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ALBANY -- The announcement Wednesday night that Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy won’t seek a second term as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s running mate was widely expected. But how Cuomo’s office handled it wasn’t.
The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle used sources to break the story that its onetime mayor and police chief had submitted a letter to Cuomo saying he wouldn’t seek a second term. WROC-TV in Rochester followed the online story and called Cuomo’s office.
“The D&C article is not true,” said Cuomo’s veteran press secretary, Matt Wing. “No letter was sent. The D&C is taking the article down."
But it was true.
Wing said he made a simple mistake based on information available at the time. Minutes later, Wing said he learned that the article was true after the Rochester newspaper was sticking to its story.
"The governor’s office initially denied our report Wednesday evening that Robert Duffy had decided not to run again until it could no longer deny it," said a columnist in Friday’s Rochester newspaper.
In a Friday editorial headlined “Winging it,” the New York Daily News opined that the chain of events allowed “for the possibility that Wing inartfully left a misimpression.”
Wing contended this was not political spin.
"When I got a call at night about a story that I thought wasn’t true, I said just that because I didn’t want false reports proliferating about the lieutenant governor,” Wing said Friday. “Once I discovered the opposite, I retracted my comment and as far as I can tell the world didn't stop spinning.”