Tags: America's Forum | Lanny Davis | Mario Cuomo | liberal | center

Lanny Davis: Cuomo Both Liberal Icon and 'Man of the Center'

By    |   Friday, 02 January 2015 12:42 PM

Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Bill Clinton, compares the late New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, a liberal Democrat, to Republican President Ronald Reagan, saying both men perfected the art of staying true to their ideology while working with the opposing party to get things accomplished.

“He was a man of the center even though he is the inspiration, like Ted Kennedy, of the classic liberal base of the Democratic Party to the same extent that Ronald Reagan is the hero of the Republican base as a conservative,” Davis said Friday during an appearance on Newsmax TV's “America’s Forum.”

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Cuomo, 82, died of heart failure Thursday in New York.

Davis said he grew up following Cuomo’s career beginning when he ran for New York City mayor in 1977, a race he lost by a tight margin to fellow Democrat Ed Koch. Davis volunteered for Cuomo when he ran for governor and the two became friends, he said.

“I almost considered him, if not a father figure, then certainly an older-brother figure in my life,” said Davis.

Despite Cuomo’s strident liberal beliefs, he “yearned for the great center of American politics to reassert itself,” according to Davis.

“He never gave up his liberalism, but he did believe in reaching across the aisle and finding solutions, and I had a personal experience with him involving a book that I wrote in which I saw that quality, and that’s really the message for the day.

"It’s not just the great inspirational liberal, but the great centrist in the sense that he wanted solutions and knew he needed Republicans as he served as governor, as well as in national politics, but if they are to be real solutions, they had to be bipartisan.”

As a “great liberal leader,” Cuomo was able to remain faithful to his ideology, base and values while forging relationships with Republicans in the name of “solutions and compromise,” Davis said.

“He was my inspiration as a fighting liberal,” he said of Cuomo, who, like Reagan, has come to be held in high regard by Democrats and Republicans for “remaining faithful to his principles of conservatism, but he did his deals upstairs in the residence with Tip O’Neil, the great liberal, because he knew that to govern America he had to compromise.”

“He solved Social Security by raising taxes and by getting Tip O’Neil to cut back on some benefits, and he knew how to compromise even though he was a fighting and great inspirational conservative, and that’s what I would describe Mario Cuomo as: a great liberal who knew how to compromise.”

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Lanny Davis, the former special counsel to President Bill Clinton, compares the late New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, a liberal Democrat, to Republican President Ronald Reagan.
Lanny Davis, Mario Cuomo, liberal, center
Friday, 02 January 2015 12:42 PM
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