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Fallout From NY Gov's 'Anti-Conservative' Remarks

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his budget address today amid criticism from Republicans over comments about the conservative wing of the Grand Old Party.

Although he later claimed his remarks made Friday were taken out of context, Cuomo's words seemed to remove the "welcome mat" from the Empire State's doorstep. Speaking generally about moderate politicians’ historical power in the state, Cuomo said -quote- that “right to life, pro-assault weapons, anti-gay — if that’s who they are, they have no place in the state of New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

Republican State Chairman Ed Cox:  "That is an insult to a large portion of the population of New York State. He's already driven enough people out of the state by his policies with respect to business. This is the least business-friendly state in the United States. People are leaving the state in droves looking for jobs. Now he's driving people out on ideological grounds just because they disagree with him."

Cox has called on Cuomo “to apologize to New York's good conservatives and? Catholics.” The Cuomo administration attempted damage control Sunday, putting out a statement saying the Governor does NOT think conservatives should leave the state and later citing the governor’s gun ownership and religious faith. But come Monday, Westchester County Executive and possible gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino took advantage of the holiday, declaring Cuomo's statement - quote - “.. the kind of intolerance that is directly opposite to what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached.”

Poughkeepsie's Republican Mayor John Tkazyik believes one should always think before one speaks. "Telling anyone who has a belief in the right to life or the Second Amendment that they're not welcome or unwanted here, I think, is divisive and unneccesary.  It's really showing a lack of leadership. There's free speech in New York. New York is a very tolerant state. And quite frankly, the Governor should probably choose his words more wisely."

WAMC's Political commenator Alan Chartock counters "every time this governor does anything, he thinks it through."  Charock notes that "When it comes to the attack on the conservatives, I think that is well thought through, because basically, they ain't gonna vote for him anyway. So, you know, he knows what he's doing and he has to shore up his left wing, which have not always been as pro-Andrew as he might like."

Possible GOP gubernatorial contender Donald Trump seems to agree - he told a New York City media outlet it’s hard to believe that Cuomo really believes what he himself said on Friday.

Though still widely popular in polls, Cuomo has lost some backing from the right after passage of the SAFE Act a year ago.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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