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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has officially become the Captain Video of the state campaign season.
At the Democratic convention last month he used a prerecorded video to announce Kathy Hochul as his candidate for lieutenant governor. Then, at the Working Families Party convention, he sent along a recorded speech vowing to work to achieve party goals. And on Tuesday night, Cuomo provided a video in response to the Legislative Correspondents Association annual satire show in Albany titled “Cuomonsters Inc.”
In contrast, his GOP opponent Rob Astorino showed up and did a speech and musical number in addition to his video production, as did Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Cuomo's no big fan of the annual charity dinner and schmooze-fest, but it is an election year, and he did swing by the Empire State Plaza convention center for the cocktail reception beforehand, where he greeted guests for a while.
Cuomo’s on-screen bit included the creation of CNN -- “Cuomo News Network” -- featuring as anchor ex-Gov. David A. Paterson who referred to himself as a Fred Armisen imitator, Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy spoofing his cheerleading role for the administration, daughter Mariah Cuomo acting as if she’s resisting demands to “interview” her political father on “the greatest, most historic” moments in the state. Things that went wrong were playfully dubbed “technical difficulties” and there were self-barbs about fish on the license plates and resistance to questions about gubernatorial girlfriend Sandra Lee’s ersatz lasagna.
Playing off his well-scrubbed, youthful and cheerful image, Astorino acted in his video as if he were a snack-chip-chomping slob which also featured his wife in curlers responding to his vow to clean up the state, “Clean up the yard.” There were cameo appearances by Cardinal Edward Egan and Yankees broadcaster/ pitch man Michael Kay. In his speech, Astorino told reporters that given their efforts in the show he understood “why Andrew Cuomo has been getting away with everything -- you’ve been busy.” Shots at Cuomo alluded to back-stabbing of Senate leaders and the one-liner, “News photographers hide behind Alec Baldwin when Andrew Cuomo walks by.” Even Donald Trump “calls him an arrogant New Yorker,” the Westchester executive quipped.
DiNapoli in his earlier video played off his widely-perceived nice-guy status by playing the role of a foul-mouthed ogre behind the scenes. He did a soft-shoe number with hat and cane and a monster a la Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein to the tune of “Putting on the Ritz,” tweaking the campaign-finance kerfuffle of the current legislative session. His lyrics even managed to rhyme Mineola with “comptroll-ah.” DiNapoli's challenger Bob Antonacci was on hand as well.
Highlights of the reporters’ presentation included the Astorino character singing about making Cuomo “unelectable” to the tune of “Unforgettable,” a chorus of “We Hate Preet” to the tune of “Ain’t She Sweet” and Jessica Bakeman as Nassau D.A. Kathleen Rice in a spoof of the latter’s role in the Moreland Commission corruption probe. She sang a song to the tune of “The Way We Were” with the lyric, “Can it be that it was right to trade it then? For a scheme to screw DiNapoli; If we had the chance to do it all again, tell me would we? Should we?”