11:45 am Jun. 5, 2012
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had something of a star turn at one of the big fund-raisers featuring Bill Clinton and President Obama last night.
Before a ballroom full of supporters at the Waldorf Astoria, Schneiderman delivered the introduction for Clinton, and drew a contrast between the last two Democratic presidents and the Republican one who served in between.
"Under President Clinton’s leadership, 23 million jobs were created, we balanced the budget and produced a record surplus of 236 billion dollars when President Clinton left office," he said, according to prepared remarks. " Then what happened? Eight years of George W. Bush plunged our country into the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression."
Schneiderman has emerged as the most visible and energetic Obama supporter among New York's state leaders.
In January, he sat behind the first lady during the State of the Union, during which he was announced as the new chair of a federal task force on the mortgage crisis. Last month, he appeared at an Obama fund-raiser in Chelsea, and, in contrast to the governor, Schneiderman has already done formal surrogate duty criticizing Mitt Romney. (Schneiderman also introduced Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren at her big debut in New York last fall.)
In last night's introduction, the attorney general offered the kind of partisan rallying cry—casting Romney's candidacy as an extension of Bush's presidency—that the more lightly partisan Cuomo has yet to deliver.
"Given how much is on the line for everyday Americans, why in the world would we hand over the White House to the same people that left our country in a much worse place than they found it?" Schneiderman said, according to the prepared remarks. "The same recipe for economic failure is what Mitt Romney’s serving. And I believe the American people will say, 'Thanks, but no thanks,' to a third term for George W. Bush."
It should be noted that Schneiderman's prepared remarks differed somewhat from the actual remarks. The pool report included a dismissal of the idea that the economic collapse was a simply an accident of history unattributable to either party.
"This didn't happen because of El Nino," Schneiderman said. "This didn't happen because we're being punished for our sins."
Clinton promptly thanked Schneiderman "for his lucid statement of the case of what's at stake in this election," and Obama subsequently said he was "doing the right thing on behalf of consumers and working people all across this great state and having an influence all across the country."
Also on hand were Representative Carolyn Maloney, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, outgoing state party chair Jay Jacobs and the new co-chairs, Assemblyman Keith Wright and Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner.
Cuomo was in Albany.
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