Guess who’s the only local TV reporter with Obama?October 25th, 2010 at 4:45 pm by Ted Nesi under General Talk
That’s right: Tim will be inside the Rhode Island Convention Center – and live tweeting for our enjoyment – when the president delivers his remarks at a $500-a-plate fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sometime after 5 p.m. We’ll also have the live video feed here on WPRI.com and full coverage on our newscasts.
One person who won’t be there: Frank Caprio. The Democratic nominee’s spokesman says he won’t be attending any of the president’s events today. Can’t imagine why. Here are some more updates about Obama’s visit:
• R.I. Democratic Party Chair Ed Pacheco accentuated the positive just after Obama’s plane touched down at 3:49. “We are thrilled and excited to have the President of the United States in Rhode Island and proud to have his support for the Ocean State,” Pacheco said in a brief statement that name-checked congressional candidates Jim Langevin and David Cicilline twice.
• WRNI’s Scott MacKay notes that White House spokesman Bill Burton elaborated during the flight to Warwick on Obama’s failure to endorse Caprio. The president is staying out of the governor’s race “out of respect for his friend Lincoln Chafee,” Burton said.
• Well-heeled local Democrats attending the president’s $500-a-plate and $7,500-a-plate fundraisers aren’t the only ones hearing from him today. One of my colleagues’ wives received a recorded phone call from Obama earlier this afternoon encouraging her to get to the polls next Tuesday. “There’s too much at stake in this election for you to sit on the sidelines,” he said. No candidates got a mention, and half the 30-second message was taken up by disclaimers from the Democratic National Committee saying who paid for it.
• Shoveitgate is starting to feel like a really bad family holiday gathering – everybody squabbling, alliances shifting, and a couple weak attempts at bringing everyone back together. All they need to do is serve turkey and pumpkin pie at tonight’s fundraisers and the scene would be complete.
• Air Force One is scheduled to depart T.F. Green at 8:20 p.m. to whisk Obama back to Washington.
Update: The view from inside the Rhode Island Convention Center, where Obama will speak at a fundraiser not too long from now, courtesy Tim White:
Update #2: Eyewitness News political analyst Joe Fleming spoke with Karen Adams on the air a few minutes ago, and his take on Shoveitgate largely mirrored mine – this was probably a calculated attempt by Frank Caprio to steal the limelight on the day of the president’s visit, and to the extent that Caprio has dominated (or at least shared) today’s headlines, it largely worked. Fleming also pointed out that with Caprio losing ground to Republican John Robitaille in last week’s Rasmussen poll, he needs to stop the bleeding and find ways to target independents and center-right voters; ergo, attack Obama.
Still, it’s possible to win the battle and lose the war. And at this point, the race between Caprio, Chafee and Robitaille is trench warfare – barring a major new development, one of them is going to win with the support of somewhere around 35% of the electorate on Nov. 2. Did Caprio’s comments today do anything that will help him win over the moderate and center-right voters he needs to break away from Robitaille and overtake Chafee?
Update #3: The president’s motorcade left Woonsocket for his two fundraisers at 5:13, according to the press pool report. Obama is headed first to the Rhode Island Convention Center – where Tim White is on the scene and ready to tweet – and then the Chace household on the East Side. The road is blocked off by RIPTA buses, and Republican John Loughlin has some supporters there holding signs.
Here’s a photo of the Secret Service scanning guests arriving at the Chace home about 20 minutes ago, courtesy my colleague Rebecca Johnson:
Update #4: Wow, there sure are a lot of campaign ads on tonight’s newscast. In the last few minutes I’ve seen Raimondo, King, Langevin, Mollis, Taylor, Caprio, Chafee and Robitaille.
Update #5: President Obama will be back in New England later this week, The Associated Press reports. He will travel to Bridgeport, Conn., to support candidates up and down the ballot in the Nutmeg State.