Laffey says he'd make better use of bully pulpit

Former Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey says he'd outflank legislative Democrats, if elected governor, by making far more effective use of the bully pulpit than Governor Carcieri. The Republican, who emitted a loud laugh when I noted that he's expected to run for governor in 2010, made the comment during a taping this morning of WPRI/WNAC-TV's Newsmakers.

For the record, Laffey told me, off-camera, that he's not ready to divulge his plans for 2010.

Yet in response to my question during our taping, he pointed to how he mobilized citizens during his time as mayor in Cranston, and says that he would do the same thing if he were in the governor's office. The galvanization of the public, he says, would be sufficient to have an impact on the majority Democrats in the General Assembly.

Laffey seemed in campaign-mode, talking up the state's budget problems and quickly changing the subject when I asked about the source of the foreclosure crisis, and whether it's due to a regulatory failure. (He said he could talk all day about the federal government's role in economic bubbles, but turned the subject back to the state.)

Earlier in Governor Carcieri's tenure, it seemed as if his communication skills would help to advance his political agenda. Now, though, the governor appears bogged down and it's open to question if things will improve, particularly with a likely growing amount of staff departures, before he leaves office in 2011. When previously asked on Newsmakers about his inability to outflank legislative Dems, Carcieri has pointed to the paucity of Republicans in the General Assembly.

Also joining Steve Aveson, Arlene Violet, and myself were URI economist Leonard Lardaro, and, in a separate segment, Teny Gross, executive director of the Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence. Newsmakers is broadcast Sunday, at 5:30 am on Channel 12 and at 10 am on Fox 64.

In a lighter moment before we began taping, Laffey indicated he got a chuckle out of my recent bit describing his uncanny similarities to muckraker Greg Palast.

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