Let’s rewind this story and watch it in slow motion for the glimpse of deception it provides.
Last Thursday — the day Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo gave his televised acceptance speech to cap the state Democratic convention in Melville — he also did something clearly meant to be kept under wraps for some period: He signed a certificate of consent and acceptance to run on the controversial Independence Party’s line this fall.
Having signed it in Suffolk — with notarization by Cassie Prugh, his office’s $100,000-a-year regional affairs director — Cuomo then flew to Cooperstown, where President Barack Obama was visiting. Asked by reporters there about the question of the minor party’s cross-endorsement, he asserted, “Those are decisions that we’re going to be making down the road.”
But not only had Cuomo signed the document, his new running mate for lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, also signed one Thursday in Suffolk (which county Democratic chairman Richard Schaffer notarized).
State Democratic spokesman Peter Kauffmann offered this statement Friday: “The governor signed all party paperwork in advance because he was going to be unavailable and we were going to discuss the Independence Party question when and if they intended to endorse him.
“We had the conversation and delivered the final paperwork last night (Thursday).”
Even if you accept that time line, calling the stretch from afternoon to night as “down the road” qualifies as blatantly misleading.
So Rob Astorino, the Republican candidate for governor and a vocal critic of the minor party, charged Cuomo -- quite plausibly -- with lying to the news media.
On Friday, with much of the public already in holiday mode, the Independence Party headed by state and Suffolk chairman Frank MacKay filed for cross-endorsement of the whole statewide Democratic ticket following a low-key meeting in Albany. That’s when the authorization certificates were filed with the state Board of Elections.