Attorney general and definite future candidate for governor Andrew Cuomo was on Fred Dicker’s radio show today to talk about classic cars and dodge questions about when he’ll declare his candidacy. Even though Cuomo has been the lone (presumed) Democratic candidate for governor since David Paterson announced he was dropping out of the race two months ago, he’s so far refused to acknowledge that he’ll actually be running or give an indication as to when his campaign would begin. One of the advantages of the strategy is that as long as he’s still just “Attorney General Andrew Cuomo,” he can conveniently avoid weighing in on political minefields like the state budget, while continuing to focus on racking up positive publicity from things like the Pedro Espada investigation. But today, Dicker tried something a little different. Instead of asking Cuomo if he’s running, or when he’s announcing, he asked him who he’s supporting for governor. This led to a comical few minutes of elusiveness on Cuomo’s part in the face of valiant, dogged determination by Dicker.
According to a condensed transcript from the Post:
Dicker: Who are you supporting for governor?
Cuomo: I am not … uh … You’re asking my political opinion?
D: No, you’re a Democrat. Who’s your favorite for the race? Who are you backing?
C: At this time, I have — I’m endorsing no candidate for governor.
D: Any idea who you might be going with?
C: No, no, no. I’m considering, I’m considering.
D: When might you let us know who you might be supporting?
C: There is a … There is a calendar to all of this. I was thinking in preparation for your show. There actually is a calendar. There is a time for government and a time for politics.
D: There’s a new line.
C: As there are seasons, right? The calendar is that the political conventions are held at the end of May. There was a theory to that, Fred. The theory was you don’t mix politics and government. We go through the legislative session and then we turn to politics.
D: Eliot Spitzer announced for governor and he wasn’t running [until] 2006. Don’t you want to follow in Eliot Spitzer’s footsteps?
C: Ahhhhh (laughs). Where do I begin?
D: When are you going to give us an idea of what you’re doing? Is it next week? Is it likely that you’ll tell [who] you’re backing for governor before [next week’s Democratic Rural Conference]?
C: Why don’t we adhere to the calendar that’s been established and served this state well for many many years? And why don’t we focus on the governmental jobs that we’re supposed to do?
D: So you’re going to wait until late May to tell us who you’re backing for governor?
C: See, Fred, I’m getting paid today by the people of the state. They expect me to work for them for that check. They expect value for their money.
D: They wouldn’t get it if you announced for governor?
C: This office is actually handling a number of sensitive issues that you mentioned in the introduction, which I’m focusing on. Politics and this office do not mix well. I understand the calendar. I get it. I read your column. Remember the general election is in November. But there’s going to be a lot of time to discuss the salient issues of the state.
D: So, it’s unlikely then that you’ll be telling us who you’ll be backing for governor say next week? That you’re probably going to wait until around the time of the conventions to tell us? Is that it?
C: You’re the one that opines as to the calendar. I’m just trying to do my job.
D: I’m just trying to understand what you just said.
C: I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing every day. I think it’s fair to say that the governmental activities are very intense. This may be the most intense period I’ve had in my three years.
D: Well, we do appreciate candor on this show, so I can take that to mean, maybe no announcement next week.
So that was fun, and useless.
Cuomo bobs and weaves on kick-off question [Knickerbocker/Post]