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Local News

January 22, 2014

Cuomo catches heat over 'extremists' comments

(Continued)

Retired New York City Police Officer Joe Marmorato of Hartwick, a gun rights advocate, called the governor’s comments “disturbing.”

“One of the problems we’re facing is that many gun owners aren’t even registered to vote,” Marmorato said. “We need to get them registered and make sure they vote. If these people came out to vote, we could change a lot of things.”

Otsego County Democratic Chairman Richard Abbate defended Cuomo, contending Republicans were trying to twist his remarks to make it appear that the governor was taking a snipe at gun owners and abortion opponents.

“He wasn’t talking about everyday citizens,” Abbate said. “He is talking about extreme politicians and candidates on the far right who would stop at nothing for their agenda.”

Abbate said he believes Cuomo will withstand the controversy over his statements.

“He is a very popular governor who works hard for New York state,” he said. “We’re very fortunate to have him at the helm.”.

In an effort to clarify the statements Cuomo made during the radio interview, one of his aides issued a letter stating that the governor “has never demonized the opposition to his gun law nor stance on protecting choice nor marriage equality. The Governor is a gun owner and a Catholic. His faith is very important to him and he respects the Second Amendment. The governor was making the point that he makes often: New York is a politically moderate state and an extremist agenda is not politically viable statewide.”

Delaware County Republican Chairwoman Maria Kelso said the fact Cuomo aides are trying to explain what the governor meant to say suggests the administration is doing damage control.

“He meant every word he said — until he heard the backlash,” Kelso said. “When you’re the governor, you should think before you speak. Those are words you can’t take back. What he said is absolutely appalling. Who is he to be the judge and jury of New Yorkers?”

The governor’s statements, said Assemblyman Pete Lopez, R-Schoharie, suggest he needs a refresher course in searching for common ground with those on the other side of issues than himself, rather than engaging in “cat-calling.”

“We need a helping hand,” Lopez said, “not a stick whacking at a beehive.”

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