Sen. John McCain made a campaign stop in Bay Ridge on Thursday — but residents of the borough’s Republican stronghold can’t figure out why he stopped where he did.
The likely GOP presidential nominee — with Mayor Bloomberg at his side — stopped by Windows We Are, a glass supply company at Fifth Avenue and 91st Street to speak to reporters and local Republicans including state Sen. Marty Golden, about the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the rising cost of oil and the loss of American jobs.
Later, he presided over a roundtable of small business owners.
The hastily scheduled event surprised even the Windows We Are owners, who weren’t informed that the Arizona senator — who is unlikely to win New York State, but could win the presidency — until two days ago.
“I think they wanted to show a good example of what a small Bay Ridge family-owned business is,” said Scott Turnbull, manager of the 35-year-old shop.
Of course, there were other theories. “People are politically active in Bay Ridge, so it’s no surprise that’s he here,” said Tania Lazala, who gawked at the media gawking at McCain.
“But we can’t figure out why he’d speak at a window store and not at the school across the street.”
Bloomberg introduced McCain, stating that if it weren’t for the campaign tricks that McCain taught him, he never would have won the nation’s second most-important job.
“I got elected because of you,” said Bloomberg, who has not endorsed a candidate, though he recently appeared with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the likely Democratic nominee, in Manhattan.
The small-business roundtable was moderated by former Deputy Mayor Rudy Washington and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, now a Republican National Committee leader who is also talked about as a McCain vice presidential pick.
McCain took questions from six local entrepreneurs, including David Masoud, co-owner of Damascus Bakery on the corner of Gold and Plymouth streets in DUMBO.
“It’s good he’s talking about working issues, especially here,” said Butch Ford of Carroll Gardens, who helped install lighting at the speech. “This is a working man’s blue-collar neighborhood.”
After the speech and discussion, McCain did some retail campaigning at Verrazano Pizza on Fourth Avenue and 91st Street, grabbing a slice of white pizza with pepperoni — the shop’s biggest seller.
“It’s great he’s here,” said Vito Bruno, who ate a slice before McCain arrived. “Chatting with people is how you get votes.”
That was true for Windows We Are Manager Turnbull. He said that before McCain’s appearance, he was undecided.
“I’m a McCain supporter now,” he said.