There is always tension between New York City and the state's governor, George Pataki said Wednesday, and he does not understand why Mayor Bill de Blasio is criticizing his one-time friend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
"I don't understand what de Blasio is thinking," Pataki, former New York governor and candidate for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.
"I don't think it's particularly smart. There are always personal battles. You keep them behind the scenes."
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On Tuesday, de Blasio,
who had pledged in his inaugural address to stand "shoulder-to-shoulder" with Cuomo, attacked the governor, saying that he has been "disappointed at every turn, and these last couple of examples really are beyond the pale."
De Blasio, a first-term mayor, attacked Cuomo for not supporting his tax break plan to create more affordable housing, and said the governor played an instrumental role in the state Legislature reauthorizing the extension of mayoral control of city schools by just one year.
Pataki said Wednesday that there will always be some tension "between someone who just has the city's interest and somebody who has to represent the whole state, but the governor ultimately has the greater control. The city can't do much without the state saying OK. "
He told the program that if he were still governor and the New York City mayor attacked him publicly, he'd "rise above it publicly, but underneath, cut somebody's legs off" when it comes to retribution.
Pataki said he never had "direct personal battles" with New York Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg while he was governor. However, he admitted that he did have some issues with the mayors' staffs and with the media.
"The press in New York City advocates for New York City," said Pataki, "and they forget the governor has to say no to the city, because you represent and lead the whole state."
Also on Wednesday, Pataki discussed standing out in the crowded Republican group running for president, which grew again on Tuesday with the addition of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
"The message is that I run government well," said Pataki. "I bring people together. I've done it in the deepest blue state, and I am going to reform Washington, just like I reformed New York."
Further, he pointed out that just a small fragment of Republican voters have already made up their minds over who they will vote for.
But he is not worried about making it into the debates on Aug. 16, as he's more worried about February of next year, and he loves the type of personal politics he can be involved in with voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.
"People want to sit down and look you in the eye," he said. "They want to ask you a question and you don't have time to call a pollster. It's the type of politics I love; it's the type of politics I do best. The prospect of being out there and connecting with voters."
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