After political speech, Cuomo declines to talk politics

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Speaking before a packed room at the state Democratic Committee’s spring meeting in Albany, Gov. Andrew Cuomo discussed the need to stand behind President Barack Obama as well as “Democrats in every office all across this state.”

After his well-received, 20-minute address to the partisan Hotel Albany crowd, Cuomo declared the political talk over for the day.

“Because there was a Democratic Party gathering today and we installed new people, so I’m here supporting them, putting them in place,” Cuomo said when pressed on why he attended the meeting. “And we had a political speech. I’m now stopping the political speech, and we’re going to talk about government.”

And talk about government he did, declining to delve back into politics despite repeated pressing by members of the Albany press corps. The Q-and-A session soon diverted to discussion over the state’s care of the developmentally disabled and state pension fund earnings.

“We’ll be finishing up the governmental season and we’ll be entering the political season. We have some more work to do governmentally,” he said when asked if he’ll be supporting Senate Democrats in their election efforts. “We have a number of items that I want to see passed before the end of session, so we’re going to continue to work governmentally and then we’ll turn to the political season.”

Cuomo’s speech, however, earned three standing ovations from the party he serves as the de facto head of. The meeting marked the first time the New York Democrats’ soon-to-be co-chairs — Manhattan Assemblyman Keith Wright and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner — addressed the party. (Both were nominated by Cuomo earlier this week.)

The governor discussed the need to back Barack Obama in his re-election attempt and outlined the state’s accomplishments during his 18 months in office, before offering a rare bit of political philosophy, discussing the differences, as he sees them, between liberals and conservatives.

“Think about this as we go into the campaign season: The difference between us as progressives and the conservatives is that we believe that government can work, and that we can come together and make this place a better place for all of us,” Cuomo said. “That is the essence of what we believe. What the conservatives are saying is, that doesn’t work. Government doesn’t work.”

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