Andrew Cuomo Makes Media Rounds To Brag About (Expected) On-Time Budget. Fred Dicker Ready With The Softballs
Governor Andrew Cuomo is making the media rounds today to tout what's expected to be New York's second annual on-time budget. First stop (of course): New York Post state capital bureau chief Fred Dicker's radio show -- and Dicker was ready...with a fresh bag of softballs.
Throughout the course of the roughly 20 minutes he spent with Dicker this morning, the governor had to repeatedly remind his BFF that he's not the only person responsible for the on-time budget -- as Dicker swooned over the gov's ability to get things done.
The interview began with a friendly discussion about who has a better tan: Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings, or Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.
Jennings took the gold on that one, the governor decided, because his "is permanent."
Cuomo and his old pal then discussed whether Assemblyman Jack McEneny was going to retire, and if Dicker should run for his seat.
After several minutes of listening to two friends chit-chat, they finally got to the budget, which, as we mentioned, likely will be on-time for the second year in a row -- an impressive accomplishment given New York's long history of budget blunders.
Dicker started the budget discussion by lobbing the following question right over the plate: "Why do you think you're successful for the second year in a row getting an on-time budget?"
As if he had any other option, Cuomo knocked it out of the park.
"It has not been easy, Fred...the amount of hours, the physical exertion -- I mean, people literally up for nights. I don't know how they do it," the governor told Dicker before further dwelling on all the hard work it took, and then diplomatically patting the backs of everyone else involved in the process.
Cuomo continued to attempt to stifle Dicker's gushing by reiterating that he's not the only person responsible for the budget being on time, noting that legislative leaders and he share a similar vision.
"There is a positive synergy, if you will, about the fact that government has been working...it generates its own energy," Cuomo explains.
Impressed, Dicker then asked the governor "why would it require all night sessions to get a budget passed?"
Dicker didn't bother to bring up the secretive nature of these late-night negotiations, or ask about the backroom, political deal-making that may have gone on behind the scenes.
Then Dicker brought up the apparent bromance the governor is in with New York City Mayor Mke Bloomberg, noting that Mayor Mike has nothing but great things to say about Cuomo and his "bold leadership," "reasonableness," and willingness to compromise.
Cuomo, obviously, agreed that he's a bold leader, reasonable, and willing to compromise. However, he told Dicker, all of his legislative priorities remain "in-tact."
"Teacher evaluations, New York Works Fund, the main priorities are all in place, but it's not my victory," the governor again tried to convince his number-one fan. "Legislative leaders share those priorities."
Dicker ended the love fest by telling Cuomo that "congratulations are in order -- I think, generally, you've gotten an overwhelmingly positive responses."
We have a feeling a few teachers unions might disagree (while Dicker left out the teachers unions, he did briefly mention the CSEA's problem with Cuomo's pension reform plan -- but defended the governor, claiming the union was complaining about something Cuomo supported).
Cuomo, in yet another attempt to steer some of Dicker's praise in the direction of someone other than him, ended the segment by reminding his buddy that "we, the government at large," are responsible for what appears to be an on-time budget.
We sent Dicker an email asking if he ever planned on asking the governor any tough questions. He didn't immediately get back to us.
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