Political Hopefuls Take Part In Occupy Wall Street March To Gain Popular Ground
Wednesday's Occupy Wall Street protest in Lower Manhattan drew thousands of demonstrators to demand change from the government, and among elected officials and union leaders who attended, the message was well received. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
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Sprinkled amid the fed-up masses marching alongside "Occupy Wall Street" protesters through Lower Manhattan on Wednesday were a few elected officials, finding themselves in an odd role -- banished from the microphones.
"I think they have an agenda, they want to make us listen to them. I think it's a very smart move on their part," said Assemblyman Vito Lopez, a Brooklyn Democratic leader.
It may also be a smart political move for those wanting to move up.
"There is definitely anger and even despair in some quarters. A lot of people losing homes, a lot of people losing jobs," said Dan Cantor of the Working Families Party. "Any candidate who speaks to that is going to find some resonance."
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who may run for mayor in 2013, seemed ready to do so. He appeared to draw a distinction between him and Democratic frontrunner Christine Quinn, the City Council speaker, and her expected booster, Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"People are languishing in jobs that don't cover the rent, and maybe it's time for us to recognize that the whole city must be represented at City Hall," Stringer said.
More immediately, there is impatience with President Barack Obama and Governor Andrew Cuomo. The governor's insistence on ending a tax on high-income earners is especially hated.
"They're not responsive to the problems of ordinary Americans, and we see that playing out every single day in Washington and in Albany," said Susan Lerner of Common Cause. "How can we have a governor who takes half of the budget off the table for discussion? What kind of problem-solving is that?"
Cuomo has said the taxes would lead to businesses leaving the state. But if the movement grows, which it signs of doing so, it may embolden unions and fellow Democrats to demand more of what the governor has so far blocked.