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Obama to New York: Thompson “My Friend”

October 21, 2009

CBS News has released a story on the President’s recent shout-out (however tepid it was) to Bill Thompson, calling him a “friend.” That can’t make Bloomberg or the Brooklyn GOP leadership too happy! Here’s the story:

President Barack Obama was in New York on Tuesday to raise money for national and local Democrats — except the one challenging Mayor Michael Bloomberg. 

William Thompson Jr. got a shout-out from Obama during a speech and a quick backstage meeting, but the president saved his time and political power to raise money for a state assembly candidate and events benefiting the Democratic National Committee and health care reform. 

The only way Thompson got any recognition from Obama was by attending a health care rally in Manhattan, where tickets started at $100. Backstage, they met for a minute, a Thompson aide said. 

Obama told Thompson to “keep working hard.” Thompson responded “I am, every day.”

After taking the stage, Obama noted the local elected Democrats in the audience, including Thompson, who is the city’s chief financial manager. 

“A great city comptroller, a candidate for mayor, my friend Billy Thompson is in the house,” Obama said. 

It was something, but it wasn’t much, for a candidate who not long ago thought the president might schedule an event with him during his stop in New York City. 

As those hopes faded, Thompson lowered his expectations, saying he hoped to just see the president, and maybe get a photograph together. 

“Hopefully I will see the president next week, you know, to be able to add a picture to his endorsement,” Thompson said last week. 

In the end, he did get a photograph backstage, and notice from the president in remarks that were aired live via webcast to house parties around the nation. The speech was aimed at the president’s supporters who were gathered to lobby Congress to pass a health care reform bill. 

Thompson can use whatever attention he gets — popular billionaire Bloomberg has spent 16 times what Thompson has spent, so far. 

Bloomberg, a former Republican, is not registered with any party but is running on the Republican and Independent Party lines. He has crossover appeal among Democrats because his views often align with the party, and he has collected many Democratic endorsements. 

The mayor on Tuesday played down the significance of Obama endorsing his opponent, and any effect it would have on New York City voters, who are overwhelmingly Democratic.

“I don’t know whether he’s going to energize them or not,” Bloomberg said. “He’s the leader of the Democratic party — it shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody that he would endorse the Democratic candidate.”

Earlier in the day, the president stopped at the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force center in Manhattan.

It was something like a presidential visit to troops serving overseas, only this time the president’s “army” is fighting global terrorism right here in the Big Apple. Obama’s thanks to the NYPD and FBI was heartfelt and sincere. 

“I do not want to draw you away from the work that you do. I just want to let you know that we appreciate it, we acknowledge it, we thank you for it and I am going to continue to be standing behind you each and every step of the way,” Obama said. 

The president is fighting terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea and the Middle East, but his visit to the Manhattan-based NYPD-FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force underscored the important role they play in protecting the homeland against attack. 

“Most New Yorkers, much less most Americans, probably don’t know this office is here. They don’t know what you do. Obviously, you don’t do it for the glamour, for the glory or the pay. You do it to serve and protect your country and because of the effort and sacrifices you make on a daily basis, we are making real progress.” 

The Task Force has been widely credited with busting the terror plot allegedly masterminded by Najibullah Zazi to make bombs and explode them on NYC subways. 

“The president obviously recognizes the importance of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, recognizes the significance of the threat that we face particularly here in New York,” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said. “It was extremely uplifting for everyone that works in the JTTF and the NYPD and the FBI.”

And The Daily News had this to report:

With two weeks to go before the Nov. 3 general election, Brawl for the Hall is on top of the news. Read it all at NYDailyNews.com/blogs/brawlforthehall. Here’s some highlights:

Bloomberg on the Obama and Thompson show

If Mayor Bloomberg is worried about Democratic city Controller William Thompson getting a face-to-face shoutout from President Obama, he wasn’t letting on Tuesday.

“He’s the leader of the Democratic Party,” Bloomberg said of Obama. “[It] shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody that he would endorse the Democratic candidate.”

As mayor, Bloomberg noted, he’s worked closely with Obama on many issues and will continue to do so if reelected. “You’ve got to work with both sides of the aisle,” he said.

Speaking of the other side of the aisle

Bloomberg picked up his fourth endorsement from a Democratic congressman yesterday – his first from one who lives in the city.

Rep. Michael McMahon (D-S.I.) joined three Democratic suburban reps in crossing party lines.

The others were Nita Lowey of WestchesterCarolyn McCarthy of Long Island and Gary Ackerman, who represents parts of Queens and Long Island.

Thompson hits back

After weeks of taking shots from Bloomberg TV ads painting him as an incompetent flip-flopper, Thompson went live yesterday with his most aggressive anti-Bloomberg ad yet.

The ad reminds voters that Bloomberg once said changing term limits would be “disgraceful,” then went ahead and changed the law.

“On Nov. 3, tell Republican Mike Bloomberg – eight is enough,” the announcer says over spooky background music.

Meanwhile, in the race for city controller …

Jimmy McMillan, the populist founder of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, is demanding an apology from the organizers of last weekend’s televised controller debate.

McMillan has denounced his party’s candidate, Salim Ejaz, following a dispute between the two, but was still peeved to see Ejaz with an “I” under his name for “independent,” instead of “RTH” for the Rent party.

“If no one can help us remove him [from the party line], then we are going to get something out of this, too,” McMillan said.

We shall see how much this all influences the election. If so, of course, Atlas will report that to you.

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One Comment
  1. Stephanie Stadler permalink
    October 22, 2009 8:33 am

    NYC is not for $ale!

    http://www.urbanelephants.com/index.php/myblog/NYC-is-not-for-ale-.html#readmore

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