Governor Andrew Cuomo's national profile has been on the rise in recent months, fueled by a Republican presidential administration in Washington and his own policies being pushed in New York. 

"On any number of fronts, whether it's infrastructure, college affordability, the environment, the governor thinks New York will stand in good juxtaposition to where Trump is taking the nation," said Bruce Gyory of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips.

Cuomo has burnished his image with trips to Israel, with more overseas travel planned for this year -- plans that are in stark contrast to his first-term effort to remain in New York.

"He has not been one of those globetrotting governors," Gyory said. "On the other hand, his trips have had a substantive mission."

The situation has drawn paralless with Cuomo's own father in the 1980s, when Mario Cuomo staked out a position as a liberal bulwark.

"He saw that his father, against a much more popular president in Ronald Reagan, did strike a very good chord in the early 1980s," Gyory said.

And then there's the free tuition program in the approved state budget, winning praise from the 2016 Democratic nominee for president last week.

"I hope it's the first of many states," Hillary Clinton said. "I think both Andrew and I would be delighted to have other states say, 'Well, we don't want New York to be the only state providing tuition-free college.' "

But Cuomo has had to defend the program, which comes with strings attached such as in-state residency requirements after graduating.

The free tuition deal was blasted by The New York Times editorial board and the newspaper's conservative columnist, David Brooks. Cuomo, over the weekend, hit back.

"If you were to read the Times editorial, my father wouldn't be governor," Cuomo said. "I wouldn't be governor once, let alone re-elected."

As for Mario Cuomo, he never did launch a presidential campaign. Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, has insisted he's running for re-election next year in a bid for a third term.

"I don't know that he's running for president," Gyory said. "I don't know if any of us do."