Nearly every public action that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo takes this year will be measured for what it means to next November's election.
As 2014 opened, Cuomo seemed to be displaying key alliances in what proved to be a tale of two inaugurals.
On New Year's Day, outside City Hall, he and companion Sandra Lee sat in the cold between Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton on one side and ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg on the other for Mayor Bill de Blasio's swearing-in.
Cuomo had no speaking role, but on Twitter he hailed the "vision" of de Blasio, his one-time U.S. Housing and Urban Development subordinate, as "a compelling template for continuing to move New York City forward."
Still, the governor, like the ex-president, contradicted the Bloomberg-bashing from the stage by de Blasio's successor as public advocate, Letitia James and other celebrants. "I also want to commend Mayor Mike Bloomberg," Cuomo tweeted, "for his years of service that have left New York City better off than when he found it."
Next day, the Democratic governor was in a whole different gathering -- indoors and front-and-center at Bethpage High School for the second-term inauguration of Nassau's Republican County Executive Edward Mangano.
The political world already knew these two were simpatico, and saw Cuomo's endorsement of Mangano's Democratic opponent, Thomas Suozzi, last fall as minimalist. This time out, the kudos came in full gush.
Cuomo called Mangano "a superb county executive who I believe is going to be even better in his second term." He credited him with strength, vision, courage and character. He said Nassau would be a better place in four years as a result of Mangano's leadership.
Six days before he's to deliver his State of the-State address, Cuomo hailed Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre). Skelos quipped: "I thank him for his kind words about me. And Ed, if anybody has taped this I'd like to have it for next November."
Introducing Mangano, his chief deputy, Rob Walker, riffed -- after Cuomo departed early due to approaching snow -- on how the governor's praise proved useful in campaign commercials. And thanking Skelos and Cuomo, Mangano called his county's relationship with the state "a shining example of bipartisan cooperation."
Now it will be interesting to see what these Nassau Republicans do in the governor's race.