March 31st, 2008
03:06 PM ET
10 years ago

King: Democratic elder statesman warns of potential disaster

Cuomo’s plan is the latest proposal to resolve the Democratic impasse.

Cuomo’s plan is the latest proposal to resolve the Democratic impasse.

(CNN) - Another day, another idea to end the remarkable race for the Democratic presidential nomination - this one from former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.

In an essay in the Boston Globe, Cuomo warns of a potential disaster for Democrats if the race goes on and either Clinton or Obama supporters become embittered by the eventual outcome.

“Who can solve the problem?” he asks. “Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton by putting aside personal irritations, and to some extent personal aspirations, and agreeing to end the hostilities and form a ticket that gives us both of them, a candidate for President and a candidate for Vice President who is clearly good enough to serve as President, should the occasion arise.”

Funny: he doesn’t suggest which candidate should be the nominee, and which the vice presidential nominee.

And already, he is suggesting there are better odds for an alternative he raised in the essay: continue the nomination fight – but have both candidates commit now that if he or she wins, the other would be the vice presidential choice.

'Thanks, but no thanks' is the reaction of the Clinton and Obama camps. They say it is premature to begin thinking about the No. 2. spot on the ticket. But Cuomo tells us today in The Situation Room that he believes such an arrangement is the best hope for a Democratic Party he believes is losing votes to Republican John McCain “every day.”

It’s an interesting idea - and though it is unlikely to be embraced by camps Clinton and Obama, it is the latest reflection of the worry among some party elder statesmen that the protracted nomination battle is creating wounds that won't heal in time for the November election.

Of course, there are others who dispute that the damage is lasting - they see record Democratic turnout and fund-raising as a sign the protracted race is helping, not hurting. Count former President Bill Clinton among this group, though also be very well aware of his bias. His weekend suggestion - those pushing for a fast resolution to the race should just “chill out” - was the latest proof his wife the candidate is in no mood to listen to those who say she should call it quits for the good of the party.

Still three weeks to Pennsylvania. Plenty of time to chill, or debate the pros and cons of the protracted Democratic battle.

Related video: Watch John King's interview with Mario Cuomo

–CNN Chief National Correspondent John King

Filed under: John King
soundoff (220 Responses)
  1. Charles Hardeman

    2 determined candidates competing for the presidency doesn't damage the party... incessant paranoia and woe-saying does. In the words of bill: chill.

    March 31, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. Kshama

    I am hoping with regret that the Democrats lose the White House this time as well. Why? The hypocracy of the Obama camp(I'm not saying the Clinton camp is innocent), the Democrats calling for Hillary Clinton to get out when neither candiate can win without superdelegates, the lack of leadership to have a revote in Florida & Michigan, the clear bias of the media towards Obama, the trully "undemocratic" way this race will be resolved, with superdelegates. A popular vote is not a popular vote without all the states having a fair election with votes that count. This is a time the Democratic party, I hope, will lose and learn a big lesson. Overhaul your nominating process and get rid of the superdelagets and let "We the people.." of this great nation decide who we want as President. The next step now is for Hillary Clinton to make a speech on "gender" inequality to change the topic of the day just as Obama did in his
    race speech. What's the media say-brilliant speech? I say good way to deflect the issues of Rev Wright. Go MCain 2008. I also hope Nancy Pelosi loses her seat in the US Congress. Who is she to dictate and tell the other superdelegates how to vote?

    March 31, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. Boomer For Change

    Anyone but Hillary.....!!!!

    March 31, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. cheater

    And thank you all for thinking I am Bill Clinton.

    Maybe I should be president... obviously I know how democracy works.

    The "new" democrats... aren't they the very people too lazy, too selfish and too apathetic to ever vote before?

    And now they DEMAND Obama?

    We "old" democrats we have voted in every election since we were 18. We will teach you all about democracy and the democratic process this Nov.

    March 31, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. Venus

    Hillary should give a nice speech and step out!!! The only reasons why some of the senior senators are asking her to step out now is because Hillary can not win but is saying she will win if she doesn't win! If Obama was behind Hillary and all of her support would be screaming for him to step to the side.

    March 31, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. Ron

    WHAT A COWARD!! This is a GOOD fight and as long as the two campaigns aren't TOO negative it will all work out. Mr. Cuomo does not seem to understand this needs to be a WINNER TAKES ALL contest. To have them agree that they will chose the loser as Vice -President sort takes the EDGE off the competition doesn't it?? As stated in the beginning this is a VERY COWARDLY and somewhat insulting way to look at this. Once this is over I believe 95% of Democratics will calm down and support the winner of this SPIRITED contest.

    March 31, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  7. RightyTighty

    “Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton by putting aside personal irritations, and to some extent personal aspirations"

    Surely Cuomo jousts with that great big pinhead..
    Ha Ha!!

    March 31, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. Wayne

    Obama won the most delegates out of Texas. This is news CNN. Report it.

    March 31, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. Pennsylvanians! DON'T FALL FOR IT!

    Let's talk about the Vice Presidency after the democratic nominee has been chosen!

    But aside from that why would an Obama ever chose to run with a Hillary when she's against transparency, takes money from anyone that's willing to support her no matter who they are ( ex. Peter Paul the felon), belives in the same old same old and gives the lobbyists what they want in turn for giving her what she wants-- WHY WOULD OBAMA WANT A VICE PRESIDENT WITH COMPLETELY DIFFERENT IDEOLOGY FROM HIS- He needs to surround himself with people who want to change things, people who believe in working for the people and not for themselves, Hillary is not of that persuasion!!!

    March 31, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. debra1953

    if all the dems that are worried the party is going to break apart would make dean let the florida and mich votes count and seat the delagates in those 2 states and Hillary wins the other states that are left to vote then we will have our nominee fair and square if she loses the other states that are left to vote obama win fair and square and there would be no problems

    March 31, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. good

    The Obama campaign is maitaining the illusion that they are ahead in this primary.

    If the voters of Fl and Mi count- AND THEY MUST- then Clinton has the lead.

    Obama is blocking the revote in Fl and Mi- and thus positioning himself AGAINST the will of the people.

    He should be livid at the DNC for NOT counting people's votes- whether they favor him or not.

    March 31, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Willing to vote Bush again, but never Obama

    I will vote anyone but Obama.

    HILLARY / Anyone '08

    March 31, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. glhf

    ...You put Hillary on the ticket and you lose. It's that simple.

    March 31, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. John Smith

    Someone out there still needs to let me know how Hillary is going to win this nomination. Texas and Ohio were the last set of Firewalls, so I heard, "meet me in Texas." Ohi and TX have come and gone!!!

    Now, I hear, meet me for a landslide win in PA. It is little wonder that the rest of the world laughs at our "mathematical abilities" in this country. We are in "fantasy land."

    March 31, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. Brian - Trinidad

    We needed this type of wisdom months ago.Its now the silly hour at the Democrats.Leadership requires doing the right thing at the right time.The Democrats have failed miserably on both counts.Its especially disappointing to see Obama,who captured the imagination of the people with his fervent expressions about changing things,settle quite comfortably into the same-old-same- old political nastiness we've seen for decades.

    March 31, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  16. Pier Giacalone

    It is absurd to force these two to work together. They've spent over a year learning to hate each other. I'd much rather have either of them be on good terms with their VP so that they can effectively work together as a team. The VP is no longer just a body in waiting should the president die. Both Al Gore and (unfortunately) Dick Cheney have expanded the role to have a large impact on administration policy which is a good thing because the VP is an elected office too.

    Let the candidates run the entire primary (since neither can win based on pledged delegates alone) and then let the super delegates do their job and decide the winner. Then let the winner decide on their running mate. Doing this would be following the DESIGN of the system. If you don't like it, change it for 2012. This is what we have to work with now.

    March 31, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. good

    I agree with Bill

    Lets saddle up and have an argument.

    The people- not the media or the DNC and party elites- pick the nominee.

    IF the votes in Fl and Mi count- AS THEY SHOULD- then Hillary would be ahead now.

    That is the reason Obama's lawyers are blocking the revote.

    March 31, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  18. JERRY


    DEM 08!!!

    March 31, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  19. Bill

    Why wasn't the article about how Obama was part of the Chicago machine and did politics as usual with Emil Jones, part of the Ticker? Seems Obama uses people like Jones and Wright to get ahead politically, and after he does, he dumps them saying they are the old ways of doing things. However, he sure kisses up to them while on the way up. I am from the Chicagoland area and have seen Obama in action and would reccomend people review his history in local politics.

    March 31, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  20. cheater

    Obama can only win by cheating.

    True democrats are not okay with that.

    He will NOT have our vote in Nov.

    COUNT THE VOTES, STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Fl and Mi should count and then Hillary would be ahead.

    March 31, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. Dayahka

    New York seems to be filled with bad ideas and bad candidates for president. Cuomo, an otherwise good fellow, has come up with a no-go. Clinton is not qualified for the P or VP slots. And if she ended up as Obama's VP, she'd end up doing exactly what she did during Bill's administration–flubbing major projects, like health care, destroying the party, and dodging sniper fire in Bosnia. Forget it!

    March 31, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  22. Sinbad

    PAy your bills.

    March 31, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. Floridian

    Well, I definitely don't want HRC on the ticket, and I don't know who Cuomo supports, but why is this really a new idea? The HRC camp especially has been floating the idea of a joint ticket for a while – is this just a nudge to Obama to take HRC off the "short list" and make a commitment?

    This must be a SERIOUSLY slow news day though. Cuomo's brilliant "new idea" is only trumped by the high-profile endorsement of Obama by fifty-cent, a man who says he won't vote probably anyway, and admits that he doesn't really listen to the news coverage of the primary race. WOW.

    Although, I must say that his endorsement certainly is "Change for Obama." 😉

    March 31, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |



    March 31, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. for freedom

    Why are we spreading the myth that Obama is winning?

    The Fl and Mi votes would turn that around and give Hillary the lead.

    He is ahead by blocking 10% of the votes.

    If he is certain of his lead- why block the votes?

    March 31, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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