Vox Populi: The O'Shaughnessy Files

By William O’Shaughnessy | Go to book overview

LESLEY STAHL INTERVIEWS
GOVERNOR MARIO M. CUOMO
FOR “BREAKFAST AT ‘21’ ”

Original interview, January 21, 2004, at the “21” Club,
New York City.

LESLEY STAHL (L.S.): Governor Cuomo, let’s start off with the State of the Union address. Give us your analysis of how you think President Bush did last night. The president really had his spinach!

GOVERNOR MARIO CUOMO (M.C.): Well, if he did well in your opinion because he had his spinach, I would suggest next time he try escarole! (laughter) There are two Republicans I think we should consider when judging this campaign: Abe Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.

And Ronald Reagan may be the most relevant because he gave us a test when he said [in 1980], “Ask yourself whether you are better off now than you were four years ago.” And I think that’s a valid test for an incumbent president. And I don’t think President Bush passed.

We were much better off four years ago, obviously: 22 million new jobs, the largest surplus in American history, the middle class moving up, the poor moving up. By every measurement, we were doing better.

The president tried very hard to convince us we are safer now. How dare he even suggest it! Having lost a thousand of our young men and women already in Iraq. Losing another one every day. Having abandoned the war against terrorism in Afghanistan when he knew where Osama bin Laden was—the true terrorist— and Al Qaeda, and fighting a vicious, brutal tyrant who he knew was a pushover. And it has enraged much of the Muslim world as well as many of our own former allies.

As to the economy, it’s a travesty to suggest it is good for 160 million workers or retirees. It’s good for large corporations; it’s

-465-

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