Obama on death of Mario Cuomo: He was a ‘determined champion of progressive values’

Honolulu, Hawaii CNN  — 

President Barack Obama praised former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who died Thursday, as “a determined champion of progressive values.”

Noting Cuomo’s upbringing as “an Italian Catholic kid from Queens, born to immigrant parents,” Obama said the late former governor “paired his faith in God and faith in America to live a life of public service - and we are all better for it.”

“He rose to be chief executive of the state he loved, a determined champion of progressive values, and an unflinching voice for tolerance, inclusiveness, fairness, dignity, and opportunity,” Obama said in a written statement released by the White House during the First Family’s vacation in Hawaii.

Also on Thursday, Obama called current New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to extend condolences after the death of his father, White House Spokesperson Eric Schultz said.

In his statement Thursday, Obama paid homage to Cuomo’s dedication to the domestic issues that fueled the former governor’s meteoric rise in Democratic Party politics that not only made him a household name, but also often the subject of presidential speculation.

“Michelle and I extend our deepest condolences to Mario’s wife Matilda, his children, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Maria, Margaret, Madeline, and Chris, and his family, friends, and New Yorkers who loved him dearly,” Obama said.

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