REPUBLICAN BREAKS FROM RELL AND FROM THE GOP PACK

The race for the Republican nomination for governor has a sleeper candidate that will shake things up if he is able to get the name recognition he needs and if he is able to get his message out.

Other than assumed frontrunners Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele and former Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley, there is another tier of candidates waiting to break out. One who is already well into that process is businessman and economic development leader Nelson “Oz” Griebel. Griebel is the head of MetroHartford Alliance. On its website, the group says, “The Alliance brings together 1,000 businesses, education and healthcare institutions, municipalities, non-profit organizations, and government leaders who are invested in the Hartford Region’s future economic growth and its viability for robust business development.”

Griebel appeared on Channel 3’s Face the State hosted by Dennis House Sunday and did well for himself. While careful not to directly criticize Gov. Rell or the other candidates to succeed her, Griebel made it clear he would not continue Rell’s leadership approach. He said he would have attended the National Governors Association meetings in Washington. He went on to say he would “be the face of the state” in dealing with economic development and other issues.

Griebel easily handled questions from House, the Stamford Advocate’s Brian Lockhart and the always-tough Rick Green of the Hartford Courant. And while his business development credentials are solid, how will he handle the monstrous budget deficit or dealing with the Democratic-controlled legislature? There are a lot of questions still to be answered.
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When a state’s entire U.S. House delegation consists of Democrats, you expect them to vote “liberally.” Such is the case with Connecticut. The National Journal ranks Connecticut’s House delegation (Courtney, DeLauro, Himes, Larson and Murphy) as the 4th most “liberal” in the country. They rank Massachusetts as the most liberal (shocking) followed in order by Hawaii and Vermont.
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Big “ups” to FOX 61-TV and the Hartford Courant for hosting and showing on the Internet two US Senate debates this week. Today, Democrats Merrick Alpert and Richard Blumenthal debate (why would Blumenthal share a stage with Alpert?). Tuesday will see the Republicans go at it in what has already been a nasty campaign. Linda McMahon, Peter Schiff and Rob Simmons will participate. Each will take place at 7 pm and will stream live on www.ctnow.com and www.courant.com .

Each candidate was given space in Sunday’s Courant to say at they would do in their first 100 days in office. As a candidate, the trick is to get the reader to actually read your piece.

Alpert lost me in the first two sentences by repeating the question and then not answering it. Blumenthal was Blumenthal—dry, intellectual, nearly robotic but impressive.

For the Republicans, McMahon was non-specific and routine. Schiff was numbing with numbers. Simmons’ was probably the best—practical, understandable and more specific than the others. The average reader wouldn’t finish reading any of them. The Shad’s author will be watching the debates on the ‘net for sure.
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Olympic note: The Gold Medal men’s hockey game was one for the ages and strangely, one in which you really didn’t mind if the other team won. USA’s goalie Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres) was rightly named MVP of the tournament despite giving up the winning goal. Impressive is the fact that all the players on each team are millionaires (NHL stars) and therefore were truly playing for country. Of course, it also makes the 1980 Miracle on Ice victory (all college kids who had to eat at the coach’s house for lack of money) that much more special.

For future games: Twenty minutes of 4 on 4 overtime is not really fair (the NHL plays 5 minutes of 4 on 4, then a shootout) because it heavily favors the straight-out faster team. Sometimes the faster team is not the best team (although in this case it was). The grinding, better passing, gritty team is at a disadvantage. I suggest a simple, 20 minute, 5 on 5 sudden-death overtime and then a shootout.

Crosby, Nash, Toews, Thorton, Pronger, et al.—hard to beat.