Ed Koch joined Andrew Cuomo at a morning press conference for Cuomo’s government reform agenda (a topic about which we hope to have more later) but, perhaps unsurprisingly, in the Q & A with reporters afterwards, the former mayor stole the show.
Koch and Cuomo have a long, complicated, and well-documented history, that dates from the time when Cuomo ran his father Mario’s mayoral campaign against Koch and (allegedly) drafted the slogan, “Vote For Cuomo, Not The Homo” (The former Mayor has long been dogged by rumors that he is gay.)
When asked what made this Cuomo different from the one he feuded with for the better part of two decades, Koch said simply, “He is older,” and then added:
Let me just say this, so there is no misunderstanding. I like Andrew Cuomo. I think he has matured over the years and has demonstrated an understanding of government. His involvement on the federal level or at the state indirectly, I think he will be a great governor. If you are asking when you are involved in a primary, ‘Do you have feelings of anger on both sides?’ Always . Primaries are like a civil war. There is nothing like it. But it’s over.
I believe he is not a different person. His character–in my judgment I believe it’s formed at birth or before–and he’s a good person. His father is a good person. And I am proud to call him a friend.
Cuomo was also asked about an earlier comment made by Carl Paladino that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is ” a criminal,” and Koch took the microphone to object to that kind of language.
I think it is an outrage that Paladino would refer to Shelly Silver as a criminal. It drives people out of considering running for office. I’ve known Shelly for 40 years. I disagree with him on different aspects of government. He is not a criminal. It’s an outrage. Every public official should stand up, including those who support Paladino and denounce him. He is demeaning public office. He is causing people not to run. Who wants to be in a situation where somebody who doesn’t care about common decency can say anything they want? You can’t sue him. Anyone in public office is just out there to be attacked. But you have to hold responsible those who attack him without basis. And I denounce Paladino.
Koch has supported Republicans in the past, including George Bush in 2004, but hasn’t shown too much affinity for the Tea Party populism of some in the G.O.P.