Is Gov. Andrew Cuomo becoming pre-occupied by his own mortality?

It certainly seems that way whenever he is asked about whether he’ll serve out a second, four-year term.

Behind the question posed by reporters is obvious: Cuomo is believed to be a potential presidential contender or could be plucked for a high-profile cabinet post in a Democratic administration come 2017.

Each time Cuomo has been asked about serving out a full term, he makes a joke about having a “heart attack” or dying in the middle of the term — seemingly an effort to throw the reporter asking the question off balance.

This has happened at least three times.

The governor at the Business Council’s annual meeting in September was asked about serving out his full term if re-elected by Gannett’s Jon Campbell.

Here’s the exchange:

Campbell: Governor if you’re re-elected in November, will you serve a full, four-year term.

Cuomo: What if I die?

Campbell: It’s a possibility, but do you plan on serving a full, four-year term?

Cuomo: Do I plan on it? Yes. But now you just lost the question when you put ‘planning on it.’

And it was posed to the governor in an interview last week with The Wall Street Journal’s Erica Orden. Again, the mortality issue was raised:

WSJ: Are you going to stay here for four years?

Cuomo: That’s what I hope to do. Unless I drop dead with a heart attack or take a plane to Italy and decide not to come back.

Finally, in last night’s debate, the full term question was asked by panelist Bob McCarthy of The Buffalo News. Guess how Cuomo responded?

“If I drop dead of a heart attack how does that count? Does that violate the pledge?”

After a beat, Cuomo said, “yes.”