Governor Cuomo made a rare overnight trip to the nation's capital where he attended a high-dollar fundraiser and talked 2014 political strategy. But as our Michael Scotto reports, the Governor insists the trip had nothing to do with 2016.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Governor ANdrew Cuomo knows any visit to Washington, D.C. will always be seen through the lens of the next presidential race.
"When you come to the capital, they ask you if it has something to do with 2016 and if you're running for President," Cuomo said.
With that narrative as the backdrop, Cuomo made an overnight trip to the nation's capital, which began Sunday night, when he cheered on Kennedy Center honorees and continued into Monday, when he headlined a high-dollar, closed-door fundraiser for his 2014 re-election bid. Attendees said the Governor's breakfast talk focused on keeping New York’s taxes in check.
"He did say that while he was Governor, he was not going to let New York be known as the highest taxed state in the United States," said Ben Barnes, a former Texas lieutenant governor.
Those who attended said New York City Mayor Elect Bill de Blasio's plan to tax the wealthy never came up. And Cuomo said he was only trying to sell the state to the wealthy D.C. insiders who paid thousands to hear him speak.
Cuomo said, "One of the things I was saying at the fundraiser was bring your businesses to New York. I'm out of state in Washington, D.C., many of these people represent national companies."
This was a highly unusual trip for the Governor, who over the last three years, has made it a point to rarely leave the state.
The Governor tried to keep his Monday business as low-key as possible. He quietly attended the fundraiser, before continuing on to a private meeting of the Democratic Governors Association, where he heard how the federal budget could impact the state.
"There's so much unknown yet on the federal budget games, right, because it's not really a thoughtful process at this point," Cuomo said.
The meeting wasn't all about policy. The governors also talked about how to win in 2014, before Cuomo jumped on a plane so he could quickly return to New York.