Watch Out For The Amateurs; And Irish Impressions Count

You check out the parade today? It’s a sweet day. I like hanging out around the Barnum Museum area. If you’re going to heckle politicians, might as well have P.T. watching your back. Yo Bill. Hey Big Mac. Is that you Bob Curwen? How’s the budget going? This way to the egress!

Folks line up early for the window seats at Ralph & Rich’s. Then it’s on to the Italian version of corned beef. How about some corned beef stuffed ravioli? What’s wrong with that? Enjoy the day and evening. Be careful of the drunks. OIB friend John Gilmore, who knows a little bit about blarney, shares his annual St. Patrick’s Day story:

Baseball and Paul O’Dwyer

A number of years ago I brought Paul O’Dwyer, one-time New York City Council president, to Bridgeport to be the speaker at the annual St. Patrick’s Scholarship dinner. Paul, a fiery Irish voice in New York City politics, was from my father’s hometown in Ireland, a little place called Foxford, on the banks of the River Moy in County Mayo.

The committee dispatched me to New York in a town car to collect the honored guest. Kevin Boyle, one of Bridgeport’s pre-eminent Irishmen and a diehard political junkie, accompanied me for the ride.

It had been many years since I had seen Paul, a longtime family friend. When we met up with him, I was surprised at his small stature. It was something I hadn’t remembered. I guess the stature he had in my family was more than physical.

On the ride back to Bridgeport, Kevin and I talked politics with Paul–both national and New York City politics. Kevin loved politics everywhere–from Boston to Washington, D.C.

Eventually, the conversation drifted to baseball. Actually, it was Kevin who directed it to baseball. And as Kevin pressed for opinions about the leading stars who played in “The House that Ruth Built,” Paul’s answers became short.

Then, the king of the New York City Council, the man who made mayors tremble, finally admitted quietly that he knew very little about baseball. “In fact,” O’Dwyer said, “it’s a game I hardly understand.”

“How did you not know about baseball and survive in New York politics?” Kevin asked incredulously.

The small Irishman from Mayo looked at him and said, “It was easy. I just agreed with whatever someone said. They would start out saying, ‘Great game last night, huh?” and I’d say ‘Yeah, one of the better ones.’ They’d go on about some play and I’d answer, ‘Could you believe that?’ The conversation would go on like that for a while and then it would change to something else. Eventually, they would leave believing I was a fan.”

Kevin was dumbstruck.

I was hysterical.

Paul proved himself both the quintessential politician and the quintessential Irishman.  As such, he knew instinctively that creating an impression is as much about what you don’t say as what you do. And that playing politics is often about letting the people hear what they want to hear.

Team Lamont News Release

Lamont Announces Campaign Team, Headquarters

New Haven, CT – Democratic candidate for Governor Ned Lamont today announced the senior members of his campaign team. Lamont has opened his campaign headquarters in downtown New Haven at 169 Orange Street.

“As a businessman, I learned that one of the keys to success is hiring good people,” said Lamont. “It´s what I will do as Governor, and it’s what I’m doing on my campaign. This team combines years of political experience with a deep knowledge of Connecticut and what we need to do to get our state back on offense.”

Joe Abbey, Campaign Manager — Abbey brings more than ten years of federal and state level campaign experience to the Lamont team. In 2001, he worked to elect Mark Warner for Governor of Virginia, later serving as Deputy Campaign Manager on Warner’s Senate victory in 2008, and has managed Congressional campaigns in California and Ohio. Most recently, Abbey served as the Campaign Manager for Creigh Deeds’ gubernatorial campaign, scoring an upset victory in the 2009 Virginia primary.

Jared Kupiec, Deputy Campaign Manager/Political Director — A native of Woodstock, Kupiec graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2001. He has served as campaign manager for four state senate and several municipal campaigns, where he managed budget and fundraising operations, field and outreach, and strategy and messaging development. Prior to joining the Lamont campaign, he worked at the Connecticut General Assembly as the clerk of the Government Administration and Elections committee and the administrator of the Municipal Ethics Task Force and Commission on Enhancing Agency Outcomes.

Jen Just, Director of Scheduling – Just served as Obama for America’s Coordinator for Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District. She was hired as the Obama campaign’s only paid staffer in Connecticut for the General Election in 2008, and in 2009 was hired again as the State Director for Organizing for America. Prior to her campaign work, Just was a TV Producer covering government and politics.

Justine Sessions, Communications Director – A native of New Hartford, Sessions joins the Lamont team after five years on Capitol Hill, where she served in Senator Dodd’s press office, working both in D.C. and traveling with the Senator in Connecticut, and most recently as his Banking Committee Press Secretary.

Gabe Rosenberg, New Media Director – A graduate of UCONN Law School and Southern Connecticut State University, Rosenberg was a writer for the influential Connecticut blog, covering Lamont’s historic win over Joe Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic Senate primary. Prior to joining the Lamont team, Rosenberg served as New Media Director for the Connecticut Democratic Party.

Wade Gibson, Policy Director – Gibson, a Yale Law student, comes to the campaign after serving as an energy and environment policy staffer for Representative Lloyd Doggett on Capitol Hill and working in Mayor Cory Booker’s Department of Economic and Housing Development in Newark.

Becca Slutzky, Field Director – Slutzky comes to the Lamont campaign after working last year’s race for Governor in Virginia, first for Terry McAuliffe and then as Deputy Political Director for Creigh Deeds. During the 2008 Presidential Campaign, Slutzky did more than a year of field work with Hillary Clinton’s campaign and worked to help Obama win the general election as Regional Field Director of the Virginia Coordinated Campaign.

Seth Bannon, Operations Director – Raised in Guilford, Bannon is a veteran of Lamont’s 2006 Senate campaign. He served as Deputy State Director for Students for Barack Obama when he was a student at Harvard before working field on the Obama campaign in Ohio during the General Election. Bannon was most recently the Operations Director and Regional Field Director for Alan Khazei’s run for the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat.

Lamont has also hired seasoned political advisors:

• Media Consultant Doc Schweitzer of the Campaign Group

• Pollster Fred Yang of Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group

• Direct Mail Consultant Jim Crounse of the Mack-Crounse Group

News release from Congressional candidate Rob Russo:


Reportedly to Vote Yes on Senate Bill, No Comment to the People

Fairfield, CT– Congress has devolved into absolute chaos over the Health Care discussions-talks now revolving not around the 2400 page Health Care package, but the parliamentary procedure they could use to circumvent normal protocol. The plan now: They will pass the Senate version of the Health Care bill-complete with Louisiana Purchase and Corn Husker Kickback; then immediately pass another piece of legislation changing that Senate bill; then have the President sign the original Senate bill, making it law; then the Senate will take up the second piece of legislation which changes and rescinds part of the original bill. Confused yet? Take a sigh. There is more to come.

After nearly a year of various bills over how to address access and cost, this all is being debated behind closed congressional doors and is being rammed through on an arbitrary timeline that would call a vote before the Spring District Work Period scheduled in just two weeks. Last week, 4th District Congressional Candidate Rob Russo delivered a letter to Congressman Himes’ Office requesting a joint Town Hall meeting be held BEFORE casting any vote to give the public a chance to both understand what this bill means and provide opinions. Congressman Himes has not responded to the request.

“How can one call himself a Representative, when he refuses to meet with the people he represents before voting on such massive and sweeping legislation? This is a $2.5 TRILLION, job killing, government invading Health Care bill that will not actually reduce costs for current insurance consumers. Jim Himes needs to come home, listen to his constituents and then make a decision that is in their best interest, not Nancy Pelosi’s,” Russo said.

After a week of reports that Jim Himes was undecided on how he would vote, and private last ditch efforts and meetings yesterday by his party leadership, it is today reported that Congressman Himes will vote for passage. Apparently, the Congressman was convinced that what the President recently said was true, “Everything that can be said, has been said about Health Care reform.”

“Jim Himes apparently agrees that anything that can be said about Health Care has been said because he refuses to wait to speak to the people before voting. So, since it wasn’t the people’s voice he was waiting to hear from, what happened that made him make his decision overnight?,” questioned Russo. “Time for our Congressman to start some of that transparency he campaigned on and open up his opinions and rationale to the public.”

In addition to the vote-buying deals for Nebraska, Louisiana and other states, Congress is trying to throw in completely unrelated legislation into the final ‘reconciliation bill’ (the follow-up bill with all the changes to the original) such as a government takeover of the student loan program.

“So, growing government and our deficit over health care isn’t enough, they are now going to take over the student loan program and become the primary lender of such loans. Congress is out of control and Jim Himes has some explaining to do,” said Russo.

The current schedule calls for final decisions for the ‘reconciliation bill’ by midnight tonight and a vote on both pieces by Sunday, March 21st.



  1. I have sent Himes 2 e-mails concerning the health care vote. I have not received acknowledgment of either e-mail. I have done similar with Dodd and Lieberman and received a prompt response. Now I know the response was from a staffer or it was a standard reply. In either case it was a response.
    Himes is a go-along type representative who I will not vote for in November.
    The latest trick by that witch Pelosi to pass the health care bill using a little-known procedure known as DEEMED PASSED tells me they do not have the votes in congress to pass the senate’s version of health care.
    People think by passing this bill all of a sudden health care will be affordable guess again.
    There is no question health care needs to be fixed but does it take 2400 pages to do it? No one talks about the $500 Billion hit medicare is going to take when this bill passes.
    Himes is clueless and is told how to vote by Pelosi and Obama. Enjoy it while you can because you will be out in November no Obama coattails to get you reelected.

  2. *** Happy St. Pats Day to all, great weather & I’m ready for me’s corned beef & swiss with mustard on rye, & a pint of Guinness, thank you!*** Don’t really care for the candidates for Gov, but right now if I had to vote it would probably be for Malloy since he is a mayor of an urban city & familiar with many of the urban problems in general. The rest, “FORGETABOUTIT!” *** Himes has sent me 2 emails today on the health care issues and other health related proposed bills, thanks! Also, 4th district voters need to be a bit more patient with Himes, especially if you voted for him, unlike me! Don’t let Russo’s political panic attacks fool you, he’ll be running again soon for Finch’s old Senate seat in the future after losing to Himes, “word.” *** Suby should stay right where she is since she can’t make up her mind nor have her legal cake & eat it too! Too many political switches & wannabes on both party sides this election to be unsure, chill girl. Your time’s a-coming so be “patient” ’cause you’ve got the right political stuff! ***


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