updated x 2)



Hillary Rodham Clinton joined Governor Andrew Cuomo for a rally today, supporting the governor at a “Women’s Equality Party” rally in midtown Manhattan.  Both made speeches, as did Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul, to a crowd of approximately 250 people.

Gaggle:

Cuomo spoke with the press afterward, with questions mostly focused on the election, the debate last night and the “Women’s Equality Party” and “Women’s Equality Agenda”.  Question topics included whether the “Women’s Equality Party” and “Women’s Equality Agenda” is a “smokescreen” and abortion a “bogeyman” intended to deflect attention from his record (deemed “a highly insensitive and obnoxious question” by Cuomo), his reaction to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s statement yesterday that his office continues several probes related to Cuomo’s Moreland Commission, whether he’s endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, his view on the inclusion of Libertarian Party candidate Michael McDermott in the debate last night, whether he personally follows the Catholic Church’s position on abortion, whether the state will release SAFE Act assault weapon registration statistics, his position on the three November ballot propositions, whether he’ll support Hillary Clinton if she runs for president, what his girlfriend is making for dinner tonight (really), if he’s in the process of deciding whether to run for president and whether he was surprised by the New York Times endorsement he received this week.

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Debate Performance Analysis



Tonight’s gubernatorial candidate debate was a net gain for Rob Astorino, and a modest net loss for Andrew Cuomo.  Held in Buffalo, the one hour debate among Andrew Cuomo, Rob Astorino, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and Libertarian Party candidate Michael McDermott is the only scheduled debate between Cuomo and Astorino.

Dramatically behind in public polls and with little money, Astorino’s odds of winning on November 4th are extremely long.  Desperate for any positive movement, he needed a solid performance tonight and succeeded.  It’s unlikely to change the outcome of the election however, but it will give him a boost. Continue reading

Ballot Propositions – Cahill Edition

We asked Republican candidate for attorney general John Cahill for his position on each of the three ballot propositions on the November ballot. If approved by voters those propositions will: 1) Create a redistricting commission to draw the new state legislative and House of Representatives’ district lines every 10 years, with the commission members appointed by the state legislative leaders, 2) amend the current constitutional requirement of distributing paper versions of proposed bills to state legislators to allow for electronic distribution and 3) authorize New York State to borrow up to $2 billion for school funding, with a stated purpose of “improving learning and opportunity for public and nonpublic school students”, including the purchase of equipment, expanding school broadband access, building classrooms for pre-K and replacing trailers and installing “high-tech security features.”

Cahill opposes the first and third propositions, creating a redistricting commission and approving the bond issue, but has not yet taken a position on the second proposition, allowing electronic bills in the legislature.

Be sure to see the ballot proposition positions of the gubernatorial candidates, the comptroller candidates and LG candidate Kathy Hochul.

Astorino on Grimm

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino tonight expressed support for incumbent, and indicted, Congressman Michael Grimm.  Grimm, who represents Staten Island and a small section of Brooklyn, faces Democrat Dominic Recchia in the general election.  We spoke at the conclusion of a town hall Astorino held on Staten Island.

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Broad Channel Edition



Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference today in Broad Channel, the small island enclave in Jamaica Bay, celebrating the markedly improved performance of the City’s Build It Back program and announcing expanded goals for the program. The mayor briefly viewed a home being reconstructed by Build It Back and then moved around the corner for his press conference. Continue reading

Cuomo Campaigns; The Bronx & Washington Heights Edition (Updated x 2)



Governor Andrew Cuomo campaigned in the Bronx and Washington Heights today, at rallies aimed at Puerto Rican and Dominican-American voters.

Disruption:

The Bronx rally had two disruptions, with the second the more dramatic.  As Governor Cuomo spoke about the DREAM Act, a group of about 8 protestors stood and successively shouted at him.  Cuomo continued speaking, not acknowledging the disruption.

The video sound is as it occurred, unedited and not dubbed.  My camera was plugged into the event sound feed, with the lectern microphone as the sole sound source.  The audio of the protestors is therefor very limited.  As the shouts rose the event staff brought the music back up, as you’ll hear.  The narration is simply Cuomo continuing his speech, with some striking coincidence between his words and the action in the back of the room.

Update – Gaggle:

Governor Cuomo spoke with the press following his Bronx rally.  He began with an opening statement and then answered questions on topics which included the Independence Party (whose ballot line Cuomo is on), the protest at the rally and Cuomo’s efforts on passing the DREAM Act, a recent report that 34,000 people have been designated under the SAFE Act as ineligible to own guns and the prospect of Ebola-related restrictions on commercial flights.

Continue reading

Hochul on the Hustings, Hudson Edition (Updated)

Multi-party candidate for lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul campaigned through the Hudson Valley Saturday, with a “Women’s Equality Party” bus tour stopping in Mt. Kisco, Poughkeepsie and Kingston.  At each stop Hochul announced her (and running mate Andrew Cuomo’s) endorsement of the local Democratic state senate candidate; Justin Wagner in Mt. Kisco, incumbent Terry Gipson in Poughkeepsie and incumbent Cecilia Tkaczyk in Kingston.

These races are highly competitive and are expected to play a central part in determining control of the state senate.  Wagner is seeking an open seat, currently held by Republican Greg Ball.  Tkaczyk faces former state senator George Amedore, who she defeated in 2012 by 18 votes and Gipson faces a strong challenge from Republican Sue Serino.  It’s notable that Cuomo is engaging in these races, although that engagement is tempered by the lack of appearing in person.

Hochul’s Poughkeepsie appearance at Marist College, spectacularly perched above the Hudson River, included Senator Gipson declaring “well that’s a surprise” immediately after Hochul announced the Cuomo/Hochul endorsement.  It may not have been an immediate surprise, seeing as this was a planned campaign stop, but it is a marked longer-term turn of events.  In 2012 Cuomo endorsed and campaigned for Republican and then-incumbent Senator Steve Saland against Gipson.  Saland was one of four Republican senators voting in favor of marriage equality in June 2011, and Cuomo publicly supported all four.

When I asked Hochul about the change from opposing to supporting Gipson, she offered that she and Cuomo “feel very strongly that Senator Gipson will be the vote we need to get the full Women’s Equality Agenda through the legislature.”

We also spoke with Hochul about the three propositions on the November ballot – her views are here.

Ballot Propositions – Hochul Edition

There are three ballot propositions on the November ballot. If approved by voters they will: 1) Create a redistricting commission to draw the new state legislative and House of Representatives’ district lines every 10 years, with the commission members appointed by the state legislative leaders, 2) amend the current constitutional requirement of distributing paper versions of proposed bills to state legislators to allow for electronic distribution and 3) authorize New York State to borrow up to $2 billion for school funding, with a stated purpose of “improving learning and opportunity for public and nonpublic school students”, including the purchase of equipment, expanding school broadband access, building classrooms for pre-K and replacing trailers and installing “high-tech security features.”

Kathy Hochul supports all three propositions.  She’s the first of the five statewide candidates we’ve spoken with to do so.  Her running mate, Governor Andrew Cuomo, supports the first and third propositions but stated that he has not taken a position on the second, which would allow the use of electronic bills in the legislature.  We spoke with Hochul at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, her second of three stops today on a “Women’s Equality Express” bus tour.

Gubernatorial candidates Cuomo and Astorino give their positions here.  Comptroller candidates DiNapoli and Antonacci give their positions here.