"New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's successful push to legalize gay marriage in his state has made him a national hero to liberal voters and has sparked talk of a potential presidential bid for Cuomo in 2016," Associated Press reporter Beth Fouhy insisted in a story filed today.
"But Cuomo paired his quest for same-sex marriage with efforts to slash state spending and curb the power of public employee unions, suggesting a blend of fiscal prudence and progressivism on social issues could be a new Democratic model in tough economic times," she added.
After citing one "California gay-rights leader" who cheered Cuomo as a "civil rights leader," Fouhy waited until the 12th paragraph of her 19-paragraph story to cite a Democrat who's talking up the freshman New York governor as a prospective 2016 presidential aspirant:
Democratic strategist Peter Daou said Cuomo's success on gay marriage had persuaded many skeptical liberal activists to give him another look.
"He has earned some very solid points all the way to 2016, which will mitigate some of the criticism he's gotten from progressives about the way he's governed," Daou said, adding that Cuomo's efforts stood in stark contrast to President Barack Obama. Obama attended a fundraiser last week hosted by gay and lesbian donors in New York but refused to endorse same-sex marriage even as he expressed support for legal rights for gay couples.
"Progressives want leaders," Daou said.
Just who is Peter Daou? Well, he's a "political and digital media consultant" who backed such winners as John Kerry in 2004 and Hillary Clinton in 2008.
If there are other Democrats, especially those who have actually won elected office, who are talking about Cuomo, Fouhy either couldn't find them or decided they weren't important enough to quote in her story about the sparked "talk" about Cuomo as a 2016 contender.
Indeed, Cuomo himself is talking down 2016, but Fouhy will have none of that (real or imagined) modesty (emphasis mine):
Cuomo tried to tamp down talk about his presidential ambitions in a radio interview Monday, dismissing such talk as "silly" and disconnected from the importance of equal rights for gay couples.
"It's not about 2016. It's about the power of the passage of marriage equality," Cuomo said. "I'm not going to engage in this conversation or fuel this speculation." He didn't rule out a run in 2016 but said he had much more work to do as governor.
Cuomo had already racked up an impressive series of legislative accomplishments before Friday's gay marriage vote, giving him robust approval ratings in New York even as governors elsewhere have struggled.
In a state notorious for its political dysfunction, Cuomo successfully pressed lawmakers to pass an on-time budget that cut spending to address a $10 billion deficit without raising taxes. He negotiated several concessions on salary and health care from some of the state's powerful public employee unions without setting them up as political targets or reducing their collective bargaining rights, as Republicans like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have done.
And Cuomo worked with legislative leaders to craft a proposed overhaul of ethics enforcement after years of high-profile corruption cases eroded public confidence in state government. The bill didn't go as far as advocates wanted but was still viewed as a positive step.
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