Paterson getting hammered over Senate debacle
Gov. David Paterson. AP photo
If Gov. David Paterson ever had a honeymoon, it is now surely over.
After a series of missteps over the selection of the next senator that included anonymous and contradictory leaks about Caroline Kennedy, public wavering over the choice and a confusing and secretive process, Paterson has come under withering attack.
We saw an unseemly spectacle of the selection of a U.S. senator, said state Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), who accused Paterson of not being truthful, citing the Kennedy debacle and Paterson sending conflicting signals to state pols over the budget and a property tax bill. I'm not going to call him Pinocchio but . . . "
At a news conference in Albany today, the governor was hammered by reporters over his denial about the Kennedy leak.
He acknowledged confusing the process in the days before he settled on Kirsten Gillibrand for the senate.
I would have acted differently, he said. There have been several rumors, negative characterizations, malicious remarks made about people . . . including myself and I condemn all of the rumors.When he came into office in March, Paterson instantly became tabloid fodder when he admitted extramarital affairs and youthful drug use. Last month, he unveiled a budget proposal that included 137 new or increased taxes and fees.
But he weathered those storms, coming in for the harshest treatment only after the senate seat saga.
In an era that thats supposed to be about openness, to see the governor of New York do a worse job of selecting a senator than Blago is hilarious, said Kevin Williams, 36, of Manhattan, referring to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is accused of trying to sell an open senate seat.
Craig Tobias, 52, of Kew Gardens, called the process self-serving and disingenuous.
Pinocchio is what The New York Post called Paterson today, running a photo of him with a long cartoon nose. In an editorial, the Post even pined for the return of Patersons successor, Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in disgrace over a prostitution scandal.
Helen Desfosses, a professor of public policy at SUNY Albany, said the resignation in October of Patersons chief of staff, Charles OByrne, over failure to pay income taxes, created a leadership vacuum among aides that led to infighting and leaks.
Paterson has been all drama, she said.
Still, he has almost two full years until the election and she predicted he would recover.
In politics one day youre a hero and one day youre not, she said. Just a few months ago he had very high approval ratings.
(Newsday contributed to this story)