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. Joan

    Gov. Patterson was thrown into the office in a very unconventional way and he had a very difficult job. He did his best and it seems by the polls that many of his constituents think that was not enough. That in no way is the President's fault and it should not be a surprise that they are concerned about his ability to win this election. That's politics and happens all over. His blindness has nothing to do with it. Actually the WH reps probably talked to him about the polls, his prospects, what he planned to do, etc. I'll bet they never did tell him not to run but wanted to know what he had in mind. It's all probably media hype or sour grapes and meant to distract from other issues at hand..

    September 23, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  2. Reggie

    Obama needs to stay out of it. He didn't like it when the Clintons and many others didn't want him to run either.

    September 23, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  3. kimberly

    Sorry hun, but he sucks as a gov. he wont win in a re-election bid, and for the good of the country he should step down, dont like it too bad. If he was doing his job, then he would not be asked to leave, and he was NOT elected, get over yourself. he was put there due to the situation. He is NOT liked, and he is arrogant. Obama is right and if we want to hold the Gov seat, then he needs to step down

    September 23, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  4. Spencer

    Well, Obama fired CEOs. Why shouldn't he interject himself into state politics?

    September 23, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  5. kim portland, oregon

    oh please!! it's got nothing to do with his blindness, that is RIDICULOUS and insulting!!!

    it's his HORRIBLE judgment that makes him a bad choice for dems, who CANNOT afford to lose to America's Criminal LYING Mayor!!

    patterson replaces spitzer who lost his job b/c he was a philanderer and forgets to mention, "ummm, yeah . . . guys, thanks for the offer but i think i should tell you, ummmm i'm an untrustworthy philanderer too!"

    September 23, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  6. RoxAnne

    Govenor's wife really needs to take a seat back and listen before spouting off at the lips. She should be concern about the home front with both of their affairs being publicized. So, save the drama and violins for another day

    September 23, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  7. Right Leaning Independent

    I like Paterson more after these comments than I did before. Way to give it back to Obama! You should not be bullied into any decision. You earned the right to make your own decision on your own terms!!

    September 23, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  8. Sam's Nemesis

    Patterson is not one of Obama's Chicage cronies....he owes you nothing but you haven't figured that out yet ..............

    September 23, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  9. Joe Unger, San Francisco

    Wasn't he just a star at the Democratic Convention last year? Now he's being treated like yesterday's garbage.
    Which way will the political winds blow tomorrow, Barack?

    September 23, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  10. bellablue

    Well, this is another example of negative MEDIA coverage!

    September 23, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  11. Jeff

    It has nothing to do with his blindness and she knows it. It's because he's incompetent and ineffective. If he runs, the Republican Party will surely reclaim the governor's office.

    September 23, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  12. corey headley

    first of all obama did not ask the gov not to run.. look at the gov poll numbers , why would he even want to run ?

    September 23, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  13. M2HB

    Unbelivable that the administration would become involved in state politics! But wait this is the Obama administration. Stacking the deck is the name of the game for thses guys.

    Unfortunatly comments were closed on the Palin story so I'll post here. You wouldnt take investment advice from her Jack? The oil companys pay dividends to every resident of Alaska, everybody gets a check for $3200.00 Thanks in no small part to her. If a democrat had done this there would be nothing but praise from you lefties.
    Suddenly you dont want to share the wealth? Someone posted here that she would need a list of accomplishments before they would take her advice. I guess then you better not take any of Obamas advice huh? Pretty thin list there.

    September 23, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  14. Bob C

    Last time I checked, nobody really cares what a governor's wife thinks about what the President should or should not do.

    Let Mr Paterson fight his own battles and if you want to be a politician, run for office yourself.

    September 23, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  15. Laurie , New York City

    Of course his wife is going to say that.
    As head Democrat, the President is right to intervene and try to talk some sense in these people. Paterson is not a candidate. We need REAL candidates, both Democrat and Republican–and he's not it!

    September 23, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  16. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Excuse me Mrs. Patterson, but nobody actually voted to have your husband become Governor – it fell to him by way of a scandal. He had a chance to prove he could handle the job and failed. Time for him (and you) to move on.

    September 23, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  17. Brad

    As a New Yorker, I don't want him to run again, and I suspect a majority of state residents share that opinion. Good on the white house!

    September 23, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  18. sucks to be him

    this can't be good for Obama

    September 23, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  19. tom stevens

    With all the hoo hah about Racism being tossed around by the left, it is mighty ironic that no news source has yet to consider that Gov. Patterson's color might be a major factor in this case. If any disagreement with the President can be dismissed as racist, shouldn't the suggestion by the White House that a Black Governor not run for re-election be given at least a cursory examination from the perspective of race? I'm not suggesting that Obama is racist, but that it is influencing his political calculus.

    On a follow up note, didn't New York recently elect a hard charging white Attorney General to be Governor? I'm thinking that didn't turn out so well.

    September 23, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  20. Jason

    Michelle Paterson is right.
    This is just another attempt by Obama to control everything and anything he can.
    There is growing evidence that Obama is in need of psychiatric counseling.

    September 23, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  21. She's right......

    tell the White House to back off.....

    September 23, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  22. FL

    If Obama had given up when there were naysayers against him running, he wouldn't be where he is. Kind of rude for them to tell someone else to give up.

    September 23, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  23. Beverly N. Jacobs

    If it is true that the President of the United States or members of his staff have had the audacity to inform the sitting Governor of New York that he should not run for re-election, the fact would be most repugnant and does not reflect well on the persons involved in such a suggestion.
    This is a democracy not a dictatorship or at least that was the concept
    for its inception.

    September 23, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  24. Jim

    The man screwed up when he failed to nominate Caroline Kennedy for senate. It is over whether you call it quit or not. there is no way he can recover from this damage.

    September 23, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  25. Chris

    Funny how there are no comments about Obama's behavior here but when there is a ticker article about folks from the other side of the aisle, the name calling comes fast and furious.

    September 23, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
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