Cuomo still not making presidential plans public

Mike Royko

August 07, 1991|By Mike Royko | Mike Royko,Tribune Media Services

SLATS GROBNIK shook his head, then jabbed at the newspaper and said:"Do you understand what Mario Cuomo is talking about?"

On what subject?

"When he says that he's not making any plans to make any plans to run for president."

Oh, that's simple enough. It means that reporters asked him if he's planning to run, and he said he has no plans. Then some reporter, believing himself clever, asked if he had any plans to make plans to run for president, and Cuomo said, no, he wasn't making any plans to make any plans.

"So that means he's not going to run?"

Of course it doesn't. It simply means that he isn't making any plans to make any plans to run.

"Well, did any reporter ask him if he ain't ruled out the possibility of making plans to make plans to run for president? Like when he's shaving, does he secretly think about making plans to make plans to run for president?"

I haven't read about the shaving angle, but such a question wouldn't surprise me.

"What do you think he'd say if they asked him that?"

I suppose he would deny that when he shaves he thinks about making plans to make plans to run for president.

"Then wouldn't a smart reporter ask him just what he thinks about when he's shaving, if he ain't thinking about making plans to make plans to run?"

Yes, a brilliant interrogator, such as Dan Rather, might ask: "Governor, the American people would like to know just what you do think about when you're shaving."

"Hah! Then he'd really have him."

Not necessarily. Cuomo could say that when he is shaving, he thinks only about not slicing off a bit of his nose. And as evidence, he could point to the fact that his nose remains intact and unscarred.

don't understand any of this. If a guy says he ain't making plans to run for president, why can't they let it go at that?"

Because they suspect that he is making plans, or making plans to make plans, and at the very least, thinking about making plans to make plans, and they want to trap him into admitting this dark secret. Then the reporter who makes him crack could become the next Sam Donaldson, assuming he gets his rabies tags.

"It would be that big a deal?"

Absolutely. Let's say a reporter asks him if he has ever discussed with his family the possibility of thinking about making plans to make plans to run for president.

And Cuomo, in an unguarded moment, says: "No, because my family believes I should do what I think is best."

"So, what would that mean?"

What would that mean? It would mean that the pundits could write: "Cuomo gets family's go-ahead for White House bid."

"I still don't understand all this tippy-toeing around. When they ask him if he's got plans to make plans to run, why don't he just say: 'I'm not gonna answer any more of those stupid questions.'"

He can't do that. If he did, there would be big headlines saying, "Cuomo flashes hair-trigger temper" or "Emotional outburst by Mario."

"Then why don't he just tell them: 'I'm going to say this for the last time. If I decide to run for president, I will announce it. Until then, that's that.'"

Are you serious? There would be screaming headlines: "Cuomo hints at announcement for White House run."

"Awright, so why don't he just say: 'Hey, leave me alone.'"

Oh, no. Very bad. That would lead to headlines saying, "Moody Mario goes into shell."

"OK, but you think he's going to run, even if he says that he isn't making any plans to run and not even making any plans to make plans?"

Absolutely. He's already indicated that he thinks most of the other non-candidates are clunks. And since he hasn't indicated that he considers himself a clunk, he's obviously waiting for the ,, party to say pretty please, with sugar on it.

"Then why doesn't he just come out and say so?"

You mean just get up one morning and declare his candidacy?

"Yeah. I figure that all he has to do is say he's running and all the other no-names would probably drop out even before they get in."

Don't be silly. The moment he announces, he'll have to start answering questions about what he'll do about taxes, schools, jobs, quotas, crime and whether Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame.

"Yeah. And I guess that the longer he waits, the more people get laid off from their jobs."

Sad, but true.

"And it's like my old man always said."

What did he always say?

"He said: 'I ain't never met a Republican at the unemployment comp office.' "

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