"We haven’t saved any lives tonight — except for one: the political life of a governor who wants to be president."
Those words spoken by state Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, may have been the most quoted remark to come out of the Senate floor discussion the night gun control legislation was passed by that chamber. It set off a series of similar statements from pro-gun and Republican groups blasting Cuomo for what they claim was an effort to bolster his presidential candidate profile.
It's no secret that Cuomo's name is near the top of the list for potential Democrat hopefuls for the presidency in 2016. And it's a guarantee that plenty of attacks on him as he goes about the job of leading New York state will focus on his commitment to the state vs. his resume building for a national run.
But is it a bad thing for New York to have a governor with presidential ambitions?
There is no right answer — at this point. We can see it working well or becoming a problem. And the key to which way it goes all depends on Cuomo himself.
If the governor starts spending a large chunk of the next two years in places outside New York state, places such as Iowa or Ohio or Wisconsin, that will be a problem. We saw that all too often with former Gov. George Pataki, who was notorious for never being around Albany in his final years in office. And the ability of the state Legislature and the executive branch to get things done efficiently — such as a budget — suffered.
But if Cuomo is driven to continue leading New York state on a path toward economic recovery and financial stability, in part because it will make him an ideal presidential candidate, that's a good thing.
It will be important to keep a close eye on how Cuomo handles his national profile, but we have been encouraged by what he's managed to accomplish so far and by the way he's handled the presidential talk.
"I like to keep it simple," he said last week. "I want to be the best governor I can be. I’m all about making this the best state, period."