Stephen Reader covers politics for It's a Free Country, WNYC's interactive politics site. He joined the station in 2010 and has also worked for Studio 360, WNYC's Peabody Award-winning show about art, culture, and creativity.
Who Had the Better Week—Cuomo or Christie?
Friday, April 20, 2012
Both rock stars in their own right, both trying to right their states' ships, and both building serious momentum for a potential presidential run. Every Friday, we'll look at whose week will look better on a résumé come 2016.
Check out last week's results here.
Winning the jobs race?
New York and New Jersey released jobs and unemployment numbers this week. Turns out the view is nicer from the Empire State.
WNYC's Ilya Maritz and Stan Alcorn report that New York's economy added 21,500 private sector jobs in March, while New Jersey shed 9,000 jobs in the same month. The unemployment rate in each state remained unchanged: 8.5 percent in New York, 9 percent in New Jersey.
Charles Steindel, chief economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury, suggested the warm winter weather may now be a drag on job growth because payrolls swelled in previous months.
“The majority of indicators suggest that New Jersey employment growth will continue over the long term, creating a stronger economy for everyone,” Steindel said, in a statement.
This week, though, the advantage goes to Cuomo.
- Verdict: +1
Beat the press
It must have been a weird week for Cuomo's press team.
First, there was the leak of a 35-page document detailing (and critiquing) the work of Liz Benjamin, an Albany political reporter who covers Cuomo and hosts the television show Capital Tonight. Yes, it is someone's job within the Cuomo administration to compile clippings related to the Governor and "highlight any language that could possibly be interpreted as critical of Cuomo, much of it innocuous by most standards."
"GENERALLY SNARKY" and "Example of poor reporting" were just a few of the bombs a Cuomo aide lobbed at Benjamin.
Coupled with the news that Cuomo does not want a high-profile role at this year's Democratic National Convention, and earlier observations about how he avoids going on national television, a picture emerges of a politician exceptionally careful to manage expectations and minimize public blunders. Kenneth Lovett of the New York Daily News smartly points out that the elder Cuomo, Mario, hurt his presidential ambitions by getting on the national radar too early — when he delivered the keynote address at the 1984 DNC.
But wait, there's more. This week, Cuomo made more headlines when he was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World. So much for staying out of the national spotlight (although my guess is he doesn't mind this one so much).
Andrew Cuomo: extremely popular and highly influential, but apparently controlling and neurotic. My guess is that this line will get highlighted when they put together the dossier on yours truly.
- Verdict: 0
Veepstakes boost for Romney
Mitt Romney would lose to Barack Obama — unless he makes Chris Christie his running mate.
A new survey from Public Policy Polling shows that a Romney-Christie ticket would tie an Obama-Biden ticket if the vote were held today. In hypothetical situations where Romney's choice for VP is Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, or anyone else, he trails Obama by a slim margin.
However, Christie would also be the Republican primary voters' top choice to lead a ticket in 2016. So maybe he should secretly hope for Romney to lose this year. Otherwise, that could get awkward.
- Verdict: +1
Denies falling asleep at Springsteen show
Earlier this month the New York Post reported that Chris Christie had fallen asleep during the Bruce Springsteen concert he was live-tweeting.
But Christie was out this week defending his rock cred, explaining that the Post story had conflated Christie's "taking in spiritually" the song "Rocky Ground" with an earlier incident during the concert when someone shouted at the Governor to "wake up politically."
Christie 2016: He Won't Fall Asleep During a Bruce Springsteen Concert.
- Verdict: +1