New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn had been to the Democratic National Convention three times before, but this year’s event was different. These days, Ms. Quinn is widely seen as the front-runner in next year’s race to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
In May, just 10 days after President Barack Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, instantly making it one of the hottest topics of this election cycle, Ms. Quinn married her longtime partner Kim Catullo in a wedding that received almost Kardashian-esque coverage from New York’s political press corps and made her one of the highest-profile married, openly gay politicians in the country.
With her newfound notoriety, it would seem, the stars are aligning for Ms. Quinn to follow Mr. Bloomberg’s footsteps as the most prominent mayor in the country. However, she will first have to cut her path to City Hall through a crowded field of opponents and a Council that may include members eager to exact revenge on the outgoing speaker, while also battling the persistent impression she is a political stand-in, a Medvedev to Mr. Bloomberg’s Putin.
CHARLOTTE, NC — Politicker ran into former Governor David Paterson while he was working the room inside the CNN Grill at the DNC Wednesday and we asked him about all of the drama that surrounded the New York delegation at the convention. Mr. Paterson heaped praise upon Mr. Cuomo and the delegation’s leader, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and he had harsh words for one of their critics,bat-wielding 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino.
“Carl Paladino should take that bat and hit himself in the head with it, it would do us all a favor,” said Mr. Paterson.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — President Barack Obama had his big speech tonight, and early on, he proved he wasn’t afraid to get aggressive with Mitt Romney and the Republican agenda, serving as yet another sign that this won’t simply be a “Rose Garden campaign,” where the incumbent in the White House seeks to stick strictly above the fray.
“My friends down in Tampa at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything that they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t have much to say about what is right. They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan,” Mr. Obama said of the GOP platform presented in Florida last week. “That’s because all they have to offer are the same prescriptions they’ve had in the last 30 years. Have a surplus? Try a tax cut. Deficit too high? Try another.”
Then came the zinger.
“Feel a cold coming on?” he asked. “Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning.”
Jumping The Gun
CHARLOTTE, NC — Team Romney apparently didn’t need to listen to President Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention in order to decide how to respond to it. President Obama is currently still on stage delivering his remarks, but the Romney campaign has already sent out an email blast entitled “Romney for President Issues Statement on President Obama’s Speech To The Democratic National Convention.”
“Tonight President Obama laid out the choice in this election, making the case for more of the same policies that haven’t worked for the past four years. He offered more promises, but he hasn’t kept the promises he made four years ago,” the statement said. “Americans will hold President Obama accountable for his record – they know they’re not better off and that it’s time to change direction. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will restore America’s promise and deliver a better future for our country.”
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Members of the media have apparently been using “fake” names to buy official Obama gear and contribute to the Obama campaign inside the Time Warner Cable Arena where the president is due to speak in a few minutes. During our travels around the arena, Politicker spotted a souvenir stand in one of the press stands selling T-shirts and buttons supporting President Barack Obama, “Democrats Are Hot” bumper stickers and other official Obama merchandise.
The souvenir stand was in a secure area only accessible to those with a media credential and buying campaign gear means contributing to the campaign, so we asked the woman working the cash register whether anyone at the press stand had been making purchases. Her answers were quite surprising.
CHARLOTTE, NC — Though the GOP made sure to showcase a diverse group of speakers at the Republican National Convention last week, Democrats have boasted their confab in Charlotte was far more diverse than the Republicans’ confab. Rather than take those claims at face value, we reached out to both parties to see how many minority delegates attended each of the conventions.
CHARLOTTE, NC — Though Governor Andrew Cuomo is often named as a potential presidential contender in 2016, he has exerted tremendous effort to have a low-key presence at the Democratic National Convention and generally prefers cooperating with Republicans rather than criticizing them. However, in an address before the New York delegation’s breakfast to the DNC this morning, Mr. Cuomo launched an uncharacteristically direct attack on the GOP and gave a stirring defense of President Barack Obama.
Mr. Cuomo began his speech thanking the other politicians in attendance and the convention’s organizers before quickly pivoting to the presidential election.
“One more thank you,” he said. “To a man who has stood by the State of New York for about four years. He was there for the State of New York when it was teetering on the brink, like so many other states when this nation was teetering on the brink. A new man came to office, a new leader, a new president, and he’s been a phenomenal partner to the State of New York helping us through this transformation and these difficult times and let’s thank President Barack Obama for what he’s done for our state!”
CHARLOTTE, NC — Last night, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was cut off as he was giving a lengthy speech delivering the New York delegation’s votes at the Democratic National Convention. This morning, Politicker asked Mr. Silver how it felt to have his speech cut short when we saw him at the New York delegation breakfast.
“I wasn’t expecting that and, you know, we’re a big state, we have a lot of votes and there’s a lot to say,” Mr. Silver said.
CHARLOTTE, NC — New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand apparently really enjoyed the speech Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren delivered at the Democratic National Convention last night. Shortly after Ms. Warren left the stage, Ms. Gillibrand sent an email to her supporters encouraging them to give money to Ms. Warren.
“I can’t stop thinking about Elizabeth Warren’s speech,” Ms. Gillibrand wrote. “You could hear it in her voice and see it in her eyes: Elizabeth will never give up on the middle class. She’ll be relentless in making sure everyone gets a fair shot.”
chuck weighs in
CHARLOTTE, NC — In his speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention, New York Senator Chuck Schumer discussed why he believes “Mitt Romney’s plans would make things worse” for the economy.
He began by reminiscing about his family–and their attachment to roach spray.
“I stand here tonight as a proud son of the great state of New York! I’m also a proud product of the middle class,” Mr. Schumer said in a prepared copy of his remarks distributed by the convention staff. “My father, Abe, was a small businessman. For 32 years, he ran an exterminating company. That may explain why our family always associated the smell of roach spray with love.”