Mario Cuomo on Andrew, the White House, and What Obama Should Say Now (With Audio!)

Governor Mario Cuomo called into WVOX in Westchester yesterday for a long interview with his old friend, William O’Shaughnessy.

Fred Dicker reported a few comments from the conversation this morning, but it was a 26-minute interview, so here are a few more highlights (with audio, above, kindly provided by Mr. O’Shaughnessy).

On how he felt about Andrew’s big lead in the polls, in light of his own (more narrow) lead, which evaporated on Election Night in 1994:

“With that memory of what is capable of happening in a short period of time, we had a little bit of angst until we heard the news that it looked clearly to be a victory for Andrew. At that point, there was great relief for his mother and his family, including myself.”

On what Andrew said in his 5 a.m. phone call on Wednesday morning:

“He said: ‘How are the papers? Everything alright in the papers? What did they say, basically? Who won? Who lost? What should I be looking for?'” [The governor told him it was too early to tell, and encouraged him to have someone else monitor that while he finished up his agenda in the attorney general’s office.]

On how Andrew should approach the budget:

“You want to spend money on something? Well you prove to me that you have to. That I can’t get it done through the market system. I can’t get it though my own independent means. I can’t get it through the benefactors, pro bono, charitable foundations. That’s where we should be. Do you want a tax cut? Well, do you need a tax cut? You want a tax increase? Well, do you need a tax increase? That is where our process should be.”

On the inevitable presidential speculation:

“He has many gifts, no question about it. If he performs well as the governor of this state, then one shouldn’t be surprised that his name almost automatically will be thrown into the hopper.”


“I think it’s the issues that matter most. And if Andrew with his bright mind comes up with good ideas and is able to implement them, then of course he ought to be considered for a higher place. Will he be? I think it should depend upon what he produces. And that’s the way we should be judging our politicians.”

On the current occupant of the White House:

“Barack Obama is probably one of the brightest, in terms of sheer intelligence…also probably the best orator we’ve ever had as a president.”

On Obama’s transition from poetry to prose:

“[After the election] your communications have to be purely pragmatic, not designed to stir the soul and move people. It has to be designed to educate people. That’s what Obama has to do now…Starting today, talk to me plainly.”



  Mario Cuomo on Andrew, the White House, and What Obama Should Say Now (With Audio!)