New York area Republicans praise liberal icon Cuomo

Story highlights

  • Empire State Republicans were among those praising Mario Cuomo who died Thursday
  • Cuomo was governor of New York for three terms and seen as a leader on the left
He stood as a liberal champion throughout his political life, but praise-worthy memories of Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo transcended party lines in the wake of his death Thursday.
Republicans and Democrats alike praised Cuomo as a man they respected, admired and were inspired by -- a man many described as a "giant."
Rep. Pete King, a Republican, lauded the governor as "what's missing in politics today."
"We don't have many people who can raise the debate like that today," King said Friday on CNN's "New Day". "He was as worthy an adversary as you could find, but you always felt you were in the ring with someone who was a champion."
Former New York Gov. George Pataki, the Republican who ousted Cuomo from office in 1994, called Cuomo a "proud son of immigrants, possessed of a soaring intellect & a great New Yorker" in a tweet on Thursday night.
And Cuomo's counterpart in New Jersey during his time in office, Republican Gov. Tom Kean, also praised Cuomo's intellect, remembering a man who could talk about any subject, from philosophy to history to sports.
Kean said he used to meet with Cuomo about every six weeks to discuss problems facing New York and New Jersey and said Cuomo was always put "what was right" and his integrity above politics.
"He didn't care about political consequences. He said what was in his heart, in his soul, in his mind and that was it," Kean said. "He was real...he was totally honest. His word was good."
New Jersey's current governor Chris Christie also called Cuomo a "giant" and a role model for generations.
"He was a strong, eloquent leader who loved New York and its people," Christie said in a statement. "As an Italian-American, he was also a role model for future generations that anything was possible through hard work and education.