Cuomo makes his DNC debut
By MAGGIE HABERMAN and ALEXANDER BURNS |
9/6/12 12:27 PM EDT
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made his lone major public appearance at the Democratic National Convention this morning in a heavily partisan speech before his state's delegation breakfast, in which he slammed Republicans, boosted President Barack Obama and said Bill Clinton, his mentor, had stolen the show the night before.
It was an unusually partisan address for Cuomo, who almost never gives speeches like this as governor and who has worked hard to avoid partisan attacks in his own state as his approval ratings have consistently been in the high 60 percent range. Despite the questions about his future and 2016, he is holding almost no public events — and in a mark of his status as he tries to avoid engaging, there was very little national media at the event, held many miles from downtown Charlotte.
He praised Clinton, who appointed him as HUD secretary in the 1990s, saying, "I’ll tell you, President Bill Clinton last night … he is something. He lays it all out, he communicates and he touches and he does it. … After that speech, I don’t think anything else has to be said.”
And his voice got louder as he went on, practically shouting at points as he talked about Obama's efforts on issues important to the middle class, which he said parallel what he is doing in New York. He also got in a reference to the gay marriage bill that passed in his state last year, his signature achievement and one that his supporters believe will set him apart on the national stage.
“This is an election where this country is going to have to take a long look in the mirror," he said at the end. "This is a gut-check election for this country and we have to be very clear about the choices. … Yes, people are feeling pain. But when you are down is probably the truest test of who you are. … Yes, we’re down, and yes the economy is coming back, but we’re going to make the right choice as a nation and we’re going to present in the options in a way we know the country’s going to make the right choice.”
“When one of us is raised, we are all raised. And when one of us is lowered, we are all lowered. Do you believe that the sweetest success is shared success, when we all do well? … Do you believe that we can make it all together, leaving no one behind, and that the best is ahead? Do you believe that, America?” he shouted to the crowd of New York delegates, packed under a white tent in a parking lot at a Doubletree Hotel.
His breakfast was moved to 10:30, which aides said was done to let delegates get some rest after a late night. About 90 minutes earlier, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand addressed the Iowa delegation breakfast. Senior New York Sen. Chuck Schumer was on hand, pointedly refusing to engage in any 2016 discussion about Cuomo or anyone else.
"He's been a good governor," he told reporters.
Earlier in Cuomo's speech, he talked about Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, saying, "There was one moment of frankness and candor that, frankly, surprised me, and that’s when Mr. Romney picked Mr. Ryan to be vice president. Because Mr. Ryan has already done his budget — their budget — for this nation. … A budget document doesn’t use a lot of words. It uses numbers. So there’s not a lot of fudge factor. And those numbers tell a story. … Those numbers tell you where they will take this nation. The Ryan budget is a paint-by-numbers picture of the America they want to bring to us. And that picture is a foreign picture to me, my friends.”
He has done very little in terms of boosting Obama this cycle, but he insisted Obama had inherited a terrible situation when he came into office.
“When he walked in the door, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month," he said. "The man inherited one of the worst economies in history. People forget, memories are short. People were frightened when Barack Obama came in. We remember in New York, they were talking about the financial markets collapsing, they were talking about the banks folding. … There was a near-financial panic. That’s what Barack Obama inherited and they created it and, frankly, it is absurd that the party that created the problem now wants to present themselves as the solver of the problem to the American people.”
Romney and Ryan are from the past, he said: “Been there, done that, we’re not going back.”
“When they say we’re gonna cut your Medicare, and we’re gonna cut your Medicaid, and we’re gonna cut your Pell Grants and we’re gonna cut your food stamps … My friends, it is an obnoxious comment, after what the middle class has gone through, after the struggles of the working family over these past few years, that they would ask middle class … They paid. They paid in loss of jobs, loss of wages, loss of the equity in their home … The answer can’t be, more economic pain for the middle class and for the working families.”