Mario Cuomo passed away yesterday at the age of 82. For many people, myself included, the first thing we think of when someone mentions Cuomo’s name is his keynote speech from the 1984 Democratic Convention. You can see an excerpt below. (I can’t find the full speech on video online anywhere. If you find a link, please send it to me.)
Regardless of your politics, I’d urge you to re-watch Cuomo’s convention speech (as I have also asked people to re-watch Ronald Reagan’s 1964 convention speech-the one that launched his political career)
Cuomo’s speech worked at many levels:
1. He was every bit as lyrical as Ronald Reagan, the then incumbent president.
2. Cuomo oozed confidence from his voice and his pores (something the more timid Walter Mondale and other Democratic leaders at the time never did)
3. Cuomo made an unapologetic call for liberalism at a time when all other liberal political leaders seemed scared and on the run. Cuomo made liberals feel good about being liberal.
4. Toughness. Cuomo spoke with a raw masculinity and other borough accent that made him seem manly, in a way that Reagan seemed manly and Walter Mondale and Jimmy Carter did not.
5. He was interesting, unique and captivating in a way that most convention speeches seem boring, pedestrian and boiler plate.
What do you find interesting about Cuomo’s 1984 speech? please post your comments here.
If you need help preparing or rehearsing your next speech, even if it is for a major political convention, then please call me. 212.764.4955 TJ Walker