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Obama says Cuomo championed tolerance, opportunity

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Honorees and Governor Mario and Matilda Cuomo attend the HELP USA Tribute Awards Dinner honoring HELP HEROES President Bill Clinton and Governor and Mrs. Mario Cuomo at The Waldorf Astoria on June 5, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for HELP USA)

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

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.

He 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.