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Cuomo, Duffy have nothing but praise for each other

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, offered high praise for one another during an event at the Capitol Monday. Their remarks come as questions are raised about Duffy's political future.

Some newspapers have called for an ethics probe after Duffy admitted he’s been interviewing for a job with the Rochester Business Alliance, a trade and lobby group, while serving on Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils. Duffy has now withdrawn from consideration for the job. He introduced Cuomo at a disaster preparedness forum.

“I often get accused of being a cheerleader," said Duffy. “Well, I cheerlead out of pride for what this man has done for the state and out of support for what I see him do every single day.”

Cuomo returned the plaudits.

“He is the hardest working and most effective member of my administration,” said Cuomo. “You’ve seen him all over the state. Nobody works like the lieutenant governor.”

Duffy, in an interview with the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, said he had a medical condition involving back pain that was making it difficult to frequently travel by car across the state at the behest of Cuomo.

Neither man took questions after the emergency preparedness conference. And neither has said whether Duffy will be on the ticket with Cuomo when the governor runs for reelection next year, saying only that Duffy intends to serve out his term, which runs for another 14 months.

Meanwhile, the chair of the state's Republican Party, Ed Cox,  says Cuomo's anti-corruption Moreland Act Commission should investigate Duffy for a possible violation of state ethic laws.

A spokesman for the state Democratic Party, Rodney Capel, issued a harsh rebuttal, taking a shot at Cox’s father-in-law, the late President Richard Nixon.

“If the Moreland Commission should look at anything, it should be Ed Cox sitting at the table with Malcolm Smith and presiding over a party that tried to sell its mayoral party line for the largest bribe," Capel said. "Mr. Cox has brought his own personal brand of Nixonian corruption to the state GOP and has never come clean about his role in the entire Malcolm Smith affair. Before he calls for anyone else to be investigated, he should, as the saying goes, admit what did he know and when did he know it.”

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.