Like Father Like Son? We Can Only Hope

By Gabe Pressman
|  Wednesday, Nov 3, 2010  |  Updated 6:49 AM EDT
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Like Father Like Son? We Can Only Hope

ASSOCIATED PRESS

New York Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo, center, gestures with his father, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, before giving his victory speech in New York.

Andrew Cuomo, the newly elected 56th Governor of New York, is following in the footsteps of his father, New York’s 52d Governor.

At the moment of victory, he kissed his father.

How much does Andrew resemble his father?

Physically, they look very much alike -- the dark eyes, the creased faces and the very cadence of their speeches are similar. And both clearly have been aggressive in very different ways.

Andrew is tough. He often has seemed to have the approach of a street kid from Queens. Like his father, he is deeply inquisitive and wants to get to the bottom of things.

But Mario is definitely a political intellectual –with a tremendous gift for stirring oratory. No one who was there can forget the ringing cadences of his stirring speech at the Democratic National Convention-the family of America address.

Mario Cuomo, although he proved tough in a crisis, definitely had a gentle side. Whether Andrew is similar in that respect,we’ll find out. But Mayor John Lindsay recognized Mario Cuomo’s gifts as a conciliator and chose him to solve two disputes with racial overtones in Queens.

Mario Cuomo was branded by political writers as “The Hamlet of the Hudson” when he was considering running for President -- and kept a plane waiting on the tarmac as a small army of reporters, including this one, waited outside his office. And, after many hours, he decided not to run for President.

He was a deliberate man and you can understand why some writers dubbed him Hamlet. But he was sensitive to people and determined, as governor, to do right by them, whether it was the homeless or other people who were having a difficult time making ends meet.

Andrew grew up in the shadow of his father. He picked up his style of speaking.  He learned a lot about the governor’s job by having a ringside seat. As Maurice Carroll of the Quinnipiac Poll, who covered Mario Cuomo when I did, told me “Andrew is not as polished a speaker but he may be tougher and rougher.”

The returns have come in  but what traits Andrew Cuomo will bring to the governor’s office, that still remains to be seen.  When tested in political combat, we’ll have a better idea of the new governor’s personality and character.

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