Mayor Bloomberg officially endorsed Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for governor today. In the Mayor's statement, which was released to the public, he praises his integrity, his record of public work, and his bi-partisan efforts, while throwing in a slight dig at his opponent Carl Paladino: "We need a governor who knows that the partisan politics of the past cannot be the way of the future. Andrew Cuomo has made the focus of his campaign to build a coalition for reform that transcends party labels and brings together Democrats, Republicans and independents together behind his agenda and I am proud to stand with him in that effort."

The endorsement comes on the heels of a new Quinnipiac poll this morning that shows Republican gubernatorial candidate Paladino much closer to Democrat Cuomo than anyone expected, only trailing by six points. Back in July, Bloomberg told reporters that he didn't view Paladino as a real threat to Cuomo: "He's not going to get elected, so let's go on to the other topic." Bloomberg didn't endorse anyone in the governor's election four years ago, which Democrat Eliot Spitzer won.

The flame wars between Cuomo and Paladino have heated up over the last week, ever since Paladino handily defeated Rick Lazio in the Republican gubernatorial primary. There have been some amazing (and nasty) posters, in particular. But Cuomo has been trying to stay above the fray, though many in his camp fear that he is allowing Paladino to hog all the media-attention: "There's a feeling the campaign is creating a void. And when there is a void, Paladino is doing a good job at filling it with attacks," a source told the Daily News. Cuomo told WOR-AM radio's John Gambling that he would not engage in gutter politics: "I am not now going to be part of an effort that degrades state government and degrades New York politics and degrades democracy." Paladino's attack dog campaign manager Michael Caputo shot back, "Ask Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio how that worked."