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. Sal in Phoenix

    Neither Obama nor Clinton will get the number of delegates needed to win the nomination..They should both stay in for as long as it takes..everyone is overeacting...the strongest candidate will win and the other one will support the winner...the convention will bring everyone toghether, that's what they're for..don't worry, McCain isn't going anywhere..he's too old, he makes too many speaking mistakes and the democratic nominee will make him look like an idiot in the debates...and don't forget, nobody wants a third Bush term..I know I can't take anymore of this economy..let the process play out.

    March 31, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. Jeff in WI

    jdona's write-in plan would have the Republicans giddy licking their chops with pleasure...

    Obama the Dem nominee, and a nationwide campaign to split the Democrat vote.

    So be it. I favor Obama, but McCain is a not so distant second.

    No Hillary, ever.

    March 31, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. deb in az

    really i dont think sen clinton would care much for his endorsement anyway....he needs to join the ranks of the obama supporters......light up another blunt 50 cents...

    March 31, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. Concerned Citizen

    I support Hillary, but I will not support Obama. Despite his infatuated supporters and the starry-eyed media, Obama is not the messiah sent from God to heal this nation. He is a politician like all the rest with no experience and unfettered ambition. I will vote for McCain if Hillary is not on the ticket. I will not change my mind, and the millions of Hillary supporters who are treated as invisible people will cost the Democrats this election.

    March 31, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. on the outside looking in

    girlycott lets see the democratic party win the election without their most loyal voters WOMEN!!!!

    March 31, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. NC4Obama

    They should stop saying that hillary should get out of the race .......let her pull a huckabee, he was pleasant to watch in the end. She just needs to stop lying about sniper fire and she needs to pay the small businesses that she hasn't paid....

    March 31, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. shirley

    Hillary does not have the qualities needed for President and Commander in Chief. Senator Obama can do much better, there are honest politicans who are more qualified for the job. Where are Hillary's tax returns? Senator's McCain and Obama have released their 2000 thru 2006 tax returns and Hillary refuses to disclose hers. She must have very compelling reasons for this non-disclosure.

    March 31, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Conan

    The loser as the VP? Never gonna happen.

    Go Nader!!!!!

    March 31, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. David from San Jose

    I'm sure 50 cent and Oprah speak for America when they say Obama is the most qualified to be President. Are you kidding me? Go Hillary!

    March 31, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  10. Former Obama Supporter

    Of course Hillary should be President and Obama Vice-President.

    March 31, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. loveamerica



    March 31, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  12. Emma Iulo

    I LIKE Mario Cuomo's suggestion as to how to get the Democrats out of this hole they're digging for the party. Obama and Clinton should agree that whoever wins the nomination he/she will name the other as his/her running mate. That should satisfy both candidates' supporters and would re-unify the party. There will be some who would not vote for one or the other under any circumstances. But most would go along. I just hope Barack and Hillary are listening!

    March 31, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  13. Cliff

    Mr. Cuomo is correct. With either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama established as the democratic nominee, with the loser tossed under the bus, a bitter and lasting division will exist within the party and Senator McCain will win easily in November. A Clinton/Obama ticket or vice versa, is the only solution to the problem facing the democratic party. As it is, neither candidate has substantively addressed the issues and, most importantly, wil appear weak on national defense. Senator McCain, also quite deficient on the issues, with gaffes galore, however, has the edge on national defense with his often exploited portrayal as a "war hero" which, like it not, works with the voters. Yes, the economy may be an issue but neither party appears, other than slogans and meaningless rhetoric, to have a grip on the matter so, once again, advantage to Senator McCain strictly on the national defense issue. Democrats, unite as Mr. Cuomo has warned, or face serious consequences in November.

    March 31, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. Sharon Minnesota

    What's the point? We don't want Obama anywhere near the White House. He could become president and that would be disastrous. Hillary or McCain!

    March 31, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. Misha, Florida

    Its fine as long as the oldest more experience is at the top, if not I will not vote.

    March 31, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. Ida

    I had some respect for Cuomo before this... but in effect he is suggesting that we can't have a ticket without a Clinton! And Bill Clinton starts fires and then lectures on how to put them out... he is the arsonist and fire fighter at the same time. Cuomo endorse one or the other or be quiet and Bill, there is no pulpit from which you or your wife can speak and be credible or believed. Go away, do your taxes, pay your bills and count your money.

    March 31, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. vjh

    Not a good idea-HRC is immensly disliked ! She would bring Obama down. It's only the end of March, we will have an elected Dem if not by June 3rd, soon thereafter. Selfishly hoping that Obama does receive more Super Del endorsements within th enext week or two, and closes, if not wins, PA. Go 08ama !

    March 31, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  18. Dem of NJ

    No Obama.

    March 31, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  19. barry

    This election year appears to be politics as usual. Our countries challenges have never been greater. The Economy, 2 Wars, Healthcare, Social Security and Education are serious concerns.
    I find what is occurring in our democratic process problematic for the voters. I have voted democrat for more years than I care to think about. I have never been so disenfranchised by my party. It would be nice if there were an easy answer as to which candidate will be representing the party come November. But a party that is trying to silence the vote is not a party I want to belong to. It is obvious that the party leaders are trying to force Hillary Clinton from the race so they do not have to deal with not counting the votes in FL and MI. If the party leaders continue to go try and push Senator Clinton from the race they will do more to disenfranchise voters than anything either one of the two candidates could possibly do. Come November I very well may be a registered Independent voting for John McCain.

    March 31, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  20. for freedom

    I notice a lot of people who endorsed Bush in the past are now for Obama.

    I never voted for Bush... and I am for Hillary.

    I think I have shown the better judgement

    March 31, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  21. Madison , Mo

    ticket can only be Obama/Clinton not Clinton /Obama. Obam is the only winning.
    Hillary accept the VP or get out...!!!

    March 31, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. Sandy

    Barak Obama's message has been to bring change. He has inspired many young people, blacks, and even Republicans like me to believe in his message. If he ever accepted a VP under Hillary those three groups would feel totally disgusted with the entire political process. Republicans would either just not vote or vote for McCain, feeling that at least he was a free spirit...and not a Clinton. Blacks would probably just stay home as would the young people. Should that happen, what's most sad is the impact it would have on the young. We "old" folks have tended to just think of politicians, Rep. or Dem., as about the same...about as different rats and weasels. Only reluctantly have we come on board and joined with the youth of this country in thinking maybe, just maybe, it could be different;change is possible. If Obama wins the nomination, there is no reason to include Hillary. In fact, he could not include her. How could she be out on the camaign trail supporting him and his message of change in government, etc. It would be laughable. The Democrat Party has a choice...pick one...and if it's Obama, it had better be decided soon, before the Clintons destroy him.

    March 31, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  23. loveamerica



    March 31, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  24. Ed

    Full speed ahead!! Operation Chaos.

    March 31, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. Boye

    I am really tired of hearing people say Obama cannot win in the general election. The only reason he would win is because he has to worry about the Clinton fanclub switching side. Neither Hillary nor Obama can win if we democrats decide to support McCain in the general election. Either way, we are handing over one of the easiest elections a Democrat can win to the Republicans.

    March 31, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
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