In the end, Gov. Andrew Cuomo came out to play a crowd pleaser for the Democratic National Convention. Tonight, it was a few bars from his hit "PowerPoint Presentation."
Like a special guest at a concert, Cuomo's taped five minute speech at the virtual convention was a purposeful, albeit brief incorporation of his signature slideshow speech during the coronavirus pandemic.
Cuomo appeared in front of what looked like a virtual background to condemn President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and praising the candidacy of former Vice President Joe Biden.
"Joe Biden is what I call America tough -- tough in the best way," Cuomo said. "Tough that is smart, united, disciplined and loving. Joe Biden can restore the soul of America and that is exactly what our country needs today."
Cuomo was an early booster of Biden's candidacy, even as younger and potentially more popular Democrats sought the party's nomination last year.
But Biden is poised this week to accept the Democratic nomination amid a plague year that has also seen Cuomo's prominence rise due to his daily briefings.
Cuomo's handling of the pandemic has been scrutinized, including whether he was too slow to shut the state down in March, whether much of that time was taken up by contradicting Mayor Bill de Blasio and the ongoing questions surrounding the death toll in nursing homes.
More than 25,000 New Yorkers have died, at least 6,300 nursing home residents have as well. The state is facing serious, potentially long-term economic problems as unemployment rates remains at historic highs. One out of five people in New York City were jobless in June.
Cuomo has dismissed the criticism of his handling of the pandemic as politically motivated, egged on by right-wing media at The New York Post and Fox News.
The final verdict of his handling of the pandemic -- the flattening of the curve after so much death, obfuscation surrounding nursing home fatalities and whether the state is prepared for a second wave of the virus -- is yet to be issued, points for style aside.
New York's curve was flattened, with cases now below 1% out of the tens of thousands of tests conducted daily and businesses are gradually reopening. The rest of the country is now contending with a rapidly spreading infection rate.
But the highly watched briefings became a form of alternative programming for critics of President Donald Trump not just in New York, but around the country and globe. Cuomo became one of the most popular Democrats in the country, and he did it without running for president.
He is one of the few officeholders appearing this evening who was not in the presidential campaign or vice presidential mix.
And ultimately Cuomo's appearance was a validation of Biden's leadership qualities: Here, Democrats, is a leader who knows a leader.
In the speech, Cuomo drew a metaphor between a physical illness attacking a body and the nation as a whole.
"We went through hell, but we have learned much," he said. "We know that our problems go beyond the COVID virus. COVID is the symptom, not the illness. Our nation is in crisis, and in many ways, COVID is just a metaphor. A virus attacks when the body is weak and when it cannot defend itself."
And he used the address to promote the cause of government as a force for good in peoples' lives.
"Americans learned a critical lesson – how vulnerable we are when we are divided, and how many lives can be lost when our government is incompetent. But we learned something else, my friends. We saw the negative, but we also saw the positive," Cuomo said.
"As they proved their way failed, we proved that our way succeeded. That America can still rise to the occasion, we can put our differences aside and find commonality, government can tell the truth and can build trust, we can judge by content of character rather than color of skin, we can care for one another. That Americans can work together and forge community and a competent government."
The speech, like many of the appearances on the first night of the virtual convention without an arena-filled crowd, was taped. It gave it an artifical quality at times, but that was perhaps unavoidable given the platform due to the pandemic.
This was the second speech Cuomo has given to a convention while governor of New York. The first given four years ago was largely tribute to his late father.
Now in his third term, Cuomo is perhaps the best known governor in the country, Cuomo spoke in far broader and universal terms.
In the end, it was a speech about what matters to Cuomo: Leadership, positive toughness and responsibility.
"Americans’ eyes have been opened and we have seen in this crisis the truth: that government matters and leadership matters," Cuomo said. "And it determines whether we thrive and grow or whether we live or die."