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Former New York Mayor John Lindsay DeadAired December 20, 2000 - 10:48 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: CNN has learned that former New York Mayor John Lindsay has died -- a controversial figure who went from Republican to Democrat.
With more on his life and his service to New York city, here's Brian Palmer.
BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Lindsay was a patrician Republican in a Democratic town, but he vowed to take on New York city's ills -- and in 1965, the voters believed him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People felt that here was a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant who could lead us out of our misery.
PALMER: A four-term congressman from the New York's wealthy Upper East Side, the so-called Silk Stocking District, Lindsay was the first Republican mayor elected since Fiorello LaGuardia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's funny that a guy who came out of the blue-blood, prep-school, Ivy League world would be the one to deliver the message of the poor and the disenfranchised.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He loved the city of New York, and he loved the people of the city of New York, and that certainly comes through in his policies and in his legacy.
PALMER: At a time when the country was racially polarized, and the Vietnam War was taking its toll, John Lindsay reached out to heal the city.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was a man who could bring people together. John Lindsay could walk the streets of Harlem and reassure the black community of New York city that they were being represented by the government.
PALMER: But it was a tough first term for John Lindsay with transit, sanitation and teachers' strikes crippling the city.
He lost the Republican nomination for mayor in 1969, so he ran on the independent and liberal party lines and was reelected.
But John Lindsay had his eye on greater things. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's much literature about that he was running for president from day one. He was, actually, in my mind, running for president not from day one, but from about day four.
PALMER: And run he did. Lindsay became a Democrat and made an unsuccessful bid for the 1972 presidential nomination. He went back to practicing law in New York and ran without success for the U.S. Senate in 1980.
After being stricken with Parkinson's Disease, Lindsay moved to South Carolina with his wife.
Many blamed Lindsay policies for New York city's fiscal woes of the '70s. But what lingers in the hearts and minds of those who knew him is his charisma, his style, and his compassion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Walking into those neighborhoods, and somehow everybody being able to relate to him and him to them, no matter what -- angry or not, they wanted to touch John Lindsay.
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