Cuomo: Hillary Clinton no bearing on 2016 - New York News

Cuomo: Hillary Clinton no bearing on 2016

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By MICHAEL GORMLEY  Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that he's not talking about running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016 and he's not waiting to see if Hillary Clinton runs.

Over his first two years as governor, Cuomo has repeatedly refused to talk publicly about running for president despite prompting by supporters. He has said such talk would hurt his ability to govern and would create a distraction, as it did for his father, Mario Cuomo, when he was governor.

But Andrew Cuomo has never ruled out a run for president in 2016.

A column in Monday's New York Post stated he has "quietly conceded" to associates he can't run for the nomination if Clinton runs. That has been a widely accepted assumption for years because Cuomo's mentor and biggest political patron is her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Cuomo dismissed the column as "Monday rumors," and he didn't say whether he's conceded the 2016 race to Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and ex-senator from New York.

"Hillary Clinton is going to do whatever Hillary Clinton is going to do and I'm doing what I'm doing," Cuomo said on public radio's "Capitol Pressroom."

"I'm focusing on running this state and doing it the best I can. And that's all there is to that," he said.

"There is no truth to the assertion that I am talking presidential politics and strategy and what Hillary Clinton should do or shouldn't do or what I'm doing presidentially," Cuomo said. "The only discussions I'm having are how to help this state ... and to the extent that I'm focusing on politics, it's my race next year."

Many New Yorkers don't buy it.

An April 22 Siena College poll found New Yorkers split on whether Cuomo was basing his decisions on what he thinks is best for his political future or based on what's best for his constituents. The poll also found 53 percent of New Yorkers would vote to re-elect him, part of a steady drop the poll has tracked since December.

Cuomo has been closely tied to Bill Clinton for decades.

Gov. Mario Cuomo gave an early and important endorsement to Clinton in his first run for president.

Andrew Cuomo later was hired by Clinton, who appointed him housing secretary. Back in New York, with Clinton at his side, the younger Cuomo dropped out of the 2002 race for the Democratic nomination for governor for lack of support.

His office now is decorated with Clinton gifts and memorabilia, and the governor has involved the popular former president in state initiatives.

Cuomo was elected as attorney general in 2006 and turned that into a landslide win in the 2010 governor's race. Today, he has a campaign fund of more than $20 million, which traditionally has been more than enough for a governor's campaign.

Cuomo led New York's effort in legalizing same-sex marriage in 2011. This year, he pushed through the nation's first gun-control law after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.

The April 22 Siena poll questioned 811 New Yorkers April 14-18 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

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