KITCHAWAN – At one of the oldest restaurants in the Hudson Valley, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleisher talked about the future in front of a crowd of two hundred and fifty supporters of Assemblyman Greg Ball (R-Patterson), a candidate in New York’s 19th congressional district. The event was a fundraiser for Ball’s campaign for Congress and represents the latest step in his building momentum for a race Fleischer considers to be one of the top pickup opportunities for Republicans in 2010.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Washington has run amok, and John Hall is leading the charge,” Fleischer told the crowd gathered at Traveler’s Rest, a two hundred year old sui generis restaurant in the town of Yorktown. “The only way to stop the spending spree is to deal with it head on, especially before the baby boomers retire. Greg Ball understands that. He is a blue collar guy, who understands the importance of hard work, saving what you make, preparing for a rainy day and not digging yourself into debt. He knows that we can neither spend nor tax our way into prosperity.”
Fleischer, a Pound Ridge native who currently resides in Westchester with his wife and their two children, hosted a private question and answer session with some of Ball’s top contributors followed by remarks at a dinner reception with many of Ball’s long time supporters from Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties, along with newer supporters from Rockland and Orange counties who have rallied around Ball’s call to “restore America’s promise.”
“Former Congressman Ben Gilman demonstrated the effectiveness of both compassion and wisdom. During his tenure in the House of Representatives, his voice was heard above all others and the people of the 19th were well served,” said William DeProspo, Chairman of the Orange County Republican Committee. “Like Congressman Gilman, Greg Ball is an independent voice who will bring people together to generate new ideas and support real solutions to get our economy back on track.”
Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary from 2001 to 2003, and was spokesperson during the historic presidential recount, the terrorist attacks of September 11, two wars and the anthrax attacks, said of Ball that “he is a budget hawk with a record of fiscal restraint that is exactly what is needed in Washington. He understands that balancing budgets is not just about helping the taxpayers, it’s a moral statement about how we live our lives and what we expect from he government. If the government can’t keep spending under control, the government itself is out of control.”
Ball concurred, telling the audience packed into the elegant state room that “I think folks on both sides of the aisle, people with common sense, are tired of the partisan politics and they just want real leadership.”
“Ari Fleischer grew up here in the Hudson Valley, and I know he wants to retire here and watch his children’s children grow up,” said Putnam County Republican Chairman Anthony Scannapieco. “With the direction the country is headed, the bailouts for Wall Street and corporate America, plus a wholesale government intrusion and takeover of the health care industry, this may no longer be possible. That is why we must send a new voice to Congress who will stand up and fight for us.”
Ball hopes to unseat a sophomore incumbent, known for his extremely liberal voting record in the center-right 19th congressional district, who most national political handicappers now say is one of the most vulnerable incumbents nationwide. Known locally as a strong fundraiser and grassroots campaigner, Ball has already gained considerable traction in his bid, last month receiving a coveted endorsement from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, holding a fundraiser hosted by Congressman Peter King, and gaining institutional support from the National Republican Congressional Committee after reaching the first tier of their ‘Young Guns’ program of strong, emerging challengers with the best chance of knocking off an incumbent in 2010.
“We’ve entered an age, thanks to Barack Obama and John Hall, where everyone thinks they have an entitlement to their neighbor’s money,” Fleischer said. “I say it’s time to put our children first, our future first, and stop bailing out those who fail and punishing those who succeed.”
“Almost three years ago, John Hall was elected and the Democrats took control of the Congress from Republicans and look at what has happened,” Fleischer noted. “Just since then, when Republicans handed the Congress to the Democrats and to John Hall, unemployment was at 4.6%, today its at 9.7%; the size of the federal budget when he took office was 2.7 trillion dollars, or 20% of our GDP, now its 3.5 trillion dollars, 25% of the GDP. That means that since John Hall was elected and the democrats took the Congress, spending is up 30% in those last three years.”
“Who among us, who in Westchester, or Putnam, or Dutchess, or Rockland or Orange is spending 30% more today then they were three years ago?” Fleischer asked. “No one, except John Hall, and he’s doing it with our money.”
Fleischer continued, “The deficit when Republicans turned the Congress over to the Democrats stood at 161 billion dollars, now it’s 1.2 trillion dollars and growing in leaps and bounds. And now Hall supports spending a trillion dollars on something he calls health care reform. But his flawed, anti-free market approach will end up creating more debt while delivering no reform and who do you think is going to pay for all this debt?”
“Like Ari Fleischer, Greg Ball is an independent voice for the Hudson Valley who is not afraid to stand up to the powers that be on both sides the aisle,” said Dutchess County Republican Chairman Michael McCormack. “Here in the Hudson Valley, we need a Representative who can bring people together, with bold new ideas and solutions, to restore America’s promise, not another foot soldier for Nancy Pelosi and her Hollywood big-wigs.”
“Greg Ball is doing everything he can,” Fleischer continued. “He has an outstanding legislative record, and I have no doubt he’d make a great Congressman.”