In a small setting, Cuomo delivers a big Democratic address
At the New York delegation breakfast in Charlotte this morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered the kind of full-throated, unapologetically partisan defense of Barack Obama that he's largely avoided since becoming governor two years ago.
“Let’s thank President Barack Obama for what he’s done for our state!" said Cuomo, in his introduction.
Cuomo's one-day-only appearance at the convention, along with his studious avoidance of anything overtly related to 2016, made his address at the delegation breakfast a bit of a special occasion. The result almost had the feel of a keynote speech, even though it was delivered shortly before noon, far from the convention floor. And it seemed designed in part to be a response to the idea that he's kept a careful distance from the Obama re-election campaign.
He paid tribute early on to his old boss Bill Clinton, who spoke last night and is in many ways his political role model.
"The whole convention has been great but President Bill Clinton really lit it up last night," Cuomo said, adding, "After that speech, I don't think anything else has to be said."
He called the Republican convention "amusing," saying, in an echo of what Clinton said, that it "was all about balloons, bunting and generalities."
Cuomo almost seems to have been storing up the partisan attacks. When he had previously been asked about Paul Ryan, Cuomo declined to say much, other than that Romney was entitled to choose anyone he wanted.
But this morning, he called Mitt Romney's selection of Ryan a "real moment of frankness and candor," and then proceeded to tear into Ryan's budget plan as a "paint-by-numbers picture" of an America in which the middle class would be asked to shoulder an ever-greater economic burden.
"That picture is a foreign picture to me my friends," he said.
"They're saying we're going to get the savings from the middle class and working families of this country," he said, calling it an "obnoxious comment" to ask the middle class to pay more.
"President Barack Obama says almost the exact opposite," Cuomo said.
He heralded his own work in New York State, citing the state's relatively progressive tax plan, and the passage of a same-sex marriage bill that he made a priority in his first legislative session.
He closed with a fiery call to action that brought the crowd to its feet.
The presidential election, he said, would be a "gut-check."