The exclusion of a black female legislative leader from New York state’s budget negotiations is an example of how the Democratic Party needs to do a better job promoting women leaders, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon said in her first nationally broadcast television interview aired Wednesday.

During an interview on “The Wendy Williams Show,” taped Tuesday in Manhattan, Nixon called black women the “cornerstone” and “backbone” of the Democratic Party, before adding, “we need to let them lead.”

But, the “Sex and the City” star said, black women will stop showing up for the Democratic Party “if the Democratic Party doesn’t start showing up for them.”

Her comment came after she mentioned that “an amazing African American woman” –  Andrea Stewart-Cousins – wasn’t included in weeks of closed-door talks that led to last Sunday’s passage of the budget. Stewart-Cousins, of Yonkers, leads the Senate’s mainstream Democrats.

She wasn’t included in the so-called “four men in a room” negotiations in which Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic Assembly speaker, the leader of Senate Republicans and the leader of a breakaway Democratic faction hammered out a $168.3 billion spending plan.

Nixon, who has never held an elected office, is challenging Cuomo, a two-term incumbent, for the Democratic Party nomination in September. Cuomo defended his record during an interview aired on NY1 Tuesday night, saying his is better than any other New York governor in modern history, which would include his father, Mario, who was governor from 1983-1994.

“What you need is somebody who understands the process and understands to get things done, and cut through the politics and cut through the blather,” Cuomo said. “And I think that’s what you see with me.”

Nixon’s first sit-down TV interview since announcing her candidacy last month was done with Williams, whose popular show is broadcast in New York City as well in upstate New York’s largest cities, all considered Cuomo strongholds.

Nixon was scheduled Wednesday afternoon to make her first public upstate appearance outside Albany since announcing her run. She planned to meet with environmental activists and residents of Hoosick Falls, a village near the Vermont border whose drinking water was contaminated by toxic chemicals.

Actress Cynthia Nixon attends the amfAR New York Gala co-sponsored by M.A.C Cosmetics at Cipriani 42nd Street on February 10, 2010 in New York, New York. amfAR New York Gala To Kick Off Fall 2010 Fashion Week – Arrivals Cipriani 42nd Street New York, NY United States February 10, 2010 Photo by Stephen Lovekin/ To license this image (59541923), contact

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