New Cuomo ad marks beginnings of ‘political comeback’ for disgraced ex-governor

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If former DC Mayor Marion Barry taught Democrats anything, it’s that no matter how deep a whole a politician may dig for themselves there’s always hope for a better tomorrow.

A lesson former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is taking to heart, as he is reportedly set to run ads designed to rehabilitate his battered image after resigning in disgrace in August amid a storm of sexual harassment allegations — the great irony here being that Cuomo escaped the even more serious matter involving nursing home deaths in New York resulting from actions he took.

With the ink barely dry on his resignation, Cuomo is embarking on “a political comeback with an ad claiming he’s been exonerated from charges he sexually harassed multiple women,” the New York Post reported, noting that Cuomo’s campaign confirmed it had commissioned “a number of ads.”

As for a possible comeback, keep in mind that Barry, who was often accused of being corrupt, was arrested and charged with drug possession after being busted in a sting smoking crack on video. He was sentenced to six months in prison in Sept. 1991, only to reenter politics when released. After first being elected to the city council, Barry would once again become mayor in 1994.

The 30-second Cuomo ad is a mashup of snippets from TV reports about the decisions by five district attorneys to not bring charges against Cuomo for sexual harassment for technical reasons, in an attempt “to bolster Cuomo’s continued claims of exoneration,” the Post noted.

The newspaper said that the ad did not mention “those officials also said their investigations affirmed the credibility of the women who brought the allegations – and one DA even said although there wasn’t sufficient ‘legal basis’ to bring charges, dropping the case was ‘not an exoneration.'”

“Political attacks won and New York lost a proven leader,” the ad concludes.

One of Cuomo’s accusers, Charlotte Bennett, responded to news of the ad in a tweet, “Innocent men don’t need ads. Guilty, vindictive & narcissistic ones do, though.”

The ad is expected to start running on Monday, a source told the Post.

Media Buyer, which tracks political advertising, reported that Cuomo’s political committee had bought time on New York television stations starting Monday.

Longtime Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi, who is on the Cuomo campaign payroll, told the Post, “We’ve produced a number of ads and haven’t decided what we’re going to run yet.”

Cuomo is still facing a criminal investigation from New York Attorney General Letitia James — who dropped out of the race for governor in December. James dropped the bombshell sexual harassment report in August claiming Cuomo broke “multiple state and federal laws.” The current investigation involves Cuomo’s $5.1 million pandemic-era memoir, as he is accused of using government resources to write and produce the book.

As for how forgiving New York voters are, a new Siena College poll out this week found that a majority are skeptical of claim of innocence.

“By a 58-21% margin, voters think he did sexually harass multiple women,” the poll stated. “By a 47-27% margin, voters say they believe Attorney General Letitia James, who says Cuomo is a ‘serial sexual harasser,’ more than they believe Cuomo, who says the investigation against him was a ‘political hit job.’

“New Yorkers are not ready to forgive and forget when it comes to Cuomo,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said. “By two-to-one, they view him unfavorably. By more than two-to-one, voters say both that he has committed sexual harassment against multiple women, and, despite there being no criminal charges, he has not been vindicated. By a 20-point margin, they believe James’ description of Cuomo as a ‘serial sexual harasser’ more than they believe Cuomo’s description of a ‘political hit job’ against him.”

“Bottom line: 80% say he made the right decision to resign.”


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Tom Tillison


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