September 23rd, 2009
07:16 PM ET
5 years ago

Paterson's wife says situation is 'very unfair'

Gov. Paterson's wife says it is 'very unfair,' that her husband be asked not to run for re-election.
Gov. Paterson's wife says it is 'very unfair,' that her husband be asked not to run for re-election.

WASHINGTON (CNN)– Speaking out for the first time, Gov. Paterson's wife says it is "very unfair," that her husband be asked not to run for re-election.

"I have never heard of a president asking a sitting governor not to run for re-election," Michelle Paterson told NBC New York Wednesday. "I thought it was very unusual and very unfair."

Asked if she thought his blindness is a contributing factor to his low poll numbers, the first lady said "most definitely."

"People have to see who (the governor) is," said Mrs. Paterson. "...The whole time I dated David I forgot that he had a sight disability. He has a way of maneuvering and getting around [so] that you forget."


On Sunday, the New York Times reported that the White House had urged Paterson to withdraw as a Democratic contender in the 2010 gubernatorial race, a claim the White House neither confirmed nor denied.

Informed sources tell CNN that White House political director Patrick Gaspard met early last week with the Democratic governor to let him know about the administration's concerns he could not win the governor's race next year – a problem that could affect races down-ticket, not the least of which Senate seat now held by Kirsten Gillibrand. The White House decision to approach Paterson, says one source, "was driven by the poll numbers. There doesn't seem to be any way he can recover."

The latest poll results show Paterson's approval rating has dipped as low as 18 percent.

Speaking before reporters Tuesday, Paterson said he was not going to be bullied out of the election.

"You don't give up because people tell you what they think is going to happen," said Paterson. "You don't give up because people tell you who's running and who's not before they ever announce to do it. You don't give up because you're unpopular when you feel you've made the right decisions...and if you keep the attitude that you don't give up, you may get to prove people when the final tabulation is in that you were doing the right thing. "

Paterson also took the opportunity to throw some criticism back at the Obama administration.

"I understand the president's concern and I understand concern of staff members at the White House," Paterson said. "If you look at it from their perspective, they haven't exactly been able to govern in the first year of their administration in the way that other administrations have, where you would have, theoretically, a period in which the new administration is allowed to pass some of the needed pieces of legislation."

– Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: David Paterson • Extra • President Obama
soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. Ren from Baltimore

    If you have never heard of a President, or any top WH official, or Party chief, ask a Governor to reconsider running for the good of the Party and the People, then you have no say at all here. This discussion is of national importance, not family or individual or even state pride. I'm very sorry, but that's the truth of it.

    September 23, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  2. howie

    So Obama is now telling governors when to run and when not to run. Since when did this become a presidents job, this is crazy. He should stay out of it, it is the business of the great state of New York

    September 23, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  3. smithonpolitics

    I agree with the First Lady on this.

    September 23, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  4. LLB

    Not to mention that the New Jersey governor's poll numbers are even lower, yet he wasn't asked to step aside.

    September 23, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  5. dw

    I agree with her! President Obama should not ask the Gov. to not run for election.

    September 23, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  6. travis

    well then that case someone tell obama that he should not run for a second term as president not only is that unfair is just down right messed up obama needs too stop worring about what is going on trivil stuff and worry about fixing this health care system he is on the right track just need too pull in the reins and worry about the subject matter not the PR

    September 23, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  7. DJ in the Silicon Forest

    Mrs. Patterson is absolutely correct and has every right to be furious. NO sitting President should be interfering in any state's election! (and yes, I know W did it too and that was wrong as well!) That is for the voters and the people who choose to run for public office.
    This administration has proven they are a grown up version of playground bullies! They need to focus on doing what they were elected to do, not what belongs in the "states rights" arena.
    Being from the NW, I don't pay attention to whether Patterson is a good or popular governor, but he has a right to make up his own mind on running for re-election. If I were him, I'd run just to tick off the Chosen One! Heck, if he does run, I might even donate to his campaign!

    September 23, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  8. Steve (the real one)

    I agree wth Gov Patterson. If I am not mistaken, it is up to the people of the New York to determine who will be their governor. What is it about this "we the people" thing! DC does not understand? Last thing I heard, the President is NOT a resident of NY so, he does not get a vote! I understand he is the head of his party but, Isn't PARTY OVER PEOPLE still wrong even when the liberals do it? Just askin'

    September 23, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  9. God n' Country

    Someone should tell Obama not to run in 2012, because this nation will definitely not elect him. We're too smart to do so.

    September 23, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  10. Jeffery Meaux, Sr.

    It speaks for itself – I'm sure Obama will say that Paterson is lying.

    September 23, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  11. fat man

    No surprise that Andrew Cuomo and the Obama gang planned this non-sense out. Typical classless move from classless democrats.

    September 23, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. Ckelley

    Who cares if he has a disabilty. If he is capable of doing his job to the fullest capacity, then let him do it. Shame on President Obahma for even sudjesting he not re-run. Let the good people of the State of NY decide. The President should be concentrating on other things, like the state of the economy and theJobless rate that just seems to be getting worse.

    September 23, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  13. Fan of Common Sense

    Obama has since an out-of-control ego and delusional sense of self-importance, he actually sees state governors as being his subordiates. Amazing.

    September 23, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  14. jules sand-perkins

    Gov. Paterson is idealistic and brave, but that is why he is in trouble regarding the coming election.
    I doubt that he would have wanted any pointers on cynicism and deception in governing, had the Democratic White House offered to help him polish his image.
    Paterson is NOT a liar.
    If he does not seek another term, a man of his inner strength, morals, and brilliance will always thrive and be a blessing to those around him.
    I am grateful for everything that Gov. Paterson tried to do for my state.

    September 23, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  15. ib

    What a joke we have for president ;this is very very unfair.

    September 23, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  16. David

    Obama is an idiot. He needs to stay out of NY politics. We have something called a primary. That's where Cuomo and Paterson can duke it out. Obama is a one termer if this is how he runs his presidency. Just for this I am voting for Paterson. No one tells us New Yorkers what to do.

    September 23, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  17. jimbo

    Come on Bama ...help a brotha out !!! Not when its all about Obama and what he wants....See even a brotha got thrown under the bus.... Lesson learned...never trust an Obama !!!

    So how does Mr and Mrs Paterson feel about their hero – Barry – now ??? Are they still feeling that Change-Hopey tingle up their leg now ??

    September 23, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  18. Karen

    Doesn't this president have enough problems of his own without sticking his nose in the business of New York politics? I think there is a war, recession, and unemployment that need his prompt attention. He just can't seem to get out of the campaign mode.

    September 23, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  19. Jimmy the Greek

    Welcome to Obama's world, Mrs Patterson. Obama sees himself as the king-maker and DNC dictator.

    Why wouldn't he feel this way after the throngs of liberal worshippers and a sycophant media?

    September 23, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  20. JT

    I voted for Obama last year, and to be 'fair', I am now asking myself to not vote for him in 2012. A bigot and a liar deserves no votes.

    September 23, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  21. Libertarian

    I think it was right for our President to ask him not to run again. After all the affair scandals we've had in the last year it's time to be done with them. If he thinks for just one second that the republicans will not smear him all over the media for his transgressions, he's living in a fantasy world. The public doesn't need this crap.

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

    His sight has nothing to do with it. He is not performing his duties as well as he should.

    September 23, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  23. Ken in NC

    I think the Republicans have a good idea. THey should just sit back and let Democrats take pot shots at each other and they will eventually get themselves voted out of office. I'm a Democrat but I must admit that the one problem I have seen over the years is that they can win but after they take control, they fight among themselves and simply destroy themselves. As much as I hate to admit it, Republicans will make up their minds that they are going to all go in one direction and even if it takes them off a cliff, atleast they all go down as a unit. They do not fight among themselves. This is a Democratic Party problem that must be solved or they will be right back out in the cold again in 2010.

    September 23, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  24. aware

    You are right but our dear leader is after power at any cost!

    September 23, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  25. ggb

    How dare the WH? Oh yeah, forgot we need to abide by the chairman.

    September 23, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
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