NEW YORK (CNN) – Embattled New York Gov. David Paterson lashed out at critics and at the media Friday, telling an interviewer that race has played a role in his recent political woes.
"This state is not in the trouble that Michigan is in Pennsylvania is in and Massachusetts is in, but you don't see in those other states this crescendo about getting rid of the governor just because we're in a recession," Paterson, who is African-American, said Friday in a radio interview with Errol Louis of the New York Daily News.
He added that he wasn't the only black politician facing a double standard. "And I submit that the same kind of treatment that Deval Patrick is receiving right now in Massachusetts, and I'm receiving - the way in which the New York State Senate was written about, calling them a bunch of people with thick necks, they're talking about Malcolm Smith and John Sampson - that we're not in the post-racial period."
"…And the reality is that the next victim on the list - and you see it coming - is President Barack Obama… only because he's trying to make change" in the nation's health care system.
The most recent available figures show Paterson trailing state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo by 2-to-1 margin in polls of a hypothetical Democratic primary matchup for the party's 2010 gubernatorial nod – and by a similar margin in the campaign money chase for the first half of the year.
The former lieutenant governor, who moved into the top spot when scandal led to former Gov. Eliot Spitzer's resignation, said Friday that he believed he was the target of an organized effort to push him out of the race to win the governor's seat in his own right.
He blasted some reporters who have written tough stories about his administration. "If these people who are writing the articles… had to run the state, they couldn't run it for five minutes because they're about to go under themselves," he said, referring to the mounting financial challenges facing the news industry. "And the fact is that this state is alive and well, will balance its budget in September and will be around a lot longer than their outlets are."
Paterson said he refused to be forced out of the race. "Even if it didn't work out, what is the shame of running for re-election and losing?" he said. He compared himself to the attorney general's father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, who lost narrowly lost re-election in 1994.
"It would be my highest honor to have served as governor of this state, to make the tough decisions - the decisions that others before me made - and then lose and then look up a few years, later like in the case of Mario Cuomo, and people now say, 'Wow. He was doing a good job. He had to make some tough decisions back then,'" said Paterson. "There's no shame in losing. The shame is that you don't fight."