ABC Touts Chris Cuomo's Years Growing Up With Dem Governor Dad

January 8th, 2009 5:06 PM

"Good Morning America" on Thursday highlighted 1982 as the year Chris Cuomo, the future news anchor of the program, would see his Democratic dad become governor of New York. The segment was part of a new series on the years that most changed the lives its ABC's hosts. The piece never mentioned the fact that Mario Cuomo was a liberal or a Democrat. (And while older viewers might likely know that, some younger Americans wouldn't.)

At the same time, the segment vaguely reveled in the accomplishments of the governor. "My father would expose all of us to remarkable history," the news anchor explained before a clip of Mario Cuomo at the 1984 Democratic National Convention played. After recounting the difficulties of being the son of a governor, Cuomo added, "...My father, my family, had been given an amazing opportunity to do what he told us mattered most, to help others."

Much of the ABC journalist's reminiscing had to do with being proud of his father and showing appreciation for his upbringing and family. Certainly no one would fault that. But considering that Chris Cuomo's brother is also the Democratic attorney general of New York it was an odd decision for segment to revel in Mario Cuomo's accomplishments, but at the same time obscure the fact that they are of the liberal and Democratic variety.

A transcript of the January 8 segment, which aired at 8:06am, follows:

CHRIS CUOMO: We're kicking off a new series this morning called "the year that changed my life." You know, how when you look at your life, you can point different little points. As Diane said, maybe they change from time to time. But, I had one that was pretty big. It stands out. Called for a little extra courage for me and my family. Maybe a little extra strength. But really helped make me the person that I am today. My year, 1982. 1982 was a big year. In music, we got our first look at the Material Girl. [Madonna clip.] Olivia Newton-John was trying to get everyone pumped up. [Olivia Newton John clip.] Joan Jett gave us anew rock anthem. [Joan Jett clip.] We fell in love with the cutest, little alien. ["E.T." clip.] And gasped at the death of J.R. Who shot him, anyway? ["Dallas" clip.] And I was loving all of it. A 12-year-old kid in Queens, New York. Little did I know that after 1982, my life would never be the same. 1982 was the year that my father became governor of the state of New York. And it was such a big deal for the family.

ABC GRAPHIC: The Year That Changed my Life: 1982: Chris's Dad Becomes NY Governor

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The new governor of the state of New York, Mario L. Cuomo.

CHRIS CUOMO: My father, Mario Cuomo, had gone from a child of immigrants, to the highest seat in the state. And we were all in for the ride of our lives.

MATILDA CUOMO (Head of Mentoring USA): In the political life, you don't know what to expect. And that young boy had to deal with it. I worried because- so did my husband- because he was so young. And this, he was just thrown into this atmosphere.

CHRIS CUOMO: I left the only home I'd ever known. My paper route and my class at the Immaculate Conception School. One second, I was a seventh grader with classmates I'd known since we were kids. The next, I was gone. Swept upstate to the capital.

MATILDA CUOMO: I knew how much he missed his friends.

CHRIS CUOMO: For me, Albany was about as far away from Queens as Mars, in some ways. But, I did my best to adapt. And as a music-crazed 12-year-old, I soon found a new friend. MTV.

[Vintage MTV ad.]

CHRIS CUOMO: MTV came into being right in that early '80s period. I was in that mansion. I didn't really have any friends or anything yet. You know, when Sting says, "I want my MTV"-

STING: I want my MTV.

CHRIS CUOMO: -he didn't want it more than I did. I watched this thing that 24/7. Also, the staff at the governor's residence became like family, to me, especially Michael Mauriello [PH], the superintendent.

MAURIELLO: I guess all of us nurtured him in whatever way we could. He was a comic. He was a comedian, a practical joker.

CHRIS CUOMO: One time, I took cayenne pepper.

MAURIELLO: He used to put the cayenne pepper in shoes, sometimes in pant legs and stuff.

CHRIS CUOMO: He was sitting in the kitchen with his feet in the big tub.

MAURIELLO: It wasn't that humorous on the throughway coming home. But it was fun.

CHRIS CUOMO: In time, there would be a new school, the Albany Academy and new friends and a string of great events. My father would expose all of us to remarkable history.

MARIO CUOMO [giving a speech]: But the hard truth is that not everyone is sharing in this city's splendor and glory.

MATILDA CUOMO: I think all in all, it was an experience of growth and understanding more about what his father was doing and the why he was doing it.

CHRIS CUOMO: Momma's right, as always. I soon realized that whatever bumps there were in the road from Queens to Albany, my father, my family, had been given an amazing opportunity to do what he told us mattered most, to help others. And once I got that, life was good.

MAURIELLO: I don't think too many young men in that position or at that age, would have adapted that well. I know that.

CHRIS CUOMO: My father and mother went on to serve for 12 years, making me so proud to be their son. And introducing me to places and all kinds of people. From the powerless, to the most powerful.

MATILDA CUOMO: He became his own little person. And very comfortable with everybody. When Christopher Reeves came up, the Superman, that was so funny. He kept saying, where's your cape? Where are you going to change?

CHRIS CUOMO: At the time, I didn't recognize it. I just thought it was like, oh, look. It's me and Muhammad Ali. You know? All these people that we all love. But it gave me a comfort around people.

MATILDA CUOMO: Out of the first year, he was on his own. And he did very well. And we never worried about him afterwards. We really didn't. It's got to be the most wonderful journey for him, when he looks back on it.

CHRIS CUOMO: Some pictures, huh? Momma gets it right, though. It was amazing. It was such an opportunity to go from being one very ordinary kind of kid. And then, you're thrust into this.

SAWYER: But this lonely guy portrait, watching MTV and friendless.

CHRIS CUOMO: In the beginning I was lonely because I'm the youngest in the family by a lot. So, I was the he only one who moved up initially. So, my parents are out there all over the state, thanking the people in these beautiful 62 counties of New York.

SAWYER: And you're there alone.

CHRIS CUOMO: I was there alone. But, you know, then I got into school and met myfriends. And it was good.

ROBERTS: And it seemed like you really made friends in the mansion.

CHRIS CUOMO: Oh, absolutely.