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Andrew Cuomo Eyes Exit From N.Y. Governor's Race

Aired September 3, 2002 - 10:32   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Now we want to get to some breaking news for you concerning the world of politics. A man who is a member, I think fair to say, of American political royalty. For more on that and more on the New York governor's race, let's bring in our own Judy Woodruff.
Judy, good morning.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Daryn.

Well, as we know, the fall campaign, the midterm elections and campaigns for governor across the country barely getting under way,when already, we have evidence of likely withdraw today.

Andrew Cuomo is a son of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, we are told, is on the verge of withdrawing from the race for governor of New York state. Cuomo, having been in this race for several years. He served as Bill Clinton's secretary of housing and urban development during Clinton's second term as president.

He has been locked in a race with Carl McCall, who is the New York State controller. He has been controller of New York State since 1993. The two of them have had several debates, but the polls have shown McCall pulling away from Cuomo. It has been a very difficult campaign for this elder son of the former New York governor, ever since particularly he made a comment back in the spring, in which he said, among other things, he said the incumbent New York Republican governor, George Pataki, during the period after 9/11, the terror attacks in New York City, that George Pataki was simply holding the coat for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

It was a remark that got picked up, was criticized widely, both by Republicans, of course, and by Democrats. And Cuomo, until recently has been asked to apologize, and he has apologized for it.

As you said, Daryn, he practically comes from royalty, because his father was a governor of New York State for three terms. He also is married to a Kennedy. His wife, Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, the daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy. So this is a family that a lot of people have looked at. This will be a big story if indeed he pulls out, as it looks like today that he is.

KAGAN: Judy, having spent the last week or so in New York City, there has been kind of that feel, and the local media talking a lot about how this campaign was running out of gas, and basically how the money had stopped flowing into the Cuomo campaign. As you know, where politics go, if the money ends, that's kind of the end of the campaign.

WOODRUFF: Also, some endorsements I think have told an important story here. Not only did Carl McCall, the controller, have the endorsement of Charles Schumer, the senior New York United States senator, but Hillary Clinton, who has not given her endorsement, it is very clear that the people around Mrs. Clinton, Senator Clinton, a number of them have gone to work for Carl McCall.

Yesterday, there was a big parade in Syracuse, New York, the New York State Fair, in which Senator Clinton, Hillary Clinton, was marching very close to Carl McCall. That is seen as a symbol, a sign support.

Although, as I said, formally she has remained out of it. The fact that she was marching with him. Cuomo showed up late, we are told, at that event yesterday, which of course raised reporters questions. Something is going on. Today, we are told that Cuomo's people are in private meetings with Carl McCall campaign, perhaps negotiating a role, trying to negotiate some sort of role for Andrew Cuomo in the McCall campaign.

But again, the lead here is we may have a withdraw today. Andrew Cuomo may be pulling out of the governor's race with primary just one week from today on September 10th.

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