Cuomo, Clarified. Mostly.

The Observer’s tape recorder ran out before Andrew got up to speak at the Stonewall Democratic Club (blame Alan Hevesi!), so I asked the Times’s Pat Healy for his transcript of the event, and he kindly obliged.

The controversy is over whether Andrew Cuomo denied that anti-gay Koch fliers ever existed, or simply denied that he had a role in them. Our reporter, and a lot of other people, left with the former impression. Healy’s interpretation, in the paper today, was the latter. The transcript is ambiguous, but Cuomo apparently clarified it to him immediately after speaking.

Here’s Healy’s transcript, which he notes he gave me as a professional courtesy (a courteous guy, Healy), and not at the request of any campaign:

Q: Now that this campaign is heating up, old stuff is cropping up. One of the ones we’re hearing a lot these days on blogs and in whispering campaigns are about the posters that popped up during your father’s campaign against Ed Koch, which read “Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo.” Fairly or not, a lot of the times you are described as a driving force behind this postering campaign, which we know did happen. I just was wondering here, today, at the community center, if you once and for all disavow any involvement on your part with this postering campaign, and if you say – if you catch anybody in your campaign involved in that kind, what would be the consequences?

Cuomo: May I ask you something?

(Man nods.)

Cuomo: “When you said that you know that it happened, how do you know that happened?”

Q:”It’s been written about in a lot of books, it was in Jack Newfield’s books, the one that just came out, Ladies and Gentleman the Bronx is Burning—”

Cuomo:
“Jack Newfield said that it had anything to do with the Cuomo campaign?”

Q:”Uh, I don’t know—”

Cuomo: “Ok. He didn’t. Anyway. In 1977 Mario Cuomo ran against Ed Koch. That was one of the rumors that came out of the campaign, which is now folklore. It was an ugly cheap rumor then; it’s a more ugly cheap untrue rumor today. And the previous question, when we talked about negativity in campaigns, let Mark Green say he’s better. Let Sean Patrick say he’s better. But rumors, gossip, untruth about other people is not positive, and it re-enforces stereotypes. It’s just not true.”

Pat adds:

“After Mr. Cuomo finished, I told him in an interview that his wording was muddled and asked him to clarify – was he saying the posters did not exist at all, or was he saying that a connection between him and the posters did not exist? He told me he was saying the connection between him and the posters did not exist, saying that was the point on his mind because it was the point raised, and noting his question back to the man about whether Jack Newfield reported a link between the posters and the Cuomo campaign. Mr. Cuomo then told me that the posters themselves were ‘disgusting’ and added, ‘I condemn them.'”