House Speaker Brendan Sharkey and the legislature’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus appeared with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Wednesday, calling his opponent, Tom Foley, “a fake” and out-of-touch with urban communities.
Malloy, a first term Democrat, is competing with Foley, whom he narrowly defeated in the 2010 election. The legislature’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus and House leadership appeared in support of Malloy at an event in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.
“When I look at the agenda and message from Tom Foley there’s only one word that describes him in my mind and that is ‘fake.’ He is a fake,” Sharkey told reporters in a conference room.
“He has no concept of how to actually run the state of Connecticut. The things he is putting out are—if I were him and I were his campaign, I’d be embarrassed,” he said.
Democrats have relentlessly criticized Foley’s urban agenda paper since he released it one week ago. Almost immediately, the party cited passages that had been lifted from think tank policy papers. Since then, the Democratic Party has filed election complaints over the paper and held press conferences deriding it.
Malloy, holding a copy of the plan, mocked a passage on housing.
“‘I will provide an active and buoyant housing market, ensuring that public housing policy doesn’t destroy the private housing market in cities,’” Malloy said, reading. “What the hell does that mean?”
Malloy said Foley has tried to disassociate himself with the urban agenda in the wake of plagiarism allegations, but began 38 sentences of the document with the first-person pronoun, “I.”
Meanwhile, Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rep. Toni Walker, D-New Haven, praised Malloy and his administration as willing to listen and negotiate with the legislature’s minority caucus.
“If you want to make change, and you want to make an impact in the community, it’s got to be ‘we.’ We all have to be around the table,” Walker said. “I’ve been here more than 10 years and this is the first time where the doors were opened up, and we negotiated and we talked about it.”
Earlier this week, Foley’s campaign released as statement saying the urban plan had been “enthusiastically received in Connecticut’s cities.” On Wednesday, Chris Cooper, a spokesman for Foley’s campaign, dismissed the press conference as predictable.
“It’s not surprising a group of partisan Democrats would get together to support Governor Malloy and criticize Tom Foley,” he said.
Foley led Malloy by 6 points in a poll published last month by Quinnipiac University. His campaign seems content to take a more passive approach while Malloy and his surrogates attempt to dominate the news cycle with press conferences.
Foley and Malloy faced each other during a debate Tuesday night and were scheduled to debate each other again Thursday. But Foley had no public appearances on Wednesday.
The Foley campaign did release a new 30-second TV spot Wednesday, in which the Republican candidate and a hotdog vendor named “Robbie” accuse Malloy of “nickel and diming” taxpayers. The ad references a Malloy plan to give taxpayers a $55 refund. The refund proposal was scrapped due to budget constraints.
In the ad, Foley says the proposal amounted to “a nickel and a dime a day. So that in a month you can buy a hotdog and a soda. Thank you, Robbie,” Foley says taking a hotdog and soda from the vendor. “Tired of politicians nickel and diming you? Let’s head in a different direction.”