Former Republican New York Governor George Pataki was one of the surrogates backing Mitt Romney on “spin alley” after last night’s presidential debate at Hofstra. Politicker used the opportunity to ask Mr. Pataki which GOP candidates he thought might emerge to challenger the crowded field of Democrats who are likely to run for mayor in next year’s election. So far two political newcomers, Manhattan Media CEO Tom Allon and Doe Fund boss George McDonald, are the only ones who have declared their intentions to run on the Republican line, but Mr. Pataki indicated there may be other Republicans mulling a mayoral bid.
“There are a number of people who are talking about running,” said Mr. Pataki. “I’m hopeful that we’ll have a strong candidate.”
Ahead of last night’s presidential debate at Hofstra University, several members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a prominent organization backed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, penned an op-ed in the Long Island publication Newsday urging questions that demand accountability from the candidates on policies to address gun violence, and for substantive plans to be offered in response. Well, in a post-debate statement the group said they got half their wish.
“President Obama, during the Democratic National Convention in 2008, you stated you wanted to keep AK-47s out of the hands of criminals,” local voter Nina Gonzalez asked President Barack Obama during the town hall-style discussion. “What has your administration done or plan to do to limit the availability of assault weapons?”
Though Governor Andrew Cuomo was in the audience at tonight’s debate, he was not on the official list of Democratic surrogates passed out by President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. Indeed, his office told Politicker a few hours before the debate the governor was not set to make an appearance in the post-debate “spin alley.” Nevertheless, Mr. Cuomo wandered in some time after the proceedings began.
“The president clearly won tonight,” he declared, later adding President Barack Obama’s performance was “masterful.”
“As someone who supports the president, I was very, very pleased,” Mr. Cuomo explained.
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Talking to reporters in “spin alley” after tonight’s debate, Mitt Romney’s senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom conceded President Barack Obama was “more spirited” than he was in the first go-around. However, Mr. Fehrnstrom said the Romney campaign is still “confident” its candidate will win.
“I don’t think changing your style or changing your tone can change the facts of your record,” Mr. Fehrnstrom said. “We still have 23 million Americans struggling for work, 16 trillion in debt, 47 million Americans living on food stamps, one in six Americans living in poverty. No amount of histrionics on the president’s part can change those bad facts.”
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — The last questioner hadn’t even finished asking his question before the presidential campaigns’ surrogates hit the floor of the media filing room to spin the results of the second debate of the 2012 campaign. Politicker caught up with President Barack Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, who was particularly damning in his evaluation of Mitt Romney.
“Romney seemed angry, sweaty, he was rattled,” Mr. Messina told reporters gathered around him. “It was the real Romney. He was exposed. Did you see his answer on immigration? I think somewhere Governor Perry is looking around to himself saying to himself, ‘Wait a minute, that’s not what we saw during the primary.’”
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — At many points in tonight’s presidential debate, Mitt Romney seemed to be expending more energy sparring with the moderator, CNN’s Candy Crowley, than with President Barack Obama. The multiple moments where Mr. Romney argued with Ms. Crowley drew audible reactions in the audience and among the reporters in the media filing room. Mr. Romney’s squabbles with Ms. Crowley also made him seem shaken by the president’s attacks after a debate in which Mr. Romney was widely seen as the victor and the president was criticized as insufficiently aggressive.
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Governor Mitt Romney generated endless headlines when, during the first presidential debate, he referenced Big Bird while citing federal funding for PBS as something he would be willing to cut from the budget. President Barack Obama’s campaign quickly latched onto the remark, using it to belittle the seriousness of Mr. Romney’s budget plans. Mr. Obama even released a television advertisement based completely off the Big Bird flap. Though Republicans subsequently criticized the Obama campaign’s focus on the Muppet as unserious, the president brought up the comment again on stage during tonight’s debate.
Rocking the Suburbs
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Like many prominent politicians in the United States right now, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is on the floor of the media filing room at Hofstra University, making the pitch for his side before the two presidential candidates go head-to-head tonight. For Mr. Jindal, a Republican, that also meant mocking President Barack Obama’s widely-panned performance in the first debate.
“I almost feel sorry for the president,” Mr. Jindal said.”Because the reality is I don’t care if you have the oratory skills of Winston Churchill, Presidents Reagan and Lincoln combined, he still wouldn’t be able to defend his record.”
keeping hope alive
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.
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – The race between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney has seen polls tighten in recent days, but at Hofstra University ahead of tonight’s debate, Mr. Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina repeatedly said the re-election effort is doing great in every swing state across the country.
“When you’re within the margin of error, you’re losing,” Mr. Messina declared on the floor of the media filing center as an ever-growing scrum of reporters gathered around him. “And that’s exactly what they’re doing in Ohio. We are leading in battleground states. We’re leading in important places like Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin because there’s a clear difference of selection. Romney’s going to struggle to defend his positions on outsourcing….These issues matter and that’s what we’re going to hear about tonight.”