Mitt Romney spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in Midtown this morning. He began his remarks by referencing the address Bill Clinton gave at the Democratic National Convention earlier this month. Mr. Clinton’s speech was widely touted as one of the highlights of the DNC and was seen as one of the main factors behind a subsequent surge in the polls for President Barack Obama. Mr. Romney, who was introduced by Mr. Clinton at the CGI meeting, said he hoped the “kind words” from the ex-president would give him the same kind of boost President Obama got after the DNC.
“Thank you, Mr. President. I appreciate the kind words and your invitation here today,” Mr. Romney said to Mr. Clinton. “If there’s one thing we’ve learned this election season, it’s that a few words from Bill Clinton can do any man a lot of good. After that introduction, I guess all I have to do is wait a day or two for the bounce.”
Fresh off his speech at the Democratic National Convention, former President Bill Clinton announced that both President Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, will attend and address the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative later this month. Mr. Clinton established CGI in 2005 in order to bring world leaders together “to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.” In his announcement about the presidential candidates’ attendance at the annual meeting, Mr. Clinton said their appearances exemplified the organization’s non-partisan spirit.
“I’m grateful that President Obama and Governor Romney are taking time to join leaders from all parts of society who choose to address our greatest global challenges through the Clinton Global Initiative,” Mr. Clinton said. “CGI is built on the spirit of non-partisan, cross-sector collaborations that drive action.”
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, 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 — 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.”
Tuesday Night Fever
CHARLOTTE, NC — First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to the African American Caucus at the Democratic National Convention this morning. Prior to Ms. Obama’s speech, the audience heard from Democratic National Committee Vice Chair Donna Brazile and Virgie Rollins, chairwoman of the Black Caucus. The two women mocked the absence of racial diversity and dance skills they saw on display at last week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa.
“The other side, when you saw their African American delegates, they were a little bit lacking weren’t they?” Ms. Rollins said after noting that this year’s Democratic convention is hosting the largest delegation in the history of the Black Caucus.
TAMPA, FL — Billionaire Republican megadonor David Koch, who, along with his brother, Charles, is pumping an estimated $400 million into this presidential campaign, talked to Politicker about the controversial level of influence major contributors have on American elections in an interview on the floor of the Republican National Convention a few moments ago.
“We have a free society and people are free to do what they want, you know, as long as they don’t hurt others and they obey the law,” Mr. Koch said. “So, I believe in free speech and if people want to spend money in politics or something else, it’s their right, nothing wrong with that. So, I endorse that.”
Better Late Than Never
TAMPA, FL — Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm arrived at the Republican National Convention in time to see his party’s vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, make his speech. Mr. Grimm told Politicker he was quite pleased with Mr. Ryan’s remarks.
“I think he delivered. First and foremost, the great thing about Paul Ryan and, you know, I’ve gotten to know him pretty well, is his sincerity just shines through,” said Mr. Grimm. “When he gets choked up speaking about his mom, it reminds me of when I speak about my dad. It’s just, it’s real, it’s not contrived. It is who he is and I think that comes across in everything he says.”
Mr. Grimm is currently dealing with an FBI probe and allegations of potential impropriety surrounding donations he received from an influential rabbi. In the wake of the fundraising flap, Mr. Grimm was removed from the list of convention delegates for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Mr. Grimm initially said he wouldn’t be attending the convention due to weather concerns caused by tropical storm Isaac, which lead to speculation among insiders his potential absence was related to the fundraising flap. Mr. Grimm told us the rumors surrounding his convention attendance were “utter nonsense.”
Love & Marriage
TAMPA, FL — In her speech at the Republican National Convention tonight Ann Romney will try to refute the notion she and her husband enjoy a “storybook marriage.”
“I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a ‘storybook marriage.’ Well, in the storybooks I read, there were never long, long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once. And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called MS or Breast Cancer,” Mr. Romney will say, according to an advance excerpt of her speech distributed by the Romney campaign. “A storybook marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage.”