Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had shared the story before. In a “State of the State” speech last week at the University at Buffalo, a speech in which the governor promised another $500 million in state investment in Western New York, Cuomo spoke of the late Tim Russert as “the first person who used to bring me out to Buffalo.”
That was in the early 1980s, Cuomo said, when he and Russert were aides to then-Gov. Mario Cuomo, Andrew ’s father. He told his audience at the university that Russert, a South Buffalo native who’d later become famous as moderator of NBC's “Meet the Press,” showed him Buffalo “in only a way that Tim Russert could show somebody Buffalo.”
The assumption, then, was that Cuomo’s specific attention to Buffalo – the open channel of state money that came first through the “Buffalo Billion” and now through an initiative he calls the “ Buffalo Billion Squared ” – had its emotional beginnings in that friendship with Russert.