Clinton stands with Cuomo after withdrawal
Focus is on Democratic party unity
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Yes, that was Bill Clinton standing alongside his onetime Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo in New York Tuesday as Cuomo pulled out of the Democratic race for governor of New York, having slipped behind in the polls.
With these words of comfort for Cuomo, his running mate and other supporters: "I am the only person standing on this stage whose political career is over."
The key player in Cuomo's decision to drop out, according to several Democratic sources, was veteran New York Congressman Charlie Rangel, who also was on stage with the Cuomo entourage.
According to these sources, it was Rangel who led the effort to get Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to march with Carl McCall, Cuomo's rival who now seems assured of the nomination, in the front of a parade on Labor Day, even though she had for months refused to take sides or appear to be taking sides in the Democratic primary.
"Charlie's view was that it was clear Andrew was not going to win and it was time to make sure the campaign ended with an eye on unity not with an eye on desperate attacks," said one source involved in the discussions. "He got the senator involved and then they brought the president into it, and Andrew to his credit saw it as the right thing to do."
Former President Clinton and Rangel appeared at the Cuomo announcement "as a visual reinforcement that this would help him with the party, that this was ending on a high note that recognized his role in the party," this source said.
Former President Clinton and his 1996 rival, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, have raised $105 million for their effort to provide scholarship money for the children and other relatives of the victims of September 11, aides to both men said Tuesday.
Clinton and Dole announced the effort late last year. The formal fund raising will now end because actuaries consulted by the effort believe $105 million along with other funding sources available is enough to cover all or most of the costs, and expectations are a modest additional amount will flow in because of the focus on the upcoming September 11 anniversary.
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