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Expert recommends context for recent surprising comments

ALBANY -- On the surface it may appear several public figures have recently put their foot in their mouth, at least one communication expert believes the situations are not completely black-and-white.

Politicians, people in public life can make mistakes they can misbehave, they're all, too, human, said Darren Dopp with Patricia Lynch Associates and former communications director for Elliot Spitzer.

On Wednesday, a one-time supporter of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, CSEA President Danny Donohue, called him a monkey and a moron to a crowd of union members.

My own belief is it probably has something to do with internal politics at the union. Why would someone say something like that? The average person would look at that and say it's interment, but who is his audience? explained Dopp.

An administrative official for Cuomo told CBS 6 Wednesday evening Union leadership in NY isnt what it used to be.

The governor, however, is not without controversy. Last week on The Capitol Pressroom radio program, he made strong remarks against some conservatives while giving his view of the state of the Republican Party.

If they are the extreme conservatives they have no place in the state of New York, said Cuomo.


While some Republicans pounced on the opportunity to showcase the governors remarks, Dopp says in context of his previous comments the remark loses some steam.

When you're in situations like this, look at the context. Look at the rest of the remarks. I don't think a lot of individuals would take offense to it, said Dopp. I think what he was saying was we should be as a society, as New Yorkers, are better than that kind of thing. What it came off as is a bit different than he was trying to say.

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island) made national headlines after he threatened a NY1 reporter for attempting to ask a question about a federal investigation. He later apologized and said he was tired after working to secure Hurricane Sandy funding.

To me as I analyze that, it was perfectly clear that he snapped and said things that were inappropriate for sure. A physical confrontation you just never want to go down that path when you're a public official, said Dopp, adding an apology can go a long way. I have the fundamental belief that people understand the difficulty of this type of communication and I think they are very forgiving if you come out and say that didn't come out the way I meant it to, my bad, please forgive me. Nine out of 10 people are not going to hold it against you forever.

 
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