Two days after New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo (D) sounded like a presidential candidate as he accepted his party's nomination to seek a third term, William J. Bennett, the Bush administration's top drug adviser, had a few choice words for him:

"Nobody is afraid of Mario Cuomo," Bennett said. "There's this notion out there that if he steps in, the sun will be blocked by a cloud, the Earth will stop, animals will look around and Earth will fall silent."

Bennett, who was in Albany, N.Y., yesterday to discuss drug issues with state lawmakers and members of Cuomo's cabinet, all but challenged the governor to run for president. "If he wants to come in, in '92, he should come in. I hope he does," Bennett told a state Capitol news conference. "Nobody's afraid of this guy. He's got a record to run on and the record on drugs, I have to tell you, is not what it should be."

Cuomo, who criticized the federal government's war against drugs in a speech Monday, was traveling yesterday and was unavailable to respond.

Bennett, director of Bush's Office for National Drug Control Policy, said Cuomo complains too much about federal policy. "If Mr. Cuomo wants to wax presidential . . . he needs to work gubernatorially first," Bennett said.