Republican presidential candidate George Pataki’s most recent New Hampshire campaign swing was overwhelmingly focused on the San Bernardino attack and ISIS. I joined two of his three open press events Friday; a visit to a retirement community in Lebanon, New Hampshire and an appearance at a Chesire County Republican Committee holiday party.
Pataki devoted most of his remarks at both events to the San Bernardino attack and ISIS, and most of the dozen or so questions posed to him focused on the same topics.
Pataki’s first stop was Quail Hollow, a booming retirement community just north of the center of Lebanon which is itself right in the middle of New Hampshire. Pataki’s early evening visit to the dining room had the potential for catastrophe, as interrupting dinner can be a hazardous move for a politician. As he walked around greeting the 35 or so residents seated for dinner Pataki quipped “escape now if you don’t want to hear me talk.” A woman responded “we’ll listen to you, we’ll give you a chance.” They did, listening closely and engaging with Pataki, albeit after another woman bellowed “Quiet!” as residents talked over Pataki initially. He wisely warmed up the crowd by announcing that his mother’s 100th birthday is today (Monday).
Ohio Governor John Kasich continued his New Hampshire focus with a recent three day visit, trying to push his way into the top tier of candidates. His visit featured four town halls, including a Manchester town hall Friday which I attended.
New Hampshire polls continue to have Kasich mid-pack with Trump, Carson, Cruz and Rubio ahead of him, although Carson appears to be fading. Kasich has, like all of the non-Trump candidates, struggled for attention. He has far more electoral office experience than any of the other “major” Republican candidates, with substantial state and federal experience, but that has not resonated with voters yet in this season of anti-government fervor. (He has more time in elective office than Trump, Carson, Cruz and Rubio combined.)
It was smiles and praise as the 108th and 109th mayors of New York City appeared together this morning in the Bronx. Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio spoke at a ceremony marking the planting of more than 1 million trees in the City under the “MillionTreesNYC initiative.” The program was launched during the Bloomberg administration, with inspiration and significant involvement by Bette Midler.
Bloomberg and de Blasio have rarely appeared together since de Blasio took office. They recently crossed paths at the Al Smith Dinner, where Bloomberg delivered a funny, but stinging, “tribute” to the current mayor. They previously shared a stage at de Blasio’s inauguration, which featured some biting critiques of the Bloomberg years. Among those critiques was a speaker who referred to Bloomberg-era New York City as a “plantation.” Today, however, they spoke of plantings, not plantations.
Bette Midler, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Council Member Mark Levine, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and Executive Director of New York Restoration Project Deborah Marton also joined the ceremony, held at Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx.
Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the creation of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park (FMCP) Alliance, formed with the goal of supporting and promoting the park. Located in Northeast Queens, FMCP is approximately 900 acres and includes within it Citi Field and the National Tennis Center. The Alliance is composed of a mix of government and commercial businesses, with some civic groups and labor.
de Blasio spoke outside the Queens Museum, also located within the FMCP, with the 1964 Worlds Fair Unisphere behind him.
Joined by Council member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, de Blasio fielded both on topic and off topic questions. He demurred on answering security-related questions, noting that he had a second press conference scheduled for this afternoon with Police Commissioner William Bratton and stating that he would address such questions at that later press conference.
Mayor de Blasio today attended his second Flight 587 memorial service as mayor, arriving early and avoiding a repeat of his 2014 public relations disaster.
The memorial service is held annually in Rockaway on the date of the 2001 crash of American Airlines flight #587, with a moment of silence timed to the exact moment of the crash. Last year de Blasio infamously arrived after the moment of silence, bringing simmering discontent with his then-frequent lateness to a boil. Today de Blasio arrived early, speaking with many mourners before the 9:05 ceremony began and visiting the granite memorial wall afterwards. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, NYS Senator Adriano Espaillat and NYS Assembly Member Guillermo Linares also attended.
Mayor Bill de Blasio today joined New York City members of the House of Representatives in urging newly elected House Speaker Paul Ryan to pass legislation permanently reauthorizing and fully funding the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act. de Blasio hosted a meeting and press conference at City Hall with House members Charles B. Rangel, Joe Crowley, Carolyn Maloney, Jose Serrano, Nydia Velazquez, Hakeem Jeffries, Gregory Meeks and Yvette Clarke. Dan Donovan attended the closed press meeting, but did not attend the press conference. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Public Advocate Tish James also attended the press conference.
For Mayor de Blasio it was a moment of shared interest, if not unity, with a group that he’s had a variety of political differences with. Renewal of the Zadroga Act, funding treatment for first responders ill from the effects of working in the wreckage of the World Trade Center, is a strongly shared interest transcending a variety of differences de Blasio has with City House members. It faces strong opposition in the Republican Congress, however, and a floor vote in the House is not certain to occur.
Ohio Governor John Kasich continued his focus on campaigning in New Hampshire Friday, with a town hall meeting in Hopkinton that he described as his 27th New Hampshire town hall. Kasich had two other public events during a two day visit, with a town hall Thursday night and filing for the New Hampshire primary ballot Friday morning. Continue reading Kasich In New Hampshire – Round 27→
It’s New York City’s best day each year, the annual running of the New York City Marathon. Snaking through dozens of neighborhoods in all five boroughs the race is both a top level sporting event and a celebration of tens of thousands of ordinary people, all cheered on by friends, family and strangers.
We have two separate photo galleries from the 2015 marathon:
Encouraging, funny, risqué, sarcastic, a little soul-crushing. The homemade signs that appear along the race course are all of these. Click here for our photo gallery featuring some of the best Marathon signs.
As has become standard, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared separately at this morning’s Columbus Day Parade. Governor/mayor tensions seem somewhat lower, at least momentarily, as both seem satisfied with their recent agreement on funding the MTA capital plan. Continuing tensions on a variety of other issues is a virtual certainty, however, and neither appeared eager to discuss the other in their respective press Q&As. As Governor Cuomo was ending his Q&A a reporter asked whether he had given “any thoughts about marching with the Mayor?” “I normally march alone” Cuomo replied.
We caught up with both, however, and have photos from each appearance.
He went from prayers to produce in a Bed-Stuy flash.
Just minutes after a closing prayer at a political event Thursday night Governor Andrew Cuomo made a quick visit to a Bed-Stuy grocery store, greeting shoppers and staff and joining a grand reopening ribbon cutting.
Governor Cuomo attended a political event hosted by City Council Member Robert Cornegy in Bed-Stuy’s Restoration Plaza, receiving an award for “outstanding leadership and courage.” Cornegy was joined by other Democratic Brooklyn elected officials, including Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and Assembly Members Annette Robinson, Latrice Walker and Diana Richardson and Brooklyn Democratic County Chair Frank Seddio.
The event wrapped up with a prayer, introduced by Cornegy saying “Governor Cuomo, we know that prayer has been taken out of the schools but it hasn’t been taken out of Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights.” As the minister leading the prayer asked that “everyone hold hands”, Cornegy chimed in “except the photographers.” Cuomo joined the audience in clasping hands with his neighbors and bowing his head as the minister led a prayer in appreciation of Cuomo’s attending the event and praying for Cuomo’s safe travel home.
As Cornegy concluded he invited the audience, including the Governor, to join him at a grand reopening of an adjacent grocery store. “Let’s go!” replied Cuomo. The press, the elected officials and Cuomo and his staff then headed to Super Foodtown, about 100 yards away via an interior courtyard. Continue reading The Grocery Governor (Updated*)→
Spending Friday attending separate New Hampshire town halls with Rand Paul and Chris Christie highlighted two of the most contrasting Republican presidential candidates. Although they share weak poll results, generally at the tail end of the top ten candidates, they differ markedly in style and substance.
On a personal level Paul is physically compact, appearing trim and fit, seemingly reserved and not very interested in talking about himself. Christie is none of those. Although they’ve held elective office for almost the same length of time (Paul was elected in 2010, Christie in 2009), Paul is a legislator and Christie an executive, each with disdain for the other’s current branch of government. Continue reading Contrasts→
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