Following a budget meeting with legislative leaders, Gov. David Paterson was questioned more about his recent flap with the White House and his ability to govern than about the state’s budget crisis. Paterson said he doesn’t take it personally that the Obama administration has asked him to stand down and not run for election next year. Recent poll numbers show his support among voters to be as low as 20 percent.
“I don’t know that politics should be taken to be that personal. In other words, it is what it is,” he said.
Paterson shot down speculation that yesterday’s court ruling that he did have the authority to appoint Richard Ravitch as lieutenant governor would enable the governor to leave office early. Senate Republicans sued over the July 8 appointment, and New York’s highest court overturned lower-court decisions against Paterson.
“I didn’t appoint Lt. Gov. Ravitch so that I could resign and then he wouldn’t have a lieutenant governor. I mean, that just makes absolutely no sense,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson, D-Brooklyn, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said they are behind the governor, at least “at this point in time.”
“I support the governor fully. He’ll make his decision at the appropriate time, I am confident, and until then, he is the governor of the state of New York and I respect him as the governor,” Silver said.
When a reporter reminded him that the governor had already announced his campaign for election next year, Silver responded, “I think right now I support him for governor.”
For his part, Sampson said, “We’re behind him 150 percent until otherwise known at this point in time.”