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. voted for obama

    Wow! I can't believe this guidance is coming from a white house that got there on the backs of a "yes we can" campaign. Seems hypocritical.

    September 23, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  2. Barbara

    Sometimes you have to do what is right for the good of the whole. Living in NY State I've felt Gov. Paterson has done his very best in very difficult times and I thank him for that. But this is one of those situations. I think he should stand tall-and step aside and not accuse the administration of an inability to pass legislation when in fact the President has been working very hard on so many fronts-while dealing with the mess of the last 8 years. We need to support President Obama-not for the good of a Party but for the good of our country.

    September 23, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  3. Sian Rose

    I think Michelle Paterson is exactly right to speak out in support of her husband. Unfortunately, I believe she is also correct in saying that the Governor is being judge by his disability instead of his accomplishments. Compared to the average man he has accomplished a great deal. Taking his disability into account, he should be lauded not tossed aside like yesterday's news. The White House may be better served by treating the Governor as the asset he is to the Democratic Party.

    September 23, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  4. Ryan, Council Bluffs

    Sounds like a clear case of discrimination to me. Why hasn't the media news picked up on this. They ask Obama about the race card every single interview.

    September 23, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  5. Terry from West Texas

    No one is entitled to hold elective office. It is not a right, entitlement, privilege, or prequisite of rank. Office holders serve at the request of the voters, and no one has a claim on any office.

    None of us who voted for Obama want his abililty to govern to crumble as Conservatives pick off weak candidates. Those people will ruin the nation if they are not stopped. We can't afford to feel sorry for a man who had his hopes pinned on being elected governor. We have to solve the nation's problems.

    September 23, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  6. Fitz in Texas

    Looks like anyone that gets in Obama's way will be thrown under the bus.

    September 23, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  7. We Won Get Over It

    Why is it unfair..if he is so low in the polls and there is no chance to win, why should they not want him to step down. All he is interested in is his ego. He must not be thinking of his party and the people he is governing. If a republican gets in...look at what bush did to America does he want the same thing to happen to New York.

    September 23, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  8. Denna

    I think the man should be given a fair chance. He took over for a disgraced governor so he should be able to have a term of his own to prove his worth. That seems only fair.

    September 23, 2009 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  9. Marlo

    It has nothing to do with his blindness and everything to do with his inability to lead. If he were doing the job he should be doing he wouldn't have been asked to go away. He's weak.

    September 23, 2009 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  10. Mike

    If any of this is true ...What sort of message does this send to all those people like Governor Patterson. Are they suppose to "Give up" , Stop trying. Think about Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles How about all our War Veterans who come back BLIND, no arms, no legs THINK how they are going to feel when they read this VERY SAD story from our "Can Do" government!!!

    This country needs to fear it's own citizens not the taliban.

    September 23, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  11. Michelle Albright

    O please. He's blind, that's why they want him out. Seriously? I thought it was because he was black? Give me a break. This lady needs to have her mouth duct taped and be shipped off to the burbs. This governor hasn't governed. And he's going to get his tail whipped in the election. Good for him. I hope he wastes all that money and loses everything.

    September 23, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  12. is there anything fair about the situation in the U.S. today?

    so sorry it is not fair ms. first lady of NY, but it is not fair to any of us

    all of us that got laid off, really don't want to hear your cry of unfair, so shut it

    September 23, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  13. Harry

    Let no disability shun mankind....period!!

    September 23, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  14. Vee

    Obama should have asked Corzine not to run in NJ.

    September 23, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    people are asked not to run all the time.

    September 23, 2009 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  16. JB

    Classic Liberalism... do they care about a man with a disability when it comes right down to it? In spite of their "tolerant, open arms, we all can contribute", hogwash they spill. Just classic!

    September 23, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  17. obama the liar

    it is good that Michelle Paterson is seeing the liar that her president is. Now for the rest of America.

    September 23, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  18. Jurlesia

    Thank you Governor Paterson for keeping your head high in the face of adversity! You've had an EXCELLENT START and I will be working hard to ensure you are there for our future. NY is SO LUCKY to have a dedicated fighter like Gov. Paternson on our team. Someone who with the courage and dedication to fight for the little guy, fight for the minorities, fight for what's right, and fight for everything that's fair and just. GOV. PATERSON LEAVES NO ONE BEHIND.

    September 23, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  19. m smith

    If his wife is crying he should step down. No a smart move guy. He is not a team player is he?

    September 23, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  20. Gary

    I think that he should run for re-election. He has a tough job to do in a tough recession. I also think that it was unfair for President Obama to ask him not to run....Why doesn't Obama ask Corzine not to run? Corzine has done a lousy job and should be out of office. Frankly, Patterson has done a better job than our Governor Rendell has in PA.

    September 23, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  21. willowood

    I didn't notice you speaking out so vehemently about the Spitzer debacle or your own personal problems (which you could have kept to yourself) that seem to plague this New York Administration. I agree with the President...find another line of work...another trough to drink at...Mr. Patterson has lost credibility and the backing of his own party as well as the people of New York...Unless of course Eliott wants to run again, then I say stay and fight it out with the other smarmy one. As Bush said himself about his own party, "it's the making of a five star crash." Of course you could always drag John Edwards up from North Carolina and get his take on this. Oiy, what a mess!

    September 23, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  22. Please go away -- Now!

    Here's hoping Obama "asks" Reid, Burris, and Dodd to also go away quietly. It would be for the "good of the party" as they're going to be trounced as well.

    September 23, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  23. the girl

    What a control freak! He needs to get his nose out of other peoples business.

    September 23, 2009 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  24. Enitan

    CNN, this station is sounding more and more like the Enquirer. Trash.

    Always looking for sensationlism. Please report news not this type of crab, this is not want we the people call news, this is garbage, you are now the likes of Hannity, Rush and the idiot Glen the liar.

    You continue this nonsense, you will loose me and people like me. News not who said what to whom or about whom.

    September 23, 2009 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  25. Johnny DC

    Of course it's unfair. How could it not be unfair?

    President Obama is only concerned with one thing – maintaining control and keeping the power in his hands, and in his party's hands. If that means throwing the governor of New York under the bus in favor of a challenging Democrat opponent, so be it.

    Way to go, Obama. The true colors shining through. If you oppose Obama, or weaken his numbers in any way, he will look to have you slaughtered.

    September 23, 2009 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
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