AG Andrew Cuomo pulled no punches at at his gubernatorial campaign kick-off today, condemning fellow Democrats and Republicans alike for contributing to Albany’s culture of corruption and pledging to do whatever it takes to clean up the Capitol.

“Albany is in trouble,” Cuomo said. “…The chronic dysfunction of Albany has metastasized into the corruption of Albany, and it is a bipartisan affliction.”

“…Albany’s antics today could make Boss Tweed blush. Well, our message today is simple: Enough is enough…It’s time for the Empire State to strike back.”

There was not a single elected official at Cuomo’s hastily-called event this afternoon – not even the few legislators who stood by him during his last disastrous run for governor in 2002 like Assemblyman Joe Morelle and Sam Hoyt.

State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs wasn’t present, either, but the party’s executive director, Charlie King, who ran as Cuomo’s LG eight years ago, was on hand.

Cuomo took to the stage to the sound of Jon Bon Jovi’s “Work for the Working Man,” (recall that Bon Jovi himself played that song at the AG’s birthday fundraiser).

He was introduced by four average New Yorkers who sang his praises, saying he had stood up for them during the past four years in the AG’s office.

Cuomo’s immediate family was in the crowd, but did not join him on the stage for the speech (they did come up at the very end just before he departed without taking questions from the press).

He offered a shout-out to his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, and his mother, Matilda, and his three daughters: Twins Cara and Mariah (both 15) and 12-year-old Michaela. His girlfriend, Food Network star Sandra Lee, was present, but he didn’t recognize her publicly.

The most populist moment of Cuomo’s speech came when he talked of mounting a “citizen’s crusade,” saying he will be traveling to all 62 counties seeking to enlist the assistance of New Yorkers in taking back the government.

The AG will be asking voters to sign his “new New York pledge” for reform – touching on everything from ethics to redistricting to lobbying – and urge their elected officials to do the same.

Cuomo pledged to work only “for the people’s interest.” He also spoke nostalgically about a time when New York’s government was an inspiration, not a laughing stock, “a time when we dreamed big and we acted smart,” adding:

“That time does not have to be our yesterday, it can be our tomorrow if we start building a new New York.”

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