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Thread: 2004 Republican Convention in NYC

  1. #1

    Default 2004 Republican Convention in NYC

    GOP Taps New York to Host '04 Convention

    Mon Jan 6, 2:25 PM ET *Add Elections - AP to My Yahoo!

    By WILL LESTER, Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON - Republican Party leaders on Monday chose New York as the site for their 2004 presidential nominating convention.

    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the decision "a tremendous boost for the city."

    "New York is exactly the right place for the president and for the Republican Party," Bloomberg said. The convention will be held the week of Aug. 30. "The labor unions have been exceptionally helpful in assuring the Republican Party that the convention will go forward with all of the efficiencies" the party wanted, he said.

    Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. and New Orleans had been among the finalists along with New York. But New York had been considered a favorite for several months.

    Democrats announced earlier they would hold their convention in Boston during the week of July 26. The GOP convention will be held during the week of Aug. 30.

    New York Gov. George Pataki said, "The Republican National Committee (news - web sites)'s selection of New York City to host the Republican National Convention in 2004 is yet another sign of the confidence people have in New York and sends a message to America and the world that New York is back."

    New York had plenty of advantages because of Bloomberg, who is a Republican, its many hotel rooms and the attention it got as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But GOP officials had logistical questions, such as how the city would house large numbers of media representatives who would be covering the event.

    Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's brother, had pushed hard for Florida to get the convention, but Republican officials also worried about possible protests in the state because of the contested 2000 presidential elections.

    New Orleans had many advantages as a convention city, but Republicans lost a close and bitterly contested Senate runoff election a month ago when Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu (news, bio, voting record) held off a determined challenge from Republican Suzanne Terrell.

    Pat Brister, the Louisiana Republican Party chairman, said she did not believe Landrieu's victory had anything to do with it.

    "I know New York put together a good package," she said. "They certainly can do a convention. They have the hotels and facilities and New Orleans also can do that. I just think it was a business decision.

    The selection of New York was recommended by the RNC's Site Selection Committee. That move in practical terms resolved the issue of convention location, although the party must still reach a contract with the city and conduct a vote of the full 165-member RNC.

    Marc Racicot, chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Ellen Williams, chairwoman of the party's site selection committee made the announcement following a conference call Monday.

    The full RNC will act on the recommendation at its winter meeting from Jan. 29-Feb. 1.

    "We believe New York will provide an outstanding backdrop to showcase our candidate and our party in 2004," according to a GOP release.

    Tampa Mayor Dick Greco called it "a very difficult choice" and said "it was a business decision, strictly a business decision, and all the cities could have furnished everything they needed."

    Greco said the city would bid again in 2008.

  2. #2

    Default Republicans to Hold 2004 Convention in New York


    January 7, 2003
    Republicans Pick New York as Site of '04 Convention

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 The Republican Party tentatively designated New York City today as the site of its 2004 national convention, selecting one of the most heavily Democratic cities in the nation as the place to renominate President Bush in about 18 months.

    It would be the first time in the city's history that it played host to a Republican convention.

    Republican officials said they chose New York over two competing cities, Tampa and New Orleans, in part because of what they described as the enormous political and emotional symbolism that has become attached to the city since the terror attack on Sept. 11, 2001. They also said New York had offered the best package of financial incentives, including a pledge to raise $53 million in private contributions to defray the estimated cost of $80 million for the gathering.

    New York officials, led by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Gov. George E. Pataki, both Republicans, had lobbied urgently for the convention to be held at Madison Square Garden, arguing that it would be a psychological and financial lift to the city during difficult times.

    The recommendation was made unanimously today by the Republican site selection committee in a telephone conference call.

    It is expected to be ratified by the 165 members of the Republican National Committee at its annual meeting in Washington this month.

    Mr. Bloomberg was called away from a news conference announcing the city's Winter Festival at Lasker Rink in Central Park this morning to take a call from Marc Racicot, the Republican national chairman. Mr. Racicot, a former governor of Montana, was relaying the results of the conference call approving what was, in reality, a White House decision. Mr. Bloomberg returned to his lectern, an ice sculpture chiseled for the occasion, to share a bit of news that his administration had been anticipating for more than a month.

    "I just got a call from Gov. Marc Racicot, informing me that he recommended to the site selection committee a host city for the next Republican National Convention, and that the host committee unanimously endorsed his recommendation," Mr. Bloomberg said, with conscious understatement. "I am pleased to inform you that that is New York City."

    The Republican Party's selection of New York, an event that would have seemed almost unfathomable just two years ago, was the result of a confluence of factors that has made the city an increasingly irresistible choice to the White House.

    It started with the terror attack itself, which shaped Mr. Bush's presidency and now seems certain to provide a constant backdrop to his renomination, party officials said.

    In addition, New York, a Democratic city and a symbol of ethnic diversity, offered itself as a stage for the Republican Party at the very time that the party has been seeking to portray itself as appealing to moderate and minority voters. That effort has been complicated over the past month by the remarks by Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi that even Republicans described as racially insensitive and forced him to step down as Senate majority leader.

    While few Republicans believe that holding the convention in New York would improve Mr. Bush's chances of winning a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 2 million, several argued today that they achieved the admittedly mischievous result of forcing Democrats to pay attention to a state that they would prefer to take for granted.

    Finally, New York now has a Republican governor and New York City a Republican mayor, which is helpful both logistically and symbolically.

    The city is the home of the nation's best-known ex-mayor of either party, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who is expected to figure prominently in the convention. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, is up for re-election in 2004, and the party presumably would use the convention platform to help the prospects of his Republican opponent.

    In an initial display of support after the attack, both the Republican and Democratic Parties had said they would consider holding their conventions in Manhattan. The Democratic Party ultimately decided against holding what would have been its sixth convention in New York since 1868, choosing instead to go to Boston, after party leaders said they would consider coming back to New York only if the city abandoned efforts to recruit the Republicans.

    Aides portrayed the decision as a major victory for Mayor Bloomberg, and disputed the suggestion that it was an emotional calculation driven by the Sept. 11 tragedy.

    "9/11 was never part of our pitch," said Kevin Sheekey, a special adviser to Mr. Bloomberg. "Either they felt the emotional impact and wanted to be there for that reason or they didn't, and it wasn't something we could affect. What we could do is negotiate rates with hotel rooms."

    Mr. Racicot said in an interview today that New York was chosen because it had offered the best package of benefits to the Republicans, and he also cited the "enthusiasm that they displayed and the opportunity to showcase our party and our candidates" to the nation. He said gathering in a city so closely identified with tragedy and patriotism was clearly a factor as well.

    "I think the entire country has become more closely connected, or reconnected, with the city in a very intimate way," he said, "in a very important way, and being able to coincidentally further that relationship is a good thing."

    The city held one of its pivotal negotiating sessions with the Republican site selection committee last month at the new Ritz-Carlton in Lower Manhattan, where the windows on one side of the hotel offer a view of the Statue of Liberty and the windows on the other side look out on the clearing amid what was once a dense wall of buildings where the twin towers had stood.

    Roland W. Betts, a member of the committee of Republicans assembled by Mr. Bloomberg to lobby the White House, is a close friend of Mr. Bush. Mr. Betts said he directly pressed the events of Sept. 11 in lobbying for the convention with both Mr. Bush and Karl Rove, the president's senior political adviser.

    "What we focused on was that New York was the best background for the convention, growing out of the events of Sept. 11," Mr. Betts said in an interview. "The alternatives were inappropriate. Florida would have been all about the last election, and we would have to relive hanging chads."

    New York officials said the convention, scheduled for the last week in August, would bring 50,000 people and $150 million into the city.

    Republican and city officials said that the convention would cost about $80 million to put on, but that the city's only expense would be about $25 million for police overtime and other law enforcement costs.

    The incentives package of $53 million from private sources would help defray convention expenses. City officials provided data to Republican officials to demonstrate that the city has been a prime source of political contributions to Republican candidates.

    The city also provided Republican officials with signed promises from labor leaders that they would not conduct the kind of strikes or work slowdowns that have troubled other convention planners in New York, and that any disputes would be submitted to binding arbitration.

    City officials guaranteed convention planners 22,000 hotel rooms, including 17,000 within a mile of Madison Square Garden, and promised that 9,000 would be available to delegates for $156 a night. In addition, an estimated 15,000 reporters, who in other cities have worked in tents, trailers and spare office space, would be placed across Eighth Avenue from the arena in the Farley Post Office Building, which is to be converted into the new Pennsylvania Station.

    Republican officials said that Tampa was unable to match the offer on hotel rooms, and that in Florida delegates would have been scattered far from the convention site. The other major competing city, New Orleans, was unable to match New York City's promise of financial assistance.

    "I was disappointed," said Pat Brister, the Republican chairwoman of Louisiana. "I would have loved to have it in New Orleans. We gave it our best shot."

    A spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, Jennifer Palmieri, said Democrats were neither surprised nor concerned by the Republicans' decision. "We always thought the Republicans would go to New York, and that is one of the reasons we felt we couldn't go," she said. "We knew the Republicans would be the governor's and the mayor's first priority, and we would always be playing second fiddle."

  3. #3

    Default Republicans to Hold 2004 Convention in New York


    January 7, 2003
    With Party Convention in Hand, City Scrambles for Big Spenders

    This is really all about the parties. Big parties.

    And the money. Big money.

    New York has made its case for the former, enticing the Republican National Convention here on Aug. 30, 2004, and it is dangling its assets the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Rainbow Room, Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal to attract the latter.

    "I don't know if it is myth or not, but there is a sense that Republicans have more money," said David Adler, the chief executive of BiZBash .com, an online magazine covering the event-planning industry. "They have bigger parties. They appreciate parties and events, and like mingling and networking."

    At any convention, the parties, social rather than political, tend to command as much attention, if not more, than the business of nominating candidates, which is usually a foregone conclusion.

    But securing a ticket to the "in" soiree is another matter entirely.

    Event planners say any restaurant in New York that has some theme vaguely connected to the other 49 states will probably get snapped up by state political organizations. And for those who are not invited, forget reservations at high-end restaurants for convention week.

    The parties, the dinners, the entertainment choices that are all part of convention week, bring in the jobs, money and taxes that a city like New York covets. Philadelphia, which was home to the Republican convention in 2000, calculated a direct economic benefit of $170 million.

    A report released by Philadelphia 2000, the host comittee for the event, said that of that money, in excess of $40 million was spent on the more than 1,000 receptions, parties and other events.

    Philadelphia also got something else out of playing host that it had been desperately trying to attain. The Philadelphia 2000 report conceded that it was trying to put "the region on the map once and for all as one of the premier hospitality destinations in America."

    New York already ranks among the nation's top three tourist destinations (No. 1 for foreign travelers, No. 3 for domestic, behind Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas) and, according to Tradeshow Week, it is second behind Las Vegas in big conventions.

    Still, Cristyne L. Nicholas, president and chief executive of NYC & Company, the city's tourism and convention promoter, said that in light of 9/11, New York needed to boost its image as a safe place to visit, as well as one that can pull off big events without a hitch.

    In 2000, many of the parties were underwritten by corporations and big donors, alarming government watchdogs who see such events as an opportunity to buy access.

    A new campaign finance law prohibits the political parties from raising and spending the unregulated contributions from corporations known as soft money, but the Federal Election Commission has not yet put out a full set of rules on how the law applies to convention financing.

    Few predict that any rules, short of banning sponsorships outright, will cut down on big corporate-sponsored events, especially in this town.

    Expect a rush to book locations.

    "It will start tomorrow," Mr. Adler said, "if it hasn't started already."

  4. #4

    Default Republicans to Hold 2004 Convention in New York

    We could certainly use the money, I just don't look forward to the inevitable political marketing they will be spewing in regards to ground zero. It would be the same if the Dems held their convention here, but the national Republican Party through the years has mostly trashed, insulted and ignored NYC from Congress and the White House. To see them suddenly roll into town to capitalize on our tragedy really pisses me off. I hope businesses in the city price gouge the hell out of them.

    I'm already cringing.

  5. #5

    Default Republicans to Hold 2004 Convention in New York

    LOL! *But, then they would demand more personal tax cuts to offset their NY expenditure. *

  6. #6

    Default Republicans to Hold 2004 Convention in New York
    March 9, 2003
    G.O.P. Meeting Offers Glimpse Far in Advance of Convention

    More than a year before Republicans descend on New York for the 2004 presidential convention, they will get a taste of what is to come when they hold their regular summer meeting here in July.

    Republican Party officials said Friday that for the first time since 1998, they would hold one of their twice-yearly gatherings in New York City. Both city and party officials say the summer meeting provides a chance to kick the tires before the 2004 national convention at Madison Square Garden, where President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are expected to be re-nominated.

    A year before each national convention, the Republicans usually hold their summer meeting in the host city.

    The dates and location of the summer meeting have not been set. Party members gather in the winter and summer every year to conduct routine business and strategize for elections. Typically, a guest from the White House speaks. Mr. Cheney spoke at the winter meeting this year in Washington, but Kevin Sheridan, a spokesman for the party, said no decision had been made on who would speak in the summer.

    The 300 or so party officials who will attend this summer's meeting are expected to check out the various locations, including Madison Square Garden, that have been or will be used for convention-related events. Establishments like Radio City Music Hall, Tavern on the Green and the Channel Gardens at Rockefeller Center have set aside Aug. 30 through Sept. 2, 2004, for convention events.

    "We're really excited they are coming and see this as an excellent chance to showcase the city a year before the convention," said Jennifer Falk, a spokeswoman for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who had aggressively courted the convention as a sign of the city's post-9/11 revival.

    Cristyne L. Nicholas, president of NYC & Company, the city's promotional arm, said such meetings hold incalculable word-of-mouth value.

    About 50,000 people are expected at the 2004 convention, generating $150 million for the city economy.

  7. #7

    Default Republicans to Hold 2004 Convention in New York

    Judging from the shameless pandering of their last convention in Philly, "cringe" is the right word. *I'll say one thing, though: *If you're black, hispanic, or asian and you want to be on TV, just show up at MSG in Sept. 2004.

  8. #8


    November 12, 2003

    G.O.P. Convention Has Police Alert and Protesters Planning


    Police in New York City have been at work since June preparing for the Republican National Convention next summer, an event that could draw hundreds of thousands of protesters to the congested streets of Midtown while President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are in town.

    At the same time, groups are busy planning protests, using the Internet and holding meetings to reach out to antiwar, anti-Bush and anti-Republican forces for the convention, scheduled Aug. 30 to Sept. 2. One group has even formed a committee to discuss details as specific as providing day care for protesters' children and pets.

    The Republicans' decision to hold their nominating convention at Madison Square Garden presents the city with such a volatile mix of elements an incumbent president, troops in Iraq, fear of terrorism, the existence of well-organized and active global protest groups that the Police Department began preparations further in advance than it has for any event in a quarter-century, officials said.

    Against this backdrop, the police are searching for a balance between the public's constitutional right to demonstrate and the need to keep the streets open, the trains running and the convention operating without interruption.

    "We have the sense that there will be a lot of people coming in, not only from just in the United States but from outside the country, to voice their opinion," the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, said in an interview. "So we want to be prepared."

    An Internet search reveals that demonstrators are making plans for the convention, some with the goal of delivering a peaceful political statement, others hoping to have their say by disrupting events. Web sites have been formed (with names like R.N.C. Not Welcome and Counter Convention) and e-mail lists are being circulated so that people can exchange ideas about such strategies as how to tie up city traffic.

    One group, United for Peace and Justice, has already filed two permit requests, one for 250,000 protesters to march past the Garden the weekend before the convention begins. United for Peace and Justice organized the antiwar rally in February that attracted hundreds of thousands of protesters, erupting at points into clashes between protesters and the police. The group is planning a peaceful march, but says that the convention could attract others intent on disrupting events.

    "The resistance that the Bush administration attracts takes many forms, from people who might call or write an elected official to those who might sit down in the street and those who might want to resist" in more aggressive ways, said the group's spokesman, Bill Dobbs.

    Mr. Kelly, like others preparing for the event, said he could not provide a hard estimate of how many protesters are expected. But the police are monitoring the Internet and the organizing groups, the commissioner said. They want to know what groups are coming to New York, who their leaders are and what their plans are, long before anyone ever raises a billboard or turns on a bullhorn. The police have created 30 committees within the department to address the myriad security concerns, including transportation around the city, safeguarding the 49 hotels that will house officials, delegates and news media, safeguarding the restaurants, theaters and other entertainment sites and making sure that officers are adequately trained to handle it all.

    Mr. Kelly attends a weekly convention preparation meeting and is already talking about details as minute as whether law enforcement officials will have enough cameras and vans to process individuals who are arrested. In addition, the police meet regularly with the Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Coast Guard and the Fire Department. There are also planned meetings with the mayor's office, the governor's office and the convention's committee on arrangements.

    But the core of the work now involves research and intelligence gathering. "We're gathering information about plans that people may have to come here," Mr. Kelly said. "And we understand, this is what America's all about, people to demonstrate peacefully, make their feelings known. And we want to facilitate that and keep it peaceful."

    The nexus of free speech and what the law deems to be criminal activity is a sensitive area, police officials concede. The New York Civil Liberties Union has already contacted police officials to try to meet and find the balance between the department's desire for absolute calm and the protesters' desire to be within the vicinity of the convention so that delegates can hear the protesters' concerns.

    In 1992, when the Democrats held their national convention at the Garden, police set up an area on Eighth Avenue, on the sidewalk outside the nearby general post office building. When the crowds swelled, police expanded the protest area into the street, yet managed to keep one lane of traffic open.

    But there were never more than about 5,000 protesters, a fraction of what is expected this summer, according to former police officials who were involved in security for the 1992 convention.

    "If you have to deal with more than that, and people are violent, at that location, you will have a problem," said a former police official involved in the 1992 event.

    In 1992, authorities also permitted a small group of protesters to set up on Seventh Avenue, so they could be seen by delegates entering the arena, former police officials said. This time the post office will be the main base for thousands of news media personnel, so the police suggested it is unlikely they will allow thousands of protesters to congregate right outside the building.

    "Our concern is that the New York Police Department and the Secret Service will try to push demonstrators away from the convention site," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "We will mount an aggressive campaign to make sure this doesn't happen. It's critical that New York City be as welcoming to the protesters as it is to those who come to participate in the convention."

    The easiest way to keep the peace, some officials said, is to seal off large areas of Manhattan from protesters. City officials have said that they want to accommodate peaceful protesters but are not sure how or where. Coming almost three years after the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center, there is also the fear that terrorists will try to strike during the event.

    The federal government has designated the Republican convention, and the Democratic National Convention that will be held earlier in the summer in Boston, as national special security events. That puts the Secret Service in charge of coordinating security between agencies, gives the F.B.I. responsibility for collecting intelligence and providing crisis management, and gives the Federal Emergency Management Administration the job of dealing with the effects of any possible crisis.

    But the New York Police Department, with its 37,000 officers, while working in conjunction with the federal agencies, will ultimately be responsible for controlling the streets.

    As soon as it was clear the convention was coming to New York, police officials visited Los Angeles, which hosted the Democrats, and Philadelphia, which hosted the Republicans, in 2000. Philadelphia police had taken a very aggressive, what some have called pre-emptive, approach, and in some cases arrested people before they ever protested. In virtually all the cases, prosecutions were either dropped or the defendant was acquitted, said Stefan Presser, legal director for the A.C.L.U. of Pennsylvania.

    "From the way the criminal justice process played out, it was transparently clear the city was far less interested in securing convictions than in clearing the streets," Mr. Presser said.

    Last February, the city saw perhaps a preview of what the convention scene could become. The group United for Peace and Justice had applied for a permit to conduct an antiwar march in Manhattan. The permit was denied, though one was granted for a rally. Hundreds of thousands of people tried to get into the designated area on First Avenue near the United Nations. While the police tried to funnel the crowd through designated access points, tensions rose and flare-ups broke out. For a city known for its control of crowds during presidential visits, sporting events, parades and celebrations, it was a public relations setback. Mr. Kelly said his department will be prepared to make sure that does not happen again, though he did not say exactly how.

    "I'm not going to go into the specifics now and put all our safeguards on the table here because some of this is a tactical game that we're engaged in," he said. "You know, the vast majority of demonstrators here will be peaceful. They'll want to make a statement. And we want to help them do that. We want to facilitate that. There will be some, we believe, that will be here to cause problems."

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  9. #9


    The political landscape has changed somewhat since the GOP decided to hold their convention in New York City. I wonder if they now regret that decision.

  10. #10


    December 1, 2003

    G.O.P. Option at Convention: Luxury Liner


    Representative Tom DeLay wants the Norwegian Dawn to be Republicans' home away from home in New York during the party's convention.

    It is being billed as the perfect place for celebrations during the Republican National Convention next summer, with shows, fine works of art, health clubs, bars, cafes, amazing views, luxury staterooms and restaurants serving cuisine from around the world. And it is just a short walk to Midtown.

    But before its visitors can cross a New York City street, they will have to pass over a gangplank. The Norwegian Dawn, a 2,240-passenger luxury cruise liner, has 15 decks, 14 bars and lounges and babbling brooks. But even docked at a pier on the Hudson River, it is not New York City. And, to many critics, that is the point.

    The House majority leader, Tom DeLay, would like the ship to serve as a floating entertainment center for Republican members of Congress, and their guests, when the convention comes to New York City next Aug. 30 to Sept. 2.

    "Our floating hotel will provide members an opportunity to stay in one place, in a secure fashion," said a spokesman for Mr. DeLay, Jonathan Grella. He did not elaborate.

    Perhaps Mr. Grella is reluctant to talk because Mr. DeLay's idea has infuriated a cross section of New Yorkers, much to the delight of Democrats and the embarrassment of some Republicans.

    New York would lose money if Mr. DeLay decides to charter the ship because it would draw visitors and dollars away from city hotels, restaurants and shops.

    As for the more ephemeral issue of perception, the proposal to remove visitors from the hubbub of city life has been broadly received as a slight a suggestion that the city's hotels and restaurants, not to mention its people, are not quite good enough for Republicans from out of state.

    Republicans are not necessarily happy, either. Many say the cruise ship could undermine one reason New York was chosen for the first time in the party's history as the site of its convention: to help advance the idea that Republicans are the new big-tent party, trying to embrace all voters.

    Instead, Republican strategists say, being docked on the Hudson River would send out the message that they are a bunch of elitists who will not mingle with city residents and just might be ducking New York's laws, including the one that prohibits smoking in public places (a cruise ship might be exempt, or at least unwelcome territory for a city health inspector).

    "In an era of nonstop news and visuals, do you want the visual of the convention to be a group of people sequestered on a cruise ship?" said one Republican strategist, who added that there is a lot of hand-wringing among Republicans in New York and Washington over the plan.

    Still, few Republicans are willing to publicly challenge Mr. DeLay, whose nickname in Congress is the Hammer.

    Representative Vito J. Fossella of Staten Island, the only Republican in the New York City Congressional delegation, initially worked with Mr. DeLay to present the cruise ship idea to the other members. Now, all his spokesman will say is that the idea of the ship is not Mr. Fossella's, he is merely passing on the information to his fellow party members.

    Gov. George E. Pataki, the three-term Republican who said in a statement that he would prefer to see conventiongoers use New York's hotels, has not publicly called for Mr. DeLay to abandon the idea.

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a fellow Republican whose relations with Mr. DeLay have nonetheless been strained, has also been cautious with his remarks.

    One Republican strategist said he imagined that New York tabloids would run headlines like "Ship of Fools" or "Titanic."

    Representative Peter T. King, a Republican from Nassau County, said: "I won't be on the ship. If they want to have it, fine." But, he added, "I think it could send the wrong signal, that Republicans are isolated from the city, just wining and dining and drinking and not being part of city life."

    That is exactly what has New York's Democrats chortling. "What is it? They don't want to be contaminated by us?" said Representative Charles B. Rangel, a Democrat from Harlem. He vowed to wage a campaign against the cruise ship and criticized Mr. Bloomberg for not speaking out more vociferously. "It is a very, very unfriendly thing to do," Mr. Rangel said.

    But Mr. DeLay has indicated that he has no plan to back off.

    Mr. DeLay has won power and loyalty from Republican members of Congress by making sure they were treated luxuriously. He saw to it that House ethics rules were changed so that members could accept free trips and lodging to attend charity events.

    At the Republican convention in Philadelphia in 2000, he provided representatives with cars and drivers, and he set up a hospitality suite inside a luxury railroad car. This time, he would not be footing the bill for the ship, but is the driving force behind making it available during the convention, according to Republicans.

    The idea of using the cruise ship, which operates out of New York City year-round for Norwegian Cruise Line, first came up when the company approached Republican leaders several weeks ago, a company spokeswoman said. The cruise line has also approached Democrats about their convention, which will be held in Boston in July, but those talks have not progressed as far as they have with the Republicans, said a spokeswoman, Susan Robison.

    Ms. Robison and a DeLay aide also confirmed that Susan Hirschman, Mr. DeLay's former chief of staff, is a member of the lobbying firm hired by the ship's owners to pursue this kind of business.

    Ms. Hirschman did not return a call for comment, and Ms. Robison said she did not know if Ms. Hirschman made the original pitch to the Republican leadership. But once the pitch was delivered, Mr. DeLay and Mr. Fossella presented the plan to Congressional Republicans.

    Immediately, the proposal was viewed by many political insiders as another episode in the increasingly hostile relationship between Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. DeLay. In October, Mr. Bloomberg called on wealthy New Yorkers to avoid giving donations to any member of Congress who does not help New York. He singled out Mr. DeLay, saying, for example, that he had made a proposal to change federal financing formulas that would cost the city $300 million in federal transportation aid.

    Mr. Bloomberg has reacted cautiously to the ship episode, making statements that are carefully worded to avoid antagonizing the majority leader. Nonetheless, he has made his feelings about the cruise ship proposal known.

    "We have plenty of hotel rooms, it's a safe city, it's the safest place you can be almost with a lot of people around you, is right here in the streets of New York City, and why you'd want to be away from that, I don't know," the mayor said last week when reporters asked about the proposal.

    People close to Mr. DeLay said that he was not too happy with the mayor's remarks to potential donors in New York, but that they did not think that Mr. DeLay proposed the cruise ship to spite Mr. Bloomberg.

    "I think DeLay felt there was a benefit of being on a cruise ship," said one Congressional Republican who spoke on the condition that he not be identified. "He felt it was classy and upscale."

    It is upscale. In fact, people who stay there will, on average, pay higher room prices than they would for the negotiated rates in New York hotels. The Republican National Committee has booked 22,000 hotel rooms for the convention at an average rate of about $196 per night; in comparison, the rate on the ship is about $240 to $430 a night, according to recent news reports. Ship guests would have to pay state and city sales taxes, but it is not clear if they would also have to pay the city's hotel taxes, according to the city and the cruise line.

    The mayor's office said it was also unclear whether the city's law banning smoking in all restaurants and bars would apply to the cruise ship. That would have to be studied further, a spokesman said.

    The Norwegian Dawn has 10 restaurants. It also has grand Garden Villa suites with a garden and babbling brooks. The ship has a children's park with a dinosaur theme, and it has a 1,000-seat theater. It is registered in the Bahamas, and its staff is multinational, Ms. Robison said.

    Mr. DeLay's aides, as well as representatives for the cruise line, have tried to argue that Norwegian Cruise Line brings business to the city because the ship operates out of New York year round, and that this, too, would bring in revenue. Local people would be hired for jobs like baggage handling and passenger check-in, Ms. Robison said.

    But those arguments did little to dampen the criticism, including charges that the Republicans misled New York businesses when they negotiated to bring the convention to the city.

    "It is certainly not within the spirit of the convention, and the committee's pledge to help drive the economic engine of New York City," said Joseph E. Spinnato, president of the Hotel Association of New York City, in a statement. "It also does not conform to the negotiations conducted in good faith between the Republican National Committee and the hotels."

    Cristyne L. Nicholas, the president of NYC & Company, the city's tourism bureau, also criticized the cruise ship plan. Ms. Nicholas, whose ex-boss, former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, is an official host of the convention, said the ship sent the wrong message about New York and would deprive its passengers of enjoying what New York has to offer.

    But, she said: "I'm an optimist. If Tom DeLay goes to the West Side, maybe he will see the need for the transportation money. Maybe he'll see how much help New York needs from the federal government."

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  11. #11


    December 3, 2003

    They'll Take Manhattan: Republicans Drop Ship Idea


    The Norwegian Dawn was to be a G.O.P. hotel and recreation site.

    Representative Tom DeLay of Texas will not go ahead with his plan to use a luxury cruise liner as a floating entertainment center for members of Congress, lobbyists and contributors during the Republican National Convention next summer, an aide said yesterday.

    Mr. DeLay, the House majority leader, had insisted earlier this week that he was still planning to use the 2,224-passenger Norwegian Dawn in the Hudson to accommodate Republicans who will be in the city for the event, from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2.

    As criticism mounted, particularly from Republicans concerned that they would appear elitist if they stayed on a ship away from the heart of the city and its people, he backed off, saying it was not worth the fight.

    A spokesman said, "Tom DeLay fights for what he believes in, but where we have an event at the convention is not something that he particularly cares about." The aide, Mr. DeLay's communications director, Stuart Roy, added: "He will stand and fight on principle for things he believes in, like Medicare, things that matter. Whether you have an event on a boat is irrelevant."

    The decision may put to rest a conflict that had threatened to overshadow the very purpose of the convention, the renomination of President Bush. However, Democrats as well as Republicans also suggested that more troubles could lie ahead, since so many people said the dispute left them angry and distrustful.

    A Republican strategist close to Mr. DeLay who spoke on the condition he not be identified said, "A lot of disingenuous people made a mountain out of a molehill, and DeLay just decided to let the moles win."

    In New York, there was a sense of bewilderment among Democrats and Republicans that Mr. DeLay let the dispute go on as long as he did, and that he seemed not to understand how it would appear if the Republican delegation and their guests slept, dined and relaxed on a cruise ship instead of in a hotel.

    There was such a gap in perception that late yesterday, some Republicans in Washington who supported the cruise liner idea were still saying that it would not have taken much money away from the city and that perhaps there are some Republican members of Congress who want to take their families to the convention but do not want them to stay in Manhattan, a point that offended many New Yorkers.

    The cruise liner has 10 restaurants, 14 bars and lounges, and a 1,000-seat theater. Docked here, it would draw millions of dollars in business away from city shops, restaurants, hotels and theaters, critics said. Representatives of the hotel industry estimated that it would take $40 million in revenue away from hotels alone.

    The economic arguments did not seem to persuade Mr. DeLay. The majority leader at first thought the criticism of the cruise ship plan was just the result of bad blood between him and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who had singled him out in October as a lawmaker who has been bad for New York and therefore not worthy of campaign contributors' checks, according to people familiar with the events that led to his decision to back down.

    He was persuaded to change his mind, they said, as William D. Harris, the convention chairman, and other Republican strategists worked on Mr. DeLay's staff to press him to abandon the idea.

    Gov. George E. Pataki, the three-term Republican who recently organized a fund-raiser for Mr. DeLay in Manhattan, did not ask him to drop the plan but instead asked Republicans in the state delegation to ask him to back off, according to the governor's office.

    Mr. Bloomberg, too, had been careful in wording his responses to the DeLay plan. But on Monday, the mayor, who also was under increasing pressure from local labor unions and political leaders in New York, telephoned Mr. DeLay. He and Mr. DeLay then spoke by telephone about 4 p.m. yesterday, and shortly thereafter Mr. DeLay said through a spokesman that he would not go through with his plan.

    Mr. Bloomberg then called Colin Veitch, the president and chief executive of Norwegian Cruise Lines, which owns the ship, to try to avoid hard feelings with a company that docks a cruise liner here year-round and brings a lot of business to the city.

    The company issued a statement late yesterday saying that it was not going ahead with the convetion plan with the proposal because it no longer made economic sense, although the statement was prepared after Mr. DeLay had said he was ending the fight.

    Mr. Harris, the convention chairman, did not return a call to his Washington office, and the Republican National Committee press office also did not return a call for comment.

    Mr. DeLay, along with Representative Vito Fossella, Republican of Staten Island, first presented this idea to the Republican delegation in early November. Mr. DeLay would not pay for the ship but was the driving force behind making it available for Republican members of Congress and their guests, all of whom would pay their own bills.

    As critics began to attack the proposal, Mr. Fossella began to move away from the plan, saying that he was merely passing along information. Mr. DeLay stuck with it, even as union leaders in New York were saying that they felt the Republicans negotiated terms of the convention in bad faith. Some of the union leaders said they would abandon an agreement not to strike during the convention, a deal they signed because they were eager to bring the business of the convention to the city.

    With the decision last night, New York City businesses should receive the full benefit of the conventioneers, while the cruise ship will lose out on a high profile week docked in New York harbor. That, however, is not likely to mean a loss of business for the cruise ship, which remains popular.

    In fact, there remains at least one well-known New Yorker planning to take a room on the ship: Rosie O'Donnell. A travel company run by her partner, Kelli Carpenter, has chartered the ship for a gay and lesbian family holiday cruise in July, and Ms. O'Donnell plans to be on board with her children, the company said.

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  12. #12


    A spokesman said, "Tom DeLay fights for what he believes in, but where we have an event at the convention is not something that he particularly cares about." The aide, Mr. DeLay's communications director, Stuart Roy, added: "He will stand and fight on principle for things he believes in, like Medicare, things that matter. Whether you have an event on a boat is irrelevant."
    Give me a break. I'm not surprised that Tom DeLay would be uncomfortable on NYC streets. What hypocracy in light of the RNC opening an office in Washington Heights, when their policies are in conflict with the people of the community.

  13. #13
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    New York City


    The GOP can't see how ridiculous this is? Tom DeLay doesn't want to step out of his comfortable suburban bubble.

    The silver lining here is that we won't have to walk around the inevitable 90% of these conventioners that are probably obese. Its great urban planning when you think about it.

  14. #14


    It's obnoxious that they even considered a boat at a time when NYC's tourism, hotel & restaurant industry is struggling so badly. To essentially rip all those dollars out of suppliers hands and give them to Norwegian Cruise line is an insult to every New Yorker that has struggled so badly in the last 2 years. (And now who wants to place bets someone connected to Norwegian is a big Republican donar?).

  15. #15
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    New York City


    Maybe DeLay and company were afraid that some of the native rats of Manhattan would recognize them.

    Wouldn't it have been great if they all got Legionnaire's disease, or something of that nature?

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