Biden Heaps Praise on Cuomo at Sandy Summit

Andrew Cuomo and Joe Biden at today's event. (Screenshot: www.governor.ny.gov)

Andrew Cuomo and Joe Biden at today’s event. (Screenshot: http://www.governor.ny.gov)

Vice President Joe Biden paid a visit to Albany today to tout Superstorm Sandy rebuilding efforts–and had nothing but praise for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“You’re not just leading in New York, you’re leading the country. And I think a lot of governors and a lot of folks can learn an awful lot from what they see in what you do here,” said Mr. Biden, sitting next to Mr. Cuomo in the state Capitol.

“As they say in our business–at least in the House and Senate–I associate myself with the gentleman from the north,” he said.

After a detailed presentation from the governor summarizing rebuilding efforts, Mr. Biden stressed the importance of building back stronger and touted the importance of infrastructure investments in keeping the region–and the country–strong in the 21st century.

“Does anybody think New York, Manhattan would have developed into what it is today without the federal government and the state government investing in infrastructure?” asked the vice president, pointing to federal investments in local bridges and roadways. “This can be done and it must be done because otherwise we’re going to be left behind.”

But Mr. Biden–who spent time on the ground after the storm, surveying coastal damage by helicopter and touring the city’s flooded subways—spent near-equal time in his remarks praising Mr. Cuomo, whom he described as “a calming voice” with “incredible determination” in the days before and after Sandy, which caused $32 billion in damage to the State of New York alone.

“One of the things that impressed me the most, governor, is your foresight here and your ingenuity,” said Mr. Biden, pointing to an effort to update the state’s power grid as an example. “That’s the kind of thinking we need from other governors. That’s the kind of thinking we need around the country.”

“You’ve got a governor who understands why the Empire State became known as the Empire State and apparently he’s determined to keep it the Empire State. No I’m serious, I’m serious. I wish everyone could see this presentation,” he later said.

Mr. Biden also took a shot at other states around the nation, whose congressional delegations dragged their feet in delivering Sandy aid.

“Sometimes our fellow colleagues in other parts of the country don’t have the same empathy and sympathy for disasters on the East Coast as we on the East Coast consistently have for disasters that happen in the Midwest and the Far West,” he said.