Paterson Backtracks, Says He Didn’t Play Race Card


paterson1Gov. David Paterson backtracked yesterday, stunning reporters by claiming he never said race was the reason he was getting bad press, or that the media is out to get minority politicians. The governor was apparently in such a hurry to flee a testy press conference in which he contradicted his earlier statements about race that his motorcade left his press secretary behind.

“I didn’t make any references to my political problems being related to any treatment because of race,” he told reporters in Stony Brook on Tuesday.

Last Friday, in an interview on WWRL radio, he said the white media is trying to push him out and is also out to get other black officials, including President Obama. The quotes were published across the New York and even national media board.

“My feeling is it’s being orchestrated. It’s a game and people who pay attention know that,” Paterson said. “The reality is that the next victim that is on the list, and you see it coming, is President Barack Obama, who did nothing more then try to reform the health care system.”

CBS 2’s Political Reporter Marcia Kramer questioned Gov. Paterson on his about face.

Kramer: “You said that, ‘Part of what I feel is that one very successful minority is permissible, but when you see too many success stories then some people are nervous.’ And you said that President Obama would be the next person victimized and you implied that there was an orchestrated attempt. How do we interpret those remarks?”

Paterson: “I don’t think it’s an orchestrated attempt, and I think this is the kind of distraction in my view that arose from a personnel incident that annoyed me.”

Kramer: “But Governor, you said that people were unfair to you. Why the sudden change of heart?”

Paterson: “We all have a point that our buttons can pushed.”

Kramer: “So are we misinterpreting your remarks, or have you rethought them?”

Paterson: “No, my remarks never said that there was a race element at all. What I did talk about was the negative racial stereotyping.”

In backtracking Tuesday, Gov. Paterson appeared to be taking the advice of David Dinkins, the city’s first black mayor. He said on questions of race, right or wrong, it’s a fight you sure can’t win.

“For the governor to say that he’s been ill-treated because of his race I think is a mistake,” Dinkins told CBS 2.

In the meantime, Gov. Paterson said he wants to get back to dealing with the pressing issues of the state.

{CBS2/Noam Newscenter}