ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – While Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has “absolutely” ruled out entering the race for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo said he would “support her in a flash if she came into the race.”

In an interview with the New York Post for its Monday editions, Democrat Cuomo said: “I believe she would have an excellent chance to defeat President Bush and, yes, I believe she would win.”

However, the former first lady said Friday that she would not be entering the race for the 2004 nomination. “I am absolutely ruling it out,” she said.

Clinton has not ruled out a run for president in 2008 or later.

Cuomo hasn’t appeared thrilled with the current crop of nine active candidates for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, calling their message “babble” and saying he would like to see former Vice President Al Gore get into the race. In the wake of Cuomo’s remarks, Gore, who narrowly lost the 2000 presidential race to Bush, said he would not reconsider his decision to stay out of the 2004 contest.

AP-ES-09-01-03 1000EDT

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