From Ronald To Donald?

The campaign to push New York real-estate mogul and reality-show host Donald Trump to run for president is holding areception in Las Vegas (where else?) on Thursday that is slated to be hosted by several GOP groups.


The event, sponsored by Spring Mountain Republican Women, Active Republican Women of Las Vegas, Southern Hills Republican Women and Draft Trump 2012 is drawing comparisons to the Donald and other Republican television-star-turned-political-star, President Ronald Reagan.

Titled from “Ronald to Donald” the poster for the event issues the call to “bring back the Reagan revolution.”

Nevada is also an interesting spot for the event. It’s considered vital for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to gain some traction in the state in order for him to keep his front runner status.

UPDATE (from Liz B): A reader reminds me that Trump is scheduled to be in Vegas over the weekend to attend the lavish marriage of Steve Wynn to British divorcee Andrea Hissom. The event is reportedly to span several days, and will rival the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

League of Women Voters Joins Gay Marriage Campaign

The New York chapter of the League of Women Voters — whose domain is usually ethics and government reform legislation — is joining the growing campaign for legalizing gay marriage.

From the League’s news release:

“The time to allow loving and committed couples to marry is long overdue, and we are thrilled to lend our support to this effort,” said Betsey Swan, President of the League of Women Voters of New York State. “The League has always advocated for fundamental fairness and equal protection under the law. It hurts all New Yorkers when some families are denied the respect, protections and responsibilities of marriage. We are very pleased that the majority of New Yorkers now agree.”

New Yorkers United For Marriage, which is earning plaudits from conservatives for its subtle tactic of attracting a broad political spectrum, also includes the Log Cabin Republicans, The Empire State Pride Agenda, Freedom to Marry, The Human Rights Campaign and Marriage Equality New York.

A gay marriage vote failed in the Democratic-led Senate in 2009, 38-24.

Support from the League of Women Voters comes as good-government advocates are also pushing for a new ethics package, including provisions that would require great disclosure of lawmakers’ outside income. So far — and despite statements from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, — specific legislation is yet to materialize.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he wants both measures — gay marriage legalization and an ethics bill — to cross his desk this year.

Here And Now

It’s Week II of the Legislature’s extended spring break, so perhaps we’ll have a quiet time in Albany…Hope springs eternal.

Another WikiLeaks report, this time on Guantanamo detainees.

At least eight former elected officials appointed to posts in the Cuomo administration kept their campaign accounts, although some are now in the process of closing them (after being questioned by the AP).

Ticket-fixing = not new.

Former Lt. Dan Choi joined an Easter Sunday demonstration outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral to protest the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage.

Sen. Diane Savino on speculation she followed her “man”, Sen. Jeff Klein, into the IDC: “It’s insulting, and frankly, it’s insulting to all female legislators Anyone you talk to will tell you I’m not the type of person to follow any man, anywhere…Not that he’s not worth following.”

Three NY House freshmen – Michael Grimm, Nan Hayworth and Ann MArie Buerkle – are holding fast to their opposition to raising the nation’s debt ceiling. (The story pegs the number at five, but Rep. Chris Gibson isn’t one of them).

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is reportedly worried some GOP members will leave if required to disclose the entirety of their outside legal fees under an ethics reform, further threatening his hold on the majority.

While upstate residents worry about prison closings on the loss of jobs, many who live in Ossining would love to see Sing Sing shuttered.

The Post launched a four-part series on school-employee disciplinary hearings.

It’s the annual list of silly bills, compliments of Jacob Gershman.

More >

The Weekend That Was

Appearing on Fox News today, Mayor Bloomberg continued to oppose raising taxes on the rich – at least not right now.

Trying to make an issue of where President Obama was born is a “terrible mistake” for GOP 2012 hopefuls, Bloomberg said.

The former “deputy mayor for mollification”, Dennis Walcott, insists he has sufficient “spine” for his new job as NYC schools chancellor.

“You’re Sandra Lee, go whip something up.”

Cuomo likes to portray himself as a man of the people, living in slightly less-than-upscale Mount Kisco. But the home he shares with Lee is actually in the very tony town of New Castle.

The Buffalo News maps a course for Cuomo for the remainder of the legislative session.

UAlbany leaders are worried Cuomo is overlooking the campus in the discussion about the future of higher ed in New York.

In the last 20 years, Donald Trump’s companies have sought protection from creditors to avoid financial collapse at least three times.

Bloomberg called Trump “a New York icon”, but refused to take a position on his potential White House bid.

The real estate mogul who may be a presidential candidate skipped out on 21 years of primary voting, according to an exclusive NY1 report.

Trump insisted: “I voted in every general election…You’re going to pay a big price because you’re wrong…I have records that I voted and so does the Board of Elections…I signed in at every election.” (He did not provide said records).

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Weekend Open Thread

It was supposed to be a quiet time in Albany, with the Legislature on Week 1 of its extended spring break.

But, as it turns out, there was plenty of news to go around – from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s spearheading of a coordinated campaign to push the gay marriage bill through the Senate before the end of the session to his formal appointment of SAGE commission members to the revelation of Donald Trump’s (non) primary voting record.

So, plenty to discuss. I’m sure you’ve got ideas, too.

Happy Easter weekend, to those who are celebrating.

- LB


Donald Trump sent another hand-written note to a blogger.

Daily Intel’s Dan Amira is jealous.

Here’s the deposition in which Trump admits his net worth varies depending in part on his mood.

Bret Michaels is replacing Jerry Seinfeld at the charity golf tournament put on by Trump’s son.

Trump and Rep. Anthony Weiner once had something in common: Support for a single-payer healthcare system.

Trump is maintaining his lead over his potential GOP 2012 rivals.

Something else to worry about: Water frogs.

Americans are divided over whether Earth Day has helped raise environmental awareness.

The RFK Bridge is now lit with new, more energy-efficient bulbs.

Solar energy is making a comeback in NY.

Mayor Bloomberg insisted there’s “a lot” of evidence of ticket-fixing in the NYPD.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced protection of 99 acres in the heart of Long Island’s central pine barrens.

Rep. Jon Kyl’s inaccurate statement about Planned Parenthood is gone (technically speaking), but not forgotten.

Curtis Sliwa’s prostate surgery was successful.

Here’s the latest video from the Strengthen Social Security campaign:

WFP: ‘No Fracking Way’

Just in time for Earth Day: A missive from the Working Families Party urging supporters to “tell Governor Cuomo and the leaders in Albany that you think hydrofracking should be banned before it has the chance to poison our water.”

The labor-backed party is asking backed to sign an “emergency petition” in favor of a hydrofracking ban in the wake of the well blowout Tuesday night in Bradford County, Pennsylvania that caused a massive leak of wastewater and forced the evacuation of seven families.

(For the record, the well’s operator, the Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy, said efforts to seal the leak have been successful. The firm nevertheless ceased all drilling operations in the Keystone State, West Virginia and Ohio following the blowout, for which a cause – other than the amorphous “equipment failure” – has not yet been determined).

“This is hardly the first time questions have been raised about fracking,” WFP spokesman TJ Helmstetter wrote in the email. ”

Still, the gas industry is working overtime to bring fracking into New York. ‘Drill first, ask questions later” is their motto.’”

“…Our allies in Albany and around the state, led by Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, are doing everything they can within the legislative process to prevent fracking before it starts.”

“We won’t sugarcoat it: It will take serious leadership to extend the moratorium, let alone get a permanent ban. That’s why we need you in the fight and spreading the word.”

Thanks to former Gov. David Paterson’s executive order, there is a temporary hydrofracking moratorium in place that has been extended by Cuomo to last until the DEC weighs in with its supplemental GEIS sometime this summer.

Gibson On Obama’s ‘Mulligan’, Debt Ceiling Deliberations

ICYMI: Rep. Chris Gibson took some shots at President Obama on CapTon last night, slamming him for failing to put much substance behind his recent speech addressing the country’s ever-mounting debt.

“I was willing to read,” the freshman Republican congressman told me. “If he was taking a mulligan…You know, if he hooked the first one in the woods, you know, that whole budget, and he took another ball out of his bag and said: I’ll hit another budget.”

“He hasn’t resubmitted a budget. He gave a speech, but there’s nothing behind it. There’s no paper behind it…It’s not enough just to make statements. I was willing to read the details of it.”

Gibson also again avoided taking a definitive stand on whether to raise the country’s debt ceiling, saying: “We can avoid this is the president comes to the table with serious spending cuts and structural changes.” He sounded open to voting along with the Democrats on this one, but that remains to be seen.

As Jimmy V. at CapCon has noted, the congressman is taking a far more pragmatic approach on fiscal matters than his more right-leaning colleagues in the House majority, which makes a lot of sense when you consider his constituency in NY-20.

While there are far more enrolled Republicans than Democrats – 183,222 to 123,991 – look at all those small-id independents in the middle – 109,777 – hello, siwng voters!

Also during this interview, Gibson defended his “yes” vote on Rep. Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget proposal that calls for dramatic changes to Medicare, insisting what the Republicans really want to do is “strengthen and preserve” the program, not “end” it, as the Democrats allege.

The DCCC sent out a detailed rebuttal of Gibson’s Medicare claims on last night’s show. It’s quite long, but since he had 10 minutes to express his point of view, I’m included the Democrats’ response in full after the jump.

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Rep. Hinchey Treated For ‘Curable’ Colon Cancer

Rep. Maurice Hinchey, a veteran Hudson Valley Democrat in NY-22, announced today that he is being treated for what his office called a “curable” form of colon cancer and will maintain a “regular work schedule” while he undergoes care.

The 72-year-old congressman is receiving radiation treatment at Ulster Radiation Oncology Center in Kingston. He will have surgery at Albany Medical Center in June followed by a brief course of chemotherapy.

Hinchey will work and travel to Washington, DC for votes throughout the entire course of treatment, according to a press release from Hinchey’s office.

Dr. Randall Rissman, of Woodstock, is overseeing the congressman’s entire course of treatment. He released the following statement:

“This is a curable form of colon cancer. I expect Mr. Hinchey to respond extremely well to the course of treatment we’ve developed for him and that he’ll make a full recovery.”

“He is very fortunate that this was diagnosed early and that it did not spread beyond the colon. Mr. Hinchey is otherwise in excellent physical condition, which will greatly aid his recovery.”

“Mr. Hinchey will be able to maintain a full congressional schedule while he undergoes treatment. I also fully expect his surgery to be straightforward and have complete confidence that Mr. Hinchey will make a full recovery and be cancer-free.”

More >

Republican PR Guru Gives Props To NYers For Marriage

Count Republican consultant Bill O’Reilly (no, not the guy on TV) among the admirers of the “masterful” campaign by the coalition of gay-rights groups that is pushing for same-sex marriage.

O’Reilly — who is credited with running a strong campaign for Republican comptroller candidate Harry Wilson and for helping elect Rob Astorino county executive in Democratic-heavy Westchester — writes on his blog today that New Yorkers United For Marriage should be studied by PR students.

Writes O’Reilly:

The mix of supporters was a brilliant blend. All likable people, touching all necessary demographics. But more importantly, the ads were not forced. They were neither angry, nor in your face. They just began laying out a background conversation, without riling up opposition.

The group includes the Log Cabin Republicans, as well as the The Empire State Pride Agenda, Freedom to Marry, The Human Rights Campaign and Marriage Equality New York. As Liz noted yesterday, the group also has recruited former Senate GOP aide John McArdle.

O’Reilly, one of the smartest guys in the politics biz, predicted way back on Jan. 5, the day Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave his State of the State address, that same-sex marriage would be legalized this year. That was before Cuomo said definitively he would seek a bill on the issue this session.

A vote on gay marriage failed in the Senate in 2009, 38-24, when Democrats controlled the chamber. But as O’Reilly noted in January, a gay marriage bill is non-fiscal, can be used as a bargaining chip and allows Cuomo to keep his progressive supports.

Today’s post is well worth the read for its laying out of the issue.