Gov. Andrew Cuomo shot down a report Monday that he’s been telling confidantes he knows he can’t run for president in 2016 if Hillary Clinton enters the race.
“There is no truth to the assertion that I’m talking presidential politics and strategy and what Hillary Clinton should do or shouldn’t do or what I’m doing presidentially,” Mr. Cuomo told WCNY’s Susan Arbetter this morning.
“The only discussions I’m having are about how to help the state, how to get the state running, how to make the government a better government,” he added. “And to the extend I’m focusing on politics, it’s my race next year.”
The remarks came in response to a story by the New York Post’s Fred Dicker, whose once-cozy relationship with the Governor has grown increasingly chilly in recent month. Mr. Dicker claimed that Mr. Cuomo is now resigned to the fact that there’s no chance he can mount a run for the White House if Ms. Clinton decides to enter the race–an assertion Mr. Cuomo dismissed as “Monday rumors” without referencing Mr. Dicker by name.
“As you know, I go to great lengths not to engage in politics writ large, but especially not presidential politics,” he maintained. “Hillary Clinton is gonna do whatever Hillary Clinton’s gonna do and I’m doing what I’m doing and I’m focusing on running this state and doing it the best I can and that’s all there is to that,” he said.
“I understand the press appeal of presidential politics,” he said. “But no, I’m doing what I’m doing.”
Mr. Cuomo also insisted that there’s been no change to his approach to governing—despite Mr. Dicker’s lamentations that he’s swung to the left this year in an attempt to court Democratic Party Party brass, with major pushes for gun control legislation and a new women’s equality bill.
And he rejected speculation that his agenda will have to change because of his sliding poll numbers, which, Ms. Arbetter noted, could make his 2014 re-election bid substantially more difficult.
“I think the agenda that I laid out in the State of the State is the same agenda we’ve been pursuing. So we started this in January. It is an agenda that is socially progressive and fiscally responsible. I’ve been doing the same thing since the day I was elected,” he said.
“It’s been about getting the state’s economy running and measures to create and incentivize job creation all across the state—but especially upstate–and how does New York regain its mantle as being socially progressive,” he said, pointing to marriage equality as an example of left-leaning legislation passed early on in his term.
“The duality of the agenda that I started is what we’re going to continue on,” he said.
He also rejected the idea that his ability to move his agenda forward has been hampered by his sliding poll numbers, which nonetheless remain strong.
“I don’t think the legislature passes a bill because of a governor’s popularity,” he argued. “It tends to be the popularity of the issue and their stance on their issues, which is what it should be,” he said, arguing that helping fiscally distressed upstate cities, women’s equality and legalizing casinos were all “very popular issues.”
“I don’t think legislators are going to want to go home to their districts saying, you know, ‘I voted against cleaning up Albany, I voted against helping upstate cities, I voted against women’s equality,’” he said.