Thoughts on in­ter­view­ing Cuomo the Younger

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Opinion - Alan Char­tock

You never know what you might do or ask to make news all over New York state. About a week ago, Gov. An­drew Cuomo was a guest on our Round­table Panel on pub­lic ra­dio sta­tion WAMC. If you want to hear the in­ter­view, just get the WAMC app and lis­ten to the re­mark­able give and take. My friend Frank Raphael de­scribed the lat­est of sev­eral en­coun­ters as “two por­cu­pines cir­cling each other.”

For years, I in­ter­viewed Papa Mario Cuomo each week for vir­tu­ally ev­ery pub­lic ra­dio sta­tion in New York. That pro­gram was called Me and Mario. I have to say that Papa Cuomo was re­ally fun. Now it turns out that his son, An­drew, has some of the fa­ther’s real spunk. I have tried my best to be as tough on the guy as I know how and I have no doubt that sooner or later I will cross the line on what is shap­ing up to be a weekly half hour and Cuomo the Younger will stop com­ing on. That’s just the na­ture of the beast where politi­cians are con­cerned but as of now, it’s been fun.

There’s a line in the clas­sic movie “Mr. Roberts” in which the old doc asks En­sign Pul­ver about Pul­ver’s claim that he had had his way with a 30-year-old vir­gin. As I re­call, Pul­ver’s an­swer was, “I was the first one to ever ask her a di­rect ques­tion.” Hey, in the case of in­ter­view­ing the big politi­cians, you re­ally have noth­ing to lose by ask- ing di­rect ques­tions. On the day of that par­tic­u­lar in­ter­view, I asked Cuomo how he felt about El­iz­a­beth War­ren’s newly an­nounced dec­la­ra­tion that she was run­ning for pres­i­dent.

Cuomo has been al­ter­na­tively por­tray­ing him­self as a mid­dle of the road Demo­crat and a pro­gres­sive Demo­crat and I knew that he was not about to en­dorse War­ren, the uber-pro­gres­sive. None­the­less, I asked and in the true Cuomo style he played in­tel­lec­tual dodge ball but it was clear from his an­swer that he was not thrilled by the War­ren dec­la­ra­tion. When I asked him who he was for, he didn’t hes­i­tate with his an­swer: his long­time friend, Joe Bi­den.

Hey, it makes sense to me. Cuomo and Bi­den have a mu­tual ad­mi­ra­tion so­ci­ety but the whole thing got me to think­ing. I mean, An­drew is in his third term as gov­er­nor. He is sort of boxed in. He can run for a fourth term, he can run for pres­i­dent OR he can run for vice pres­i­dent, but like in the case of the se­nior prom, you’ve got to be asked. By be­ing the first in line to sup­port Bi­den, maybe he gets owed. Then if it works out, Bi­den makes him vice pres­i­dent and af­ter a few terms, An­drew is in a great place to grad­u­ate to the top job. Right? Of course, Cuomo has a few skele­tons that might get in the way of be­ing named as Bi­den’s veep – skele­tons with names like Joe Per­coco, Todd Howe, and Alain Kaloyeros, all, as of now, on their way to prison. Maybe these names will be for­got­ten, maybe not.

Well, Cuomo made some news by com­ing out so early for Bi­den but he also made news when I told him that peo­ple in the newly minted Demo­cratic Se­nate Ma­jor­ity in New York state were threat­en­ing to open in­ves­ti­ga­tions into his ad­min­is­tra­tion. Cuomo came out guns blaz­ing, sug­gest­ing that if they in­ves­ti­gated him he could well in­ves­ti­gate them; a sort of quid pro quo or, as we have often joked, a Quid pro Cuomo. That may have been a mis­take since so many peo­ple be­lieve that the more ac­tors who in­ves­ti­gate oth­ers, the safer we all are.

In any case, just a few words on a ra­dio show got a lot of news cov­er­age. Not a bad morn­ing’s work, I’d say.

Cuomo has a few skele­tons that might get in the way of be­ing named as Bi­den’s veep – skele­tons with names like Joe Per­coco, Todd Howe, and Alain Kaloyeros, all, as of now, on their way to prison.

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