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

Paterson's wife says situation is 'very unfair'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. kittycat

    If Gov Paterson wants to run then he should. After all, this is America, isn't it?

    September 23, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  2. foxrun

    When king Obama speaks, it must be followed or else.

    September 23, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  3. Dex Houston TX

    CNN I can appreciate your use of "buzz words" but give us a break with the use of the word "BLAST";s a lame attempt to sensationalize an unhappy woman who's husband could lose his job!

    Chill out

    September 23, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  4. barbara

    If someone is not making the grade, he/she should vacate the election the next time around. As for Paterson's wife, she is emotionally involved with her husband. His rating has dropped to 18%. Isn't that reason enough for him to think twice? Please, for the sake of our kids, stop the bickering with the President of the United States. We must show respect for the position.

    September 23, 2009 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  5. M Smith

    I'm not sure who is the blind member of this union. I applaud Mrs. Patterson for standing by her man, but she can't expect the same from people who can see ineptitude when they encounter it.

    Abe Lincoln dropped out of political contests when he knew his personal aspirations conflicted with his parties goals and ability to win the contest.

    Perhaps, David Patterson should adopt the same altruistic attitude.

    September 23, 2009 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  6. Penny

    This is appalling – and Gov. Paterson and his wife are correct. This request obstructs the rights of the individuals to chose to run for office, and the citizens' rights to vote for them. And this request is coming from the White House?! Does the Obama administration not realize the American people will see how blatantly corrupt and manipulative this is?

    September 23, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  7. JimS.

    The Obama administration has said their 2c worth and should now say no more. If Paterson does run and he loses, it'll speak for itself. If he wins, so much the better.

    September 23, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  8. Pam

    How dare Mrs. Patterson sink soooooo low. Blindness has nothing to do with it..incompetence has everyhing to do with it. President Obama is not hiding the fact that this Governor is ineffective. EVERYONE knows he is. Patterson leaves little to be desired in the way of leadership. Slick Rudy is ready to take the helms and he will succedd if Patterson runs for Governor. New York as we once knew it will never be the same with Rudy moving his mistresses in and out of the Governor's mansion.

    September 23, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  9. Penny

    This is appalling – and Gov. Paterson and his wife are correct. This request obstructs the rights of the individuals to chose to run for office, and the citizens' rights to vote for them. And this request is coming from the White House?!

    September 23, 2009 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  10. sandy

    Obama is getting into things that has NOTHING to do with being
    a president. Started with Gates (personal friend and black). Gov.
    Patterson was elected and people knew he was blind. Let his
    record speak for itself. Obama is suppose to lead our nation
    instead of getting into every personal affair that goes on.
    Like someone said before, put glue in his chair and maybe he will
    stay in the U.S. and take care of the business at hand which is not
    telling governors to run or not to run for reelection!!!!!!!!!

    September 23, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  11. Ben

    Good for her. I agree. Totally rude move by the usually civil Obama.

    September 23, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  12. TJ

    As a Democrat, I really don't think Paterson can win either, and that Cuomo is the best candidate, but I do agree that the White House seriously overstepped here. First, I don't like the fact that they specifically called on him to step aside. Personally, I think Paterson eventually would've felt state pressure to go aside, but now, due to White House intrusion on this, it's just a bad situation that may actually rally some political support for Paterson (I doubt that he'll get popular support as a result of this). 2nd, this leaks out the day before Obama and Paterson were to meet? Shoddy, shoddy planning on their part. While I am no fan of Paterson, I say bravo to him for firing back.

    I still expect Cuomo will end up the nominee, though (as he probably should – anyone that wants to be Governor of NY simply has to follow the recent script of Spitzer/Cuomo – become AG, go after Wall Street – not saying it's a bad thing, but that's the script).

    September 23, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  13. Ryan M.

    First of all, Governor Paterson was never elected to the Governorship; it was scandal that led to it. This talk is all very self-serving. If he is set up to lose, then why run. He's responsible for his own poll numbers. With his wife now speaking out, well, this is just pathetic... Its time to go home.

    This is New York... a tough state. This type of politicking is not indicative of someone with toughness.

    September 23, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  14. robjh1

    Wake up honey. Your husband is in over his head. So don't take your shoes off and get to comfy.

    "and we are not saved..."

    September 23, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  15. SF Native

    It's not his blindness, it's his complete incompetence.

    September 23, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  16. joe m

    this is going to be a real thorny situation for the adiministration. i guess the administration misread this situation too. they may have thougth the patterson would just roll over and let himself be pushed out. officials could have simply not provided strong support and gotten rid of patterson in that way. now they have a blind-african-american governor they are at odds with. how are they going to soften this situation? they now risk offending the disabled and african americans.

    September 23, 2009 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  17. cat

    It is about time that a Democrat like Patterson stood up to the monolithic Obama Whitehouse. And pointed out their failures. The heavy handed manipulation by Obama and his groupies brings to mind the combines, as they just try to plow down and destroy everything in their path. And they think either no one notices or no one cares, certainly the media does not seem to mind stepping aside for Obama and Axelrod whenever possible to feed their Obamania. And that speech to the UN by Obama, only one word comes to mind – disgraceful.

    September 23, 2009 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  18. lf

    I guess Governor Paterson is free to decide his own political ambitions, but the people of NY have a voice in the final outcome with their votes.
    Polls may not be in his favor at this time. but that could also shift.

    The democrats don't want to lose this position to another party. The democrats can be persuasive also. Mr. Paterson may 'toss in the towel' at the last moment.

    September 23, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  19. YBM

    It is not Obama's business and he should stay out of it. Another example of his "chicago thug" politics. How do you sheeple like the "changes" so far?

    September 23, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  20. Shari

    I left NY a few months back. Patterson is running it into the ground. All the people I knew up there were wishing that Spitzer had never resigned. Better him than what we have in there. He does NOT have a chance of re-election. Unless he steps aside, or at least allows competion within the party, most dems will vote for ANYONE who run against him. His policies are primarily Republican... to the point where I know Republicans that look at him and say he's nuts. Whether he's right or not, democrats will not vote for him. And republicans will vote for their own party.

    September 23, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
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