Saturday, December 27, 2014

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

NY1 ItCH: The End of a Two-Day Democratic Affair as the Cuomo Clock Ticks

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It was reminiscent of a Soviet-style meeting; delegates from cities and far-flung rural areas gathered together at a large convention to re-nominate their supreme leader. During his address, they loudly clapped and whistled, heard the announcement of the next four-year plan, and then trudged home.

The end of the State Democratic Convention on Long Island didn’t really end with a bang or a whimper – it just sort of petered out after Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his speech -- and then left the room without pressing the flesh with any of his supporters.

As Bon Jovi played, Cuomo did the obligatory group hug with his family and the rest of his ticket, including State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. But with all of the internal jousting and politics, the smiles seemed forced and the “unified ticket” had all of the chemistry of the final reunion tour of The Police – where Sting’s bandmates looked ready to rush offstage before taking their final bow.

Cuomo was likely in even more of a rush than usual because he had to chopper off to Cooperstown to meet President Obama who was busy promoting tourism at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

After snubbing all of the state’s political media and his loyal delegates at the convention, Cuomo briefly spoke with reporters upstate, saying he still hadn’t decided whether to accept the backing of the state’s controversial Independence Party.
“All right guys, I’m going back to work,’’ Cuomo told the reporters after his seven-minute session gaggle, perhaps not realizing that answering questions about his job could be construed as part of his duties as a public servant.

It will be interesting to see if Cuomo continues his duck-and-cover strategy with the media as his re-election campaign marches forward. By my count, he hasn’t sat down in the Capitol’s Red Room with the Albany press corps since the budget was passed on April First. He’s done one sit-down TV interview in the last two years with a political reporter – our Liz Benjamin in Albany – and hasn’t appeared on NY1 since 2006 when he was running to be state Attorney General.

Four years ago, Cuomo didn’t even take part in a one-on-one debate with his Republican opponent, instead participating in a seven-way farce that included several minor-party candidates. After raising more than $30 million for his campaign coffers and holding a large lead in the polls, perhaps Cuomo worries that talking to the press or debating his opponent could only hurt his campaign. If so, comrades, it will be a long and boring summer as we look ahead to November.

Bob Hardt

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