Mario Cuomo

(Mario Matthew Cuomo)

Mario Cuomo
Mario Cuomo
  • Born: June 15, 1932
  • Died: January 1, 2015
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Politician









Quote Topics Cited
A shining city is perhaps all the President [Ronald Reagan] sees from the portico of the White House and the veranda of his ranch, where everyone seems to be doing well. But there's another part to the shining city. In this part of the shining city there are more poor than ever, more families in trouble, and more people who need help and can't find it. Poverty
All bureaucracies have to be weeded and watched. Bureaucracy
Debates measure abilities you don't need to govern, like glibness. To govern you should be thoughtful, not glib. A debater has a sense of humor, but what's it got to do with governing? The ability to think on your feet. You make a budget sitting on your tush. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
Different as they may be from my parents' generation, today's new Americans still bring with them the same old fashioned family values: discipline, a sense of responsibility, an eagerness to work—to achieve ... Immigration & Emigration
First you have to do what you're supposed to do before you can do what you'd like to do. Management & Managing Government
Fiscal prudence does not prevent government from providing shelter for the homeless, work for the idle, care for the elderly and infirm, and hope for the destitute. Budgets & Budgeting
For the Vice President’s benefit, I’ll make sure I use small words. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Give everybody a chance to work. You'll see how quickly family values will follow. Families, Children & Parenting
God should not be made into a celestial party chairman. To most of us, the manipulative invoking of religion to advance a politician or a party is frightening and divisive. The American people will tolerate religious leaders taking positions for or against candidates ... But the American people are leery about large religious organizations, powerful churches, or synagogue groups engaging in such activities …, not as a matter of law or doctrine, but because our innate wisdom and democratic instinct teaches us these things are dangerous. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Government can have both a heart and a head. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Government's basic purpose is to allow those blessed with talent to go as far as they can—on their own merits. But ... government also has an obligation to assist those who, for whatever reason, have been left out by fate: the homeless, the infirm, the destitute. Poverty
I believe the death penalty demeans the values that form the core of American life.... Capital punishment is a terrible concession, a desperate response that substitutes one evil for another.... There is a better response to killing than killing. Capital Punishment, Dealth Penalty & State Execution
I did not come into government to win an award as the great accountant in the sky and balance budgets. Budgets & Budgeting
I did not love politics. As a matter of fact, I hated politics. I loved governing which is … a different thing. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I endorse him! I endorse him! I endorse him! There, three times I endorsed him. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I refuse to take the position that now I have to make the whole society of non Catholics, non believers, and even those Catholics who do not support the abortion dicta, I have to impose a law upon them. If you do that, you are talking about a Catholic theocracy. Privacy, Abortion & Family Planning
In a national campaign you are driven to negativism. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
In order to make a good speech you must have something to say and you have to believe it. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
It’s time for change. It’s time for someone smart enough to know, strong enough to do, sure enough to lead... Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
It'll go away only if we make it go away—by not using water. Environment & Environmentalism
Let's not confuse the words immigrant and alien. Immigration & Emigration
Money has become much, much too important in the election process. I felt that way when I had no money, and I feel that way when I do have money. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
My tax break is your tax hike. Taxes
No! I won't rule out center field for the Yankees, either. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Not yet. But I've been regularly depressed every time I have a press conference. Media, Journalism & The Press
Of course we should have only the government we need. But we must insist on all the government we need. Miscellaneous
One of the failures of our politics is that it has been simplistic. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Our whole system is rigged to keep the incumbents in office. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
People asked me what I want as an epitaph: "He Tried". Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
President Reagan told us from the beginning that he believed in a kind of Social Darwinism, survival of the fittest . . . [that] we should settle for taking care of the strong, and hope that economic ambition and charity will do the rest. Make the rich richer, and what falls from the table will be enough for the middle class and those who are trying desperately to work their way into the middle class.
Ronald Reagan made the denial of compassion in America respectable. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Symbols are important. Memorials, Monuments, Medals, Statues & Buildings
The city ... is involved in the fight for its life. One of the critical battlegrounds is the struggle to preserve middle class residential neighborhoods. Development & Growth
The criminal justice system is not working and people want something that works. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
The most difficult thing to do is to communicate the positive. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The noble aspirations, neat promises and slogans of a campaign get bent out of recognition or even break as you try to nail them down to the Procrustean bed of reality. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The only legitimacy we have is the law—not what politicians tell you …. The legal system in this country is what distinguishes us from every other attempt at Republican Democracy that failed. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
The problem of drugs is a national failure. We do not grow cocoa leaves in Albany. Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
The Republicans believe that the wagon train will not make it to the frontier unless some of the old and some of the young, and some of the weak are left behind by the side of the trail. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes ;Capitalism
The Republicans called it “trickle down” when Hoover tried it. Now they call it “supply side”. But it’s the same shining city for those relative few who are lucky enough to live in its good neighborhoods. But for the people who are excluded—for the people who are locked out—all they can do is stare from a distance at that city’s glimmering towers. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
There are few things more amusing in the world of politics than watching moderate Republicans charging to the right in pursuit of greater glory. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
There is despair, Mr President, in the faces of those you do not see; in the places that you do not visit. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
They [our founding fathers] saw the need from the very outset to improve the product [the Constitution]. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
This is a wonderful year for raw truth. We don't have any money. Budgets & Budgeting
This society is in tough shape when it comes to philosophy. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
To assure our freedom we must allow others the same freedom, even if occasionally it produces conduct by them which we would hold to be sinful. We know that the price of seeking to force our beliefs on others is that they might someday force theirs on us. Freedom & Liberty
We are too good to make war our most successful enterprise. War & Peace
We can all do that. Monkeys do that. I want legislation, not applause. Legislating & Legislative Process
We don't have to do what candidates do—talk about huge issues for 30 seconds in a field somewhere trying to make sure that cows do no urinate on our shoes. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
We used to be lenders; now we're borrowers. We used to be sellers; now we're buyers. You can't win that way. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
We won because people and the passion of belief are still more important than money. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
What's wrong with the death penalty is that it satisfies this penchant we have for vengeance. Capital Punishment, Dealth Penalty & State Execution
You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Literature, Writers & Writing
You can get from a politician whatever you demand in this country. The great irony is that everybody complains about how it runs but not enough people direct their force and power directly at the politicians and make demands upon them. Ours is a system that abhors remoteness. If you're remote from this political system, it'll kill you. Lobbying & Special Interests
You cannot lead this country by being [politically] safe. Leaders & Leadership
You have to have free enterprise for the many. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
9/11 occurs, and you're going to rebuild, and after awhile, the memory will be there, but there will be something new there, and different, and functioning, and electric.
A lot of my stories about the old days, they're delicious and funny. But every time I recall the early days, it's painful. With every anecdote, it's painful because you're summoning up the terribly, terribly difficult life of my parents. And it's painful because I didn't realize at the time how hard it was for them. Life ;Time ;Humor
America was born in outrageous ambition, so bold as to be improbable. The deprived, the oppressed, the powerless from all over the globe came here with little more than the desire to realize themselves.
Barack Obama is probably one of the brightest in terms of sheer intelligence... also probably the best orator we've ever had as a president.
Bill Clinton has done more to help the middle class than any leader in decades.
California is an unusual and electric kind of state - it's wonderful. All sorts of things happen there.
David Robinson chose to stay at Navy. He talked about commitment, loyalty and values. I wonder how many of us would choose these virtues rather than the chance of becoming a millionaire, especially if you were a college sophomore when you had to make that choice.
Debates are boring.
Decide exactly what you want to achieve. Do you want to help people, or do you want to be powerful?
Every minute brings a new opportunity. Every minute brings new growth, new experiences.
Every time I've done something that doesn't feel right, it's ended up not being right. Time
Hate sells.
I am a trial lawyer. Matilda says that at dinner on a good day I sound like an affidavit.
I am one who believes that the world goes from the slime to the sublime. And you can take Darwin and all your philosophers and all your ontologists, and that's the direction.
I concentrated on a lot of things, so very few people saw me as an education governor, an infrastructure governor. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
I did once answer the question 'What would you say on your tombstone?' I know what I would say: 'Mario Cuomo, 1932 - dash,' and, 'He tried.' That's it.
I don't ever recall having a political argument with Bob Grant. I've known him a long time. I've always liked him. Time
I guess a psychiatrist would say there's some good to the venting process, but it does also promote an attitude of saying, 'Hey there's nothing wrong with being filled with hate; there's so much of it around.' I don't like that.
I had a chance to go on the Supreme Court of the United States, and my whole family was more disappointed in my deciding not to do that than in my deciding not to run for president - much more. Families, Children & Parenting
I had not even thought of running for president until one day in 1991, at a small fund-raiser, completely unanticipated, someone stood up and said, 'Hey, Mario, in all the years we've supported you, we've never heard you talk about the presidency, and we want to know why not.'
I have no plans, and no plans to plan. Future
I have no quarrel with people seeing me as a sinner.
I love bunt plays. I love the idea of the bunt. I love the idea of the sacrifice. Even the word is good. Giving yourself up for the good of the whole. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I love immigrants. Legal, illegal - they're not to be despised. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
I said I didn't want to run for president. I didn't ask you to believe me.
I talk and talk and talk, and I haven't taught people in fifty years what my father taught me by example in one week.
I think - something I learned recently looking up the meaning of ideology. If you look in American encyclopedias, it says, you know, 'Rules for - basic rules for a system of economics or politics.' If you look in the Oxford, it says that, and then it says... 'Despite - and people will hold these propositions despite events.' Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I was badly mauled by people in New York State for being against the death penalty for 12 years. Death
I went to electric razors so I would not have to look at myself in the morning. Morning
I will take a draft to the Yankees or to the Mets. A draft for president is not conceivable.
I wish I were as good a man as my son is.
If I made a mistake in terms of running for president, the mistake was not in refusing to run in '91.
If I want to run for president, you'll be able to tell.
If you can manipulate news, a judge can manipulate the law. A smart lawyer can keep a killer out of jail, a smart accountant can keep a thief from paying taxes, a smart reporter could ruin your reputation- unfairly.
I'm not better than other politicians, but I'm different because I got into the game much later in life, after I had raised a family, after I had written a book, after I had been a successful lawyer. It's different when you get into this business after you've led a full life. I don't want to be a big man. I know who I am. Life ;Business, Commerce & Finance ;Families, Children & Parenting
In 1962, President Kennedy succeeded in captivating Americans by explaining the advantages of being the first country to reach the moon and the dangers of allowing another nation to beat us there.
In 1980, in 1984, millions of middle-class Democrats became Reagan Democrats, and more of them drifted toward the Republicans with Bush in 1988.
In 1982, I wrote in my diary that life is motion, not joy. If the way you measure success in life is by how much joy it brings you, you're measuring inaccurately. Life is also sadness, defeat, striving. It is many things. Life ;Success
In 1984, I gave a speech at Notre Dame titled 'Religious Belief and Public Morality.' I said that Catholic legislators will live by the laws of the church because we want to stay in the club.
In '86 or '87, the welfare lists were at the lowest level in 17 years. Why? Because the economy was the best it was in 17 years. There were jobs.
In this life, you should read everything you can read. Taste everything you can taste. Meet everyone you can meet. Travel everywhere you can travel. Learn everything you can learn. Experience everything you can experience. Life ;Travel
Lincoln had bad press, too. He wasn't appreciated until after he was gone.
My favorite thought about Abraham Lincoln is he believed in two things: loving one another and working together to make this world better.
My parents were immigrants.
No one in the modern history of this country, no president, has done more to move toward a balanced budget than has President Bill Clinton. History
Nobody has ever gotten a bigger push than Bill Clinton gave to Obama.
Organized belief in spirituality - that's what a religion is. Religion & God
People like Pete Peterson, the former secretary of commerce and Blackstone and titan of Wall Street, etc., has been writing books for years about the debt and deficit.
Religion is extremely important in this democracy - so important that it occupies a prime position in the Bill of Rights. Religion & God
Tax should be the same for everybody.
The American people need no course in philosophy or political science of church history to know that God should not be made into a celestial party chairman. History ;Religion & God ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
The beauty of America is that I don't have to deny my past to affirm my present. No one does. We can love this nation like a parent and still embrace our ancestral home like cherished grandparents. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
The biggest aggravation in the Arab world, the biggest reason for their anger toward us and the creation of those suicide terrorists, is Israel and the difficulty with the Palestinian issue.
The Catholic Church did not always teach that life begins at conception. Life
The Catholic teaching against murder, for example, is largely the same as our secular laws. But as a law, it obviously has a secular rationale at least as strong as its religious rationale.
The first good player I watched as a kid was Joe DiMaggio, and that was like ballet. Since then, I played sandlot and college ball and came to understand how difficult it can be.
The Mafia is a question every time an Italian raises his head. Time
The mugger who is arrested is back on the street before the police officer, but the person mugged may not be back on the street for a long time, if ever. Time
The price of seeking to force our beliefs on others is that someday they might force their beliefs on us.
The problem is that you can't impose the church's teachings on all Americans as a matter of law.
The truth is that beginning in the 1970s, the heart of our Democratic party, America's strong striving middle class, began drifting away from us. Truth
There are only two rules for being successful: one, figure out exactly what you want to do, and two, do it.
There is a respectable body of economic thought that holds that casino gambling is actually economically regressive to a state and a community.
There is no basis to say I'm being coy about running for president. If I chose to explore the presidency, I wouldn't do it in a backward way. I'll say, 'I'm exploring the presidency.'
There's something about rhetorical violence that is ugly and worrying.
We Democrats still have a dream. We still believe in this nation's future. Future
We must get the American public to look past the glitter, beyond the showmanship, to the reality, the hard substance of things. And we'll do it not so much with speeches that will bring people to their feet as with speeches that bring people to their senses.
You can't ever make serious progress against terrorism unless you deal with Israel.
You want calamities? What about the Ice Age?