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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Alan Chartock: Cuomo on the warpath

By Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019 Viewpoints 1

It’s fun to watch Andrew Cuomo. He knows that his father lost his try for a fourth term in office. To be fair, he didn’t lose by a lot and it was a very Republican year. On the other hand, Andrew has to worry that people can get tired of having the same guy in office year after year. So, Andrew is on the warpath.

I have been speaking with him a lot lately on the radio and I’m here to tell you the guy gets angry when he is challenged. Nothing gets by him. If someone is mad about having to pay $25 for a new license plate and is blaming him for it, he doesn’t turn the other cheek. Nope, he says that the very people in the Legislature who are blaming him for the fee are the ones who put the new “tax” in place and they are welcome to change it. A lot of people are thinking that it might take an Andrew Cuomo to get in Donald Trump’s face in 2020. They remember Hillary’s inability to do that and don’t have a lot of faith that any of the present contenders will fare any better.

When Chris Cuomo got into a fight over being called “Fredo” by a troll, Andrew went after a columnist for a local Albany paper and he didn’t pull any punches. He made news on my radio show, going after that columnist two weeks in a row. The truth is that he has been making a lot of news on the public radio station that I run. My press colleagues often forget to mention my name, however, even though I was asking the questions that prompted his angry responses. Ah, well — you can’t have everything.

So how did this all come about? After all, Andrew was apparently so angry with me on a private matter that he wouldn’t talk to me for his first two terms (eight years) in office. Then one day, there was the WAMC news director, Ian Pickus, knocking on the door of our studio while I was on the air, telling me that Andrew wanted to come on that very day. We were delighted, and he made such big news that even the New York Times credited me by name.

I try to be as tough on the guy as I possibly can. I recently received a letter asking why I was so rude to the governor. Rich Azzopardi, Cuomo’s senior advisor (he was once my student) got hot under the collar when someone referred to Cuomo and me as “pals.” Azzopardi reminded the letter writer that I had opposed Cuomo in columns during his recent primary campaign and further reminded him that when Andrew decided to run against Carl McCall for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination quite a while ago, I really objected to the fact that Andrew was taking on a wonderful man who just happened to be the first African-American to have a shot at being governor of New York — not exactly a pal. The governor did ask me, I suspect tongue-in-cheek, to accompany him to the New York State Fair in Syracuse. He demanded an answer and I said “no.” It was pretty funny.

Some of you might remember that I had a weekly radio show with Mario Cuomo that played all over New York and as far away as Boston. That show was on the air for a long, long time. Mario was both articulate and one of the funniest men I have ever known. Now I see that Andrew’s apple has not fallen far from Mario’s tree. As for me, I will continue to ask him the toughest questions I can, and I have to believe that, at some point, he’ll have had enough and call it quits. In the meantime, I’m having the time of my long life.


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