Gov. Andrew Cuomo is already being buzzed about as presidential timber for 2016, and his live-in gal pal Sandra Lee made the cover of the national Sunday newspaper supplement Parade. The unbylined cover story tries to cast her as very traditional, watching old reruns of the Lawrence Welk show and getting dissed by chef Anthony Bourdain as the "frightening hell spawn of Kathie Lee and Betty Crocker."
There's lots of euphemisms for the shacking up. The subheadline read: "With her first housewares line, her charity work for children, and a high-profile relationship, the lifestyle expert has plenty on her plate." She calls Cuomo her "beloved," they write. Just not her husband.
They're two lovable workaholics, writes Parade:
Lee—who has already completed her next two cookbooks and the outline for a novel—says her busy schedule dovetails well with Governor Cuomo’s. “I can’t help it; I work,” she says. “I have a sweetheart who’s the same way. All through Christmas he was doing the budget, and we worked on our different projects.” They talk about “all the important issues,” she says, but as the First Girlfriend, she has by choice had a limited public role. Among her rare semi-official appearances: attending Cuomo’s 2010 swearing-in; marching alongside him in New York City’s gay pride parade last June, right after he signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state (one of Lee’s brothers is gay, and she favored the legislation); and joining him to greet New Yorkers at a New Year’s Day open house at the governor’s mansion in Albany. (A request to interview Cuomo received no response from his office.)
Her biggest challenge could be what happens should the well-respected governor attempt to take his political career to the national level. There may be issues with her corporate relationships and whether her TV time counts as commercials for him, though the couple’s unmarried status might be more of a hurdle. Says veteran political columnist Jonathan Alter, of Bloomberg View and MSNBC, “Her independent career is no impediment nowadays. In fact, voters would like it — as long as they’re hitched.”
After they relate that the shacking-up couple "often go to church" on Sundays and quip that Cuomo's teenaged daughters with Kara Kennedy are Lee's "semi-homemade daughters," that's when they tell of Lee watching Lawrence Welk reruns.