Mario Cuomo: He was a powerful, poetic speaker

David Gura Jan 2, 2015
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Mario Cuomo: He was a powerful, poetic speaker

David Gura Jan 2, 2015
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Three-term New York governor Mario Cuomo died Thursday at 82 from heart failure.

Cuomo is remembered for, among other things, his rhetorical skills. Perhaps most notable is his speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention, where he talked about inequality and rebuked President Ronald Reagan’s notion that America is “a shining city on a hill.”

“There is despair, Mr. President, in the faces that you don’t see, in the places that you don’t visit in your shining city,” Cuomo said.

“It was partly numbers,” says poet Robert Pinsky. “And it was understanding how to make numbers comprehensible and forceful that was so powerful in that speech.”

The speech has influenced the way politicians talk about economic inequality on both sides of the aisle. Watch it below.

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