"When You Try To Communicate Too Many Ideas,
Sometimes You Wind Up Communicating Nothing"
--Andrew Cuomo, September 3, 2002, dropping out of the governors
"I can not tell you how much fun this campaign has been. Its
been over eighteen months. And I enjoyed every day on the trail.
And we did good work, we accomplished great things.
A political movement that has force is about ideas and about energy
and we brought both to this campaign. We laid out a full reform
agenda, from campaign finance reform to lobbying reform, to education
reform, to reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws instead of just taking
about them, raising the minimum wage, rather than just talking about
We talked about issues that people didnt want to talk about.
We talked about poverty and income inequality and racism and discrimination,
even though its not politic, it has to be on the table if youre
really going to be a progressive movement. And we brought that to
this discussion. That is a priceless asset for the process.
But I also learned that you can sometimes have too many good ideas,
and when you try to communicate too many ideas, sometimes you wind
up communicating nothing. And in part the campaign did that, and
we fell behind in the polls in July and August. It was my campaign,
and I am accustomed to leadership. I accept full responsibility
for the way the campaign was run. And we fell behind in the polls
and we had to catch up, and my advisor said, to catch up, this is
how you do it. You run negative TV ads, talking about your opponent
and what your opponent has done or hasnt done. You can use
that to lift yourself up. You can go negative, as they say. They
believed that we could run negative ads and we could actually make
up the difference. That is something I dont want to do and
I will not do. This is not to say that I dont want to win.
I do want to win very badly. I tend to be a competitive fellow and
I tend to believe we could do great, great things for the State
of New York. Its not that I dont believe in vigorous
political debate , I do. But this is also a very special time and
in many ways, a unique time. We still have an open wound that we
are dealing with from last years Democratic mayoral election.
And feelings are still sensitive and fragile. We need healing now,
maybe more than ever before, especially in the memory of 9/11. If
we were to now spend 2 million dollars this week on an acrimonious
campaign, we would only guarantee a bloody and broke Democratic
nominee, whoever won. And the ultimate success for Governor Pataki
in November would be assured.
Maybe we could win the battle, but we would lose the war, my friends.
Thats not what this is about. I believe in President Clintons
one America, I believe in Mario Cuomos legacy of the family
of New York, I believe in Robert Kennedys spirit of brotherhood.
That is my political philosophy, that is what this campaign has
been about. Bringing people together and community and sharing.
And Im not going to start dividing now.
I will not close a gap in an election by opening one in the body
politic. Thats why, while it is harder for me to step back
than to fight forward, today I step back and withdraw from the race.
I believe the banner we carry is more important than the person
who carries the banner.
I will vote for Carl McCall on September 10, and I urge all Democrats
to vote for Carl McCall. If you are a supporter of mine, I urge
you to support Carl McCall with the same passion that you have supported
me. Let Democratic unity start today, not next week. We need every
day we can have to bring the Democratic party together. If we are
united, we win. Its that simple, and lets start unifying
What I do today, trying to unify us as a Democratic party, trying
to unify us as a political process is the lesson that New Yorkers
taught us all over this past year. Remember in the wake of last
September, how beautiful and exquisite New Yorkers were when they
all came together and they didnt see race, and they didnt
see color of skin, and they didnt see sexual orientation or
religious classification. They just saw New Yorkers. And we were
there one for another, not looking at what divided us, but looking
at what brought us together, looking at the commonalties among all
of us. That is the spirit that I think is so powerful in New York,
that we can take this diversity and we can make it a strength. And
maybe the politics does have to be as good as the people, because
New Yorkers have set the bar high, high for all of us to try to
meet. And we try to do that today.