Audio: Cuomo, on a call with Democratic officials, talks Democratic
As I reported this morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo held a conference call for local Democratic elected officials last night.
It wasn't supposed to be open to the press, but I got the number from a source, called in, and recorded it. Here's the audio of the call, which lasted a little more than 24 minutes.
The call, which was intended to generate expressions of official support for Cuomo's agenda, was pretty neatly organized. But it did depart somewhat from most of Cuomo's public appearances since he became governor in a couple of ways.
For one thing, Cuomo called explicitly for party unity--for New York Democrats to be "tighter," to use his word, the better to sell their policies to the public.
That's a bit of a departure. Up until his State of the State speech this month, with a few exceptions, Cuomo has avoided explicitly partisan formulations, and in fact has worked to position himself somewhere above the considerations of his party altogether: he kept a careful distance from Barack Obama for most of the presidential campaign, for example, and worked actively against his fellow Democrats in helping Republicans remain in power in the State Senate.
On the call, Cuomo also talked explicitly in national terms, something he's studiously avoided doing in public, out of a stated concern that he'd get drawn into stories about his presidential ambitions.
The governor talked to the officials on the call about how a political achievement in New York "resonates nationwide," and in discussing the need for a unified message, Cuomo said, "It happens naturally during a presidential year, because the president starts the message from on top and it trickles down, pardon the use of the words. But even when there is not a presidential election, we should have a unified agenda."
Cuomo asked the officials "to consider" passing local "governmental resolutions" in support of his agenda and noted that opponents of, for example, gun control, are organized and vocal.
"It can't always be that the negative yells and the positive is silent," he said.
Afte Cuomo's remarks, a number of officials from around the state took turns speaking in praise of Cuomo's work. They included Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Suffolk County Executive Steve Ballone.
Afterward, Cuomo got back on the line and said that "in general, I want to work more to get the Democratic Party tighter in the state, especially among elected officials."