1:20 pm Jan. 21, 2013
On "Morning Joe" today, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd said President Obama needs to be more like Andrew Cuomo in his second term.
"They just need to tinker with the balance, like Andrew Cuomo, and get those carrots and sticks, and pulling the levers thing right," she said.
Dowd wrote a admiring column about Cuomo's gun-control efforts this weekend, saying his push on gun control showed he had evolved from his youthful days as a "henchman" for his father.
"Now that he is New York’s governor himself, Cuomo gives intensity a good name," she wrote.
Cuomo spoke to Dowd for the column, telling her he now forgets "about the unhealthy things that used to distract me."
The key paragraph from Dowd, on the applicability of Cuomoism to Barack Obama and Capitol Hill, is this one:
The governor doesn’t have the president’s public magnetism. But Cuomo, who devotes a lot of time to wining, dining and wheedling legislators, is far more deft at carrots, sticks and baby-talk than President Obama is. It’s a fascinating — and open — question about whether those skills could work the same way to jolt comatose Washington.
Dowd isn't the first to suggest Cuomo's Albany as a model for Washington and Obama, although many such suggestions have failed to account for the crucial difference New York's endangered State Senate Republican caucus, which owes its remaining power to Cuomo and recently formed a coalition with breakaway Democrats, and a House Republican conference that has lurched to the right in recent years, making it difficult for even its own leader to control.
(That House Republican conference, in fact, likes to make the same point about Cuomo and Obama.)
In his first two years as governor, Cuomo made a point of limiting his engagement with the national media. He seems to be getting over that now.
He recently sat for an extended interview recently with Rachel Maddow, the popular MSNBC host who just so happens to speak to millions of Democratic primary voters every night, although the interview was for Gotham magazine, and not for her show.
Cuomo didn't attend President Obama's inauguration this weekend.
Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, a potential Democratic rival to Cuomo in 2016, appeared after Dowd on "Morning Joe" (wearing a Ray Lewis Baltimore Ravens jersey) where he got a grilling from Joe Scarborough about entitlements and budgeting. O'Malley was seated next to Obama's senior adviser David Axelrod, who praised O'Malley for his support during the campaign.
Vice President Joe Biden has been laying the groundwork for his own run, attending an Iowa event at the inauguration, inviting the governor of New Hampshire to attend his swearing-in, and making a surprise appearance at the Green Inaugural Ball.