ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Mario Cuomo said today that Paul Kirk, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, asked him not to rule out a draft for the 1988 presidential nomination.
"Mr. Kirk said, 'Please don't make a Shermanesque,' " Cuomo told a news conference.
He was referring to Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, who, responding to an appeal from backers at the GOP convention in 1884, sent the classic telegram saying: "I will not accept if nominated, and will not serve if elected."
At the news conference, Cuomo refused to elaborate on his conversation with Kirk. But he later told a reporter that during a meeting late last month he and Kirk had discussed whether a statement by Cuomo ruling out a draft "makes sense."
"What I said was, 'I want to know the best way I can serve the Democrats,' " Cuomo said.
Kirk Issues Denial
Kirk, expressing irritation at Cuomo's disclosure, denied he discussed a possible draft.
Cuomo opened his news conference by saying he was going to try to focus attention on the six declared candidates for the Democratic nomination.