Attorney General Andrew Cuomo just spent nearly an hour on a conference call with reporters attempting to explain why he’s recusing himself from two investigations of Governor David Paterson, and how it’s all about insuring the public’s trust in the integrity of the cases. Yet the timing of the announcement — two days after a Marist poll showed Abuse-gate and Free Ticket–gate dragging Cuomo’s approval rating down for the first time in months by an eye-catching thirteen points — is mighty suspicious. Cuomo put on a good show — asking and answering his own hypotheticals, shouting to emphasize his seriousness — in claiming that he’s doing the apolitical thing by handing the cases off to an independent counsel, retired state judge Judith Kaye.
He also said the maneuver had been in the works “for days — for days!” so it couldn’t possibly have been provoked by the poll results. But all of Cuomo’s dancing around about his own intention to run for governor only made his motives seem less pure — even if the Marist numbers had nothing to do with the move, clearly Cuomo doesn’t want to be tangled in the investigations when he makes his campaign official in the coming weeks, or what he circumlocutingly called a period “that will include a political atmosphere.” One sure thing: By repeatedly saying during the conference call that there are “credible issues that need to be resolved” in the investigations, Cuomo darkened the cloud over Paterson’s head some more.