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Cuomo On Campaign 2000

Democratic Governor of New York from 1982 to 1994, Mario Cuomo lost his seat to Gov. George Pataki in 1994 while seeking his fourth term in office. While Cuomo advocates had hoped he would run for president in 1988 and 1992, he is yet to do so, despite poll indications that he was frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

The Early Show Co-Anchor Bryant Gumbel spoke to the former Governor to get his outlook on the current presidential campaign.

Cuomo has been quoted as saying that Bill Bradley, whoÂ's challenging Vice President Al Gore for the Democratic nomination, is a "charming underdog who can't win the White House." But now he concedes that Bradley can win the nomination.

"He can, technically. He won't, but I think he'll make it a much better race than it would have been without him," says Cuomo. "If you didn't have Bill Bradley, there would be nobody facing Al Gore. If there were nobody facing Al Gore, he wouldn't have been able to shed the burden of the vice president and the shadowy presence ofÂ…President Clinton."

"With Bradley, you make this a substantive race that de-emphasizes persona, charisma and all those things that people were accusing Gore of not having," Cuomo explains. "[It] incidentally makes the Democrats much stronger against the Republicans."

In The Early ShowÂ's interview with Sen. Bradley last week, he insisted that he never envisioned sharing a ticket with Al Gore. But Cuomo contends if Bradley were called upon to be vice president, he "would have to say yes."

"Can you imagine this team player who is surrounded by NBA champions saying, when the moment cameÂ…'I know that we should win this game, but as the sixth man, I'm not going to play,'" says Cuomo.

Despite George W. BushÂ's substantial lead in campaign fund raising, Cuomo says he doesnÂ't think Bush will necessarily be victorious.

"Our substance and our class with Gore and Bradley will so eclipse anything [George W.] has to offer," says Cuomo.

Cuomo says he supports Pat Buchanan on the Reform ticket, but he is resolute in his suggestion that Donald Trump be taken seriously.

"I think he should be taken very seriously," Cuomo explains. "He has the money. He has the celebrity. And this game, you have to pay a fortune just to get knownÂ…everybody knows who Trump is."

When it comes down to it, however, Cuomo says he is in favor of whatever yields a Democratic president for the next four years.