Category Archives: 2016 Presidential Race

Pataki At NH Presidential Candidate Summit (Updated)

Former New York Governor George Pataki opened a 19 candidate parade through Nashua, New Hampshire’s Crowne Plaza Hotel this morning, kicking off one of the, if not the, largest gathering of presidential candidates in recent history.  Many of them, Pataki included, are not legally declared candidates, wink wink, but are nonetheless acting as though they are running.

Each candidate is given 30 minutes to speak, determining for themselves how much time to devote to Q&A.  Pataki went further, pushing the lectern aside and placing two stools on stage as he was joined by a New Hampshire radio host who asked questions.  The conversational style worked well for Pataki, allowing him to drop a number of well-received quips and one-liners.  Here’s his full presentation:

Post-Speech Q&A:

Pataki spoke with the press following his speech.

Pataki On Cuomo’s Cuba Trip

Former New York Governor George Pataki politely disagreed with current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s upcoming trade mission to Cuba, scheduled for Monday.  Pataki was harshly critical of President Obama’s decision to move toward normalizing relations with Cuba, recounting his own experience visiting Cuba.  Pataki tried to avoid directly criticizing Cuomo however, citing Mario Cuomo’s similar stance toward Pataki, but expressly said that he would not have made such a trip if he were in office now.

We spoke at a Pataki campaign appearance in Manchester, New Hampshire.

NY Governor Running For President

George Pataki at a Chesire County Republican Committee dinner in Keene, NH.  2/3/15
George Pataki at a Chesire County Republican Committee dinner in Keene, NH. 2/3/15

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Yes, a New York governor. As in former governor George Pataki. He’s actively campaigning with multiple visits to New Hampshire, a planned visit to Iowa and appearances in other states. His interest? High. His chances? Exceedingly low. Here’s a look at his prospects, with the benefit of my reporting on his two recent trips to New Hampshire.

Continue reading NY Governor Running For President

Pataki Positions

George Pataki at a Chesire County Republican Committee dinner in Keene, NH.  2/3/15
George Pataki at a Chesire County Republican Committee dinner in Keene, NH. 2/3/15

Here’s a recap of positions that former Governor George Pataki expressed during a recent New Hampshire campaign swing:

  • for reducing the federal workforce by 15%
  • for instant online disclosure of campaign contributions (despite a history of avoiding disclosure)
  • against super PACs (despite having his own)
  • for immediate forceful military action against ISIS
  • against “nation building”
  • against “spending a trillion dollars trying to … create a democracy in a place where none has existed”
  • against the Rev. Al Sharpton
  • against Bill de Blasio
  • for Congressional Republicans presenting an alternative to Obamacare
  • for New Hampshire retail politics
  • against campaigning via pollster-written TV ads
  • for pronouncing New Hampshire beautiful
  • against pronouncing New Hampshire the most beautiful place in America
  • for the Patriots winning the Super Bowl
  • for the Jets, Bills and the AFC
  • for optimism
  • against the sense of uncertainty and doubt about the future created by Obama

Continue reading Pataki Positions

Presidential Itch

George Pataki in Newport, New Hampshire.  2/3/15
George Pataki in Newport, New Hampshire. 2/3/15

George Pataki has an itch and he’s going to scratch it.  A presidential itch, that is.  A veteran of many presidential flirtations, Pataki is running hard in the early rounds of the 2016 presidential race, repeatedly visiting New Hampshire.

His candidacy elicits eye rolls among many New Yorkers, a product of his multiple past unconsummated presidential flirtations, his laconic presence and limited political visibility since leaving office eight years ago.  While his prospects are virtually nil, Pataki’s effort is real and may produce something for him.  It’s hard to predict precisely what that something may be, although it’s not going to be the Republican nomination for president. Continue reading Presidential Itch

Pataki On Sharpton

Former New York Governor George Pataki was asked about the Rev. Al Sharpton while on a campaign visit to New Hampshire.  His reaction, including a reference to New York City’s “terrible mayor”, was, to put it mildly, negative.  Pataki was sitting with a small group in a Newport, New Hampshire pizzeria when one of them posed the question:

Pataki On Silver & NY Legislature

Term limits, a ban on legislators “giving … government money to so-called charitable organizations”, but not a full time legislature.  Those were among the more concrete answers from former Governor George Pataki in discussing the New York State legislature in the wake of criminal charges against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.  I also asked him about the selection of Carl Heastie as Speaker of the Assembly.

Pataki has a unique perspective on Albany’s governing triumvirate of  “three men in a room”, progressing from the most junior member of the Assembly minority to one of the those proverbial “three men” as governor for 12 years.  (He was also a member of the Senate between his time in the Assembly and becoming governor.)

We spoke during Pataki’s latest campaign visit to New Hampshire.

We Are All … Patriots Fans

Amid the political chitchat and serious policy questions posed by New Hampshire voters Sunday evening former New York governor and current Jets fan George Pataki addressed a deeply emotional issue: how does he feel about the local team?  With the NFL playoffs on screen behind him Pataki embraced the local favorite, all while tossing a few digs at a putative rival.

More from Pataki’s New Hampshire visit is here.

President Pataki?

Acting and speaking like a presidential candidate, former New York governor George Pataki made a campaign appearance in New Hampshire Sunday evening.  Pataki is not yet formally a candidate, but his intention to run was clear as he began a two day trip to New Hampshire with a “meet and greet” at a well-known political venue, the 401 Tavern in Hampton.  He was warmly greeted by the 25-30 attendees, although the attendees I spoke with shared the view that it’s too early to commit to any candidate.

Although he was three times elected governor of New York, once in an upset over the formidable Mario Cuomo and twice in decisive reelection bids, Pataki faces long odds and is generally regarded in New York political circles as having no chance whatsoever.  Out of office for eight years, he has modest name recognition, little campaign funding in the bank and a Republican primary electorate that’s significantly to his right on social issues.  He professes not to be worried, however, with his surprising 1994 gubernatorial victory over Mario Cuomo as inspiration.

He’s flirted with running for president multiple times, but never actually gone through with it.  At 69, this is his last realistic opportunity to run.  Even now, while he appears vigorous and healthy, his age may be an issue.  Although the country has grown more embracing of older professionals in many ways, we’ve shifted to a paradigm of younger presidents.  Bill Clinton and Barack Obama took office in their 40’s, and George W. Bush, who is one month older than Clinton, took office at 54.  At 70 71 on inauguration day, Pataki would be the oldest person to become president.

I spoke with Pataki briefly as the meet and greet concluded.  I began by asking whether he is, or intends to be, a candidate for president.  Pataki said he’s “likely to become a candidate” and that he’s “inclined to do this.”

Update:  Pataki also addressed a deeply emotional issue – how does the Jets fan feel about the New England Patriots?