Pataki Soldiers On

IMG_4518George Pataki returned yet again to New Hampshire Thursday and Friday, working to keep his presidential campaign alive.  Campaigning in New Hampshire since January, his candidacy has yet to catch on and he faces a difficult path to remaining in the race, much less moving up substantially in the crowded field.

He’s genial and eager to talk, but draws small audiences.  In appearances on Thursday he received a polite and inquisitive reception at a presentation organized by the Derry Chamber of Commerce and had a pleasant time talking with a smattering of afternoon shoppers at a farmers market in Manchester.  His staff cancelled a late afternoon walk around downtown Concord, however.  (He also held a candidate meet and greet in Salem, which I did not attend.)


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Pataki On Trump

George Pataki continued his condemnation of Donald Trump today, launching into criticism during a campaign appearance in Derry, New Hampshire.  Speaking to an audience of about 30 people, Pataki’s comments drew applause.

Pataki has repeatedly criticized Trump in recent days, appearing on cable networks and managing to instigate a Twitter spat between himself and Trump.  During Pataki’s gubernatorial years he and Trump were allies, or at least peaceful co-existors, but that’s changed as the two run against each other.  With Trump at the top of the polls and Pataki near the bottom, Pataki has sought to distinguish himself from the rest of the Republican field with vigorous attacks on Trump.

Pataki On D’Amato


That was George Pataki’s response to news that former senator Al D’Amato, his longtime political friend and patron, endorsed rival presidential candidate John Kasich.  It was D’Amato who in 1994 proposed Pataki as a possible gubernatorial candidate, launching the then-obscure state senator on the path to defeating the seemingly invincible Mario Cuomo and his own three terms as governor.

An inside player working as a lobbyist and long out of office, D’Amato is not exactly a big-ticket endorsement but it must nonetheless sting for Pataki.  Kasich got some press attention from the endorsement and it added to the sense of Kasich gaining momentum.  Kasich and Carly Fiorina have filled the space that Pataki seeks, the back-of-the pack candidate on an upward spiral of interest, attention and support, and each positive moment for them reduces the already limited prospect of Pataki going on a similar rise.

We asked Pataki about that endorsement today at a campaign event in Derry, New Hampshire.  Here’s what he had to say:

Bush On VP Selection

“A president is a decider.”  That was part of Jeb Bush’s answer when asked about a possible vice presidential selection.  Terming it “an important decision”, Bush emphasized the general principle of selecting a running mate “qualified” to be president and who works well with the presidential nominee.  He noted that some presidential/vice presidential candidate pairings have “kinda gotten ugly”, but did not identify any such pairings.  He lauded the Ronald Reagan/George H.W. Bush team, but did not mention George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

He also threw in a few jabs at Donald Trump, saying that “you win when you campaign like this” while spreading his arms, adding “you don’t win when you’re campaigning like this” while wagging his finger.  In case his point wasn’t clear, Bush added “[y]ou don’t win when you’re the large dog in the room, when it’s all about you … how great you are … how rich you are.”

Bush spoke at a recent town hall meeting in Keene, New Hampshire.

Trump Town Hall (Updated)

Trump NH 8-19-15-19The vocal plurality is the new silent majority.   Donald Trump began his town hall Wednesday evening declaring to a cheering audience filling an 800 seat theater in Derry, New Hampshire, that the “silent majority is back”.  Public polls show him leading the splintered field with a plurality rather than a majority, and his audience was not by any means silent, but his apt characterization of the “silent majority” fits.

Press Conference:  Trump held a press conference just before the town hall, jousting with reporters for about 25 minutes on a variety of topics including immigration and the term “anchor baby”, Jeb Bush and a smorgasbord of other Republican candidates, the Iran nuclear deal, his personal health and Donald J. Trump.  Trump, a New York tabloid staple for decades, displayed his skill in dealing with reporters as he criticized and occasionally complimented them while providing voluminous material.  Here’s his full press conference:

Town Hall:

“No more music! We want Trump!”  The crowd grew restless as the show was delayed more than 30 minutes, rising in unison to cheer their hero when he finally arrived.  Opening with a declaration that “the silent majority is back”, Trump spoke for about 50 minutes, responding to seven audience questions.  Slamming Jeb Bush, with some Rubio, Walker and Clinton critiques, Trump ruminated on the state of the nation (bad), the American military (great, mistreated, going to be greater), Iraq (a Bush-created mess), Mexico (cunning leaders), the press (largely dishonest) and his own finances and candidate financial report (I’m sort of a bragger … spectacular … I did a great job).  His audience appeared to greatly enjoy it, laughing and clapping with frequent shoutouts of support.

There was age but not racial diversity in the audience.  It appeared to be entirely white, but with a decent percentage of teenagers and fairly young adults and a mix of ages above that.  The audience appeared neither wealthy nor poor, instead looking like people just home from work.  The vibe matched Trump’s “silent majority” comment, with a feeling of anger and frustration that someone else is getting the benefit of their own work.  Paradoxically, Trump’s fortune and fame come from building homes and offices for those high-end takers; the Wall Street and business titans whose own fortunes grow out of this audience’s work and, sometimes, out of firing American workers in favor of increased automation or lower-cost foreign labor.  Trump transcends the logic that would lead to associating him with those high-end takers, however, viscerally connecting with the anger and frustration of his audience.  An experienced performer, Trump empathetically mined his audience connection, mixing in jokes and complaints.

In his April appearance at the New Hampshire Republican Party’s Leadership Summit Trump entered and exited to the theme from his TV show Celebrity Apprentice, which begins with the words “Money Money Money Money Money.”  In a mark of the evolution of his campaign, Trump exited this town hall to the sounds of Twisted Sister’s anthem We’re Not Gonna Take It.

Here’s the full town hall:

Update – Photo Gallery:  Our photo gallery is here.

Trump flips a newly-signed copy of his book back to a fan.
Trump flips a newly-signed copy of his book back to a fan.

Bush Town Hall (Updated)

The remote Jeb v. Trump battle continued today, with Jeb Bush responding to Donald Trump’s criticism during a town hall and while speaking with press afterwards.

Town Hall:  Bush spoke to a mostly receptive audience.  Here’s his full town hall:

Press Q&A:  Bush had a contentious exchange with the press, largely focused on immigration and Donald Trump.  It also included several exchanges over use of the term “anchor baby.” The press conference ended with reporters trailing Bush to his car.

Here’s Bush’s full press conference:

Photo Gallery:  Our Bush town hall photo gallery is here.

Kasich Town Hall (Updated)

Ohio Governor John Kasich drew about 100 people to a town hall meeting in Salem New Hampshire Wednesday afternoon, continuing his rising presidential primary prospects.

Town Hall:

Kasich was well-received, beginning with an engaging description of his childhood and young adulthood and moving smoothly into his time in Congress.  He has a distinct story, with substantial experience in both state and federal elected office.  (While Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal have also held state and federal office, neither’s experience matches Kasich’s.)  While virtually all of the other candidates, even those who currently serve there, attack “Washington”, Kasich touts his past success in Congress and plausibly argues that such past success demonstrates an ability to overcome Washington gridlock.  Here is Kasich’s full town hall:

Press Q&A:  Kasich spoke with the press afterwards, touting his rising poll numbers and displaying a bit of his idiosyncratic personality.  Here’s his gaggle:

IMG_4452Photo Gallery:  Our town hall photo gallery is here.

Dominican Day Parade Photo Gallery

Visit our Dominican Day Parade photo gallery, available here.  A few of the photos are below.

There’s plenty of past rivalries and friction to unwind in this photo of Espaillat, Rangel, Schneiderman and Cuomo.  Dominican Day Parade breakfast host Adriano Espaillat has twice lost to Rep.  Charles Rangel, but they now appear to have a good relationship.  Governor Cuomo and AG Schneiderman have long had friction but now are cooperating.  Cuomo endorsed Rangel over Espaillat in the 2014 congressional primary, but endorsed Espaillat over a Rangel-allied challenger in the 2014 state senate primary.  Espaillat honored Cuomo at this breakfast.



There were many smiles and laughs, captured here with Council Members Espinal, Ferreras and King, NYS Senators Espaillat and Peralta, NYS AG Schneiderman and NYC Comptroller Stringer.


Our full photo gallery is here.

Cuomo Gaggles: The Peacemaker Edition

Governor Andrew Cuomo went from percussionist to peacemaker today, as he calmed press corps conflict during a chaotic start to the Dominican Day Parade.  The parade starting point was disorganized, becoming a bit chaotic as press and parade participants swirled around the designated parade start, waiting for the governor, mayor and other electeds but repeatedly ordered to move in different directions by the NYPD and parade organizers.  The press waited for the governor’s scheduled press Q&A, watching as the parade began and other electeds stepped off.  Cuomo then arrived and began walking past the waiting press and toward the parade.  As the governor noticed the press and stopped some pushing ensued, with the governor injecting a bit of calm.

Mayor de Blasio waited for the governor to conclude his press Q&A and depart before appearing for the parade.  He did not take any questions at the start of the parade.

Espaillat On de Blasio’s Absence

NYS Senator Adriano Espaillat hosted a pre-parade breakfast this morning featuring all city and statewide electeds, save one.  Governor Cuomo, NYS Comptroller TomDiNapoli, NYS AG Eric Schneiderman, NYC Public Advocate Tish James, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito were among the attendees, but Mayor Bill de Blasio did not attend.  Afterwards I asked Senator Espaillat whether he had invited Mayor de Blasio – here’s what he had to say.