2012 RNC

RNC: Paul Ryan Speech

RNC: Condoleeza Rice Speech


Steele Says GOP Shouldn’t Ignore New York

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele told me last night that he thinks New York can be in play for his party, but the national GOP doesn’t put in the time.

“We don’t work New York as hard as we should,” Steele said. “Obviously you’ve had some local congressional success … but more broadly speaking it’s a tougher hill to climb because we don’t work it as hard as we should.”

Steele said that as chairman he sought to emphasize states that Republicans have had trouble in over the years, holding meet and greets and town hall events.

“That’s how you start the conversation, that’s how you change the dynamic and so that negative trend line of not winning races and certainly nationally make New York more competitive for us and I think it should be,” he said.

Astorino Says He’s Just In Tampa To Hang

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is down in Tampa today for the Republican National Convention.

Astorino was at the delegation breakfast this morning, chatting up Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy and Albany County Chairman Don Cleary.

Later in the day, he was scheduled to co-host a luncheon at the delegation hotel with Westchester Republican Chairman Doug Colety.

Sounds like some serious schmoozing from a potential statewide candidate, right?

Astorino says that’s wrong and cautioned not to read too much in too much into this trip to the convention.

Clearly in here we’re all together in New York. We’ve all gotten to know each other in New York. It’s nice to come here, be with your colleagues from around New York state. You talk about the miserable problems we’re all going through with budgets we’re facing and ways to get out of it. It creates friendships. It’s a relaxed environment down here and then tonight we have business at the convention, but it’s just good to be with people from around the state who you don’t get to see everyday.

Astorino must still run for re-election to another term as county executive in 2013 before he decides whether to seek higher office in an even-numbered year.

The phrase “rising star” is used to describe Astorino frequently. Republicans are especially thrilled that he was able to win in the northern suburbs, which is a Democratic stronghold.

Astorino would be the clear underdog in a campaign against, say, Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014, but he has insisted he’s focused on being the county executive.

Roger Stone Calls Paul Snub ‘Foolish’

New York political operative and natty dresser Roger Stone is tough to miss around the Republican National Convention here in Tampa.

Wearing a seersucker suit and Nixon button, Stone last night blasted the decision to underplay the delegate votes of Rep. Ron Paul, the Texas congressman whose supporters are quite vocal here at the convention.

Paul’s son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, is due to speak this evening.

Stone is a prominent supporter of Libertarian Gov. Gary Johnson, who appeared in one GOP debate this year, but never polled very high.

Johnson’s backers blamed Republican officials for not giving him more oxygen during the primary.

“I just think by embracing an extremely right-wing social agenda when it comes to gay marriage equality and abortion rights, they are kicking away any possibility to win voters in the center,” he said. “A plane cannot fly with only one wing and there is only one wing represented here today.

He added, “The liberty wing is not represented and then on top of that, to not announce Ron Paul’s votes as if he doesn’t exist it’s insulting to voters that they need. I really find it foolish.”

Cox: Unprecedented GOTV For House Candidates

The state Republican Party plans a massive get-out-the-vote effort for its Congressional candidates this fall, a move that Chairman Ed Cox says is being fueled in part by House Speaker John Boehner’s team.

Boehner, who spoke to the New York Republican delegation this morning in a joint breakfast with the Puerto Rico delegation, has fundraised for at least four House candidates and incumbents across the state.

“The minute Congress went into recess, he made a bee-line for New York state,” Cox said. “We campaigned in four Congressional districts with him. This is a Congressional campaign that we have not seen before in New York state with a get out of the vote operation funded in large part by the Boehner trust and his great staff.”

Cox said there 10 GOTV centers in districts, with an effort that includes microtargeting and phone banks in order to bring out GOP voters.

“We have started a get out the vote campaign that has been seen before,” he said.

The effort appears to counter the expected flood of Democratic voters this fall, a presidential election year. Turnout among Democrats tends to be heavy in presidential cycles.

“For the first time in a presidential year we are having a huge get out the vote operation,” Cox said.

Compliments Of John Catsimatidis


New York Republicans at the Clearwater Beach Hilton were treated to a little taste of back home today, with supermarket mogul and Democrat-turned-Republican political donor and activist John Catsimatidis making sure to ship in stacks of The New York Post (along with a sticker letting everyone know where they came from).

Today’s paper carries this Cindy Adams column that details the columnist’s viewing of a conservative documentary critical of President Obama. Adams watched the story on Catsimatidis’ private jet.

The column carries this bit of scene setting:

“…Over tuna sandwiches, ham wraps, salad, cole slaw, cookies and sliced watermelon from Gristedes, which is owned by Catsimatidis, who believes “the danger in aviation is starvation,”

The fact that Catsimatidis is so prominently mentioned in the column the same day he hands out copies of The Post is surely a coincidence.

Feting Joe Mondello (Updated)

One of the New York delegation members forwarded this photo from an event celebrating Nassau County GOP Chairman Joe Mondello, who is apparently the longest-serving party county leader in the state.


Mondello has held his local post for 27 years, according to his bio on the Nassau County GOP website.

UPDATE: As per a commentor, Mondello will mark 30 years as chairman next May. Apparently, the website is very far out of date.

He also served as state GOP chairman from 2006 to 2009, following the late Monroe County GOP Chairman Steve Minarik, who stepped down after a disastrous election year for the party in which it lost every single statewide race for the first time in 60 years and also saw three House seats go Democrat.

Mondello got the post largely due to his close relationship with former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno. (Their alliance dates back to 1994 when Bruno ousted a Long Islander, the late Ralph Marino, from the majority leader seat with Mondello’s support).

Mondello lost the support of the party rank-and-file himself in 2009 and was ousted from the state GOP chairmanship by Ed Cox.

Mondello, along with most of the New York Republican establishment supported former Niagara County GOP Chairman Henry Wojtaszek, but Cox out-worked him (his most prominent supporter was Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos) and won the chairmanship.

This is the second event honoring Mondello held here in Clearwater. Yesterday former US Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, also a Long Islander, hosted a luncheon for the chairman.

Gillibrand Raises Off Of RNC

Her Republican opponent is dissed by the the Speaker of the House, but that doesn’t stop Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand from sending out a fundraising appeal based on the GOP convention here in Tampa:

Watching the Republican National Convention, you get a sense of what life would be like if the GOP controlled the Senate. We’d no longer have that critical buffer against their destructive policies and outlandish ideas. It’s almost too terrible to imagine.

I know that neither one of us wants to contemplate that scenario.

To keep Kirsten in the Senate, she needs $49,825 to make her goal of raising $125,000 by midnight August 31. That’s a real, doable, concrete goal that we can achieve right now. I hope you’ll help us reach it.

Obama vs. Christie, Which Speech Was More Self-Serving?

There was a lot of talk last night in the wake of Chris Christie’s speech about the amount of time the New Jersey governor spent focusing on his own record (at least seven pages worth) versus Mitt Romney (mentioned only seven times in a half hour of prime time TV).

An unnamed senior advisor to the Romney campaign told Politico’s Dylan Byers Christie “did exactly what we asked, which was lay out the problems facing the nation and close with Governor Romney as the solution,”

But the cutaways to Romney, sitting with his wife, Ann, in the VIP section during Christie’s speech, caught the couple looking less than thrilled at certain points.

It took Christie 16 minutes to make his first mention of Romney last night.

During the (long) ride back from the Tampa Bay Times Forum to the New York delegation’s digs at the Clearwater Hilton last night, my colleague Errol Louis wondered aloud how Christie’s speech measured up in the touting-the-nominee department to the stemwinder delivered by then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2004.

NY1 political director Bob Hardt found this video of Obama’s speech on the convention stage in Boston. The senator mentioned the Democratic nominee, Sen. John Kerry, 11 times and the first mention came right about the 8-minute mark in an 18-minute speech.