(CBS News) As the races for mayor and city comptroller heat up in New York City, the Empire State's lawmakers joinedin the Adirondacks over the weekend, for a whitewater rafting event intended to promote tourism.
"We just wanted a vehicle to expose the beauty of the Adirondacks to the rest of the state and to the rest of the country," Governor Cuomo told CBS News' Jan Crawford on Sunday.
The Democratic governor addressed his personal political ambitions and rumors that he will take onin a 2016 run for the White House, Cuomo said a presidential bid is "not at all" on his mind.
"I spent eight years in Washington with Bill Clinton. I was the Housing and Urban Development secretary...I had a lot of fun doing that. But I really love what I'm doing now...I tend to be one of those personalities that stays focused on what they're doing," he told Crawford.
Cuomo sought to keep the focus on the first-ever Adirondack challenge, a two-day white water rafting race and his brainchild. The governor recruited high-profile politicians and public figures to join the event with the hope of attracting a larger share of the state's "one hundred billion dollar tourism industry" upstate.
"We have about 50 million tourists per year that come into New York City. New York City is a global tourist destination. We want to say to those 50 million tourists, 'Yes, New York City is great, we love it and we're happy that you came to see New York City, we also want you to see the rest of the state,'" Cuomo explained.
Monday afternoon, the governor will square off against New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a raft race down the Indian river. The race is expected to be a feel-good publicity moment for the city and state after an eventful summer of New York City politics, which saw disgraced politicians fromstepping back into the political arena.
"It is great theater. It's great political theater," Cuomo said ofand .
It's part of the charm of New York. We tend to have the eccentric. We tend to have the entertaining. And this is a little political theater and I think that's all people think of it. I don't think they think anything more of it," Cuomo said.
Turning again to his own future in politics, the governor added: "Running for office is a very personal decision," and insisted his only political ambition is to run for re-election.
"You have to find out where your passion lies and follow that passion so I don't think you should say to someone, 'You should run, you shouldn't run,'" Spitzer said. "That's not how the system works and I don't think it's effective anyway."