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Far Be It From Me to Disagree with Mario Cuomo, But...

05/25/2011 12:30 pm ET

When I was in high school, my heroes were Magic Johnson, Bruce Springsteen, anyone who dated Raquel Welch, and the great orator from New York, Mario Cuomo. In my HuffPo bio, I mention shaking Governor Cuomo's hand just after he delivered the Tale of Two Cities speech at the San Francisco Democratic Convention.

When I worked on Capitol Hill in the early '90s, I was obsessed with the idea that Governor Cuomo could be President Cuomo. I was poised to volunteer for his campaign, to travel to New Hampshire, Iowa, or anywhere else the campaign wanted me to go.

Mario Cuomo never ran for president. We did get Bill Clinton and he turned out to be a very good president, but I wish that Mario Cuomo did run for president, and I certainly believe he should have accepted President Clinton's offer to be nominated to the Supreme Court.

Mario Cuomo is my favorite political figure ever, not just because he played minor league baseball, tossed elbows on the basketball court, or called reporters at 3 a.m. to chat with them or berate them. When I saw Hillary's "3 a.m." ad, I thought, under a President Cuomo, Mario would've been making those calls, instead of sleeping by the phone, awaiting its ring.

And yet, when Governor Cuomo talks about the need for Senators Obama and Clinton to get together and talk, with one of the two agreeing to run as VP to the other's P, or both agreeing that the winner of the nominating process will choose the other as VP -- it seems like so much wishful thinking.

Senator Obama is ahead of Hillary Clinton by all measures. He's ahead in votes, states won, delegates. Why should he get together with Senator Clinton and possibly agree to be her VP? And while Senator Clinton may be running a tough campaign, she has every right to run it the way she wants to, to stay in until she wants to, and to fight to the end if that's her desire.

So let them continue to fight. Hillary prays for an Obama slip-up. Obama supporters watch as Hillary coins a new term, "misspeak." That's the campaign.

Today, Hillary is saying she's Rocky, in an attempt to appeal to Philadelphians. She apparently forgot about another Pennsylvania movie, Flashdance, set in Pittsburgh, in which a steel worker fulfills her dream of becoming a ballet dancer. A blue-collar woman putting it all on the line to fulfull her dreams -- better than the Rocky analogy, if you ask me. But opportunities missed -- that's a campaign.

The candidates do not need to get together in a smokeless room and decide whether to run as a joint ticket.

Let the people decide on a winner. They'll have decided by June 10th; by that time, the super delegates, already making up their minds, will have leaned one way or the other, and the race will be over. That'll leave many months until the general election and the matchup with John McCain.

And let the nominee choose the VP they want, the one that will best serve them. If you've run for president for two years, and you may be president for eight, then you deserve to have the VP you want.

The race will have a winner and a second-place finisher. We are blessed to have two great candidates running against each other. But just because they separately have solid support does not mean they need to run as one. The winner deserves to pick the VP.

Governor Cuomo believes the campaign in-fighting will hurt the party in November. I disagree. When this race ends, there will be plenty of time -- five months -- for the candidate to unite the Party and take on George W. McCain.

Governor Cuomo says, "Recent polls of all Democrats whether they have voted in the primaries or not, show the two leaders virtually tied and indicate Clinton may be more likely than Obama to win the states the Democrats must take in order to succeed."

Governor Cuomo, I hate to say it, but you're wrong. First of all, while Senator Clinton won states like California and New York, is there a human being alive who believes that the Democrats will not win those states in November? Second, Obama has won states Dems normally find difficult. Virginia. Missouri. Colorado. Iowa. Wisconsin. States that may open the Dems to a larger victory in November.

So, Governor Cuomo, to your suggestion that Barack and Hillary get together and pick which one should run as president and which one should be vice president: uh-uh. There's no need. Let the people decide the presidential nominee.

And to your suggestion that the second place finisher be the VP nominee: let the candidate decide.

The Party will be fine. And I hope you forgive me for disagreeing with you. I'm sure that there are many things we do agree on -- how about the end of Isiah Thomas's reign in New York? The Knicks may have some hope. I'm sure we're on the same page on that one, right, Governor?

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