On Wednesday Republican presidential candidate John Kasich rolled through four New Hampshire town halls. Starting at Robie’s Country Store in Hooksett and ending in West Lebanon, Kasich spoke to good-sized and receptive audiences.
The 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:
“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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
They waved, they screamed, they loved. Hundreds of thousands of fans enveloped the U.S. women’s national soccer team in a blanket of adoration Friday, as the team was feted in a ticker tape parade up Broadway and ceremony at City Hall Plaza. The volume of paper raining down was modest in this post-ticker tape era, but the sound volume of the crowd was immense as screams and shouts of “Abby” and “I love you” filled the air.
Presidential candidate George Pataki returned to his hometown of Peekskill for a boisterous reception Sunday. About 200 people attended a rally at Peekskill’s Lincoln Depot Museum, fondly recalling Pataki’s past elections as mayor, local assembly member and senator as well as governor and proclaiming him “the next president of the United States.”
The rally may not have significant meaning in electoral terms, but the combination of reminiscing and encouragement it provided to the candidate is undoubtedly helpful. The several New Hampshire campaign appearances of Pataki’s that I’ve attended, including three last Thursday, don’t provide this type of boost. He’s generally well-received there, but his New Hampshire audiences are mostly paradigmatic New Hampshire primary voters; interested, attentive and perhaps supportive but usually committed to the idea that they are on a long term effort to meet and evaluate multiple candidates.
Former New York governor George Pataki launched his presidential campaign Thursday in Exeter, New Hampshire. Pataki, who’s been campaigning for months under the guise of a super Pac, joined the growing list of declared Republican candidates with a speech to about 200 supporters in Exeter’s Town Hall. Abraham Lincoln is among the many politicians previously appearing at the 160 year old Town Hall.
Before an invited audience Pataki spoke of his small town upbringing, his election victories and time as New York governor while castigating “oppressive government.” Noting that the Republican Party was created (or at least named) in Exeter, Pataki cast it as the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan and as “the party of the middle class” and the party of immigrants. Or at least the party of immigrants “who come here legally.” (Pataki’s opening included a few sentences in Spanish.)
With several invocations of September 11th, and despite declaring that America “will not be the world’s policeman,” Pataki pledged “to stand with our ally Israel”, to “stand with our allies in NATO and the free Baltic states” against Russia, to make sure that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons and to destroy ISIS, using American troops if necessary. He also included his frequent disclaimer, and seeming indirect condemnation of the Iraq war and it’s aftermath, that he “will not spend $1 trillion or a decade nation building overseas.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio visited Rockaway Friday afternoon, joining the annual beach opening celebration and holding a press conference. During his visit de Blasio announced that any surplus federal funding from the ongoing boardwalk rebuilding will be applied to other Rockaway projects. de Blasio was well-received, with elected officials offering praise and attendees providing applause. Elected officials joining de Blasio included Senators Joe Addabbo and James Sanders, Assembly Members Phil Goldfeder and Michele Titus, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Council Members Donovan Richards and Eric Ulrich. Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and EDC President Kyle Kimball also joined de Blasio. Our photo gallery is here.
de Blasio has had a bumpy relationship with many in Rockaway, particularly in the western areas of Belle Harbor and Breezy Point. Those hard feelings were set aside Friday, however, with the combination of the festive summer beach opening and notable progress on boardwalk rebuilding. The audience of several hundred people applauded de Blasio’s boardwalk rebuilding and funding comments, although they sat silently as de Blasio praised FEMA. They responded to Queens Borough President Melinda Katz’s request for “a round of applause for Mayor de Blasio”, prompting a smiling mayor to reply “that just shows the generosity of Queens.”
11th Congressional District voters chose Republican/Conservative/Independence candidate Dan Donovan in Tuesdays’s special election. Will Congressman Donovan remain the “nice guy” that many of his voters chose or adopt the Tea Party Zeitgeist of his new colleagues?
Donovan’s been in politics for 20 years, running and winning three elections for Staten Island District Attorney. He’s well known on Staten Island, especially to Republican voters who generally like him and regard him as a nice guy. I saw that view frequently in covering the campaign. In one instance, as I waited for a Donovan campaign appearance outside of a Staten Island grocery store, a 40-something woman headed to her car asked why I was there, cameras at the ready. Told that Donovan was expected shortly she paused and said “he knew my father. He came to my father’s wake, he’s really nice” before closing her car door and driving away.
That nice guy persona will be tested as Donovan joins a Tea Party-driven House of Representatives. The majority of his Republican conference colleagues hold many harsher views than those expressed by Donovan throughout the campaign. Will Donovan bend and vote with the Republican majority or proceed as a Republican outlier? Continue reading No More Mr. Nice Guy? (Updated)
It was a mix of colorful pageantry and practical politics as Dan Donovan visited the Staten Island Hindu Temple Friday evening.
Donovan’s visit began in the upstairs temple area, as a Hindu priest chanted prayers and bestowed a blessing on Donovan. At the conclusion of the blessing, the priest and temple leaders wrapped a shawl around Donovan, in what they described as a sign of respect.