I got a phone message this morning from Rep. Peter King, the congressman who traveled with Rudy Giuliani to South Carolina as I described yesterday. I wrote this:
Giuliani just happens to have brought with him New York Rep. Peter King, from Nassau County, who is accompanying the mayor on this trip to South Carolina and Florida. “Congressman King comes from New York,” Giuliani tells the crowd. “Pete, you originally come from Brooklyn, too?”
Well, he actually grew up in Queens. But King just nods, and Giuliani’s New York talk brings lots of applause.
“He also comes from Brooklyn originally,” Giuliani says again, in case anyone didn’t hear.
The events I described apparently set off a wrenching existential crisis in Rep. King who, it turns out, has deep ties to both Brooklyn and Queens. To explain, he left me this delightfully deadpan message:
Byron, I have to explain the moral dilemma I was in when Rudy asked if I was from Brooklyn. It was one of those things that couldn’t really be answered in the split second that he asked me. Yes, I was raised in Queens, but I also went to high school and college in Brooklyn, I spent an extraordinary amount of time in Brooklyn, because my father’s family is from there, over in St. John’s Place, so while I was primarily in Queens, it could also be said that I did grow up in Brooklyn. So these are the moral dilemmas that politicians are faced with, and so in that quick moment I decided to sort of nod, because I was raised in Brooklyn, more so than Hillary was raised in New York, when she claims to have been a Yankee fan in Illinois. But seriously, it was interesting to talk to a lot of people [in South Carolina] who had been to the same places. People I didn’t even know were coming up to me saying, Did you go to this place, did you go to that place? So, it was primarily Queens, but I also was raised in significant part in Brooklyn, so that’s how I explain my moral dilemma to you.
I talked to King this afternoon, and he told me he was impressed by the number of New Yorkers at Sun City. “I met a woman who went to the same ice cream soda place in Bay Ridge,” he said. “Another guy was a cop with my father. And there were a lot of people who knew people.”