It was a rare day for Gov. Andrew Cuomo Thursday. He was out of the state, at an event that increased talk he may run for president. The governor struck a highly partisan tone as he tried to boost President Obama's bid for re-election. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
It was a 22-minute speech in North Carolina. And it seemed to make up for all the time back home Andrew Cuomo that wouldn't talk national politics.
Usually quiet about national politics, Cuomo gave a virtual bear hug to the president from behind the podium.
He also briefly shed his careful reluctance to criticize Republicans. Some observers believe that Cuomo is seen actually as preferring the GOP to lead the State Senate. But on Thursday, he took their national colleagues to the wood shed.
"First they say 'well, we have economic troubles.' Thank you for that startling revelation," the governor said. "What they don't say because they're ashamed is that had nothing to do with Barack Obama."
Aides insist the speech was nothing more than revving up New Yorkers for a tough race in November.
Others saw it as garden sowing for 2016.
"I think President, definitely, said Councilwoman Letitia James. "And I think it pits him against Hillary Clinton."
Cuomo knows that chatter. And advisors say it just about gives him hives.
"He saw what happened to his father," said former New York State Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs. "And the fact of the matter is it was a distraction. It hurts your ability to govern. It creates a much more divisive environment. And he wants to accomplish things in New York State."
Cuomo spotlighted his New York State accomplishments in every way possible, while adding some feisty new lines about how bad life would be with Mitt Romney in the White House.
"My friends, it is an obnoxious comment after what the middle class has gone through, after the struggles of the working families over these past few years, that they would ask the middle class and the working families to shoulder these burdens," he said.
While the 2016 questions lingers, more immediately, people wonder if the governor will stump for the president out of New York, in swing states like Florida.
That would fan the Cuomo for President talk even more. But an aide says, if the president asks him, the governor won't say no.