|Tom DeLay- Corporate Whore|
Wednesday, December 3, 2003; Page A05
NEW YORK, Dec. 2 -- Faced with increasing pressure from New York City officials, industry associations and labor leaders, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) decided Tuesday to cancel plans to house guests for the 2004 Republican National Convention on a cruise ship off Manhattan, his spokesman said.
"Where we hold events for the Republican convention is not something he cares about; it's not worth spending energy on," said DeLay's communications director, Stuart Roy. "He'll go to the mat on things that matter, but this does not."
Also, Norwegian Cruise Line, which owns the ship DeLay planned to charter, said in a statement that it was pulling out of the deal because it determined the use of the ship for the convention would not be commercially viable.
The turnaround came hours after the city's hotel association, labor leaders and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) urged Republican Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Gov. George E. Pataki (R) to pressure GOP leaders to scuttle the plan, saying the river retreat would draw more than $3 million away from city businesses during the Aug. 30-Sept. 2 convention.
"I'm glad Congressman DeLay has decided to sink this idea once and for all," Maloney said. "It's good for New York and good for the Republican convention."
The plan was to house visiting convention-goers on the Norwegian Dawn, which is usually used to take vacationers from New York to Florida and the Bahamas. The ship features 10 restaurants, 14 bars, several swimming pools, basketball courts, movie theaters and a spa, and it could have accommodated more than 2,200 conventioneers, who critics said would otherwise spend their money in city hotels, restaurants and theaters.
DeLay had argued that a ship docked on the Hudson River, a few blocks from convention headquarters at Madison Square Garden, would allow increased privacy and security for the members of Congress, lobbyists and others who stay aboard.
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