HONOLULU (AP) -- President Barack Obama is praising former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo as an unflinching voice for tolerance, fairness and opportunity.

New York Gov. Mario Cuomo points to a reporter at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y. during a 1988 news conference with the Rev. Jesse Jackson. (AP Photo/Jim McKnight, File)

The president and first lady Michelle Obama are sending condolences to the relatives and friends of Cuomo, who died Thursday at 82.

Obama says Cuomo was "a determined champion of progressive values." He says Cuomo was also a voice for dignity and inclusiveness.

Obama says Cuomo's personal history taught him that Americans are bound together as one people. He says Cuomo learned that the nation's success depends on all of its citizens succeeding, and not just a lucky few.

The White House says Obama, who is vacationing in Hawaii, also called Cuomo's son Andrew Cuomo to offer condolences. The younger Cuomo started his second term Thursday as New York's governor.

Reaction to Mario Cuomo's Death

"I was deeply inspired by Mario Cuomo's `Tale of Two Cities' speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. His words ring as true today as they did more than 30 years ago ... So often the voice of conscience, Mario Cuomo was one of the great leaders in the history of the Empire State and perhaps our greatest communicator." - New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver

"Mario Cuomo was a man of unwavering principle who possessed a compassion for humankind without equal. He established the gold standard in New York State for how public servants should act, and set an example that the rest of us continue to aspire to today. " - New York Mayor Bill de Blasio

"Mario Cuomo was a legendary figure in New York politics who chose public service for all the right reasons. He could have run for President or been appointed to the Supreme Court, but he chose to stay and serve the people of New York." - Republican state Senate Leader Dean Skelos

"He was a strong, eloquent leader who loved New York and its people. As an Italian-American, he was also a role model for future generations that anything was possible through hard work and education. Finally, he was a great husband, father and grandfather." - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

"Mario Cuomo will be remembered not only as a great governor, but as the eloquent champion of the voiceless and the dispossessed. His vision of America as a 'tale of two cities' foreshadowed the growing income inequality that grips our nation today. His passion inspired others to get involved and to act in service to the public. He was and will continue to be a role model. We send our deepest condolences to Andrew Cuomo, whose election as governor was such a deep source of pride for his father, and the rest of the Cuomo family." - New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney (D)

"He was tenacious about the issues he was passionate about and was a truly gifted orator. The Democratic Party was stronger because of his leadership on a national level." - New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

"I would not be involved in New York politics were it not for Mario Cuomo. He is, and will always remain, one of my heroes." - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

"From the hard streets of Queens, Mario Cuomo rose to the very pinnacle of political power in New York because he believed in his bones in the greatness of this state, the greatness of America and the unique potential of every individual. ... He was a colossal political mind and represented the very best of public service." - U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

"Mario Cuomo was a giant of New York government and politics. As much as anyone he understood and appreciated the mosaic that was New York. All who knew Mario Cuomo were better for it." - U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.

"He never swayed with the political winds - whether on the death penalty or any other issue - and he earned a spot alongside Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Evans Hughes, Al Smith, and Franklin Roosevelt in the pantheon of New York's great progressive governors." - Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg

"I join with all New Yorkers in mourning the loss of former Governor Mario Cuomo. He will forever be remembered for his love of our great state, his immense talent as a gifted orator and as the proud son of Italian immigrants. He was a man of integrity and faith who worked every day to improve the lives of all New Yorkers." - Westchester County, New York, Executive Robert P. Astorino, whom Andrew Cuomo defeated for re-election in November

"The passing of Governor Mario Cuomo is a true loss to the nation, the state and lovers of civil rights and liberties. He was the last liberal giant of New York politics and was a true statesman/politician. We debated often but he never would reduce our disagreements to petty personal grudges. He was a philosopher at heart that always saw the bigger picture." - The Rev. Al Sharpton

"We have lost a giant of New York State politics - a man of great intellect, high principle and incomparable oratorical ability. I was privileged to know him and serve with him."- Robert Abrams, who served as Attorney General when Cuomo was governor.

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