Military theme dominates Pataki speech

Former New York Gov. George Pataki, moments after addressing N.J.'s GOP delegation at the Hilton.: Politicker photoFormer New York Gov. George Pataki, moments after addressing N.J.'s GOP delegation at the Hilton.: Politicker photo 

MINNEAPOLIS - McCain as military protector provided the solemn motif former New York Gov. George Pataki used this morning to finally prompt a standing ovation from his New Jersey audience.

"There are no finer people in our country than those who put on the uniform for our country," said Pataki, and a pattering of hands started that grew steadily as the former governor added of McCain, "I pray he spends the next four years protecting our country."

Hitting another responsive chord in the crowd, Pataki told a story about a reporter - and there were some groans as he provided the setup - who asked him if the massive loss of oil in the Gulf as a consequence of Hurricane Gustav were not sufficient proof that America shouldn’t drill.

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Smith ups his profile before the convention

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- U.S. Rep. Chris Smith tends to shun the spotlight, but he couldn’t avoid the congratulations coming from his fellow Republicans today.

Smith (R-Hamilton) made an appearance this morning at the delegation breakfast, just weeks after making headlines for extracting two of his constituents from their grandparents’ home in the Republic of Georgia.

Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore came over to greet smith, who represents part of his county.

“You’re looking good,” he said.

Smith last month got an email from one of his constituents, Joseph Evans, telling him that his two daughters were stuck at their grandparents farm in the Republic of Georgia. Smith sprung into action from his district office in Hamilton, spending a week working the phones from Hamilton before heading to Tbilisi himself.

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DuHaime returns to Jersey roots - even if it's in Minneapolis

Mike DuHaime at today's breakfast.: Politicker photoMike DuHaime at today's breakfast.: Politicker photo

MINNEAPOLIS - State Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Mercer) and McCain Campaign Political Director Mike DuHaime grew up together in the Republican Party, working for then-Congressman Bob Franks.

Referring to their paths onward as time passed, "One of them made good, and the other became a state senator," Baroni joked to the delegation at this morning’s breakfast.

Among those smiling faces in the audience was none other than the youthful DuHaime, paying his respects to his home crowd in this distant Midwestern city. The former campaign manager of Rudy Giuliani officially joined Team McCain in early July and now works out of Arlington, Va.

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Huckabee: blessed are the brief

BLOOMINGTON, Minn.  – Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee wondered out loud today why the New Jersey delegation had asked him to speak to their delegation this afternoon.”

“Why on earth would they invite a southern boy to speak to the folks of New Jersey today?  Must have been the novelty,” he said.

That was the extent of Huckabee’s remarks regarding New Jersey today.  Instead, he launched into an eight minute speech praising Sen. John McCain as an honorable man who’s ready to be president, along with the pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for Vice President.

“Today you’re going to hear us say wonderful things, but the good thing is we don’t have to make it up.  We genuinely believe John McCain is tested, prepared and ready to be president,” he said. 

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Kean: Corzine hurting higher education

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- Former Republican Gov. Tom Kean tends to be more circumspect about criticizing Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, even while he’s the favorite target of members of his own party. But Kean, perfectly aware of the ups and downs of gubernatorial opinion polls, said that he thinks that Republican criticism of Corzine is legitimate.

“It’s not unfounded,” he said. “The state’s not in great shape. Taxes are too high, we’re losing people and businesses. We can’t sustain that. We’ve got to be a state that’s expanding and creating jobs, not losing jobs.”

Kean, who after his second term expired in 1990 went on to become president of Drew University before retiring in 2005, said he recognizes the need to cut the budget, but it’s the programs Corzine has chosen that bother him.

“I have no problem with his cutting the budget, but I do have a problem with the cuts he’s selected that are going to take it out on higher education. I think the future of the state these days is college education is like a high school education… I’m really not happy with that.”

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Zimmer foregoes going after Lautenberg

U.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer, left, with GOP power player Bill Palatucci: Politicker photoU.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer, left, with GOP power player Bill Palatucci: Politicker photo 

MINNEAPOLIS - Now U.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer takes the stage. Understated as usual, the Republican picks former Gov. Tom Kean out of the crowd, and happily notes the presence of U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton).

Then he celebrates the national ticket of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

"They’re two reformers, two mavericks, who are really going to change the country," Zimmer said.

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Smith:Palin puts New Jersey in play

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton): Politicker photoU.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton): Politicker photo 

MINNEAPOLIS - U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton) said New Jersey is now in play because of the governor of Alaska.

"We will have a competent woman as the next vice president of the United States," Smith said of presumptive Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

"She rejected the bridge to nowhere. She's a reformer. We need to work overtime....If New Jersey was held two months ago, maybe there would be a different outcome, but not now, not today," Smith said. 

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Stormwatch persists in Minneapolis

Todd Christie, brother of U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, left, and state Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Mercer).: Politicker file photoTodd Christie, brother of U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, left, and state Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Mercer).: Politicker file photo 

MINNEAPOLIS - Republicans eat breakfast here at the Hilton while Hurricane Gustav shakes up New Orleans, and state Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Mercer) says the party's monitoring the situation.

"We are now waiting for word from the Republican National Committee on what will happen next," says Baroni, state chairman of Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign in New Jersey.

State Republican Chairman Tom Wilson says the fed's announcement that Gustav has been downgraded from a 3.0 to a category 2.0 hurricane bodes well for the convention, Tuesday through Thursday.

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The Back Room

Sweeney goes on offense

Days after Jersey City Mayor (and 2017 gubernatorial hopeful) Steve Fulop declared his support and fundraising devotion to South Jersey Congressional candidate Bill Hughes, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) see-sawed onto Fulop's turf with his own "I can find pockets of love in every part of this state including JC" statement.

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 18, 2014

Fulop endorses Smith in Bayonne mayoral raceBAYONNE - Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop parachuted into the Bayonne mayoral race on Thursday night by endorsing incumbent Mayor Mark Smith."It is a pleasure to be with you here, Mark," said Fulop to a crowd of more than 125 supporters at a...

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Op-Ed

Paterson can flourish with a second chance

By ASLON GOOW, SR. I have spent the past three decades raising a family, building a business, and working to improve our Paterson communities.  I am proud of those accomplishments.  In 2002, I spoke at an expungement... Read More >

Contributors

(4-16-14) New Jersey Vote By Mail Law - The voter turnout for New Jersey’s November gubernatorial election was the lowest since the days of prohibition, coming... more »
When it comes to profiling Christie, facts are for wussies (4/10/14) - As the national media stories on our Guv pile up, expect more blunders about the Garden State.... more »
This week I begin a series called Dispatches from Somewhere Else. Based on my on-going experiences as an everyman in New Jersey politics, these Dispatches review the hollowness of... more »
Watching Governor Chris Christie's shocking BridgeGate implosion, it's easy to forget the time when he truly seemed unstoppable.  Blessed with incredible political gifts and a Jersey bluster to match,... more »

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

"This is my first Mark Smith event. There have been a lot of changes in Hudson County over the last year and a half, and the most important change that has happened is that there really is unity. For the first time, we really are working together. Despite political differences. Mark and I have worked very hard to repair that. I'm really happy to be here in support of him, because I recognize that when you work together, politics becomes secondary and you really have time to focus on government, which is the most important thing." - Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop

- PolitickerNJ.com

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