Queen Elizabeth II in St. Georges Chapel Windsor
for the funeral of her husband Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh

Saturday, October 07, 2006

NY Governor Pataki Visits Mike's America

New York Governor George Pataki visited Hilton Head Island Friday to thank HHI Firefighters 20060905_pataki_n1007_jk_jpg-largefor their support of their brothers in New York following the September 11th attacks. Pataki, at right, hands a flag that flew over the World Trade Center site to Hilton Head Fire Chief Tom Fieldstead.

Later, I had the privilege of attending a small seaside meet and greet yesterday with Governor Pataki who was also on hand to offer his support for the re-election of South Carolina's Comptroller, Richard Eckstrom. But it was clear that presidential politics was on the minds of many of the two dozen attendees.

I had a few minutes to chat with Governor Pataki, and I came right out with it: "Are you going to run for President in 2008?" The response was typical of potential candidates at this stage: "The focus over the next four and a half weeks is on doing everything we can to assist Republicans in this crucial election."

Imagine my surprise if he had said "yes!"

I also asked the Governor about the latest hot topic: "should speaker Hastert resign in the wake of the Foley scandal?" Governor Pataki pointed out that if Hastert were to resign "there would be a leadership scramble in the House" that would certainly NOT help our chances in 2006.

The scuttlebutt in SC political circles is that Senator John McCain, who the "news" media considers a front runner for the GOP 2008 nomination, has been sewing up all the big name hot-shots in South Carolina politics. In addition to McCain's protege, our Senator Lindsey Graham, names like Strom Thurmond, Jr. have recently been added to the list of McCain supporters.

Our OTHER Senator, Jim DeMint(R), the one who doesn't make the "news" because he sounds too much like a conservative (Mike's America featured his words here talking like the man we elected) recently cautioned SC politicos to slow things down a bit and get to know the other candidates. The Crunchy Republican, has that story as well as all the ins and outs of SC politics.
Apparently, former South Carolina Governor David Beasley, who lost the primary for the open Senate seat in 2004 to DeMint agrees. Beasley was front and center with Pataki yesterday (see photo at right). I cornered Beasley earlier and asked him what he thought of the buzz that all the bigshots were on board with McCain. He responded: "We've seen before that it doesn't matter what the big shots do, it's up to the voters of SC to make up their own minds." I've said as much myself, but it's always nice to get validation.

It was pretty clear that part of Governor Pataki's visit to our area was to gauge support, including financial support, for a possible White House bid. He struck me as being genuine and sincere; the same man we've all gotten to know in television interviews.

But I also found it interesting that another name mentioned in at least one conversation for 2008 was Mitt Romney, the Governor of Massachusetts. And that's a name we don't hear much about in South Carolina.

Stay Tuned!

Beasley/Pataki Photo Credit: Scarlett

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