Christie On Boehner Resignation



Chris Christie was gentle in his direct comments on House Speaker John Boehner’s resignation.  Although he was critical of Congressional leadership more broadly in earlier comments, Christie politely said that “the Speaker obviously made a very personal decision” and “that it’s hard to tell” when I asked if in his view the House, and the country, would be better off without Boehner as Speaker.

We spoke after a Christie town hall in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Paul On Bush



“I think you’ll get another big war in the Middle East.”  Senator Rand Paul today dismissively described rival candidate Jeb Bush’s foreign policy as a retread of his brother’s and father’s.  Saying “we’ve had a bunch of Bush’s” Paul asserted that “people are looking for something fresh, something new.”

Paul comments came as he briefly spoke with reporters following a town hall this afternoon in Salem, New Hampshire.  Here’s what he had to say when asked about Jeb Bush’s decline in public polls:

Rand Paul On Boehner Resignation



“A step in the right direction” is how Republican presidential candidate and Senator Rand Paul characterized House Speaker John Boehner’s resignation announcement.  Speaking at campaign town hall in Salem, New Hampshire, Senator Paul criticized Congressional Republicans for failing to change federal spending and characterized Boehner’s departure as a product of frustration on that by voters and some Congressional Republicans.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Paul disclaimed any interest in a specific candidate to replace Boehner.

Here are excerpts of Paul’s comments during the town hall and from a brief press Q&A:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Pre-Papal Edition



Mayor Bill de Blasio and Timothy Cardinal Dolan came together yet again on Wednesday, this time holding a Bronx press conference to announce a program establishing a new program providing beds for homeless people linked with the providing of social services.  The Archdiocese of New York, headed by Cardinal Dolan, has committed to providing 150 of the contemplated 500 beds in the program.  de Blasio and Dolan spoke at a South Bronx shelter for homeless men operated by the Franciscan Friars.

Q&A:

The Mayor and Cardinal answered “on topic” questions, with topics including the geographic spread of the 500 contemplated beds and size of the expected facilities, the timeline for implementation, the availability of federal funding, security at the facilities, an existing Staten Island drop-in shelter and its spillover effects on the surrounding neighborhood, the process to assist people once they are in this program, the prospects of fulfilling the 500 bed goal and whether the impending visit of Pope Francis will boost the Mayor’s agenda on addressing homelessness.  Here’s the full Q&A:

Mayor Claws His Way To Victory



IMG_4740Mayor Bill de Blasio avenged his 2014 softball loss to the City Council, leading his team to a 13-12 victory last night.  Playing before a handful of fans at the Staten Island Yankees home stadium, the teams fought hard for the City Hall bragging rights at stake.  Our full photo gallery is here.

Mayor de Blasio boosted his team by enlisting Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo.  Oddo, a former City Council member, and de Blasio asserted that as an “executive branch” employee Oddo was eligible for the Mayor’s team.  Oddo razzed his former colleagues and raised the level of play for the Mayor’s team.

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Cuomo Gaggles: The Labor Day Edition (Updated)



Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke briefly with press today at the conclusion of the Labor Day Parade.

He began with a statement advocating an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour.  Cuomo has recently reversed course, having previously regarded $15 as too high a minimum.  His conversion may be an effect of his friction with the self-described “progressive” Mayor de Blasio, with Cuomo here claiming that the increase he now supports “is the single most progressive thing we can do to help the families of this state.”

Question topics for Cuomo included what he plans for any small businesses that “might go out of business” as a result of an increased minimum wage, the condition of Carey Gabay, a Cuomo staffer grievously wounded in a shooting last weekend, his views on the James Blake/NYPD incident and whether he’s open to running as a vice presidential candidate with Joe Biden.  Cuomo said that “the mayor was right to apologize” to James Blake and replied with a simple “no” when asked if Biden has asked him to be his running mate.  When asked if he would be open to running with Biden, Cuomo gave a lengthy response that included the statement that “I am about governing this state more than politics, frankly.”

Our Labor Day Parade photo gallery is here.

Labor Day Parade 2015 (Updated)



The 2015 Labor Day Parade featured separate appearances from Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio.  Continuing their pattern of public cold shoulders Cuomo and de Blasio marched separately, although within sight of each other.  de Blasio joined a large contingent of labor leaders, including Mario Cilento, Gary Labarbara, Vinny Alvarez, George Gresham, George Miranda and Mike Mulgrew.  Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and, for part of the route Senator Chuck Schumer, also marched with de Blasio.  Cuomo was accompanied by a large contingent of elected officials, including NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Queens BP Melinda Katz, State Senator James Sanders, Assembly Members Richard Gottfried, Guillermo Linares, Nick Perry and Michael Blake, and Council Members Margaret Chin, Ben Kallos and Daneek Miller.

de Blasio and Cuomo bookended the parade with separate remarks, de Blasio at the start and Cuomo at the end.  Here are their comments:

de Blasio/Schumer:

Saying that it was “my honor … to declare today that New York City is a labor town”, de Blasio pledged to “keep it a union town” and to “make it more of a union town.”  As his brief remarks were coming to an end de Blasio noticed Senator Chuck Schumer waving his arms and calling out to him.  de Blasio asked his audience “Chuck Schumer wants to speak, what am I gonna do with that brothers and sisters?”  He yielded the mic.

Schumer made a brief statement with his New York accent in high gear, working the Supreme Cawt, the #1 ansa and New Yawk into less than a minute of comments on Laybah Day.

Cuomo:

Cuomo gave a barnburner in support of his new mission of raising the minimum hourly wage to $15.  Standing in his soundtruck on Fifth Avenue, Cuomo’s speech in support of the “Mario Cuomo economic justice campaign” echoed off of extraordinarily expensive apartment buildings on one of the wealthiest blocks in the country.  The renewed progressive declared that “this state has the mantle of being the progressive capital of the country” and emphasized the “dignity” of workers receiving an increased minimum wage.  Bellowing that if “you stand in the way of the working families, they’re gonna knock you down”, Cuomo ended by pledging that “we will not stop fighting until we have $15 an hour, so help me god.”

Additional Parade Coverage:

Cuomo’s press Q&A is here.

Our parade photo gallery is here.

Cuomo On de Blasio Invitation



Was Mayor Bill de Blasio invited to a September 11th motorcycle ride and lunch?  Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was joined by Vice President Joe Biden for the lunch and Billy Joel for the lunch and ride, was asked that question shortly after the ride ended at the World Trade Center.  Here’s his response to Newsday’s Matt Chayes:

Cuomo Gaggles: The 9/11 Edition (Updated)



Cuomo 9/11/15 RideGovernor Andrew Cuomo led the last leg of a commemorative motorcycle ride to the World Trade Center today, joined at a pre-ride lunch by Vice President Joe Biden and Billy Joel.  Fellow motorcycle aficionado Joel accompanied Cuomo at the head of the several hundred motorcycle convoy.

Cuomo, joined by Joel, spoke with the press after arriving at the World Trade Center.  Question topics included his extensive recent interactions with Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s possible presidential campaign, the minimum wage increase to $15 now supported by Cuomo, whether there is “a brutality problem” in the New York State prison system and whether Mayor Bill de Blasio was invited to the lunch and motorcycle ride today.  Here’s his full gaggle:

Our photo gallery of the lunch and motorcycle ride is here.

Something Is Wrong With Johnny



Kasich“Something is wrong with Johnny.”  No, there’s not something wrong with Republican presidential candidate John Kasich.  It’s actually a punchline in an introductory story Kasich frequently tells, and it captures much about Kasich and why he’s among the more likely possibilities for the Republican presidential nomination.

First, the story.  Kasich frequently recounts how, as a freshman at Ohio State, a meeting he engineered with the university president led to an invitation to meet with President Nixon.  When Kasich called home to tell his decidedly working class parents that he needed a plane ticket in order to go to an Oval Office meeting with President Nixon, his mother yelled to his father “honey pick up the phone, something is wrong with Johnny.” Continue reading