Nov 1st - 3:21 pm
In a surprise move just days after a large swath of his city was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Bloomberg has penned an OpEd endorsing President Obama in next Tuesday’s election.
Both Obama and Romney have courted Bloomberg, and the mayor has alternately praised and criticized them both – particularly when it comes to the control of illegal guns, an issue on which he has spent heavily in hopes of overcoming the NRA’s clout in D.C.
In a piece published by (where else?) Bloomberg.com, the mayor cited the recent storm and the need to combat climate change as the driving force behind his decision to back Obama just days before voters head to the polls.
“We need leadership from the White House – and over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks,” the mayor wrote.
“His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year.”
Bloomberg called Mitt Romney a “good and decent man” who “would bring valuable business experience to the Oval Office.”
But he also chastized the former Massachusetts governor for reversing course on a host of issues – immigration, illegal guns, abortion rights and health care – backing away from his previously “sensible” positions in order to court the conservative base of the GOP (which, for the record, once counted the mayor himself as a member).
“If the 1994 or 2003 version of Mitt Romney were running for president, I may well have voted for him because, like so many other independents, I have found the past four years to be, in a word, disappointing,” wrote Bloomberg, who switched his enrollment from the Democratic Party to the GOP before running for mayor in 2001 and then became an independent in 2007 in advance of a never-realized White House bid.
The mayor was not universal in his praise for Obama. He expressed disappointment that the president had run in 2008 (when Bloomberg neither ran himself nor backed either Obama or his GOP opponent, Sen. John McCain) as a “pragmatic problem-solver and consensus-builder” and then devoted little time to building and sustaining a centrist coalition once he got into office.
(Bloomberg has put his centrist money where his mouth is this election cycle, recently creating a Super PAC called Independence USA and pledging to spend $10 million to $15 million to help elect moderates on both sides of the aisle.
Bloomberg also reiterated his dismay that neither Obama nor Romney has offered much in the way of a specific plan to balance the budget and get the economy back on track.
The mayor also said he is more in line with Obama on a number of other key issues, including abortion rights and same-sex marriage, for which Obama only this year expressed his personal support.
Bloomberg said he hopes Obama can, if re-elected, figure out a way to work with a divided Congress, noting that both Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan managed to do so.
“(P)resident Obama can, too,” the mayor wrote. “If he listens to people on both sides of the aisle, and builds the trust of moderates, he can fulfill the hope he inspired four years ago and lead our country toward a better future for my children and yours. And that’s why I will be voting for him.”
Oct 26th - 9:09 am
ICYMI: Here’s a clip of Triumph the Comic Dog “covering” spin alley after the third and final presidential debate in Boca Raton, Fla. for Conan O’Brien’s show.
No one is safe from the puppet’s barbs – not even the media. In the middle of a scrum of reporters trying to interview Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Triumph starts humping some poor bald guy’s head.
Just after the four-minute mark, Triumph “interviews” former Gov. George Pataki, who flew to Florida to join Mitt Romney’s post-debate team of surrogates.
Pataki tries in vain to convince Triumph that Romney did in fact win the foreign policy debate, despite the convention wisdom that President Obama turned in a much stronger performance.
“Listen to this guy!” Triumph cries. “He cares less about what comes out of his mouth than Kim Kardashian cares about what goes into hers.”
There’s also a brief interlude between Triumph and Long Island Rep. Pete King.
The dog warns a reporter waiting for the congressman to get off his cell phone that he should probably “run” before King, who chairs the Homeland Security Committee and is known for controversial hearings, mistakes him for a Muslim and calls security.
This clip is also worth watching for a glimpse of Conan with dreadlocks. No joke.
Oct 15th - 5:38 pm
What part of “no” doesn’t he understand?
Mitt Romney returned a $2,500 contribution from scandal-scarred Rep. Michael Grimm’s leadership PAC, Grassroots Initiative to Retain Our Majority, just four days after he received it, FEC records show.
Grimm PAC, as it’s known for short, did give Romney $2,500 earlier in the year. But the annual limit is $5,000 per election, so the PAC could have given $10,000 total.
Grimm was once one of Romney’s most outspoken New York supporters, even traveling to New Hampshire during the GOP primary in January to act as a surrogate on the former governor’s behalf.
Grimm had a cringe-inducing moment while trying to defend Romney’s “I like being able to fire people” gaffe (remember way back when?) on national TV.
But the Romney campaign didn’t move to distance itself from the Staten Island congressman until mid-February – on the very same day The New York Times reported Grimm had engaged in questionable business practices involving his real estate and restaurant ventures.
That report came about a month after the news broke that an Israeli immigrant who had helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Grimm’s successful 2010 campaign was under scrutiny by the FBI.
Since then, Ofer Biton has been arrested by the FBI and charged with lying on immigration documents.
Biton’s attorney maintains the case against his client is “politically motivated,” and insists he would not have been arrested if it were not for his association with Grimm.
Also, just last week, another figure in the federal inquiry into Grimm’s fundraising, celebrity Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, was arrested in Israel.
Pinto and his wife were charged with attempting to bribe a police officer and money laundering.
This August, while the negative headlines in connection with Grimm were mounting, the congressman’s Democratic challenger, Mark Murphy, released a web video seeking to capitalize on the Romney campaign’s decision to “dump” Grimm.
For all his troubles, however, Grimm so far seems to be holding his own in the campaign.
Oct 9th - 6:26 am
….that would be, um, Big Bird?
President Obama’s campaign released a new TV ad using the president’s post-debate zinger – he knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about, it’s Sesame Street – to slam Mitt Romney for going after PBS and everyone’s favorite eight-foot-tall muppet.
From the press release:
“Attacking one of America’s favorite feathered friends has become a staple of Mitt Romney’s stump speech, and was featured in his dramatic debate performance.”
“But even on issues as seemingly simple as 8-foot tall talking birds and early childhood education, Mitt Romney’s rhetoric is out of touch with the facts.”
“When asked how he would cut the deficit, Romney’s answer is to eliminate PBS and Sesame Street – an absurd solution. You would need to cut PBS more than 1,000 times to fill the hole in Romney’s budget promises!”
“As the Count (and anyone who has watched him on Sesame Street) can attest, that’s just bad math.”
That last line is a reference to former President Clinton’s national convention speech in Charlotte in which he repeatedly invoked “arithmetic” as the secret to his success – and Obama’s – in the White House.
The release makes no mention of where the new ad is running or for how long.
Oct 1st - 11:35 am
In advance of the first presidential debate in Colorado Wednesday, Mayor Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns group us debuting a new TV ad pressuring President Obama and Mitt Romney yet again to address gun violence.
The spot, which will air across the nation this week, stars Stephen Barton, a recent Syracuse University graduate and Fulbright Scholarship recipient who was shot during the Aurora movie theater attack while spending the night in the city during a cross-country bike trip.
Barton was hit on his face and neck during the shooting on July 20, and displays those wounds in the ad. Twelve people were killed and 57 others were wounded that night.
“I never thought I’d be a shooting victim until I was bleeding on a floor in Aurora,” Barton said.
“I was lucky, but I’ve seen what happens when dangerous people get their hands on guns. And I think it’s fair to ask the men who want to lead the country to get past the platitudes and give us a serious plan to address a serious problem.”
The ad features Barton sitting in an empty movie theater and calling for voters to “demand a plan” of the candidates that would help prevent the shooting deaths of 48,000 Americans during the four-year tenure of whoever wins the November presidential election.
Both Romney and Obama rejected calls for more gun control in the wake of the Aurora shooting. The debate will take place at the University of Denver – just 15 miles from the site of the theater where Barton was shot.
Here’s the script:
“This past summer in a movie theatre in Colorado I was shot.”
“Shot in the face and neck. But I was lucky. In the next 4 years, 48,000 Americans won’t be so lucky. Because they’ll be murdered with guns in the next president’s term. Enough to fill over 200 theaters.”
“So when you watch the presidential debates, ask yourself: who has a plan to stop gun violence? Lets demand a plan.”
Sep 3rd - 6:50 am
On the eve of the 2012 Democratic National Convention kick-off and just in time for Labor Day, President Obama’s re-election campaign has released a new TV ad that says Mitt Romney’s plan will increase the already “heavy load” being born by the American middle class, while giving the rich a break.
Expect to hear a whole lot more of this “he’s rich and out of touch with real working class people” theme as the convention gets underway. The script:
“he middle class is carrying a heavy load in America. But Mitt Romney doesn’t see it.”
“Under the Romney plan, a middle class family will pay an average of up to $2,000 more a year in taxes. While at the same time giving multi-millionaires like himself a $250,000 tax cut.”
“So, Romney hits the middle class harder, and gives millionaires an even bigger break. Is that the way forward for America?”
The ad will air in Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, and Florida. (Not North Carolina).
Sep 1st - 6:33 pm
Reviewing our interviews from the Republican National Convention, I came across a nugget of news from my chat with Anthony Scaramucci, a fast-talking Long Island hedge fund manager who is one of eight co-chairs of Mitt Romney’s finance committee.
Scaramucci told me he believes August will be another $100 million dollar month for the Romney campaign, adding: “The money coming in off the Internet from (vice presidential nominee/Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s speech last night I think is staggering.”
(Ryan spoke Wednesday night. I talked to Scaramucci Thursday before Romney’s acceptance speech).
If Scaramucci’s prediction is right, it will be the third straight month the Romney campaign has broken the $100 million mark – not good news for President Obama.
Aug 30th - 4:03 pm
ICYMI: Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani told me last night that while some people might be bothered by Mitt Romney’s lack of pizazz, he’s more interested in the GOP presidential nominee’s ability to do the job.
Giuliani is now a full-throated Romney supporter – a turnaround from 2008 when he ran against the former Massachusetts governor for the GOP nod for the White House. (Both lost out to Sen. John McCain).
“I want a competent person as president,” Giuliani told me. “I don’t care how cool he is…I don’t know how cool he is.”
“Everybody thinks President Obama is cool and terrific and everybody loves him and they think he’s great. But fine. We have 8.3 percent unemployment. We’ve had it for forever. The president can’t pass a budget even when he has a Democratic Senate. We’ve had the highest level of permanent unemployment that we’ve had since the Great Depression.”
(The cool vs. competence line is apparently one Giuliani is employing frequently in his many media appearances here in Tampa).
I asked Giuliani what sold him on Romney. (He was a NJ Gov. Chris Christie supporter early on).
“I think I watched him progress during the primary,” the former mayor replied. “I thought he was the strongest candidate throughout the primaries.”
“I thought he kept to a very, very strict message of economic reform, reduce the size of government, reduce taxes. I’m very impressed with his knowledge of the economy, both national and international.”
“I’ve had time to talk to him now, not as an opponent, but as a friend and an ally. I became convinced that he’d be the right guy to handle the economy at a time when it’s at great peril.”
Aug 26th - 7:45 pm
On Friday, Mitt Romney was in Michigan and made what appeared to be a reference to the birther movement.
“Ann was born in Henry Ford Hospital,” he said. “I was born in Harper Hospital. No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know this is the place we were born and raised.”
But it looks like one birther won’t be participating in the RNC: Donald Trump.
Trump is absent from the revised RNC schedule we posted below.
Romney’s press office confirmed the Donald was not participating in the convention.
Aug 26th - 6:57 pm
So prime-time speakers will stay the same, but Tropical Storm Isaac could still change the schedule for the RNC.
During a conference call with reporters, Romney strategist Russ Schriefer wouldn’t necessarily rule out convention events spilling into Friday.
When asked by a reporter whether the weather could extend the RNC for one more day, Schriefer said, “We are planning Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.”
He went on to say the Friday question was “a hypothetical.”
Schriefer said the safety of the delegates runs paramount.
“There is a weather event,” he said. “We all know that the weather event is there… at the same time we are all monitoring what is going on.”