Cuomo on a Democratic ‘schism’ that has nothing to do with him

Cuomo in the 2009 Columbus Day parade. (saebaryo via Flickr)
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Governor Andrew Cuomo argued this morning that it's not his place to "meddle" in a fight among Democrats in the State Senate that has enabled Republicans to retain partial control of the legislative body.

"This is not really about the Republicans, Fred," Cuomo today told New York Post state editor Fred Dicker during his morning radio show. "This is a schism within the Democrats."

The Senate Democrats are indeed divided, but Cuomo is implicated in their inability to come together to form a majority in the Senate, from his approval of gerrymandered district lines that helped the Republicans to his regular warnings about what might happen if the Democrats took over, to his facilitation of the defectors' plans. (A source recently told Crain's that Cuomo actually vetted the breakaway Democrats' tactics as they were developing.)

There are obvious political reasons for Cuomo to try to maintain a plausible public distance between himself and the situation in the Senate, even as the lack of a single strong leader will allow him unprecedented leverage over the individual members.

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Today Cuomo said that the incipient coalition seems like it might prove "very good news for me and for the people of the state," thanks to what he describes as an "increased decibel level around the progressive elements of the agenda," like stop-and-frisk reform and a minimum wage hike.

Unrelated, Dicker asked Cuomo, who is contemplating a run for president in 2016, whether he would support Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if she decided to mount a run herself.

The race, Cuomo answered, "is a long way away."