Pataki Takes Shot At Obama: Quit Meddling in NY Politics


pataki-obamaPresident Barack Obama and NY Gov. David Paterson met face to face yesterday for the first time since reports surfaced this weekend that the White House wants Paterson not to run for a new term next year. The meeting was polite, but would never be taken for a make-up session.

Obama greeted Paterson met at Albany International Airport and was very politically correct in his dealings with him, but there was no warmth there.

“A wonderful man, the governor of the great state of New York is in the house,” Obama said.

By comparison, he turned on the charm and the megawatt smile for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. The difference was obvious.

“Your shy and retiring Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is in the house. Andrew’s doing great work enforcing the laws that need to be enforced,” Obama said.

That was Obama’s way of personally signaling to New York what he has already signaled to Gov. Paterson. He wants him to step aside, not seek election next year, which clears a path for Cuomo, right now the most popular politician in the state.

A Quinnipiac University poll in August had Cuomo beating Paterson 61 percent to 15 percent.

The White House wants Paterson out because they are terrified that Republican Rudy Giuliani could beat him and spearhead a GOP bloodbath that could cost three upstate Democratic House seats, Democratic control of the State Senate and give Giuliani a platform to knock Obama on a regular basis.

Former Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, said it was wrong for Obama to inject himself in New York politics.

“To weaken and undermine the governor beyond the weakness that already exists to me doesn’t serve the interest of our state, doesn’t serve the interest of our country and I would just focus a lot more on policy than politics if I were leading the county today,” Pataki said.

The governor currently insists he’s going to run, but many hope it’s not his final answer.

Another hindrance to a Paterson campaign is money. The governor raised $2.3 million during the last filing period, while Cuomo more than doubled that, raising $5.1 million.

{CBS Broadcasting/ Newscenter}