(AP) Andrew Cuomo, the popular governor and a possible presidential contender in 2016, has a book deal. But he's denying that he has any political strategy, and is not taking Hillary Clinton into any plans.
"There is no truth to the assertion that I am talking presidential politics and strategy and what Hillary Clinton should do or shouldn't do or what I'm doing presidentially. The only discussions I'm having are how to help this state ... and to the extent that I'm focusing on politics, it's my race next year."
- Gov. Andrew Cuomo
HarperCollins told The Associated Press on Monday that Cuomo will write "a full and frank account" about his private life and the "profound moments" of his first term in office, including signing gay-marriage legislation. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
Over his first two years as governor, Cuomo has repeatedly refused to talk publicly about running for president despite prompting by supporters. He has said such talk would hurt his ability to govern and would create a distraction, as it did for his father, Mario Cuomo, when he was governor.
But he has never really ruled out a run for president in 2016.
A column in Monday's New York Post stated Cuomo has "quietly conceded" to associates he can't run for the presidential nomination if Clinton runs. That has been a widely accepted assumption for years because Cuomo's mentor and biggest political patron is her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Cuomo dismissed the column as "Monday rumors," and he didn't say whether he's conceded the 2016 race to her.
"Hillary Clinton is going to do whatever Hillary Clinton is going to do and I'm doing what I'm doing," Cuomo said on public radio's "Capitol Pressroom."
"I'm focusing on running this state and doing it the best I can. And that's all there is to that," he said.
"There is no truth to the assertion that I am talking presidential politics and strategy and what Hillary Clinton should do or shouldn't do or what I'm doing presidentially," Cuomo said. "The only discussions I'm having are how to help this state ... and to the extent that I'm focusing on politics, it's my race next year."
Cuomo has been closely tied to Bill Clinton for decades. His father, then Gov. Mario Cuomo gave an early and important endorsement to Clinton in his first run for president.
Andrew Cuomo later was hired by Clinton, who appointed him housing secretary. Back in New York, with Clinton at his side, the younger Cuomo dropped out of the 2002 race for the Democratic nomination for governor for lack of support.
His office now is decorated with Clinton gifts and memorabilia, and the governor has involved the popular former president in state initiatives.
Cuomo, a Democrat who hasn't declared his plans for 2016, was represented by a man with much experience in handling presidents and presidential contenders, Washington attorney Robert Barnett, whose clients include President Barack Obama and another possible 2016 candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The Cuomo book is scheduled for next year, when Clinton also has a book expected.
Earlier Monday, Cuomo dismissed reports that he would not seek the presidency should Clinton run, saying that he was focused on being governor.
Cuomo's deal may complicate plans for a biography on the governor signed up by HarperCollins last year.
HarperCollins spokeswoman Tina Andreadis said Monday that the book, by New York Post reporter and state editor Fredric Dicker, was still under contract.
The Post and HarperCollins are part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
Cuomo, 55, was secretary of Housing and Urban Development during President Bill Clinton's administration and served four years as New York's attorney general before being elected governor in 2010.
He has signed legislation allowing gay couples to marry in the state, helped secure financial aid for victims of Superstorm Sandy and signed tough gun control legislation into law after the deadly Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting.
Cuomo led New York's effort in legalizing same-sex marriage in 2011. This year, he pushed through the nation's first gun-control law after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.
An April 22 Siena College poll found New Yorkers split on whether Cuomo was basing his decisions on what he thinks is best for his political future or based on what's best for his constituents. The poll also found 53 percent of New Yorkers would vote to re-elect him, part of a steady drop the poll has tracked since December.
The April 22 Siena poll questioned 811 New Yorkers April 14-18 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
In the book, Cuomo will write about being the father to three girls, his role in establishing housing for the homeless and the legacy of his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo. Monday's announcement did not mention Cuomo's marriage to and divorce from Kerry Kennedy, the mother of his children.
When asked, the publisher declined to comment on whether Cuomo would write about Kennedy. Cuomo now lives with Food Network star Sandra Lee.