Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo gained fame during his three terms in office for his oratory and wit. Some examples:

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"We believe we must be the family of America, recognizing that at the heart of the matter we are bound one to another, that the problems of a retired school teacher in Duluth are our problems; that the future of the child — that the future of the child in Buffalo is our future, that the struggle of a disabled man in Boston to survive and live decently is our struggle, that the hunger of a woman in Little Rock is our hunger, that the failure anywhere to provide what reasonably we might, to avoid pain, is our failure." — Democratic National Convention, July 16, 1984.

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"Way down deep the American people are afraid of an entangling relationship between formal religions — or whole bodies of religious belief — and government. Apart from constitutional law and religious doctrine, there is a sense that tells us it's wrong to presume to speak for God or to claim God's sanction of our particular legislation and his rejection of all other positions. Most of us are offended when we see religion being trivialized by its appearance in political throw-away pamphlets." — Speech on abortion at Notre Dame, Sept. 13, 1984.

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"Are you kidding? A lifetime of being untouchable? Never having to worry about a poll again? You don't have to go out. They give you a robe, you don't even have to wear pants." — On whether he would have enjoyed being a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court as he ran for re-election in 1994.

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"And whatever else we believe, death, like life, is a mystery beyond our comprehension. A mystery deepened when those taken from us are, like the students we remember today, so young and bright, so full of promise, so loved, and so loving. Perhaps it is better not to pretend it can be explained, because that only increases the torment of those who seek vainly to understand it." — Memorial service at Syracuse University on Jan. 18, 1989, for victims of bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

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"What I would like them to say, what I would like to have written on my tombstone: 'He tried.' That I think is the maximum we can do. You cannot succeed in forcing people to love you. But nobody can stop you from loving other people ... I do think I'm entitled to have that written on my tombstone. 'He tried, he really did.'" — Interview with The Associated Press, Dec. 18, 1992.