New York Gov. David Paterson says he’s in it for the long haul, despite the president’s wish that he stand down in 2010.
The Obama administration, seeing Paterson as a liability to the White House and the Democratic Party, has asked him to stay out of the next gubernatorial race. Paterson, the nation’s only blind governor and one of only two African-American governors, is facing dismal approval ratings and widespread pessimism over his political future.
The Democratic favorite is state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is popular even among Republicans.
"I'm blind but I'm not oblivious," Patterson said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I realize that there are people who don't want me to run." "I have spent a whole life being told I couldn't do things. I was told by guidance counselors I shouldn't go to college. I was told when I was minority leader of the Senate that we couldn't win the majority. We won eight seats in four years and won the majority."
Paterson met with President Obama last week. While he declined to discuss details of his “confidential discussions” with the president, he noted that "the president has never told me not to run for governor" and that he's "never gotten an explicit indication authorized from the White House that I shouldn't run."
"They certainly sent a message that they have concerns. And I appreciate that," he said.
But David Paterson’s wife, Michelle, didn’t appear to appreciate the White House’s concerns last week, telling reporters that the administration was out of line for interfering in state politics.
David Paterson described his wife as “very protective.”
"I am not failing to stand up for my party – I fight for the priorities of my party," he said, adding that he is "fighting for the people of the state of New York. ... So I'm not going to run away from a fight when I know who I'm fighting for."