When Attorney General Andrew Cuomo stopped in Glen Cove this morning to tout his investigation of predatory lending by health care providers, sitting in the front row to greet him was state Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset).
Marcellino, of course, is a member of the Republicans' state Senate minority hoping to regain control of the state legislature's upper house. His official endorsement of Rick Lazio's campaign didn't stop him from saying lots of nice things about Cuomo, the front-running Democratic gubernatorial nominee.
"It's a pleasure to join you here on this issue," Marcellino told the crowd of about 100 at the Glen Cove Senior Center. "If you need any legislation on the state level, I would be more than happy to support it."
One suspects Cuomo's people will happily replay the footage of that remark in about five months.
Marcellino, of course, is just the latest Republican to make nice publicly with Cuomo. Two weeks ago, Nassau's GOP county executive, Edward Mangano, endorsed Cuomo's tax cap plan (though not Cuomo himself) at a North Merrick campaign stop at which Mangano had Cuomo's people kick out two Democratic Nassau legislators.
So after today's shindig, we asked Marcellino if his presence and kind words indicate he's hopping on the Cuomo bandwagon. He reiterated -- though very tepidly and sans specifics -- his Lazio endorsement and declined to address whether he lent GOP credibility to the Cuomo campaign.
Newsday: Does this indicate your support for his candidacy for governor?
Carl Marcellino: I'm here to support the cause that were talking about, this scam that is being perpetrated on the citizens of our state and as he said our country. This was not a political event, this was a governmental event.
N: Do you support Cuomo or Rick Lazio or Paladino for governor?
CM: I have supported Rick Lazio.
N: Do you still support Rick Lazio?
CM: I still support him.
N: Why do you think Rick Lazio is a better candidate?
CM: Let's just stick to the event. I'm here as a guest. I would prefer not to engage in a political discussion at this point in time.
N: Do you think he’s a better candidate?
CM: I've endorsed Rick Lazio's campaign.
N: Do you think he's a better candidate?
CM: I wouldn't if I didn't.
N: Why do you think he's a better candidate?
CM: Because he supports and agrees with some of the same issues I agree with, and on that basis, I support his candidacy. But we're here today on an issue of governmental importance and significance and I would prefer we stick to that.
N: Do you think it helps Cuomo's campaign to have Republicans like you at his events?
CM: I don't think this is a campaign issue. I think this is a governmental event.