Archive for the ‘Paul Cellucci’ Category

Giuliani in New Hampshire

November 26, 2007

I spent Sunday on the second day of Mayor Giuliani’s bus tour across New Hampshire. We were in Nashua, Hudson, Salem and Hampton. During one particularly surreal stretch, I was in the back of a pick-up truck riding in Salem’s Christmas Parade. It was odd to drive by kids expecting to see Old St. Nick only to find a bunch of reporters with note-books.

I give a lot of credit to David Broder, who also made the climb into the pick-up. When you see a guy like Broder on the Sunday morning shows, you have to realize there’s much, much more there than a guy who can talk about politics off-the-cuff. He has a deep knowledge of American politics. And he is still working it. All the reporters gave him a tremendous amount of respect. He deserves it.

As for Giuliani, he was energized.But it was a strange day. Like everybody in New Hampshire, he was heavily managed. But this has gone a bit too far. In 2000, Bush was criticized for his inaccessibility to the press, in contrast to John McCain, who gabbed with reporters constantly, but at least the then-Texas governor did at least one set-piece press conference or availability a day. Nowadays, few of the candidates, Democrats or Republicans, even do that.

At one point, the campaign even brought Paul Cellucci onto the bus to answer questions, an act that drew eye-rolls and groans from the press corps. Cellucci called Romney’s earlier anti-Giuliani tirade a “Mitt Fit,” which I found to be a pretty good line.To me, the substance of the day was Giuliani’s attempt to exploit the opening created by one of Mitt Romney’s judges freeing a convicted murder who went on to murder a couple in Washington State. Here’s my piece in the Sun.  The spectacle of Giuliani’s campaign bus blaring Christmas music as the mayor ran from sidewalk to sidewalk was the kind of color that makes the New Hampshire primary great. Also great was this quote from a spectator clad in a Veterans of Foreign Wars jacket, David Thompson about the Massachusetts judge. “I’m not in favor of that at all. These judges are too damn liberal.”  

The Catholic Vote in 2008

October 23, 2007

In an election where most of the attention has been on the Evangelical vote, the group that could help determine the result in the general contest is American Catholics.

Many American Catholics reside in the industrial heartland’s swing states, such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. They could make the difference for November 2008. In 2000, Vice President Gore barely edged out President Bush for the backing of Catholic voters. In 2004, President Bush beat Senator Kerry for the Catholic vote by 52 to 47.

In a recent Sun column, I spoke to both to two former local political figures who supported George W. Bush in 2000, former mayor Ray Flynn and former governor Paul Cellucci.

At the time, Mr. Flynn, who was president of the Washington-based Catholic Alliance, said he felt abandoned by the Democratic Party on a variety of issues, including trade, health care, and abortion. Now, Mr. Flynn, who travels around the country speaking to Catholic groups, says he senses his co-religionists returning to the fold. While the unpopularity of the war in Iraq is clearly an issue, also important are traditional economic issues that have moved Catholic voters in the past. “Right now, the so-called Reagan Democrat, they’re going Democrat,” Mr. Flynn, speaking from Rome, said. “Health care, education, human rights — these issues are so compelling in this election that they’re voting Democrat.”

Cellucci says he sees Mr. Giuliani’s success among Catholic voters in New York City as a foreshadowing of what will happen in a presidential election. “I think that part of the voting population of which I’m obviously a member of is looking for a strong leader, somebody who’s going to keep America on offense against terror,” Mr. Cellucci says. “One of the things that will be important is the record the mayor had in cleaning up New York City. Forty-second Street was pretty sleazy and turned it into a place where families could go.” Mr. Cellucci adds that many Italian-Americans, a group that tends to be Democratic, he says, “are going to vote for Rudy.”

Paul Cellucci at Republican Debate

June 5, 2007

One of the first surrogates to arrive at the CNN Republican debate in New Hampshire was former Massachusetts governor, Paul Cellucci. Paul Cellucci looked great and happy to be back in the game. He is supporting Rudy Giuliani in the presidential race — not his fellow Massachusetts Republican governor, Mitt Romney, nor John McCain, whom his former spokesman, Rob Gray, is backing.

One oft-forgotten aspect of Cellucci is his knack for picking candidates in the presidential context. Back in 1980, he along with Andrew Card, Andrew Natsios and Ron Kaufman — all state representatives at the time — got behind George H.W. Bush. While Bush did not win, Card and Natsios made contacts that enabled to join the Bush Administration, 41. Cellucci missed out during that administration but found his loyalty to the Bushes rewarded when he became American ambassador to Canada. Cellucci knows the game and he knows New Hampshire.