Here And Now

Goodbye, Jets.

It’s historically cold today.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s property tax cap proposal has united some unusual allies who are fighting to block the plan.

President Obama is going to strike a centrist tone in his State of the Union address tomorrow and call for a “responsible” effort to shrink the budget deficit and “shared sacrifice.” Hmm. Sounds familiar, no?

Obama’s tested out a theme for his SoU at his GE speech last week.

The president is trying to be himself again.

Seating at the SoU will be a bipartisan affair.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (AKA “senator surprise”) gets compared to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi by Newsweek.

Sen. Chuck Schumer warned the GOP’s health care repeal bill will be turned into “Swiss cheese” if Republicans try to force a vote on the Senate floor.

Ed Koch, rising again.

The Senate Republicans are balking at their collective campaign pledge to support nonpartisan redistricting reform.

More >

The Weekend That Was

NJ Gov. Chris Christie: “I have one message for Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Cuomo. When the Jets train, they train in New Jersey. When the Jets play, they play in New Jersey. And when they get a Super Bowl trophy, it’s coming to New Jersey!”

Christie and Gov. Andrew Cuomo could clash over the Port Authority.

Rep. Eric Cantor believes the president is indeed a US citizen, but refuses to call the birthers crazy because it’s not “nice” to call people names.

NYSUT and AQE are joining forces.

The budget ad war is on.

Cuomo’s AG office is the target of a bias lawsuit.

The president will press a centrist agenda in his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

New York’s Democratic elected officials will cross the aisle to sit with their GOP colleagues for the SoU.

The 2012 GOP field is getting increasingly crowded.

Goodbye Keith Olbermann, whose surprise departure wasn’t such a surprise at all, as it turns out.

Mayor Bloomberg will make a “major” gun control announcement tomorrow.

More >

Cuomo’s Jets Bet

You knew this was coming. Governor Cuomo has placed friendly wager on Sunday’s AFC Championship game between the Jets and the Steelers with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett.

If the Jets win, Cuomo will get a gift basket of unnamed Pennsylvania Preferred products. My guess is that a few cheese steaks, some Hershey chocolate and Rolling Rock beer might be involved (they usually are).

If the Steelers win (they are favored to win by 3 points), then Cuomo will send an array of New York goods including Nathan’s hotdogs, chicken wings from Buffalo, Hudson Valley apple cider as well as cheese and maple syrup produced in the State.

The always confident Cuomo made this prediction:

“The New York Jets, following an impressive season and most recently, a great win over the New England Patriots, will be victorious Sunday night, and I look forward to receiving the gift basket from Governor Corbett.”

Sampson Offers IDC Committee Assignments

The renegade foursome of Senate Democrats who broke away from their conference to caucus on their own have received committee assignments, but the offer did not, as was expected, come from the Republican majority.

According to a Senate source, Minority Leader John Sampson sent a letter yesterday to Sen. Jeff Klein, the ringleader of the Independent Democratic Conference, informing the Bronx lawmaker that Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos had agreed responsibility over the four defectors still rests with their old leader.

That, according to Sampson, includes, but is not limited to, office assignments, staffing allocations, seating in the Chamber and committee assignments. This decision was made, the minority leader stated, based on the “custom and tradition” that there are only two conferences in the chamber – one in power and the other out.

To that end, Sampson has offered Klein and his fellow IDC members – Sens. Diane Savino, David Valesky and David Carlucci – the following committee posts, none of which are ranking positions and thus don’t carry a stipend, or lulu.

Klein: Local Government, Cultural Affairs, Veterans, Mental Health.

Savino: Civil Service, Banks, Veterans, Children and Families.

Valesky: Agriculture, Transportation, Banks, Cultural Affairs.

Carlucci: Banks, Veterans, Elections, Higher Education.

It’s unclear whether the IDC will accept this offer or try to renegotiate with Skelos or perhaps even forgo committee membership altogether.

In addition, Sampson has offered the IDC members a base allocation of $350,000 to run their respective offices. That is the same amount as every other Democratic conference member is getting at the moment. It is yet unclear how much additional cash the GOP will be providing their minority colleagues over and above the base.

There has been widespread speculation ever since the formation of the IDC that Skelos would seek to co-opt the four Democrats by offering them committee chairmanships and additional resources. (There is precedent for crossing the aisle to elevate minority members; both Sampson and former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno did so).

Skelos and his deputy, Sen. Tom Libous, repeatedly said they were open to giving Democrats chairmanships, and there was a brief flurry after Klein swapped offices with Libous in what turned out to be a temporary move.

So far, however, the GOP has not offered anything to the IDC members, who insist their decision to break from the minority conference was due to a loss of faith in Sampson’s leadership and not in perks or power the majority might offer.


President Obama is striving to improve his relationship with the business community.

Sen. Chuck Schumer said Obama’s GE speech was a State of the Union preview.

There were a few Republicans in the Democrat-dominated crowd at GE today.

Is Obama I really Clinton III?

Former President Clinton dined with A-Rod and Cameron Diaz in Miami.

ADDED: Sen. Jim Alesi is suing the owners of a home where he trespassed back in 2008. He fell and broke his leg in the incident.

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer is writing a book about when and how government should intervene in the workings of the market.

REBNY knows how to party.

The big game results in high-profile (and largely friendly) wagers between the rival teams’ elected officials.

Former Gov. David Paterson attended the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ Banking on a Cure Awards Dinner.

Rudy Giuliani is making the rounds of TV talk shows.

NYC Housing Commissioner Rafael Cestero is leaving for the private sector.

This means a new commissioner will oversee the final phase of the Bloomberg administration’s 11-year affordable housing plan.

National good government groups have joined the push for New York to adopt a public campaign finance system.

Greg David makes a pitch for nonpartisan redistricting.

The state Senate Health Committee will hold a hearing on Cuomo’s DOH nominee, Dr. Nirav Ramesh Shah, at 10:30 a.m. Monday in Rm. 124 at the Capitol.

EJ McMahon is unimpressed with the pension reform push undertaken by Bloomberg and Cuomo.

Why the gun control numbers don’t add up.

Anna Deknatel is leaving BerlinRosen Public Affairs for law school. Good luck, Anna! (No link).

Carlos González, son of former Sen. Efrain Gonzalez, was among the Senate Democratic staffers fired this week. (He’s also the guy who cut the video feed on coup day).

Don’t feed the bears.

Are You Ready For Some Football?

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg placed a high stakes bet with Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl over this Sunday’s AFC Championship game between the Jets and the Steelers.

The mayor whose hometown team loses will have to wear the jersey of the winning team during a volunteer service project assembling care packages for members of the armed services from the winning city.

Not only that, if thJetse Steelers win, Bloomberg has agreed to hang a Steelers “Terrible Towel” on a NYC landmarkterrible-towel2.  If the Jets win, Ravenstahl will place a Jets Fireman hat on a Pittsburgh landmark.  The humiliation will also be captured on video and posted on YouTube.

“Peyton, down. Brady, down. Big Ben is next. I have a shiny, new number six Jets jersey picked out and ready for Mayor Ravenstahl,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

“Regardless of the outcome of the game, this is a great opportunity to give back and tell some of the men and women in uniform ‘thanks for taking care of us’.”

“After this game, the only Jet that will be going to Dallas is the one carrying the Steelers,” said Mayor Ravenstahl.

“I’m glad that no matter which team prevails, we can raise awareness for our dedicated troops who could use our help in easing their transition home.”

The terms of the bet were determined through suggestions posted on Twitter and Facebook to both mayors.

Obama’s GE Speech – Full Text

The transcript of President Obama’s speech at GE has finally arrived – more than an hour after he departed the Capital Region. It appears in full after the jump.

More >

Giuliani ‘More Likely’ To Run If Palin Does

This oughta be good.


CNN’s Piers Morgan is tease-Tweeting his interview with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, which is scheduled to air in full next Monday.

Giuliani, who told Larry Kudlow yesterday he’s “absolutely” thinking of another White House bid in 2012, that he’s “more likely” to run if former VP contender Sarah Palin throws her hat into the ring.

Apparently, Giuliani agrees with those who believe Palin is too polarizing and extreme to carry the GOP banner into the general election against President Obama, saying: “My one chance, if I have a chance, is that I’m considered moderate.”

(He would also have a much better chance if he learned his lesson from the disastrous Florida strategy he employed in his failed 2008 presidential campaign).

Giuliani also slammed the ex-Alaska governor for her “blood libel” comment in the wake of the Tucson tragedy, saying:

“It’s a bad word to use, a bad connotation, going back to the whole history of anti-Semitism. This wasn’t at that level.”

This isn’t the first time Giuliani has questioned the wisdom of Palin’s choice of words.

He said on “Face the Nation” that she shouldn’t have used that phrase, but also defended her from critics to say her crosshairs map somehow played a role in the Arizona shooting, saying:

“This had nothing to do with left or right. Or a map.”

State GOP Slams Obama’s ‘Photo-Op’

And now a word from the loyal opposition…which would be state GOP Chairman Ed Cox (in this case), who released a statement slamming President Obama for (in his opinion, wrongly) taking credit for the deal struck between GE and India’s Reliance Energy that will create jobs here in the Capital Region.

“(I)t wasn’t President Obama’s deal,” Cox said. “GE’s record of innovation, its quality products and American workers made this deal possible.”

“The deal between the two companies had been in negotiations before the President took office and was announced weeks before the President’s visit to India last year.”

“Photo ops don’t create jobs. Fiscally conservative policy does. The fact still remains that the President’s core philosophy of more government, more spending, more regulation and higher taxes has inhibited our economic recovery.”

More >

Behind The Scenes At Obama’s GE Tour (Updated)

From the White House pool reporter, WSJ’s Laura Meckler:

President Obama was led on a tour of the GE factory floor by Kevin Sharkey, manufacturing manager at the plant, and Jeff Immelt, GE’s CEO.

He saw a nuclear monoblock that is destined for Baxley, Ga., for Georgia Power, and at a second stop, a large machine that a sign indicated was a 324 Hydrogen Cooled Generator, destined for Sabiya Power Station in Kuwait.

The second machine was very large – so big that he had to climb up seven stairs to reach a platform where he could peer into the tunnel at the center of the generator. A sign at the second stop said: “This 324 generator can provide enough energy to light up 8.5 million CFL bulbs simultaneously.”

Pool could not hear any POTUS comments. Sharkey appeared to be doing most of the explaining.

(Obama) greeted a few workers who were stationed at the first stop. Other than that, the floor was empty of workers. Presumably they were all gathered for the remarks, which on the manufacturing floor.

UPDATE: Now there’s a second report from the in-town pooler, the Schenectady Gazette’s Kathleen Moore. It appears in full after the jump.

More >