Monday, September 01, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: The Albany Buyer's Club

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As Gov. Cuomo prepares to deliver his State of the State address tomorrow, he's powwowing today with Vice President Joe Biden in Albany, jointly talking up Hurricane Sandy relief aid for New York – but also probably dreaming of sending Hillary Clinton to the North Country on a frozen fact-finding mission from whence she will never return.

For Cuomo, White House talk seemed positively natural less than two years ago after he delivered a stemwinder of a stump speech to New York delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
Leticia James – now the city's Public Advocate – observed at the time: "I think President, definitely. And I think it pits him against Hillary Clinton."

But since then, Clinton pulled the ripcord on her gig as Secretary of State to become a full-time sort-of candidate-in-waiting, complete with a "Ready for Hillary" Super PAC.

Meanwhile, Cuomo's approval ratings have stayed high according to some polls but dipped in others. But with likely more than $30 million in his campaign coffers and an aggressive political team, Cuomo seems poised to run a tough re-election fight against a yet-unannounced opponent. A Republican sparring partner could be just what the doctor ordered – while a triangulation away from New York City's new liberal mayor could help as well.

For Biden, after two failed presidential runs, the vice presidency seemed like the perfect end point of a long political career. But it's hard to keep that Oval Office bug out of the blood and it's clear that the Veep is still dreaming of a last hurrah. With the president's sagging poll numbers, a Biden bid seems unlikely now but that could quickly change if Obama gets a shot of political adrenalin over the next year – which is extremely possible whenever the Tea Party tail wags the GOP Big Dogs in Congress.

Clinton, who ostensibly is working on a book about her four years as Secretary of State, can sit back and smile as Cuomo and Biden sweat. While suffering a health scare a year ago, she seemed rested and ready – if not tan -- at Mayor de Blasio's inauguration a week ago. (And let's remember people, that she's 66-years-old – five years younger than Biden.)

So as Biden and Cuomo discuss Sandy relief (and pray for Hillary relief) – and refuse to take questions from reporters – a formerly-harried Secretary of State can feel a little warmer on a very chilly day.

Bob Hardt

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