Mario Cuomo: The Last Liberal


2023 marks 40 years since Mario Cuomo was sworn in as governor of New York for the first time.

With Ronald Reagan and the GOP dominating America’s political landscape in the 1980s, Democrats were largely dispirited and looking for someone to push back against a new wave of conservatism. Improbably, Cuomo, the son of a grocer from Queens, became one of their heroes.

Serving as governor of New York for 12 years, Cuomo was one of the chief standard-bearers of liberalism at a time when the political pendulum was swinging to the right.

Told from the perspective of his key advisors and the reporters that covered him, this special three-part podcast with NY1’s Errol Louis traces the rise of Mario Cuomo, measures his impact on New York and America, and tries to solve the riddle of why Cuomo didn’t run for president.


PART 1: Rising up the political ranks

Part 1 chronicles Cuomo's early political career, which included a highly publicized run for mayor, as well as turns as lieutenant governor and New York secretary of state before finally being elected governor.

PART 2: Great expectations

Part 2 chronicles how Cuomo managed to juggle governing and external pressures while keeping his ideals intact, and how the decisions he struggled to make have had a lasting effect on both the state and the country.

PART 3: Hard times

Part 3 chronicles Cuomo's decision not to run for president or accept a position on the Supreme Court, and his ultimately failed bid for a fourth term as governor.


Michael Del Giudice - Chief adviser to Mario Cuomo

Liz Moore - General counsel to Mario Cuomo

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Mary Ann Crotty - Director of state operations for Mario Cuomo (first woman to ever hold that position)

Kathy Behrens - Regional rep/campaign adviser

Steve Cohen - Top adviser to Andrew Cuomo who also worked for Mario

Mike Klein - Regional rep/Cuomo's personal aide after he left office

Juanita Scarlett - Press officer to Mario Cuomo

David Nocenti - Assistant counsel to Mario Cuomo

Denis Hamill - New York Daily News columnist

Marc Humbert - Associated Press political writer

Errol Louis You Decide

Errol Louis is the political anchor of Spectrum News NY1, where he hosts "Inside City Hall," a nightly prime-time show that focuses on New York politics, and "You Decide," a podcast featuring intimate conversations with the people who are shaping the future of New York and beyond.