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Gov. Andrew Cuomo: ‘Soul of America’ at stake in election

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at the Democratic National

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa., on Thursday, July 28, 2016. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

PHILADELPHIA — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, in a speech that invoked his father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo, said Thursday night that “the soul of America” was at stake in the upcoming presidential election.

On the final night of the Democratic National Convention, Cuomo derided Republicans, saying last week’s GOP convention “offered no new solutions” but instead fanned the “flames of fear.”

“They say ‘Make America Great Again,’ we say ‘make America greater than ever before,’ ” Cuomo said.

Cuomo spoke for 15 minutes, lauding many of the policies he helped pass in the state such as legalizing gay marriage and increasing the minimum wage to $15, before praising Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton about 13 minutes into his speech.

Clinton, as secretary of state, “stood on the world stage and said women’s rights are human rights . . . She won’t just shatter the glass ceiling for my daughters and your daughters . . . she also has the vision and qualifications to be a transformative force for this nation. She will unify and not divide.”

“Republicans say they want to make America great again, to take us back to the good old days,” Cuomo said. “What good old days do they want to take us back to? Before the Civil Rights Act? Before minimum wage and worker protection laws? Before Roe v. Wade?”

The speech elicited cheers from the crowd inside the Wells Fargo Arena, well beyond the New York delegation seated in front of the stage, as Cuomo bashed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for “using people’s fear and anxiety to drive his ratings.”

“Fear is a powerful weapon,” Cuomo said. “It can excite and motivate . . . fear can even bring you into power, but fear has never created a job, educated a child, and fear will never build a nation.”

Cuomo recalled his father’s fiery speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention, which thrust Mario Cuomo into the national spotlight, after he painted President Ronald Reagan as out of touch with the concerns of poor and middle-class Americans.

“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,” Mario Cuomo said at the time, referring to Reagan’s claims that the U.S. was “a shining city on hill.”

Andrew Cuomo told the audience his father, a three-term governor who died last year on New Year’s Day, offered a “timeless message in 1984.”

“He was the keynote speaker for this nation’s better angels, and he was beautiful,” Cuomo said. “Pop, wherever you are, and I think I know where, at this time of fear, help this country remember what truly makes it great, that we are one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”


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