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In a pep-rally-style speech to the state Democratic Committee Thursday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo touted his record, outlined what he thinks is the party’s core difference from Republicans and said New York should give President Barack Obama the “best mandate in the United States of America.”
The most notable part of the address might have come when Cuomo summarized what he believes is the big-picture difference between his party and the GOP. And in doing so, Cuomo shined a light on one of his central themes of his first 17 months in office.
“The difference between us, as progressives, and the conservatives is that we believe government can work,” he said, “and that we can come together and make this place a better place for all of us.
“What the conservatives are saying is … government doesn’t work,” he continued. “That government is a fool’s errand … you can’t make it work. And that leads the conservatives to their philosophy of this extreme individualism – do for yourself because there is no collective.”
After pausing, he added: “That’s why, for us, step one is proving the competency of the government.”
Even though it might not garner headlines like his same-sex marriage bill or his property-tax cap, this has been one of Cuomo’s goals for the first half of his term: being seen as the governor who gets things done, who gets budgets on time and who changes the picture of the State Capitol.
While he touted the trees of his accomplishments, he said the forest was that “Albany” was no longer a punch line.
“The greatest accomplishment of all, my friends, is not about the individual issues,” Cuomo said. “At the end of the day, after 18 months (sic), people believe in state government once again. … That is everything for us politically.”
Cuomo said Democrats could win this fall in every corner of the state – though he noticeably ducked questions afterward about whether he’d help party members running for state Senate or Congress.
Cuomo said that when Obama was elected in 2008, the nation was on “the cusp of a financial abyss.” He said the “firm hand of President Barack Obama came in and took this nation and this nation’s economy and it stabilized.”