December 27th, 2015


Guests: Rep. Chris Gibson and New York Post Columnist Fred Dicker

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Congressman Chris Gibson

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Read highlights: Gibson on whether he would support Donald Trump if Trump were the Republican nominee for President:

Chris Gibson: “Here’s the issue: I have concerns about giving that guy an army. As someone who served for 29 years, I have concerns given what I’ve heard to date about his temperament and the judgment he has.”

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Samuels asks Gibson if he supports New York State having a Constitutional Convention:

CG: “I do. And look, I understand both sides of this argument, but here’s the thing. We led off this conversation talking about a government of the people, by the people, for the people, a self-governing people. We clearly need reform in this state. There is no doubt.”

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Gibson says he agrees with Samuels and UFT President Michael Mulgrew’s approach to standardized testing that it should both be diagnostic and prescriptive:

CG: “I do agree… And I find it tragically ironic that at a time when Cuomo was demonizing our teachers and really following the federal government in terms of over-centralizing and trying to homogenize our graduates based on unfunded mandates and onerous high-stakes testing, at a time that he was moving down the wrong path, at the same time he was cutting the budget for professional development. So he just couldn’t be more wrong.”

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Gibson on why conservation should be a Republican value and why he believes in man-made climate change:

CG: “To me, if conservation isn’t conservative, then words have no meaning at all. As someone who cares deeply about being smart with the resources we have, is the same inclination why I’m trying to get back to a balanced budget so that future generations get the same choices and freedoms that we had. That’s the inclination about why I want to protect the Earth. I want to make sure that we are good stewards of resources, manmade and natural. I just want to state that very clearly. To me, it’s very internally consistent to conserve resources and when you talk about the climate … Look, since time out of memory our climate has changed. I mean, after all we had an Ice Age. What’s different now is that man is having an impact… What I’m trying to carve out a space for is a Republican pro-environment space.”

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Gibson on the Paris climate change accord:

CG: “I’m still reviewing the details of that, but let me just make some general comments since I’m not prepared to make specific ones. I will tell you this: There are some things I think are encouraging in what I’ve been hearing about these discussions internationally. The first is this: Is that the goal that we are setting—a 26% reduction in our emissions based on a 2005 benchmark by the year 2025—is very reachable. We are already, today in the last days of 2015, we are already over halfway there. So to the naysayers out there, we’re already on track to meet this even without an onerous cap and trade system, which I oppose, by the way. I don’t think we need bad tax policy as a means to get where we need to go.”

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New York Post Columnist Fred Dicker

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Bill Samuels asks Dicker whether he think Tom DiNapoli really might run for Governor in 2018 and, if he did, whether he could beat Cuomo:

Fred Dicker: “I would say yes and yes, Bill. Firstly, I would note that I thought this was pretty interesting and I don’t know if you saw it or not but … earlier in the week on Monday when my column appeared Tom DiNapoli’s press secretary tweeted out a link to it. And I think if they weren’t trying to encourage the speculation that he might run for governor, she wouldn’t have done that. Secondly, I think the fact that last year when Governor Andrew Cuomo unexpectedly faced a primary challenge from an unknown, little known Fordham University adjunct law professor, Zephyr Teachout, nobody would have imagined that Zephyr Teachout and Randy Credico, the comedian activist, would get 40% of the vote against an incumbent governor who is the de facto head of his own party. It showed a vulnerability that I think shook the governor that I think he feels to this day. Someone of Tom DiNapoli’s stature I think really would have a chance against the governor, especially if the governor continues on the course that he’s on right now, which is to alienate even his own fellow Democrats to create more and more antagonistic groups that want to see him defeated. He’s trying to backfill some of his loss of support but I don’t think he’s going to be successful. I think he’s interested in running and if he ran under the right circumstances he could certainly beat Governor Cuomo.”

Dicker responds to the findings of a Politico article that Cuomo has stopped doing Dicker’s and Susan Arbetter’s shows and is instead doing national television. Pehme asks if this trend suggests the Governor has national aspirations or is just trying avoid questions about state affairs:

FD: “Well, I think it’s certainly more the latter than the former. I don’t think he’s doing that much national TV. He does it with his brother. He knows his brother isn’t going to grill him about events going on in New York. So that’s a safe place to be and gives a little communications patronage to his brother who can say, ‘Look at me. I’ve got the Governor of New York on the air.’ I would note—and I thought it was pretty telling—that the morning that story came out, [he] then went on not one, but two shows. He went on Jim [sic] Lehrer’s show on WNYC in New York City and then he went on NY1 just to defy the political report, which is classic Cuomo. He gets beat up enough and then he’ll go in the opposite direction to try to satisfy his critics in a way that kind of takes your breath away. Just like now he’s talking about 10,000 clemencies where for the last five years he’s been criticized for granting no clemencies or commutations.”

Samuels asks Dicker of all the politicians he’s covered since the late 1970s, who are some of his favorites:

FD: “I did come to have respect for Hugh Carey, not only because of his strength as a governor—he was strong but he was quirky—but also because of the caliber of his appointees. He by far over the last 40 years, I would say, had the best appointees. Quality individuals as his state commissioners as well as his top aides who were individuals—I was going to say men—but there were some women, too, of real principle, who were willing … in the case of [then New York State Department of Conservation Commissioner] Peter Berle, if I recall, to step down, to give up his position if he disagreed with the Governor on something. So I give high marks to Hugh Carey. There aren’t too many others though who I would cite. I think Bob Abrams as Attorney General for awhile was impressive. I think it’s sad that George Pataki, who for the first year and a half or so was impressive, but for the next … 10 years or so … he did a 180 on what he had promised to do for the state and in fact presided over the creation of the culture of corruption that is with us to this day. … I thought Eliot Spitzer had a lot of potential. … I thought [Attorney General Eric] Schneiderman did, too, but, obviously neither one, and certainly not Governor Spitzer, lived up to the potential there. I think David Paterson, on a personal level, was probably the nicest of the governors I covered.”

BS: “And funniest.”

FD: “And Mario Cuomo. 12 years of Mario Cuomo. He was the most overrated governor I think I had seen because he was celebrated by the national media and especially by liberals as a great philosopher king, philosopher governor and he presided over the decline of the New York to the point that he was kicked out of office by a mere freshman state senator, George Pataki.”

Samuels asks who was the best leaders of the state Legislature Dicker has covered:

FD: “I think Stanley Fink was an outstanding speaker. … He was personally charismatic. He was substantive. He was a visionary. He was a tough guy and he was, to me, probably the finest speaker I had seen. [Stanley] Steingut himself was an interesting figure, too. After those two, Mel Miller was not very impressive. He wound up getting indicted, although … his conviction was reversed. And then we had Sheldon Silver for a long, long time. He had some impressive qualities. He was a symbol, and I think correctly so, of Albany’s dysfunction. On the Senate side, Joe Bruno was an outstanding figure, likeable, had an upstate sensibility and the upstate sensibility is much different than the New York City sensibility. … I found Joe Bruno very impressive. I knew Warren Anderson. I thought he was impressive, too, in some ways. He surrounded himself with some of the best talent from the old Rockefeller administration after the Republicans were defeated for the governor’s mansion. So I would say Warren Anderson and Joe Bruno and Stanley Fink were the outstanding figures I knew.”

Samuels asks Dicker who is the biggest liar he has covered:

FD: “Biggest liar? Boy, there’s so many of them. It wouldn’t be fair to the people to single anyone out, but Andrew Cuomo would be up there with them I would say there’s no question about that. And George Pataki based on his performance. I think Mario Cuomo was not a liar. He tried to be consistent so I would give him some praise, but there’s been plenty of them, certainly in the Legislature. I don’t know how many times I’ve had people tell me they were going to do one thing or this was going to happen and then the opposite happened.

Dicker predicts one of Andrew Cuomo’s aides will be indicted and weighs in on whether Preet Bharara will run for Governor:

FD: “I think there’s a good chance that [Preet Bharara] will indict one of the governor’s former aides, much less likely the governor himself. Unless you can really kind of kill Caesar, so to speak, unless you have something that is so overwhelmingly clearly palpable as a criminal action by a Governor, you’re not going to charge him. It would be just as damaging, or you could say more damaging to the Governor to indict one of his top aides should that happen. And certainly Preet Bharara has said, ‘Stay tuned.’ What does he mean by that? A week or so ago Bharara was asked, ‘Is the governor under investigation?’ He wouldn’t answer. That’s extraordinary not to be able to say that the Governor of the State of New York is not under criminal investigation. That says a lot. And in terms of [Bharara] running for governor, I don’t think he’s quite yet as popular with the public as Rudy Giuliani had become or Tom Dewey was across the country, really, at one point. That said, I think he would have an excellent shot of winning a Democratic primary. I believe he’s a Democrat. He’s certainly worked with Chuck Schumer and while he claims he has no interest in political office, I don’t think anybody doubts—certainly a federal judge who admonished him doesn’t doubt it—that he is an ambitious guy who likes publicity and that’s often a prerequisite … for people who want to run for office.”


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