Political Capitol

Brian Lockhart covers the Connecticut General Assembly in Hartford

Rell parachutes into Stamford, steals plans, rescues hostages

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If Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell were any stealthier about this afternoon’s visit to Stamford, she would have been dressed in black, her face smudged with black paint, with night vision goggles over her eyes and a cyanide pill under her tongue in case she was captured by the enemy.

Rell visited Southport this morning for the reopening of the town’s train station. The visit was announced yesterday by her office.

Then at 12:28 p.m. this afternoon her office sent out an e-mail that she would be in Stamford half an hour later for what turned out to be a major announcement – the state is in discussions with NBC to open a large television production studio at the city’s Rich Forum Theater.

The press conference was as quiet as can be. It was held in the lobby of NBC’s offices. Rell made some quick comments for a local news station and to The Advocate reporters. She took two follow-up questions and said she had to leave to visit a friend in the area. No one from NBC spoke, which is really bizarre. Usually the suits are allowed to talk about how great Stamford and the state are and how they’re looking forward to expanding their presence.

My first thought was she had gone out of her way to ensure Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy, who is “exploring” a bid for the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nomination in 2010, could not join her in the spotlight at the press conference.

But Rell’s office said that was not the case. They said the NBC announcement was not a sure thing until late this morning and, since she was planning to be in Stamford anyway to visit a friend, decided to schedule a quick press conference during the limited window of time she had available.

And it could be argued during tough budget times it is admirable of Rell to make the Stamford stop while in lower Fairfield County and save gas rather than make a special trip down from Hartford another day to put on a big media show.

I still think the whole thing was just a weird, weird, weird way to handle the situation.

Categories: news
Brian Lockhart