Sunday, December 21, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: Getting Some Peace and Quiet – in Israel

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With a U.S. Attorney sniffing around and someone named Zephyr Teachout beating him in court, Governor Cuomo is pulling a page out of the "Animal House" playbook and going on a road trip.

Of course, visiting war-torn Israel isn't quite the same as frenetically singing "Shout" in a road house but it still might be more appealing than hanging out with reporters who seem intent on explaining to New Yorkers what a Moreland Commission is.

Cuomo's departure tonight with the leaders of the legislature gives him a brief chance to hit the reset button, spend two days outside the state, and look, well, gubernatorial. (Although it is a silly-sounding word.)

Cuomo this summer has become the polar opposite of former Governor Al Smith, morphing into the unhappy warrior on the hustings. Over the weekend, Cuomo grumpily explained his fight against Teachout in which he's questioned her New York State residency.

"We are a nation and a state of laws, right?” Cuomo asked.

Although it's unclear if Locke's social contract would have collapsed had Teachout's residency gone unchallenged, we did get to find out plenty about her amateur acting in the production of a Samuel Beckett play and the intimate details of her couch-surfing when she first moved to New York in 2009. The good news is that if you're curious about more minutiae of Teachout's personal life, it could come out in the governor's appeal of yesterday's court ruling. (And if you're bored by hearing about her apartments, don't worry because there's a new angle of attack: she's already being branded as a tax cheat!)

While no one should begrudge the governor and the leaders of the legislature their Israel trip, it might help New York if Cuomo boarded the straight-talk express upon his return. His meddling with the Moreland Commission and his attacking of Teachout with a legal cannon has made him look small and frightened rather than the leader of the Empire State. It would be good to hear about his accomplishments and his plans for the state should he get re-elected. A debate would be a perfect forum for that – and our calendar is wide open.

Bob Hardt

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