Headline of the Day: “Nice Chatting, Mayor. Now Squeeze In. Press Corps Selfie!”
Lede of the Day: “Mayor de Blasio was so bent on fixing his strained relationship with the press that he spent five minutes Tuesday chatting with reporters on the steps of City Hall — before snapping a selfie of the group.”
According to the New York Post, Pastor Mike Walrond “talked up the fantastic claim that AIDS was concocted to destroy black people in an interview six years ago.” Mr. Walrond, who is campaigning for Congress, “insisted that’s not his view today.”
Oregon Congressman Greg Walden, who heads the RNCC, argued yesterday that New York represents a great opportunity for Republican congressional pickups. While citing districts, however, he initially left off Hudson Valley Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney–which Mr. Maloney’s campaign soon flagged for reporters.
Reached for comment, Congressman Steve Israel, who heads the DCCC, said “New York” a lot: “The only way Republicans increase seats in New York is if they bet on New Yorkers having very short memories, and as a New Yorker one thing I know about New York is that we remember.”
Juan Gonzalez, writing in the Daily News, argues there’s been an “all-out campaign by the elite to kneecap” Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “authority over education policy. Everyone from Gov. Cuomo to pundits to hedge-fund backers of big charter networks … have lined up against a guy who has been in office only three months.”
While the News‘ editorial board said Mr. de Blasio is “clearly and wisely laying the ground work for capitulation” in his pre-K funding fight with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “Let this be a better-late-than-never lesson for de Blasio: Implying that the governor is an adversary in a civil rights fight is no way to get things done,” they wrote.
“As rancorous charter school space debates continue to dominate the headlines, another lower-profile round of discussion about who attends the schools is just beginning,” Chalkbeat reports. “One main issue is backfill, or what happens to space vacated by students who leave charter schools.”
“I hate this issue of charter schools,” mayoral candidate-turned-pundit Anthony Weiner said last night on Inside City Hall. “It’s 70,000 kids in a school system that’s 1.1 million kids.” Asked about the horse-drawn carriage issue, Mr. Weiner similarly exclaimed, “I hate this issue!”
And here is President Barack Obama‘s full trip to New York City yesterday, as told by White House pool reports:
Subject: Travel Pool Report #2 — NYC arrival
Air Force One landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport at 3:24 p.m.
President Obama walked down the stairs and greeted the small crowd assembled on the tarmac. He spent a couple minutes shaking hands before boarding Marine One.
At 3:40 p.m., Obama is departing the airport.
Subject: Travel Pool Report #3 — heliport arrival
Marine One touched down at a Manhattan heliport at 3:54 p.m.
Four minutes later, the motorcade is on the move.
Subject: Travel Pool Report #4
At 4:08, the motorcade arrived at the Gap store at East 42nd and Third Avenue.
President Obama is doing a little shopping for his wife and daughters. More details to come shortly.
From a White House official:
In his State of the Union address, the President called for businesses to raise workers’ wages, and today the President will visit a Gap store to show his support for Gap Inc.’s decision to increase wages for their US based employees.
Subject: Travel Pool Report #5 — shopping at the Gap
Upon arriving at the nearly empty Gap store at East 42nd and Third Avenue, President Obama told a sales associate that he was doing some shopping for his wife, Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha. The employee offered a quick tour of some of the options, pointing out stacks of sweaters and some new spring arrivals.
Eventually, Obama and the sales associate delved into sweaters in a rainbow of colors, holding up each choice and assessing what his daughters might like. The employee recommended a V-neck sweater, but the president gravitated toward the slightly more modest round-neck options, saying, “I’m worried the V-neck is going to slip.” Eventually, he settled on a gray and white striped sweater and a bright coral sweater for his daughters.
The sales associate suggested that perhaps the first lady might like a hoodie, but the president said she seldom wears hoodies. He said she would like athletic gear and quickly picked out a blue workout jacket.
“I think the ladies will be impressed by my style sense,” Obama said.
“Who’s going to ring me up?” he asked as he approached the counter.
A longtime Gap named Sonia volunteered, saying, “He’s better looking in person.”
Although the employees tried to sell Obama on signing up for a Gap card — which would have made him eligible for a discount — the president declined. “I’ve got one card,” he said as he presented his credit card.
Obama said he doesn’t always carry his wallet but made sure to bring it for this excursion. When Sonya told him that he could swipe his own card on the countertop card reader, Obama quipped, “Oh wow. So, you can sign the machine?” As the reporters in the pool started scribbling, he said he was teasing, adding, “They had these around the last time I shopped.”
After paying for his purchases, the president spoke about the importance of raising the minimum wage and praised Gap for taking the initiative to bump up employees’ salaries. He said he would continue to push Congress to take action, but the Gap already was helping thousands of employees by raising salaries.
“It’s not only good for them and their families, it’s also good for the entire economy,” he said. “I want to congratulate the Gap for doing the right thing.”
The pool was ushered out as the president offered to pose for pictures with employees.
The White House provided the names of the Gap employees who assisted the president:
Greeter: Susan Panariello
Cashier: Sonia Del Gatto
Subject: Travel Pool Report #6 — first fundraiser
The motorcade departed the Gap at 4:22 p.m. making the short drive to his first fundraiser of the evening. The event is at a private residence. The DNC fundraiser is closed press, and the pool is holding in vans nearby at Madison and 76th.
The pool did not see President Obama arrive at the fundraiser.
A Democratic National Committee official offers this description of the event:
President Obama will attend a roundtable discussion for the DNC in New York, NY. There will be approximately 25 supporters in attendance. Attendees have contributed up to $32,400.
Subject: Travel Pool Report #7 — arrival at second fundraiser
President Obama’s motorcade departed tonight’s first fundraiser at 6:49 p.m., traveling down Park Avenue before arriving a couple minutes later at a residence near Fifth Avenue and 64th St.
The pool is now holding in the lobby before the event.
A DSCC official offers this information about the fundraiser:
President Obama will attend a DSCC event at the home of Tony and Amie James, in New York, New York. Tickets for the event are $32,400. DSCC Chairman Michael Bennet and Mayor Bill de Blasio will also be attending.
Subject: Travel Pool Report #8 — fundraiser remarks
President Obama spoke for about 15 minutes at the DSCC fundraiser. In the dining room, guests sat at four round tables with 11 seats at each. Candles and elaborate flower arrangements adorned the center of each table.
The president first praised New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, saying he wants to be a partner with this city. “I’ve got a deep, abiding love for New York,” Obama said, adding that he’s excited about and invested in the city’s success.
He touted a familiar list of accomplishments, saying that the economy has recovered faster and stronger from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. He credited swift, coordinated actions for the economy bouncing back.
Obama said the U.S. is producing more energy than ever before, and clean energy production has doubled while carbon emissions have been reduced. He said the administration has provided health care for millions who didn’t have it before while seeing slower growth in health-care costs. He said the deficit has been reduced. But despite all these improvements, many people around the country are anxious, he said.
Although the country has rebounded, “that growth has been uneven,” he said. Wages and income have been more or less flat, he said. Some of this can be attributed to globalization, and much of it is because of advances in technology, he said.
Obama said it’s within the country’s power to make sure the economy grows in a broad-based way, but steps need to be taken to make that happen.
“A lot of this stuff in a normal political environment would be non-controversial,” he said.
Obama called for investing in the United States, saying, “Why aren’t we rebuilding America right now?”
He spoke about the value of highly skilled workers and early childhood education but said, “We’re not taking these basic steps.”
Obama said immigration laws should be rewritten, adding that Speaker John Boehner has acknowledged as much.
“What’s holding us back is politics,” he said.
Obama said the atmosphere in Washington puts a premium on saying ‘no’ with an eye on the next election. He said he could do some things on his own, but “man, it would be a lot easier if I had a Congress that was serious about America’s future.”
He said we have all the cards we need for America to compete but still need a Washington that functions better. Obama said that Democrats are not without flaws, noting that the party has some blind spots, dogmas and crazy folks. “But as a whole, this is a party that is serious about making sure that America is growing and offering opportunity to everybody,” he said.
Obama said he could accomplish a lot in 2 1/2 years with a smidgen of cooperation from Congress.
“I don’t have time to waste. The clock’s ticking,” he said.
Please check quotes against the transcript. The pool is now holding outside while Obama answers questions at the event.
Subject: Travel Pool Report #9 — back to the heliport
President Obama’s motorcade departed the second and final fundraiser at 8:26 p.m.
The motorcade made its way along empty Manhattan streets, arriving back at the heliport at 8:40 p.m.
Obama quickly boarded Marine One. A few minutes later, Marine One is lifting.
Subject: Travel Pool Report #10 — Departing New York
After a short flight above the bright lights of New York, Marine One touched down at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
President Obama exited alone and immediately boarded the plane.
At 9:08 p.m., after a whirlwind evening of presidential fundraising, Air Force One is rolling.