The office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) in an open letter to the New York Post claimed he never said “conservatives should leave New York,” adding that his words were taken entirely out of context.

New York Gov. Cuomo Clarifies Conservatives Not Welcomed Here Remarks

New York Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo speaks to supporters at the Sheraton New York on election night, Nov. 2, 2010 in New York City. Getty Images)

“The New York Post distorted Governor Cuomo’s words yesterday, saying that the Governor said ‘conservatives should leave New York,’” Cuomo’s office said in a statement. “The Governor did not say that, nor does he believe that.”

The statement is in response to controversy surrounding a radio interview Cuomo gave Friday morning to WCNY’s Susan Arbetter.

Cuomo’s office noted that he said in the interview that “it is fine” to oppose gun control measures and to be anti-abortion, adding that “he respects both positions.”

“(T)he Governor was making the observation that an extreme right candidate cannot win statewide because this is a politically moderate state (either moderate Republican or moderate Democratic),” the statement said.

His office added: “The Post can allow any person they want to publish in their paper but if they are to retain any credibility they cannot be entirely reckless with facts and the truth.”

Here’s a full transcript of the interview:

Yeah, I think that that is actually, I don’t think that that is right Susan. I think it is a very important point, but I don’t think it is that I’m less of a democrat, I think what you are seeing is, you have a schism within the Republican Party. You have the Republican Party searching for identity; they are searching to define their soul. That is what is going on. It is the Republican Party that is it a moderate party or is it a conservative party? That is what they are trying to figure out and it is very interesting because it is a mirror of what is going on in Washington, right? The gridlock is Washington is less about democrats and republicans. It is more about extreme republicans versus moderate republicans. And a moderate republican in Washington can’t figure out how to deal with the extreme republicans. And the moderate republicans are affair of the extreme conservative republicans in Washington in my opinion.

You’ve seen that play out in New York, their SAFE act, the Republican Party candidates are running against the SAFE Act. It was voted for by moderate republicans who run the Senate. Their problem is not me and democrats, their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives, who are right to life, pro assault weapon, anti-gay, is that who they are? Because if that is who they are, and if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York. Because that is not who New Yorkers are.

Moderate republicans like in the Senate right now and control the senate, Moderate republicans have a place in this state. George Pataki was governor of this state as a moderate republican. But not as what you are hearing from them on the far right not this clash that you are getting from the quote unquote power brokers of the party now. We are right to life, we are pro assault weapon or anti-gay…Well that was planned anyway, I think he did that in reaction to the meets we were having. You know moderate republicans, I work with, moderate republicans passed my agenda, for the past three years. They want to criticize my record? My record was passed by the moderate republicans, so they are criticizing themselves and this really isn’t about me Susan. This is who are they? And who is going to win between the conservative republicans, the extremely conservative republicans and the moderately conservative republicans. And literally look at the issues that they pick, are we right to life or are we pro-choice? Well if you are right to life, that is your opinion and that’s your religious belief, that is fine but that is not the opinion of this state, which
70% are pro-choice in this state. “Well we are anti-gun control”, that is fine.

70% of this state wants intelligent gun control. “We don’t agree with gay marriage, we are anti-gay”, that is fine but 70% of this state about, is now pro-gay marriage so figure out who you are and figure out if you are of a extreme conservative philosophy and if you can survive in this state. And the answer is no.

You can hear the full interview here (at the 09:20 mark).

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