- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 28, 2002

They say September 11 has inspired Americans to count their blessings great and small, including those once taken for granted. Here's one our friends in New York may now rejoice in as they undoubtedly never did before the fact that Andrew Cuomo was not their governor on September 11.
Why? The former Clinton housing secretary decided it would actually help his political chances to follow father Mario's footsteps to the New York governor's mansion by ripping the current governor, George E. Pataki, for, basically, not being Rudy Giuliani.
"There was one leader for September 11," Mr. Cuomo recently told reporters. "It was Rudy Giuliani. If it defined George Pataki, it defined George Pataki as not being the leader," he said, adding: "He stood behind the leader. He held the leader's coat. He was a great assistant to the leader. But he was not a leader. I don't think that helps him."
That's funny. We don't think this nasty attack helps Andrew Cuomo. The Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, however, was evidently convinced otherwise, going on to explain in some detail what he thinks wholly failed leadership looks like: namely, the governor of New York allowing the mayor of New York City to run the press conferences following the terrorist attacks on the city. "Damning commentary" is what Mr. Cuomo called it, asking, "Why didn't the governor handle it? Why did Rudy lead over Pataki? Why?"
To be sure, Mr. Cuomo paints an awful picture of himself. Just imagine the chaos and despair of September 11 intensified by the mortifying site of a Gov. Andrew Cuomo vying with Mayor Giuliani for the microphone, or lunging for the television cameras to prove the superiority of the Cuomo leadership skills. New Yorkers were fortunate, indeed, in having had two such complementary personalities Mr. Giuliani, the mayor who dramatically rallied the public, and Mr. Pataki, who worked skillfully behind the scenes at the helm when the city came under attack.
Mr. Cuomo's boorishness has drawn fire from all over New York, including from Mr. Giuliani, who called a press conference to declare that he and Mr. Pataki were "absolute partners" during the crisis and its aftermath. "I hope Andrew Cuomo ceases and desists trying to make this into a partisan political issue," the former mayor said. As for Mr. Pataki, he has described himself as "stunned" by Mr. Cuomo's outburst, calling it "very sad." Pathetic might be a better word for it.

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