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Inside the GOP Convention: Day Two

WNYC's Azi Paybarah and Bob Hennelly report live from Day Two of the GOP convention in New York City.

Paladino Explains 'New Democrats'

In nominating himself for governor, Carl Paladino took a swipe at Andrew Cuomo's declaration that he's a "new Democrat."

"A new Democrat is just an old Democrat who drove by a Tea Party movement and realized they're pointing at him," Paladino said.

Paladino has said he will create a Tea Party ballot line, which, if successful, could syphon away votes from both the Republican and Conservative Parties. - Azi Paybarah


Myers' Evolution

In nominating Myers Mermel, a GOP supporter told delegates he has not had "an election year conversion," a direct swipe at Steve Levy, who months ago left the Democratic Party and joined the Republican Party.

But Myers recently switched from running for lieutenant governor to running for governor. His nominator explained, "His candidacy has evolved as this campaign evolved."

I took that to be a general reference to Levy's entrance into--and surprising difficulty--the Republican race, as well as Rick Lazio's opportunity to lock up the party's nomination. - Azi Paybarah



Maggie Brooks nominated Rick Lazio and said it's important the party leave the convention "united behind one candidate," a swipe at the argument Steve Levy has been pushing, which is that a primary fight will energize Republicans and give them much-needed media attention.

Brooks went on to say that "Albany Democrats" are the "most dangerous threat" to the state's prosperity. - Azi Paybarah


Star Spangled Banner

At the singing of the Star Spangled Banner here at the state Republican convention, an entire verse was skipped.

It's going to be a long day here, so, I'm not sure how many people will take umbrage with the abridged song. - Azi Paybarah



A massive banner for GOP Gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino hangs above Rosie's O'Grady's Saloon just across the street from the mid-town Sheraton where the New York State Republican Convention is deliberating on the party's choice for Governor. - Bob Hennelly



Democrat Steve Levy is shaking hands at a breakfast here in the Sheraton, where Republican state delegates will decide whether to allow him onto their ballot as a Republican gubernatorial candidate.

But if Levy doesn't get the required 50 percent of votes needed, he said he he won't necessarily back the GOP candidate.

In a brief chat with me while doing some "last minute schmoozing," Levy said, "I have to weigh what to do," if he doesn't get on the ballot. "I may do my own thing."

Levy did not elaborate.

Levy is currently the Suffolk County Executive and is expected to seek his third and final term there if his gubernatorial campaign fails. - Azi Paybarah



It's 8 a.m. here at the New York State GOP convention, and while a handful of delegates are munching on bagels and muffins, Betsy McCaughey wants to talk about "Obamacare."

McCaughey, who once served as the lieutenant governor under George Pataki, has her trademark binder with the entire health care bill federal lawmakers passed earlier this year sitting on one of the many tables set up for the free breakfast for delegates.

I asked McCaughey if the health care issue will be as potent an issue for New York voters, considering the focus GOP candidates are placing on reform and "change" in Albany.

"Yes," she said, because although "scandals make the headlines, when you're sick, you want someone to take care of you."

The scandals feed the headlines, she said, but predicted that health care will drive voters to the polls.

Then she left to talk to more delegates. - Azi Paybarah