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The Empire

Cuomo: 'Can they lead? Can they get a tough budget done?'

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I caught the tail end of Cuomo's comments on Fred Dicker's radio show, but the chest-thumping seemed fairly direct.

Cuomo warned what would happen if legislative leaders - Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos - fail to deliver enough votes to get his budget passed: they could be painted as advocates for the special interest.

"The question is can they get it done? Can they lead? Can they get a tough budget done," Cuomo asked rhetorically.

Cuomo - whose has sky-high approval ratings right now - said if it turns out either legislative leader "favors the special interest, then we're going to have a problem."

When asked about progress on an ethics reform bill, Cuomo paid a compliment to Silver and Skelos, and then promptly downplayed it.

After saying the three parties have gotten "closer" and "closer," Cuomo said, "closer doesn't matter to me."

"It's very easy to get close to the goal line. What they excel is getting close to the goal line but not going over."

Cuomo's talk was notably assertive (can we call it aggressive, it was so pleasantly delivered?) and it put the spotlight on two legislative partners that aren't well known outside political circles.

Which is what Alan Chartock predicted.

In light of Cuomo's 72 percent approval rating, Chartock said Cuomo has "got everyone on the run right now" and "if they see poll numbers around 75 percent, they’ve got to fear him.”