Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

New York State Republican Party chairman Ed Cox demanded Tuesday that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo apologize for saying there is “no place” for conservative Republicans in New York.

Cox said the Democrat’s comments on public radio last week are “poisoning New York's politics with divisive rhetoric at a time when New York needs to be united to address its continuing economic problems." Michael Long, chairman of the state Conservative Party, called the governor's remarks "vindictive" and "mean-spirited" and said a conservative wouldn't get away with similar statements.

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On public radio last week, Cuomo was commenting on what he called a schism in the Republican Party in Washington and New York when he made the "no place" remark.

“Their problem is themselves," he said. "Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Because if that's who they are and they're the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that's not who New Yorkers are."

National conservative pundits have teed off on the New York governor.

His aides have since said Cuomo was referring to extreme conservative politicians who he said as a matter of fact can’t get elected statewide in New York because they are out of step with New Yorkers.

“The governor has never demonized the opposition to his gun law nor stance on protecting choice nor marriage equality,” said Cuomo’s counsel, Mylan Denerstein. “The governor is a gun owner and a Catholic. His faith is very important to him and he respects the Second Amendment .?.?. The governor’s main principle for New York State is tolerance of different opinions, races, sexual orientation, and religion.”

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“The governor was making the point that he makes often: New York is a politically moderate state and an extremist agenda is not politically viable statewide,” she stated. “New York has a long history of electing Democrats and Republicans statewide who are moderate rather than on the extreme ends of the political spectrum. That is an unarguable fact.”

Cox sounded skeptical.

“I know the governor has tried to explain his remarks, but he hasn’t succeeded,” Cox said in an interview. “He just confused it more .?.?. He needs to apologize for those outrageous remarks.”

Long said it's too late for an apology.

“I think he showed his true colors as a man who is not a compassionate individual,” Long said. He said the governor’s message was that: “You either do what Andrew Cuomo says, or you can hit the road.”

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“I would not accept an apology because what he said was very vindictive, very mean spirited,” Long said in an interview. “To be governor of anything and talk like that is absolutely shameful.”

Long said a conservative would never get away with a comment that said anyone who disagreed with them on abortion had no place in the state.