Cuomo explains the limits of his W.F.P. alliance

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Cuomo marched in the Celebrate Israel Parade. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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At a parade in Manhattan this morning, in his first appearance since securing the support of the progressive Working Families Party in exchange for expressing support for its platform, Governor Andrew Cuomo said there were limits to that support.

Cuomo, who indicated he'd back the party's goals of helping Democrats take back the State Senate and allowing localities to raise the minimum wage, downplayed the boos and heckling he received in absentia this weekend at the convention of the Working Families Party, whose union and progressive members have long grumbled about Cuomo’s fiscally conservative policies and working relationship with Republicans.

“It’s very simple at these political conventions: you either win or you lose. Uh, and I won, and I’m very happy to have their support,” he said.

Cuomo referred to the Democratic Party as a “big tent” in which “everybody has a voice and everybody wants to use it.”

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Cuomo added, “At the end of the day I won the endorsement, and that’s what really relevant.”

In a video showed at the W.F.P. convention last night, Cuomo expressed support for a number of key progressive initiatives, like allowing municipalities to raise their minimum wage, an issue he balked at previously.

When I asked him what changed, Cuomo said the issue was actually more nuanced than how it was being presented.

“No. I opposed municipalities being able to set their own wage. I did and I do,” he said.

When I pressed him about the video shown last night, Cuomo said that the change in the minimum wage he supports would be governed by a formula, which means it would be capped and regulated throughout the state.

“What we’re saying, [in] the video last night I said we have to recognize the difference in the cost of living in different markets and I would allow localities within a state-prescribed formula to adjust a local wage,” he said. “But not that the locality gets to set rate wherever they want. I’m against that. I was against it. I am against it.”

Afterward, an aide yelled, “All right guys, one more.”

NY1’s Courtney Gross asked Cuomo to elaborate on his plans to help Democrats take control of the State Senate.

“Well first, let's take a little bit of context here, right?” Cuomo replied. “This is about electing people who support an agenda. I also will oppose Democrats who have opposed things that we have tried to pass."

Cuomo’s Republican opponent, Rob Astorino, the Westchester county executive, said the deal the governor struck with the W.F.P. was problematic and would lead to higher taxes.

Astorino told reporters Cuomo had “no political soul.”