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Quiet Role For Cuomo at Party's Convention


He is one of the most popular governors in the country and considered a contender for the White House in 2016, but New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will have a low-key role at the Democratic National Convention next month, said an aide to the governor.

Mr. Cuomo doesn't plan to attend the festivities in Charlotte, N.C., until the last day, Sept. 6, when President Barack Obama is expected to accept his party's nomination for a second term, the aide said Wednesday. He isn't currently scheduled to speak and has asked Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to announce the New York delegation's vote.

A spokeswoman for the Democratic National Convention declined to comment.

Mr. Cuomo's quiet plans for the convention aren't unexpected. There has been speculation for weeks that he didn't want a speaking role and wanted to continue his pattern of avoiding the national spotlight. But Mr. Cuomo hadn't publicly revealed his plans until now.

Unlike other governors considered potential 2016 candidates like Chris Christie, a New Jersey Republican, and Martin O'Malley, a Maryland Democrat, Mr. Cuomo has avoided the Washington, D.C., media and stayed off the campaign trail, though he has endorsed the president and praised his record. Mr. Christie has been a frequent campaigner for Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee.

Most of the convention's prime-time speaking slots at the Democratic National Convention have already been filled. Elizabeth Warren, a U.S. Senate candidate in Massachusetts, is speaking before former President Bill Clinton, who is scheduled to deliver the speech nominating Mr. Obama. Julián Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, is slated to give the keynote address on Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, Mr. Cuomo is planning to hold a series of policy forums beginning in August featuring former members of the Clinton administration. They are aimed at generating ideas for next year's legislative session, according to Cuomo administration officials, but they could also help the governor continue to appear above the political fray as other elected officials campaign before Election Day.

Mr. Cuomo has spoken at two Democratic National Conventions: in 2000, when he was secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and in 2008, when he was New York attorney general.

But Mr. Cuomo wasn't as popular or as powerful then. He has approval ratings above 70% and more than $19 million in campaign funds to spend.

By remaining quiet at a Democratic convention two years into his first term, Mr. Cuomo is taking the opposite approach that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, took at the same point in his career.

The elder Mr. Cuomo's keynote address at the 1984 Democratic convention in San Francisco helped make him a national figure. He said the American "shining city on a hill" described by President Ronald Reagan didn't exist for most people.

Afterward, Mario Cuomo was at the center of presidential speculation in 1988 and 1992, but he ultimately decided against it. His White House flirtations were considered a complicating factor in his relationship with the New York Legislature, especially the Republican-controlled Senate.

Mario Cuomo's experience appears to be on his son's mind. Andrew Cuomo referenced it in an April news conference. "I've seen this movie before—actually, in this room," he said. When a politician starts discussing his aspirations, he said, "collegiality goes out the window. Nonpartisan goes out the window."



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