Mario Cuomo, Former New York Governor, Dies at 82

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Mario Cuomo, Former New York Governor, Dies at 82

Asked for his opinion about what his epitaph should say, liberal Democrat from Reagan-era replied with just two words: "He tried."

Mario Cuomo served as Governor of New York between 1983 and 1994 and twice flirted with running for president. (Photo: Getty Image)

Former governor of New York Mario Cuomo, died on Thursday, New Years Day, at the age of eighty-two.

Cuomo, who served three four-year terms as a Democratic and twice flirted with runs for president, died at his home in Manhattan according to reports and confirmation from the family. His death came just hours after his son, Andrew Cuomo, was sworn into his second-term as the state's governor.

The Guardian reports:

Cuomo, a Democrat, was governor of New York between 1983 and 1994, losing to George Pataki in his attempt to be returned for a fourth term. He flirted with running for the White House in 1988 and 1992. A lawyer by training and profession, in 1993 he came close to being nominated to the supreme court by President Bill Clinton.

He is survived by his wife, Matilda; Andrew; another son, the CNN journalist Chris Cuomo; and three daughters, Margaret, Maria and Madeline.

A renowned orator, he gave a speech to the Democratic National Convention in 1984 confirming Walter Mondale as the nominee to take on President Ronald Reagan.

The speech, which articulated his liberal principles and made his name on the national scene, contained the famous line: “Mr President, you ought to know that this nation is more a ‘tale of two cities’ than it is just a ‘shining city on a hill.’”

According to the New York Times obit:

[Cuomo]  was always attuned to how he was perceived by the public, and when invited to sum up his own life for this obituary, he characteristically turned to self-deprecating humor.

“People asked me what I want as an epitaph,” Mr. Cuomo said. He then reprised a line he had used many years earlier traveling across upstate New York, a fresh public figure displaying astonishing talent and obvious potential.

“He tried,” Mr. Cuomo said.

And the New York Daily News was generous in its remembrance, writing:

To appraise him two decades after he left public life is to return to an era when rivals of outsized intelligence, wit and heart clashed atop the Democratic Party for possession of City Hall and the Governor’s Mansion. Cuomo fought for both, losing one prize to Ed Koch and defeating him for the other.

He brought to governing the chip-on-the-shoulder attitude of an Italian immigrants’s son who had been born into the Great Depression and who had earned his way up from Queens without the help of the high-toned schools and law firms that were closed to his ancestry.

There was never doubt that he would be on the little guy’s side.

In his first inaugural address, Cuomo outlined a moderate-sounding, liberal governing philosophy: “Of course, we should have only the government we need, but we must have, and we will insist on, all the government we need.”

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