September 20th, 2009
05:00 PM ET
5 years ago

NY Gov. Paterson vows to run despite White House 'concern'

(CNN) - New York Gov. David A. Paterson said Sunday he will run for election to hold onto his office next year, despite a New York Times report that said the White House is "urging" him to withdraw.

Senior White House officials deny the report, which said that President Barack Obama "sent a request" to Paterson. The paper described it as "an extraordinary intervention into a state political race by the president."

The Times report cited "two senior administration officials and a New York Democratic operative with direct knowledge of the situation."

Speaking to CNN, White House officials acknowledged that aides have conveyed to Paterson's camp that they are aware of Paterson's unpopularity at home and the political troubles it could cause.

"It's no secret that Democrats in New York are very concerned about the situation," said one White House official. "We share those concerns and those
concerns have been conveyed in an appropriate way."

Paterson told reporters Sunday, "I am running for office. I'm not going to discuss confidential conversations." He said he was focused on state legislation, not "distractions."

The New York Times story said the situation is "delicate," and noted that Paterson is one of only two African-American governors in the United States, the other being Deval Patrick of Massachusetts.

The report said the president's "political team and other party leaders have grown increasingly worried that the governor's unpopularity could drag down Democratic members of Congress in New York, as well as the Democratic-controlled Legislature, in next fall's election."

Paterson was lieutenant governor when a scandal led to then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer's departure from the office in March 2008.

– CNN's Ed Henry contributed to this report.

Updated: 5:00 p.m.


Filed under: David Paterson • New York • President Obama
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. sj

    Obama just gets scarier and scarier – now he's telling candidates whether or not they should run? I can only pray that he who would love being a dictator does not get a second term.

    September 20, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. joe m

    isn't it amusing that the party in power always manages to mess itself up? the headaches that the democrats are experiencing today is not different from what republicans faced when they were in control.

    September 20, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. Mike O

    Why are they questioning a black's man's ability to run for re-election, but NOT the equally unpopular white guy across the river in New Jersey?

    September 20, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. cl

    The New York Times leaks a story who was the reporter. Come on CNN stop acting like Foxs Fringe News.

    September 20, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  5. WH...concern...?

    CONCERN..? Since when is it the wh..business who can or cannot
    run for Governor...The cheer audacity...where is democracy heading
    anyway...America and the people should be concerned...????????

    September 20, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  6. S Callahan

    Really? (a SNL pun)

    Gosh, every time I think of David I just flash back to the Saturday Night Live Show..so perfect an impression! lol just kidding..but it was really good

    September 20, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  7. S Callahan

    Being a NYorker I should have add..they are a little afraid as they see the local voice changing....and now they have to contend with a Gillabrand and Patterson run ....both appointees that have to have a campaign....imagine

    September 20, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  8. Ren from Baltimore

    Gov Patterson, your administration has been a sad distraction to the great state of New York. Like it or not, the nation turns its worried eyes to your state for important matters such as pollution, crime, finance, and home defense...

    You filled in just fine, but were not prepared for the longer view needed in such a sensitive job. Please, see your way clear to help us all, and kindly bow out.

    September 20, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  9. Dennis

    Rudy will flatten Paterson like a bug.

    September 20, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  10. George

    It was rediculous to ask RNC Chair Steele what he thinks of the alleged report of the White House urging Paterson to not run for re-election next year. The only people who should be asked about such allegations are New Yorkers (it's a state matter) and Democrats (it's secondarily a party matter). The questionb to Streele did expose his duplicity however. After dismissing the notion that Republicans never would never be motivated for racism when attacking President Obama, Steele was asked about the alleged report and immediately suggested curious White House skullduggery in moving against one of the only two state governors who are African-American. Race card, anyone?

    September 20, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  11. Bassman

    Of course the media isnt asking why would Pres. Obama get involved in this. Let me be clear, The President of the United States should not be telling sitting Governors that they should not run.

    September 20, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  12. steveneclem

    I think it is unfortunate that Paterson is choosing to continue to run, but I'm not surprised.

    Fortunately, I don't think the purpose of the White House's "conversation" was to compel him to step aside - he has already proven (with the Kristen Gillibrand appointment) that he isn't going to automatically do what the White House asks, but rather to signal to key NY state Democrats that the White House won't be offended if they support Cuomo over a sitting Black Governor. I suspect that the floodgates of support for Cuomo will now open, and that Mr. Paterson is going to find himself facing a very significant Primary battle.

    September 20, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  13. Jimmie

    Perfect. Now Rudy can become Governor of New York! Yes!

    September 20, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. MatthewDetroit

    NIce HOW CHAVEZ BARACK OBAMA is trying to CONTROL the whole STATE of the UNION. Now he is telling the Dems which ones they can run for.

    I think that is great. Nothing like OBama trying to control all things.
    What a scoundrel.

    September 20, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  15. MatthewDetroit

    What is even funnier is that the LYING WHITE HOUSE is already DENYING that they told Paterson or his camp this....
    Paterson of course does not want to make the President look any worse than he already does for being a liar so he is not directly calling the President a LIAR.
    hahahaha. Barack you lie then you deny... great plan buddy.

    September 20, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  16. Simmy

    Leave the city by high noon, Gov....You will lose and bring the party down....

    September 20, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  17. fred

    Good. The president shouldn't tell people not to run.

    September 20, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  18. Matt

    Get out of the way Patterson for Obama's stooge Andrew Cuomo. Do what your master commands you stupid liberal. I look forward to New Yorks new Republican Govenor.

    September 20, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  19. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Obozo won't be happy until he controls everything.

    September 20, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  20. Ryan, Council Bluffs

    Sounds like discrimination to me! The White House is after a person with a disability. We better have an investigation on this discrimination. We can stand for it!!!!!

    September 20, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  21. Ryan indy

    Ha , sorry Obama you cant control everyone and everybody like you want to, not even your own Party. Nobody respects you already.

    September 20, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  22. Right Leaning Independent

    Do not fear NY Democrats. Obama will appoint a Czar to run NY if Paterson loses!! Why is Obama concerning himself with state politics? Can he please try concentrating on the Nation he was elected to run – and I do not mean into the ground....

    September 20, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  23. Denna

    Well hey. If you don't like Mr. Paterson, get Spitzer back.

    September 20, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  24. Larry

    Ten bucks says he'll back out before the election

    Give him a week or two

    The writing is now on the wall

    September 20, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  25. No Hillary = No Obama

    This is discrimination against the visually impaired whether Obama and the rest of them want to admit it or not. Obama is ego-impaired.

    September 20, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
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