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Cuomo recalls father in comments on '16 plans

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday said he is not going to engage in speculation about whether he might run for the White House in 2016 -- something that would be reminiscent of his father's often used "I have no plans to make plans" statement.

But then the current governor engaged in speculation, as he called talk about him being president "flattering."

Cuomo, mentioned in various media and Democratic circles as a potential candidate four years from now, recalled -- without specifically saying so -- the speculation that swirled for years around his father, Mario, in the 1990s over a possible White House bid.

"I've seen this movie before. Actually, in this room," the governor said in the Capitol's Red Room, where Mario Cuomo used to entertain reporters with long ruminations about whether he might run. He never did.

"It's like a whole little deju vu for me," the governor said. "So I know this play, and I know how it turns out. And it's fascinating."

In recent months, the governor has not done anything to calm any chatter that he is eyeing a White House run -- even though his closest supporters have been saying for years that he longs to be president.

"In one regard, the speculation is flattering," Cuomo said in response to a reporter's question. But he said, "It can be totally distracting."

"Once you start saying, 'Let's talk political, my own politics and my own aspirations,' it can become not just distracting in that it takes time but can become confusing and frustrating. And is this now a political agenda or a governmental agenda? So, it's very important to me to honor my word to the people of the state and to preserve my relationship with the people of this state," he said.

"That's where I am because that's where I am. That is really where I am in my heart, and that's where I'm going to stay. I'm not going to allow myself to be pushed politically. I'm not going to engage in political contests. I'm not going to start to speculate on my own politics," he added.

The governor also would not say if he has any plans to campaign in others states this year for President Obama's re-election effort.

After meeting with Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, was asked if he thought Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would run again for president in four years.

"I have no idea. I haven't spoken to her," Silver said.

Former President Bill Clinton recently said he would be "happy" if his wife ran in 2016, setting off speculation about a potential Clinton vs. Cuomo campaign.

Would Silver encourage Clinton to run?

"Oh, I think she's a great talent," responded Silver, a longtime Clinton ally. "I think we have great talent in the Democratic primary."

But Silver called talk of 2016 "premature."

"I think there are a number of great Democrats who are potential leaders, not the least of which is Gov. Cuomo," Silver said.

Two decades ago, then-Gov. Mario Cuomo spent much time with reporters talking national politics and national policy. But he always dismissed talk of his own White House ambitions, saying, "I have no plans to make plans."

In 1992, Mario Cuomo famously left unused on an airport tarmac a plane that was to take him to New Hampshire to begin a presidential run that never happened.

email: tprecious@buffnews.com