Thursday, October 07, 2010

Cuomo wields Vito 

Andrew Cuomo scored a key endorsement in his campaign against Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino yesterday -- but got caught on an embarrassing video praising scandal-tainted Assemblyman Vito Lopez.

Cuomo was wiping egg off his face after the video surface. It shows him describing beleaguered Brooklyn Democratic boss Lopez as his "good friend."

Cuomo offered the kind words Sunday while seated across from Lopez during a gathering with Hasidic leaders in Williamsburg, according to the video.

"The assemblyman is my good friend," Cuomo said. "We do a lot of good work together."

Cuomo's Attorney General's Office is reviewing Lopez's massive social-services empire in light of two federal investigations into alleged improprieties. Cuomo ran into Lopez at least twice during his Brooklyn campaign swing.

A participant in one of the meetings had described it as "very comfortable."

Meanwhile yesterday, Paladino bought three minutes of airtime on network television stations in Buffalo starting at 5:13 p.m., WGRZ-TV reported on its Web site. His campaign manager, Michael Caputo, said the candidate would make a "major" announcement, but declined to be more specific.

Cuomo did have some good news yesterday, as he picked up the endorsement of the state Business Council.

"Steamrollers didn't work in Albany; baseball bats won't either," said Business Council President Kenneth Adams

He was referring first to disgraced former governor and self-described "f - - king steamroller" Eliot Spitzer, who had notoriously poor relations with the Legislature, and then to Paladino's pledge to "take a baseball bat" to state government.

"Andrew Cuomo has embraced many of the reforms that the Business Council has supported for years," said Adams, citing Cuomo's support for state spending and local property-tax caps.

The council's endorsement of the attorney general was the first time the 30-year-old group had backed a candidate in a gubernatorial race, and was a serious blow to real-estate developer Paladino.

While claiming Paladino "has great respect for the Business Council," a spokesman for the Republican contender dismissed the endorsement by claiming the group contained "big-business lobbyists, trade associations, and other Albany insiders."

Cuomo was also backed by Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, a prominent upstate Republican who was recently touted as a potential GOP candidate for lieutenant governor.


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