Dowd But Not Out
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announced his latest appointment this morning, naming long-time children’s advocate Gladys Carrión to head the city’s Administration for Children’s Services.
Ms. Carrión, who has served as the commissioner of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services for the past seven years, will be tasked with overseeing the protection of the city’s most vulnerable children, from protective services to foster care placements.
War of Words
This afternoon, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn offered a heartfelt rebuttal to comments made by Chirlane McCray–the wife of Ms. Quinn’s opponent, Bill de Blasio–despite an admission by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd that Ms. McCray had been misquoted.
“I agree with Maureen that the sentiment is the same and that sentiment, to me, is really saddening and troubling,” said Ms. Quinn at the end of an unrelated press conference at City Hall. “I don’t understand why Ms. McCray or why the public advocate sitting next to her would allow statements to be made that clearly indicate that somehow I am not able to listen to women, listen to families, serve women and families who do not have children.”
With only three weeks left until primary day, the mayor’s race has just hit a new fevered pitch.
Today, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd quoted Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, criticizing her husband’s rival, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, calling her “not the kind of person I feel I can go up to and talk to about issues like taking care of children at a young age and paid sick leave.” (Update: the de Blasio campaign said she was misquoted, see below for details.)
The remark, which comes as the contest becomes increasingly nasty, prompted a furious statement from the Quinn campaign criticizing Mr. de Blasio for discriminating against childless families.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Earlier this week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city’s Human Resources Administration unveiled a new, rather direct ad campaign to discourage teen pregnancy featuring children citing blunt statistics about teen parents. “Honestly mom, chances are he won’t stay with you,” a baby in one ad declares, while another reads, “I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen.” The campaign, which is paired with an shame-themed choose-your-own-adventure text experience, understandably gained attention and sparked controversy.
Though City Hall seemed eager to make a splash with the in-your-face ads, other local politicians have condemned the campaign.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to a plea from a group of sixth graders who had their tour of the presidential residence canceled due to the so-called “sequester” cuts in a press briefing this afternoon. Mr. Carney described the situation as “extremely unfortunate,” but unavoidable due to the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts that took effect March 1 after lawmwakers were unable to reach a deficit reduction deal.
“The President and the First Lady have throughout the time that they’ve been here made extraordinary efforts to make this the people’s house, and it is extremely unfortunate that we have a situation like the sequester that compels the kinds of tradeoffs and decisions that this represents,” Mr. Carney said. “The fact is the Secret Service, like other agencies of government, is affected by the sequester. And the Secret Service presented options that ranged from canceling tours to potential furloughs and cuts in overtime. And in order to allow the Secret Service to best fulfill its core mission, the White House made the decision that we would, unfortunately, have to temporarily suspend these tours.”
A group of sixth graders from St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Waverly, Iowa has turned to the internet to save their school trip to the White House. The children were scheduled to tour the White House on March 16, but their visit was cancelled yesterday along with all other tours of the presidential residence due to “staffing reductions” caused by the so-called “sequester” budget cuts that took effect last Friday after lawmakers failed to make a deficit reduction deal. In an effort to muster support and salvage their trip, the school posted a brief video on Facebook featuring a plea from the children.
“The White House is our house, please let us visit!” the sixth graders say in the clip.
President Barack Obama is in New Hampshire today for a campaign event. According to the White House pool report, after he arrived at the airport in Manchester this morning, President Obama stopped to shake hands with “a couple dozen supporters” on a rope line. The crowd at the airport included two toddlers holding American flags who were greeted by the president, but apparently “looked a bit disinterested.”
“I do great with the 2-3 year old crowd,” President Obama joked.
Missouri Congressman, costume enthusiast and (for now) Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin became notorious for his rather interesting theories on the female reproductive system this weekend, but his disastrous television interview isn’t the first time he’s shared his unique hypotheses on how babies are made. At a Tea Party event in Branson last year, Mr. Akin and his wife, Lulli, gave a detailed explanation of how they came together and made their six babies.
They may not be able to count up to 99, but the children who picketed outside Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Midtown office today were chanting “We are the 99 percent!” Approximately 300 protesters–-a good hundred of whom were between 5 and 10 years old–delivered the governor pro-”Millionaire’s Tax” petitions with several thousand signatures from New Yorkers attending Occupy Wall Street.