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 31st - 11:21 am
“Mr. Chairman, delegates. I accept your nomination for President of the United States of America. I do so with humility, deeply moved by the trust you have placed in me. It is a great honor. It is an even greater responsibility…
Aug 30th - 6:44 pm
Mitt Romney, who addresses the National Republican Convention this evening, will be the first Mormon to accept the presidential nomination of a major political party.
Romney has had difficulty connecting to the American electorate, partly a product of his personality and wealth. But there’s also his religion, one that some on the religious right (and on the mainstream left, for that matter) view with suspicion.
But Utah Sen. Mike Lee says that while he’s “thrilled” to see a Mormon nominee, he emphasized in an interview that the common bond is Romney’s belief in America, not his religious values.
“I’m thrilled to see a Mormon as our nominee for the presidency and I think he’s an especially good candidate,” he said. “The important thing here is not his religion so much as it is his belief in America. Not everybody is going to share his religious beliefs, but Americans overwhelmingly share his belief in American exceptionalism, share his belief in the rule of law, share his belief that it’s the people, not the government that has made this country great.”
Aug 30th - 5:20 pm
State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox says Gov. Andrew Cuomo had to re-adjust his agenda to tailor to more suburban concerns during his 2010 campaign thanks in part to GOP victories in county executive races in the New York City suburbs.
As such, Cuomo needs a Republican Senate to keep his agenda on track.
“When he was running for governor he picked up on the fact that we had huge wins in Westchester and Nassau County because there’s a tax revolt going on and so he adjusted his Democratic message that we can’t raise taxes, that we have to cut spending, and that’s a Republican message and it makes it a lot easier for him to then work with our majority in the Senate.”
Cox comments came after the Republican breakfast for the New York delegation this morning in which Rudy Giuliani slammed President Obama’s time in office, but offered some praise for the New York governor, who said he’s a Democrat the GOP can work with.
But Senate Republicans have been more than eager to join themselves at the hip with Cuomo, who has a stead 70 percent approval rating thanks in part to his legislative successes.
“He’s also been a very substantive individual — very straightforward, you know where he is no doubt about it,” Cox said.
Aug 30th - 4:38 pm
Hudson Valley Rep. Nan Hayworth, one of the top targets of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, blasted out a fundraising appeal to supporters this afternoon saying multiple times that the campaign is about to get “ugly.”
There is an ugly truth about this campaign season that is hard to ignore: it is truly ugly. You know that’s foreign to my nature. I ran for Congress to change our politics, and that’s how I’m running now. But my opponents are implacable: instead of a rational discussion of ideas and a civil debate about how to grow our economy, reduce our debt, and create jobs, voters are being subjected to a barrage of filthy ads and commentary filled with half-truths and overt lies.
It’s a sort of pre-emptive strike anticipating the “tidal wave” of negative ads over Medicare and taxes.
They will attack me for daring to say we can’t afford to raise taxes–something the President also said, but has conveniently forgotten.
They will attack me for daring to assert that the Medicare Trust Fund is going broke, that we can’t afford to cut $700+ Billion from Medicare to pay for Washington’s massive healthcare takeover.
They will attack me for daring to assert that $5 Trillion in new debt, a breathtaking figure that has been added since President Obama took office, is an unacceptable burden on our children and grandchildren.
Hayworth, a Republican, is facing Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney this fall.
Like many candidates in tight races, she is not in Tampa at the Republican National Convention this week.
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 30th - 2:55 pm
Continuing to play the role of a pragmatic, bipartisan religious leader, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said today that he’s looking forward to giving the closing prayer at both the GOP national convention tonight and the Democratic convention in Charlotte, NC next week.
“I think I’ve been praying harder to pray better so that I’ll be able to pray and lift up hearts and minds,” Dolan told reporters. “So, I’m looking forward to it, and I’m looking forward to next week with the Democrats.”
The Cardinal also said that both President Obama and Mitt Romney will lay down their verbal swords for at least one night to break bread at the Al Smith Dinner on Oct. 18.
Dolan said he knows for “a fact” that the Democrats weren’t motivated to invite him simply because the Republicans already had done so, reiterating that he had placed a courtesy call to an unnamed Democratic leader to give the party a heads-up about his participation tonight in Tampa and subsequently got an ask for Charlotte, too.
Although Dolan has waded deep into the political thicket in recent months, most notably clashing with the Obama administration over a contraception coverage mandate (wearing his hat as president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops). But he stressed that his appearance at the conventions will be decidedly nonpartisan.
In fact, Dolan said, he’ll be giving the same prayer “in substance” at both events.
“We keep saying that we’re pastors not politicians,” Dolan said. “We keep saying that our job is to bring people together, to serve as a bridge and not to divide.”
“And I think one of the temptations of a political season is that instead of being unified, the country becomes divisive. So, if anybody can serve as a bridge, as a source of reconciliation, bringing people together in civility and patriotism, it should be pastors. So, boy, if I could lead the prayer at both conventions, I thought: Good, that’s somewhat a validation of my role as an impartial pastor.”
Aug 30th - 1:44 pm
I wrote yesterday about House Speaker John Boehner’s diss of Wendy Long when he said there’s no “significant” US Senate race in New York – a factor that could hurt down-ballot Republican congressional candidates who are fighting to retain their seats or oust incumbent Democrats.
Boehner’s comments came during his speech at the New York delegation breakfast.
The day before, the delegates heard from former US Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, who also neglected to mention Long during his remarks. (Adding insult to injury on that one, D’Amato’s new colleague and Long’s campaign spokesman, Dave Catalfamo, of the former senator’s newly-acquired Capitol Public Strategies, was standing at the back of the room at the time).
D’Amato’s long-standing ties to Long’s opponent, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, are well documented. She was an intern in his Albany office when she was a college student, and he has a close relationship with her father, Doug Rutnik, who was an Albany attorney close to members of Pataki’s inner circle.
D’Amato’s connection to Gillibrand is so strong, in fact, that he was front and center on stage at the January 2009 announcement by then-Gov. David Paterson of Gillibrand’s selection to replace Hillary Clinton in the US Senate – much to the chagrin of Sen. Chuck Schumer, who booted D’Amato from office in 1998.
Since leaving office and entering the private sector, D’Amato has become more pragmatic in his politics. He has raised money for Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Gillibrand’s former boss at HUD), and praised him during a CapTon interview last night.
I asked D’Amato about Long, and he replied:
“Wendy Long has an uphill battle. Notwithstanding that, I admire her courage. She’s out there, she’s fighting. She’s underfunded.”
“When you have an entrenched Democrat who’s has worked very hard, who’s raised the money. Wendy is an accomplished lawyer, a distinguished legal background, clerked for the second circuit, clerk to the Supreme Court.”
“That’s a tough race and that’s the point. Three million more Democrats than Republicans, unless the Democrats are very dissatisfied with the person in office, it’s very difficult.”
“…I believe that Romney needs a Republican Senate, and I certainly hope he gets it because he’s not going to be able to make the changes if you have the intransigence of the Democrats in the Senate.”
When pressed on whether he’s supporting Long, D’Amato said, rather dismissively: “Yeah, I am supporting Wendy.”
Aug 30th - 11:53 am
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told New York Republicans that Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo was someone the GOP can “work with” though he would like to see him do more.
“I think Governor Cuomo is proven to be somebody we can work with,” Giuliani told the delegation, while adding it’s important to have a Republican-led Senate.
“A Republican Senate is a good balance on Democratic power. I think we had over the first two years of Cuomo’s administration a pretty good relationship given what you’ve seen in Washington and other places. I obviously would prefer a governor who was more in favor of the private sector, not as dominated by some of the Democratic special interests, but I think when I compare him to some of the other governors in Connecticut and Maryland who are falling off the charts left wing I think this has been a pretty good balance. So to continue that balance we’re going to need a Republican Senate. I think it keeps a Democratic majority honest rather than being able to do anything it wants to do.”
Senate Republicans have frequently touted their good working relationship with Cuomo, especially on fiscal matters. Campaign-wise, they’ve mentioned Cuomo rather prominently in their pitches and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said this week he would be happy if Cuomo backed any of his conference members or candidates.
Cuomo, who has an approval rating holding steady at 70 percent for his first year and a half in office, has not endorsed a complete Democratic takeover of the state Senate, preferring to make his endorsements on a “case-by-case” basis.
He signed off on a Republican-drawn redistricting plan for Senate districts after getting them to concede to an independent process for the next round in 2022.
But the Senate GOP-Cuomo dynamic has been to the detriment to his relationship with the Senate Democrats, whose brief two-year term in the majority was marred by a leadership coup and inner-party turmoil.
Republicans hold a 33-29 majority, not counting the four-member Independent Democratic Conference.
Giuliani has been on something of a convention blitz since landing in Tampa earlier this week. In addition to interviews on Capital Tonight with Liz and later NY1′s Inside City Hall, Giuliani had nearly 40 media appearances between 7 a.m. and midnight on Wednesday night.
Aug 30th - 9:13 am
The campaign of Democratic House hopeful Mark Murphy is out with a YouTube video this morning on why GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney “dumped” Rep. Michael Grimm as a campaign surrogate.
The 90-second video is split into three segments explaining why Grimm is on the outs with the top of the ticket. First there is a 30-second “explanation” and a 10-second one that runs through the already aired allegations of being connected to alleged illegal fundraising, the gun incident described in The New Yorker, etcetera.
A five-second segment simply says Grimm is “an embarrassment” to New York.
The Staten Island Republican is in Tampa, albeit a little late, and has denied all wrongdoing.
If anything, Grimm’s status as a Romney surrogate in New York took a hit after he fumbled a question in New Hampshire over the “I like to fire people” line.