Jun 15, 2015 11:21 AM
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
CONCORD – George Pataki says he and his family are “very encouraged” by his son-in-law’s initial recovery from a “life threatening” stroke last week.
And the former three-term New York State governor and Republican presidential candidate told NH1 News that he’ll be in New Hampshire if the Union Leader holds a forum in the Granite State on the same day Fox News hosts the first GOP presidential debate in Cleveland.
Pataki spoke with NH1 News before addressing a New Hampshire Republican Women Lilac luncheon in Concord. Later on Monday, Pataki was scheduled to take part in a downtown business tour in Manchester.
Last week Pataki cancelled a two-day swing in the first-in-nation primary state last week after his son-in-law suffered a stroke.
“My daughter called me around 11:30 at night, in tears obviously because their plane had been diverted because of Dave’s stroke. And they were in the Fargo, North Dakota medical center. So we immediately cancelled everything, my wife Libby and I flew out there. Dave’s parents flew out there, his brothers flew out there. I got to tell you, the medical care in this country is tremendous. The Fargo Sanford medical center was phenomenal. He was medevac’d after he was stable to Chicago. The prayers from people across the country have been enormously helpful and were grateful for that,” Pataki said.
“It’s very frightening. A healthy 30-year old athletic young guy has a life threatening stroke out of the blue. But he’s had an amazing initial recovery. We’re hopeful that it will continue and the doctors say it can be anything up to a full recovery. Obviously that’s what we’re praying for,” Pataki added.
David Levy, a 30-year old medical doctor, is married to Pataki’s younger daughter Allison. Last Tuesday the couple was flying from Chicago to Seattle for a vacation before the birth of their first child when David Levy suffered a stroke.
Pataki told NH1 News that “no question, family comes first. When it’s a crisis like this, you have to put everything aside. My wife Libby’s still out in Chicago with Allison and her husband and his family and I expect I’ll be going out there again very soon. I’m looking forward to the retail campaigning in New Hampshire, it’s one of the things I truly enjoy. I think it’s very important. But being out there is more important right now and I’m sure people understand that.”
Pataki: ‘wrong for national groups’ to decide ‘who’s in and who’s out’
Pataki’s Monday events in New Hampshire come as the state is smack in the middle of a battle over the first presidential debate.
Only 10 candidates will make the stage at the August 6 showdown in Cleveland (host city for next year’s Republican convention). With 11 candidates already declared and at least four more GOP White House hopefuls all but certain to announce, a bunch of contenders won’t make the cut. Fox News is using an average of national polling to determine who makes the stage.
Last week some of the top Republicans in New Hampshire sent an open letter to Fox News and the Republican National Committee that strongly criticizes the move to limit the first GOP presidential debate to ten candidates.
“We urge you to reconsider the criteria and to design a debate that will allow voters to hear from a more diverse and inclusive group of candidates who have filed to run for president,” read the letter, which was signed by nearly 60 prominent Republican lawmakers, former lawmakers, activists and officials in the Granite State.
While the letter acknowledged that a debate with 15 to 20 candidates on the stage would be unwieldy, the signers suggested that Fox News “divide the debate into two panels to appear back to back, either on the same night or consecutive nights.”
Hours later the Union Leader proposed holding a forum for the candidates who don’t make the cut at the Fox debate. Soon after the Union Leader announcement, Fox news said it would give airtime to candidates who didn't make the cut, saying they will be invited to take part in a 90-minute forum to be aired hours before the prime time debate.
With little name recognition outside of New York, Pataki’s registered very low in national polling, and it’s likely he won’t make the cut for the first debate. Pataki’s spending much of his campaign efforts in New Hampshire, which can level the playing field thanks to its emphasis on retail type politics.
Pataki told NH1 News “I think it’s wrong for national groups to try to decide almost a year and a half before the election who’s in and who’s out. I think it’s disappointing, whether or I’m in and I think the last polls showed I would have been in, I fully intend if the Union Leader has their forum, to participate in that forum.”
Pataki added that “there’s a reason why we have the primary system, there’s a reason why New Hampshire is first. It matters when you can sit across the table, look someone in the eye, ask them a question and see what their answer is going to be. So I’m disappointed that it looks like this could diminish the primaries. I think the primaries are absolutely critical.”
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