De Blasio’s special Cuomo relationship, activated by Bloomberg

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Bill de Blasio at City Hall. (Dana Rubinstein)
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On Sunday, after Mayor Michael Bloomberg was quoted in New York magazine calling Bill de Blasio's reliance on his family to further his campaign "racist" (before quickly backpedaling), Governor Andrew Cuomo leapt to the public advocate's defense.

In comments relayed to Politico's Maggie Haberman, Cuomo said the mayor's remarks were "clearly ... out of line and have no place in our political discourse," and lavished praise on the entire de Blasio family:

“I remember when his kids were born, that’s how long we go back,” said Cuomo. “They are a beautiful family. Individually each of the members of his family are truly special people and I think he should be very proud of his family, and if I were Bill I would be campaigning with my family the way that I campaign with my family. So that’s the way I feel about the de Blasios.”

Though Cuomo has not endorsed anyone in the mayoral primary, he has a longstanding relationship with de Blasio, which goes deeper than the governor's relationships with the other candidates.

After working together at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, de Blasio managed Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign, with an informal assist from the housing secretary.

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When Cuomo's 2002 campaign for governor ended in what the Times described as a "spectacular humiliation," de Blasio negotiated Cuomo's withdrawal from the race with the triumphant Carl McCall camp.

The next year, when Cuomo's marriage to Kerry Kennedy fell apart, de Blasio was there for him.

“He was regrouping, personally and professionally,” someone who knows Cuomo and de Blasio told me last year. “When he was looking for folks to talk to, or to go out with in a kind of public or professional sense, Bill was one of the folks who Andrew was close with.”

And so on.

Cuomo was never going to formally endorse de Blasio in this primary, or get involved much beyond his "shame on us" comment back when Anthony Weiner's candidacy looked like a plausible thing. The governor has ties to too many of the other candidates, and anyone doesn't tend to back anyone openly who might lose.

But with de Blasio the clear leader going into Tuesday's primary, Cuomo risks very little defending a dear old friend from the imprecations of Bloomberg, someone who's leaving office soon and whom Cuomo never got along all that well with anyway.

Nor is there any drawback for de Blasio in advertising their relationship.

After a brief press availability in Carroll Gardens this morning, de Blasio was asked about Cuomo's comments by a reporter from "Inside Edition."

De Blasio said he was gratified by the governor's response, "appreciated his kind words," and reminisced that he was working for Cuomo when his son Dante was born.