Cuomo's Gal Friday

Plenty keeps Albany's political odd couple, Andrew and Joe, together

Incredibly, 1199's new and fancy headquarters near the Capitol has hosted, Cunningham concedes, recent meetings of the state Republican committee. It was also the location for a secret July meeting of Bruno and the senate Republican conference, according to The New York Sun. The guest was none other than Roger Stone, the prime-time national GOP dirty-tricks operative who was hired as a senate consultant to orchestrate the attacks on Spitzer. Bruno recently dumped Stone when it was revealed that a caller who sounded just like him and used his phone had berated Spitzer's ailing 83-year-old father in a threatening and vile dead-of-night call. Stone's denials have become the joke of state politics. McArdle attributes Stone's hiring to Ed Lurie, the Bruno operative whose presence on Bruno trips indicates just how political they are.

Cunningham denies that she played any role in the Cuomo attack on Spitzer, and there's no indication she did. But 1199 is the glue tying Bruno and Cuomo together, and the union has been engaged in full-scale war with Spitzer since he took office. Indeed, Bruno was the union's top champion in this year's budget negotiations with the governor, restoring hundreds of millions in proposed cuts. This is the constellation of political relationships now gathered in Cuomo's office, and it is a coalition of mutual interests that has the governor in its sights—if not to defeat him, then to weaken him. That's why the senate has already proposed four or five bills to strengthen Cuomo's investigative powers and heighten his ability to probe the Spitzer regime. And that's why McArdle points to four joint press events that Bruno's office and Cuomo have done together in recent months—more than he's done with Democratic legislators.

"He wants to work with us as partners," said the spokesman.

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