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Five questions for GOP consultant Michael Caputo

Michael R. Caputo, of East Aurora, a nationally known political consultant who has worked for Republican candidates including presidential nominee Donald Trump, is providing a Republican perspective on the Democratic National Convention in response to questions from Buffalo News Political Reporter Robert J. McCarthy. Last week, The News asked Democratic consultant Joe Slade White to offer his perspective on the Republican National Convention.

East Aurora political consultant Michael Caputo, who until last month worked on the Donald Trump campaign, is fielding five convention related questions each day posed by The Buffalo News. Here are today’s questions and answers:

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What kind of "bounce" – if any – do you see Hillary Clinton receiving from the Democratic National Convention?

Presidential candidates don’t get quite the upward favorable rating surge they used to after their nominating conventions. Democrats used to earn twice the post-convention bounce Republicans would. Nowadays, they both expect about the same: upwards of four percent. CNN says Donald Trump actually earned a 6 percent bounce, pulling ahead in key states. I think Hillary Clinton will do a bit better than that. I think her convention will be a bit better – but nowhere near as bouncy as she hoped, thanks to the DNC email leak. That means these candidates may be in a dead heat on Labor Day.

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What does Clinton need to accomplish in her Thursday acceptance speech?

Bill Clinton carried a lot of water for his wife Tuesday night, delivering a top-notch defense of her character and her candidacy. The entire Clinton team surely breathed a sigh of relief after he was done, knowing he successfully teed her up for what must be the speech of her lifetime. And I mean that: this speech has to be her career best. She must convince the country of two things: she’s running for the good of this nation and she is more trustworthy than we think.

Today, Trump beats her on both those key metrics and she can’t win if she doesn’t turn those around.

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So far, which convention has better accomplished its goals?

The top two goals of every presidential nominating convention are to unify the party and to define the candidate for the grueling weeks ahead. In the end, both campaigns have had messy unifying efforts. The Republicans succeeded; Ted Cruz helped a lot by being such a jerk. The jury is out for the Democrats since the DNC email leak caused disunity that has yet to calm down. Donald Trump got high marks for his convention speech and his wife, Melania, despite the charges of plagiarism, jumped in popularity. That’s a win for the GOP. Bill Clinton was a win, too, but we won’t know until Hillary speaks if she’ll come out ahead.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo is addressing the convention on Thursday and spending significant time at such a gathering for the first time since he became governor. What do you see as his ultimate goal?

Behind the scenes of the convention, early every morning, the state delegations have breakfasts to talk politics. Convention management sends VIP speakers to encourage support for Hillary Clinton. Aspiring national candidates stay the entire week and grab as many of these speaking engagements as they can. This time around, Gov. Cuomo is a top caucus surrogate; I understand he’s addressing several state breakfasts every morning. So, reading the tea leaves, I’d say Andrew Cuomo working this convention like never before because he has his eyes on a cabinet post – and eventually the White House, too. My question: Did he have breakfast with the Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina caucuses?

Will Mayor Byron Brown be helped or hurt by his new role as chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee?

I’m a Republican but I have a lot of respect for Byron Brown. He’s a gentleman. He’s bright, engaging, community-focused, and resourceful.

He’s also a formidable foe. The state Democrats are lucky to have him and I’m quite certain his new role as party chairman won’t just help him and his party – it’ll help Buffalo, too.

email: rmccarthy@buffnews.com

 

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