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Cuomo's Remarks on Conservatives Upset State Republicans

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Comments that Governor Andrew Cuomo made about conservatives struck a negative chord with many Republicans last week, and the complaints are continuing to echo in the state Capitol as election season looms later this year. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

In his State of the State address this month, Governor Andrew Cuomo touted New York's diversity as its greatest asset.

"We are Republican and we are Democrat, but we are one," Cuomo said in his January 9 address.

It was a strikingly different tone, though, in a radio interview last week, when Cuomo honed in on conservative Republicans.

"Right to Life, pro-assault weapon, anti-gay. Is that who they are? Because if that's who they are, and if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York," Cuomo said in the radio interview, which aired on WCNY-AM.

Republicans are seizing on the governor's comments, calling them intolerant.

"That crosses the Rubicon, and it's really inappropriate speech, and it says something about the lack of civility in modern politics," said Assemblyman Bill Nojay of Livingston County in upstate New York.

Some observers say it's Cuomo's first gaffe of the election season while he is actually trying to convince Republican voters to cross party lines.

"He's a big boy. He's the governor. He said that, and he should own up to it, and he should apologize," said Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. "It's extremely disconcerting what he said. It's obnoxious."

The Cuomo administration has responded in print, first in an open letter blasting the New York Post's coverage of his comments, then attacking Post columnist and radio host Fred Dicker for writing a column about the governor's remarks.

The governor's counsel, Mylan Denerstein wrote, "We understand the New York Post is an opinionated newspaper and that Fred Dicker is an extreme conservative. However, responsibility must not be forsaken."

"I think everybody who is either a Catholic or a religious conservative or has a pistol permit or is a gun owner or a hunter in New York State or opposes Common Core curriculum, I mean, all these folks are now being labeled as extremist by the governor," Nojay said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is defending the governor's remarks.

"I think he was absolutely right to say what he said," de Blasio said.

Meanwhile, Cuomo is expected to be in Los Angeles for a Hollywood fundraiser. He has already raised more than $33 million for the campaign, the most of any governor in the nation.

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