"I am the attorney general of the State of New York. I'm focused on being attorney general of the State of New York."
-Andrew Cuomo, at a press conference in the Capitol on July 29
It's one of the most reliable dodges in politics, "focusing" on your current job to avoid discussing the job you actually want. Think, for example, of all the focusing Hillary Clinton was doing on her Senate job back in 2006. In this case, though, Mr. Cuomo is not being entirely disingenuous. His energies right now are supremely concentrated on his work as attorney general, in part because the job happens to be an incredible publicity vehicle, and a singularly effective means of campaigning for governor without actually campaigning. (Not so long ago, Eliot Spitzer discovered much the same thing.)
With the near-daily press releases and statements boasting of his success in tacking malfeasance on Wall Street, waste in government and pollutants in the environment (the press conference in Albany was to announce that several wind-power companies had signed on to a new code of conduct), Mr. Cuomo's favorability numbers have skyrocketed; David Paterson's have crashed. (A Marist Poll from June 30 found that 67 percent of registered New York voters approved of Cuomo's job performance, compared to 21 percent for Mr. Paterson.)
Mr. Cuomo knows that a flat denial that the governor's office is on his mind is ludicrous on its face. Hence his comment, at that same press conference, that "as much as I can, I stay away from politics."
Now, he can let the politics come to him.