Little things and the big picture

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

January 30, 2012 1:32:35 PM PST
A few weeks ago I wrote in this space about how I had changed my behavior about confronting misdemeanor-doers on the streets of New York City.

I also said how I had recently experimented with confronting litterers and other similarly inclined peeps. Today, I reverted to my old self - big time. A man - I'd say he was in his late 20's - spit on the sidewalk as he was passing me this morning.

"Hey," I said, "I walk here, my kids walk here - and you're spitting?"

His response was immediate and without hesitation.

"F*&# off!" he said, without missing a stride.

I suppose I could have yelled back something like, "What did you say?"

But then what? I'm the one escalating the confrontation? Not exactly my personal M.O. and, besides, one hard truth of this job is that what we do in public - just about everything - is seen by someone. And taking the please-don't-spit-on-the-sidewalk comment to a street-rage level is a big no-no professionally.

So I bit my tongue, and walked on.

The only saving grace: Maybe the kid will think twice next time he's about to spit on the sidewalk. With that as prelude, on to our 11 p.m. newscast.

We're on the campaign trail, on the eve of the Florida primary, where Mitt Romney appears poised to win the 50 delegates up for grabs. The polls show Romney gaining, and Newt Gingrich falling fast.

But the bigger picture bodes not good for both candidates. The newest ABC News poll from last week - the one done before another onslaught of anti-Gingrich ads in Florida - show both Romney and Gingrich have huge unfavorable ratings.

In fact, unlike the other Presidential candidates pre-election for all of the last decade, both Romney and Gingrich have higher unfavorable ratings than favorable ones. We'll have the latest from Florida, tonight at 11, including the continual beating-up politics among the candidates. This afternoon, Gingrich said Romney has a "profound character problem." (Coincidence that his campaign stops today drew only a few dozen people?)

Wonder what Gingrich or Romney will say when one of them has to yield the nomination to the other. Kiss and make up, as if the electorate will forget their bashing? I'm just sayin'.

Speaking of Presidential politics - I suspect it's no surprise that word is leaking out today of remarks over the weekend at a House retreat from Vice President Biden about some behind-the-scenes juice during the decision to go after Osama bin Laden last May.

According to Mr. Biden, everyone in the room, including him, was fence-sitting over whether to pull the trigger (literally and figuratively) on the bin Laden mission - with the exception of Leon Panetta. Said Biden, "I just want to tell you, this guy's (the President) got a backbone like a ramrod." Despite all the wavering advice, Mr. Obama gave the go-ahead on the bin Laden mission. The rest, as they say, is history.

Also at 11, and apropos of the election, our Tim Fleischer tonight has a fascinating look at how talking politics is affecting people's relationships on social media. For example, do you "defriend" someone who goes on a political rant that you don't agree with? It's an interesting story.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg with his AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. He's reporting all week from Indianapolis, where the Giants have now landed to prepare for this Sunday's Super Bowl against the Patriots.

I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

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