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CUOMO PROVOKED PANHANDLER’S PITY ON NOCTURNAL STROLL

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Gov. Mario Cuomo, who ends 12 years in office Saturday, says he occasionally "slipped away" from his State Police security detail and walked around Albany.

Most of his private strolls were uneventful, but the governor did recall being confronted by a man one night on a main street.Cuomo said the man, in an alcoholic haze, stepped out of a doorway.

"Got a smoke?" the man said. Cuomo doesn't smoke.

"Got a quarter?" the man inquired. The governor looked in his pockets but wasn't carrying any money.

The man took another look at Cuomo.

"Are you the mayor?" he asked.

"No," Cuomo replied, "I'm the governor."

"Brother," the man said, "You're in worse shape than I am."