Friday, August 18, 2006

New York throws a party

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Three reports on New York's reception at the summer meeting of the DNC to promote its bid to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention. From the NY Times:

There were the themed drinks: Manhattans and electric-green Big Apple martinis. There was a celebrity: Lorraine Bracco, bringing a whiff of glamour in a slim white suit. And there were the cheesy one-liners from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who had orchestrated a reception here for delegates at a Democratic Party
“I haven’t been in the company of such a large group of passionate, dedicated Democrats since I was one,” he added, to laughter, good-natured grumbling and cries of “Come back” and “Welcome home.”

Both Mr. Bloomberg and the idea of New York holding the Democratic National Convention were warmly received by many of the Democrats gathered in the wood-paneled room in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. “We don’t hold the fact that he’s a Republican against him,” Mark Brewer, the chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, said, laughing. “It’s a great convention city.”
Still, some Democrats expressed frustration with Mr. Bloomberg’s party affiliation, which they said was out of step with his political views. After Mr. Bloomberg joked that he did not have a psychiatrist (Ms. Bracco plays one on television) but that his children probably think he needs one, a man shouted, “You do, for being a Republican.”

Ray Buckley, chairman of the eastern region of the Democratic National Committee, said that although he did not think it would hurt the city’s chance of landing the convention, many Democrats were still upset by his party switch.
Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, New York City’s ranking Democrat, accompanied the mayor for his pitch, the essence of which was that the force of the city would help their candidate’s chances. Mr. Bloomberg pointed out that both Democrats nominated in New York in recent years, Mr. Clinton and Jimmy Carter, had gone on to become president.

Well, 2 out of 3, as Carter lost in 1980 after a New York Convention. (Carter in '76 and Clinton in '92 both won coming out of New York).

“We won’t pick your candidate, but with the energy of our city we will make your candidate better,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “We won’t craft your message, but with New York as a backdrop we will make your message better.”
A decision from the Democrats could come next month, officials said.

Next month? November had been the month of decision...

From the AP:
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican, was downright cozy with Democratic National Committee big wigs Thursday night.
Bloomberg traveled to Chicago during the DNC's summer meeting here to pitch New York as the site of the 2008 Democratic National Convention. You'd think Bloomberg, a former Democrat who is now serving his second term as New York's mayor, wanted Democrats to win the White House.

"We would be honored to host this assembly," he told a crowd of DNC members at a wine, beer and "Big Apple" martinis party thrown by the New York City Host Committee 2008 in Chicago's Millennium Park. "With the energy of our city, we will make your candidate better."
The idea of a New York convention appealed to many, particularly those who recalled conventions in the city that catapulted Democrats Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton to the presidency. Others weren't so sure.

Waring S. Howe Jr., a South Carolina DNC member, said Democrats should choose a city in a state that could tip the balance in favor of a Democratic presidential candidate. "We shouldn't have to have the convention in New York to win the state," Howe said. "A state that might be trending the other way would be more helpful."

That didn't keep Bloomberg from pitching. "I haven't been in the company of such a large group of passionate, dedicated Democrats," he said, "since I was one."

Dan Slater, a Vice-Chair of Denver's bid, provides his take:
Thursday night, we were taken to Millennium Park, not too far away, by the New York City 2008 committee. The ride over there was quite nice; they took us in double-decker buses. When we got there, we were led through some back hallways to a nice room, abeit crowded, with a very “New York” feel. Cosmopolitans and Manhattans were offered to everybody as they arrived, along with a “Big Apple Martini”. After a while, the “celebrities” arrived. Lorraine Bracco, who is an actress best known for her role on the Sopranos, began the evening, and then introduced the Governor of Illinois. Gov. Blagojevich made the biggest news of the night, being a midwestern governor who was not endorsing the “midwestern” bid city of Minneapolis. He endorsed New York and introduced Mayor Bloomberg of New York City. The Mayor spoke for a while, told some corny jokes, and that was it.

It was a nice evening, but I think the consensus of folks I spoke to was that it wasn’t nearly as energetic as the Denver 2008 event in New Orleans a few months ago.

St. Paul/Minneapolis holds their reception tonight, and Denver goes Saturday morning.