Less than half a day after copies of The New York Post shipped out across the city with its reluctant endorsement of her mayoral campaign on the cover, Council Speaker Christine Quinn is out with a new ad touting her support from the city’s three big daily papers.
With just over two weeks to go before they face off in the September 10 Republican primary, John Catsimatidis and Joe Lhota have taken their battle to the air.
Mr. Catsimatidis, a billionaire who is self-financing his campaign, recently suggested that he would avoid dropping “nuclear bombs”–his word for attack ads–unless his GOP rival, Mr. Lhota, went negative first. But it seems Mr. Catsimatidis has decided to drop them anyway.
Rivals of City Council Speaker and mayoral frontrunner Christine Quinn released their second attack ad Wednesday morning, this time slamming Ms. Quinn for failing to halt the closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital.
The 30-second spot, courtesy of the new political committee New York City Is Not for Sale, begins with grainy images of an emergency room sign, a screaming ambulance and a gurney being rushed down a hospital hall.
“You don’t know when the next emergency is going to hit you or your family. Often the difference between life and death is measured in minutes, or even seconds,” says a narrator in an ominous voice.
Citing campaign contributions to Rudin Management Company, the ad accuses Ms. Quinn of turning her back on the hospital to help the developers out.
“After Christine Quinn took thousands of dollars from real estate developers who owned the property, she failed to keep St. Vincent’s open, leaving thousands of New Yorkers in need of medical care with nowhere to go,” it says, over video of a sad old woman with a cane sitting alone on a bench in the snow.
“When Christine Quinn allows the things that are most important to New Yorkers to disappear, how can you support her for mayor?” it asks.
New York Is Not for Sale launched earlier this month with the sole mission of insuring that “Anyone but Quinn” is elected mayor this fall.
The spot, which was produced by the Advance Group, is set to begin airing Wednesday on channels including NY1, Bravo and Oxygen as part of the group’s original $250,000 ad buy, a group spokeswoman said. They plan to spend $1 million over the course of the campaign.
Its founding members include the animal rights group New Yorkers for Clean Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS), Communications Workers of America union Local 1180 President Arthur Cheliotes and Wendy Neu, the CEO of Hugo Neu Corporation.
“The closing of St. Vincent’s hospital leaves a community out in the cold,” Mr. Cheliotes said in a statement. “Today’s new ad calls attention to a community where residents have nowhere to go in the event of an emergency or health crisis. Christine Quinn played an integral role in letting St. Vincent’s disappear and we cannot support a mayor who would let her donors dictate development at the sacrifice of our communities.”
Ms. Quinn was clearly ruffled by the group’s first ad, which painted her as a calculating politician willing to compromise her principles to get ahead. She called the ad a “disgrace” and her lawyers fired off a letter to Time Warner demanding they stop airing it, claiming that it included false statements, prompting ridicule from her rivals.
Update (12:40 p.m.): It turns out that there was an error in the ad. About 10 second in, writing on the screen claims that Quinn received $59,400 in campaign contributions from Rudin Management. But according to a spokesman for the New York City Campaign Finance Board, that’s not the case.
Thanks to a quirk in the board’s electronic database, some contributions given before term limits were extended happen to show up twice.
“Those contributions shouldn’t be counted twice,” explained spokesman Matt Sollars. In fact, employees of the company have contributed $29,700 to Ms. Quinn’s 2013 campaign, he said.
Kevin Finnegan, the political director of the powerful healthcare workers union, 1199 SEIU, also defended Quinn, saying there was nothing more she could have done to save the hospital from closing.
“Nobody fought harder to save St. Vincent’s than Christine Quinn,” he said. “I was in the middle of that fight from Day 1, and Chris Quinn was by my side the entire time, fighting much harder than anyone else. And to criticize her on that front is baseless. It’s absolutely baseless. It’s absurd.”
Update (1:31 p.m.): Quinn’s campaign spokesman Mike Morey adds:
“This ad has blatant, egregious factual inaccuracies. When St. Vincent’s declared bankruptcy, no one fought harder to make sure that the community continued to have access to critical healthcare services. Thanks to Christine Quinn’s leadership, local residents will have access
to a high-quality, state of the art healthcare facility with a 24-hour emergency room.”
In case you missed it, last weekend’s Saturday Night Live opened with a skit making fun of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s daily press conferences since Hurricane Sandy battered the city. Notably, the show featured Mr. Bloomberg’s sign language interpreter, Lydia Callis, who became a star thanks to her extremely effusive hand gestures and facial expressions, even earning a New York Timesprofile entitled, “During Storm Updates, Eyes on an Interpreter.”
Cecily Strong, playing Ms. Callis, took her interpretation to the next level with particularly wild hand gestures, for example, firing off shots with pretend guns in order to translate “police officers.” However, according to a tweet from Mr. Bloomberg’s deputy press secretary, Julie Wood, Ms. Callis “reports that many of cecily strong’s gestures on SNL last night were accurate ASL signs.”
With less than two weeks before Election Day, President Barack Obama took time out of his schedule to visit the Los Angeles set of The Tonight Show and crack a few jokes with host Jay Leno. The appearance comes on the heels of Mr. Obama’s The Daily Showinterview with Jon Stewart, showing an apparent electoral interest in the late night comedy crowd.
As you may have heard, there’s an election going on.
To help voters decide between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, the two candidates will go head-to-head in a debate tonight at the University of Denver, Colorado. The rhetorical contest will focus on domestic policy and be divided into six segments, the exact focus of which will be at the whim of moderator Jim Lehrer.