HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, who served as a stand-in for Mitt Romney during President Barack Obama’s debate prep sessions, stopped by the media filing room to talk with reporters ahead of tonight’s clash between the two candidates. Mr. Kerry wouldn’t discuss his strategies for impersonating Mr. Romney, but he gave his thoughts on the former Massachusetts governor’s record in the Bay State and another important New England issue–the Boston Red Sox’s horrendous 2012 season.
Rocking the Suburbs
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Some of the reporters covering tonight’s presidential debate at Hofstra University in Long Island may be F.W.I.–filing while intoxicated. Anheuser-Busch is apparently a sponsor of tonight’s rhetorical battle and the beer company has set up a “hospitality tent” outside the media filing center where reporters are being treated to free food, brews and souvenir glasses.
empire state of mind
One month ago, President Barack Obama took one of his more fashionable visits to New York. After an event at Waldorf-Astoria, Mr. Obama headed over to a second star-studded soirée hosted by Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z at the 40/40 Club in Midtown. There, a hundred guests who paid $40,000 for the privilege, lounged on sofas in a dark, glassy room to watch Mr. Obama pitch the importance of reelection. But Mr. Obama wasn’t there to ask for votes.
No, the president was in New York City, as is almost always the case when he visits, to fundraise among the city’s moneyed elite. And those individuals–the ones who sat at the 40/40 Club next to a tower of 350 bottles of $300-plus Jay-Z-endorsed Armand de Brignac champagne–represent the New Yorkers Mr. Obama cares about. His Republican adversary, Mitt Romney, is exactly the same.
But it’s not their fault that New York has been relegated to be the A.T.M. of the presidential race; nor is it anything new or special. Thanks to the winner-takes-all system by which the heavily Democratic state awards its presidential delegates, Mr. Obama is guaranteed to win the Empire State no matter how much time he or Mr. Romney campaign in Elmira or El Barrio.
The Obama campaign has just released some new details about Vice President Joe Biden’s debate session. Apparently, Mr. Biden relied on a strict regimen of candy, sandwiches, energy drinks and caffeine to get him in shape for his matchup with Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
An aerial view of Rick Lee’s home in Danville, Kentucky. (Photo: Google Maps)
It seems like Vice President Joe Biden is spending time at a large home with both a pool and its own lake before his debate with Paul Ryan tonight. According to a campaign official, Mr. Biden “will spend time with family and friends at a private residence owned by local supporters” prior to this evening’s vice presidential debate at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. The Obama campaign hasn’t released any other details about the home, but thanks to some details from the White House press pool report and some of our own legwork, we believe it is the well-appointed home of an executive at a company that makes conveyor belts used in factories, mail sorting facilities and to handle baggage at airports.
With the vice presidential debate set for tonight in Danville, Ky., the Obama campaign waged a pre-emptive strike on Paul Ryan this morning. In a memo to reporters and a new web video out this morning, the Obama campaign has highlighted “misleading” statements Mr. Ryan has made in the past and asked whether he will use a “dishonest strategy” in tonight’s debate or if he will be frank about the “extreme” conservative positions he advocated in Congress before being tapped for the Republican presidential ticket.
“We now know that Mitt Romney will say anything to win, even if it’s not true – just like he did in Massachusetts and in the boardroom,” Obama for America Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter wrote in a memo to “interested parties.” “The question now is whether Ryan will adopt the same dishonest strategy or if he’ll stand by the very extreme positions he’s taken as the ‘intellectual leader’ of the Republican Party.”
Martha Raddatz, a ABC senior foreign correspondent who’s moderating tomorrow’s vice presidential debate, came under fire from conservatives today after the Daily Caller revealed President Barack Obama attended her 1991 wedding to her ex-husband, Julius Genachowski, a former classmate and Harvard Law Review colleague of Mr. Obama’s who the president tapped to head the Federal Communications Commission in 2009. However, her current husband, Tom Gjelten, also has a rather interesting connection to the presidential candidates–he’s a correspondent for National Public Radio, an organization Mitt Romney has infamously and repeatedly vowed to strip of its federal funding.
According to preliminary Nielsen numbers, about 39.97 million total viewers watched the first presidential debate on the broadcast networks last night. The debate was also carried by cable news outlets, but those numbers are not yet available. Once the cable audience is included, this should put last night’s debate in contention to match or slightly beat the audience for the first presidential debate of 2008, which was watched by about 52.4 million total viewers including the cable channels. However, it will be hard for this debate to match the highest-rated matchup of the 2008 cycle–the vice presidential debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, which was watched by 69.9 million people and ranks as the second most viewed debate ever.
The insta-verdict espoused almost universally by political pundits after last night’s presidential debate is that Mr. Romney emerged with a victory over President Barack Obama. Rather predictably, Mr. Romney’s fellow Republicans from the tri-state area, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, agreed with this assessment. Shortly after the debate, the Romney campaign distributed statements from Messrs. Giuliani and Christie in which they called the evening a “clear” victory for Mr. Romney.
Downtown 4 Democracy, the anti-Tea Party “hipster PAC” is teaming up with Vice magazine to host a watch party for the first presidential debate on October 3 with well-appointed “swag bags” chock full of politically-themed goodies from several big name designers and chefs. The event, which will be held at the Jane Hotel, will also include a DJ set by the “experimental pop duo” Tanlines.