WH throws David Paterson under the bus

Posted by: ST on September 20, 2009 at 11:05 am

Obama has conveyed to Gov. Paterson, through various admin officials, that he doesn’t want Paterson to run for re-election:

President Obama has grave concerns that New York Gov. David Paterson cannot win a reelection contest in 2010, and the White House has taken the unusual step of conveying those concerns to the governor himself, several knowledgeable Democrats told ABC News.

President Obama has not personally spoken with the governor about the race, “but it’s no secret that Democrats in New York are very concerned about the situation and those concerns have been conveyed in an appropriate way,” a source said.

The conveying of those concerns was first reported last night by the New York Times.

“No one has ordered him out of the race,” the source underlined, “nor does anyone have the authority to. He has to look at his situation and make the decision that he thinks is right for himself, the party and the state.”


White House political director Patrick Gaspard, Democrats say, has been internally leading the charge within the White House to try to convince Paterson to not seek election to a full four year term next November. Last week Gaspard met with the governor to make the case that he shouldn’t seek reelection. That meeting took place in New York at Paterson’s campaign headquarters on Monday, the same day President Obama was on Wall Street speaking on regulatory reform.

Three days later, Paterson publicly named a campaign manager for his re-election contest.

The next day, Friday, Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-NY, conveyed the White House message to Paterson as well at a dinner, as reported by the New York Daily News.

Jake Tapper weighed in at Twitter, saying “it’s not unusual for a WH to weigh in on important races – recall the Bush WH intervening to oust Lott for Frist. Ask @KarlRove.” But I pointed out in response that Lott/Frist was a leadership contest in the Senate, not an election to be decided by constituents.

It’s one thing to be publicly out on the campaign trail actively campaigning for a candidate, but I oppose any WH trying to decide from the Oval Office who should and should not be running in any particular election. That’s for the people to decide, not the government. Paterson’s ratings are in the tank, anyway, so it’s highly unlikely he’s even going to win the primary. The WH needs to let elections work the way they are supposed to.

I also should note that Obama is doing this because he knows he can get away with it. No white President, not Democrat and certainly not a Republican, would have done this considering Paterson’s penchant for playing the race card.

Related: JWF wonders if Team Obama will ask the same of MA Gov. Deval Patrick, whose ratings are on a similar skid to Paterson’s. My opinion? Don’t count on it. He won’t want to dis Patrick after he helped Obama get what he wanted on the Kennedy succession issue:

RICHMOND, Mass. – Gov. Deval Patrick said Friday that President Barack Obama had personally talked to him about changing the Senate succession law in Massachusetts, and White House aides were pushing for him to gain the power to temporarily replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy amid the administration’s health care push.

A month after a White House spokesman labeled the issue a state matter, Patrick said he and Obama spoke about changing the law as they both attended Kennedy’s funeral in Boston last month. He also said White House aides have been in contact frequently ever since and pushing for the change so they can regain their filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate.

“He and his whole team have been very clear about that,” Patrick told reporters after holding a Cabinet meeting near his Berkshire Mountains vacation home.

“It’s out there that the Senate president and the (House) speaker are trying to figure out whether this can be accomplished, and he fully understands, as do his aides, who I have talked to more about it, the importance of having the support for a change agenda down in Washington,” Patrick added.

Uh huh.

Cross-posted to Right Wing News, where I am helping guestblog for John Hawkins on Sundays.

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14 Responses to “WH throws David Paterson under the bus”


  1. ParisParamus says:

    I wasn’t for him for President, but Rudy. Must. Run. We need a broad-based conservative/sanity assault on all statehouse, and House races next year. The media landscape has now sufficiently changed (see blogs, twitter, UTube, FNC killer ratings, Sarah Palin facebook posts, Tea Parties), that citizen truth-telling, and grassroots promotion can power many political races simultanously without there being a resources issue. And we need many races in play to make sure Obama is stopped, and to lay the groudwork for a 2012 win.

  2. A. Stephens says:

    Most importantly, what’s needed are conservatives who embody leadership, reform, and respect for their constituencies. Hopefully the Draft Rudy campaign is underway in NY.

  3. Anthony says:

    It’s actually not unusual for Presidents to get involved in major state races; they’re the de facto head of their national party, after all, and have an interest in keeping governorships in their party’s hands. The Democrats are facing a blowout in New York, and the damage could spread to the legislature. What’s unusual is the open, blatant nature of the intervention, which amounts to a public humiliation of Paterson.

  4. Anthony, I think it is indeed unusual when it’s coming directly from the Oval Office. It’s one thing to campaign openly, it’s another thing to try and make decisions on someone’s campaign and put pressure on a campaign from the Oval Office.

  5. Anthony says:

    …I think it is indeed unusual when it’s coming directly from the Oval Office.

    It’s a really interesting question. I’d swear I recall reading of, for example, FDR influencing gubernatorial candidate selections, but I can’t think of where, and a web search isn’t turning up much info. (It’s all focusing on Paterson.)

    Michael Barone would know, but I seem to have mislaid his phone number… ;)

  6. Oh, I’m sure it’s been done before – the people who are calling Obama out on this have not said it’s unprecedented, and at least two people I know of have mentioned the FDR thing. It’s just highly unusual and, I think, wrong.

  7. LeftCoastGuy says:

    I think that this administration probably isn’t the first to try to influence regional elections but I do think that they have been more heavy handed and overt in their attempt to shape the national landscape than most.
    I noticed something else, however, that I think says a lot about how this administration looks at politics.
    An un-named source (of course) told the reporter:

    “No one has ordered him (Gov. Paterson) out of the race,” the source underlined, “nor does anyone have the authority to. He has to look at his situation and make the decision that he thinks is right for himself, the party and the state.”

    The source says that Gov. Paterson must decide what is right for himself, then his party, and finally, what is right for the state. Silly me-I thought that the leadership in this country were elected…to SERVE US!! Now I find that service to the people who elect you is not as important as what the office means to you personally and then what it means to the party. Perhaps our elected officials on both sides of the isle need to remember that they are first and formost servants of the people and that the seat they hold does not belong to them nor is it their’s by right.

  8. MarkJ says:

    This story reminds me of a scene in Casino when mafia don Remo Gazzi tells labor boss Andy Stone (Alan King) that “maybe [Ace Rothstein] should get out of Vegas.” When Stone delivers the Remo’s “suggestion” to Rothstein (Robert DeNiro) who objects, Stone curtly informs him, “This is like a papal bull. When [the don] says that ‘maybe’ you should get out, you should RUN.”

    Seems like Don Obamaleone has just told Li’l Davy Patterson, “Maybe it’s time for you to get out of Albany.”


  9. Carlos says:

    Heck, it’s easy to tell the only reason the WH wants Paterson out of the race is because Paterson is black, so Obama and all his sycophant lackeys (like Gaspard) are nothing but racists! Why, they’ll probably even suggest the name of some white guy to take over.

    Nothin’ but pure Chicago thug-style machine racism, I tell you.

  10. Tom TB says:

    The latest news is that Patterson says he will run next year; so he’s bucking Obama.

  11. Lorica says:

    nothing but racists

    That’s half a racist Carlos =)) It is obvious that his white side is in conflict to his black side. Must have inherited it from his “typical white person” Grandmother. – Lorica

  12. Leslie says:

    Presidents have tried to involve themselves in important local races since, like, forever. Paterson’s a dead governor walking. The whole thing has been orchestrated by Chuck Schumer, who currently rules New York politics in a way probably not seen since legendary Tammany Hall Boss Carmine DeSapio went to jail in the 1950s. Chuck wanted Gillibrand to be named when Caroline dropped out. (Why do you think she’s on the Judiciary Committere along with her mentor?) There were three or four people who made noises like they wanted to run against Gillibrand in the 2010 primary. All woke up to find horse’s heads in their bed.

    Apparently Paterson was sent one, too, and decided to fight. Good luck with that. It’s over for him, and I’m sure he knows it. Andrew Cuomo will be the nominee for Governor, and if Rudy wants to run against him, I say, “knock yourself out, Rudy.”

    Now. Will someone, anyone, send a horse’s head Charlie Rangel’s way? Please!

  13. Peter says:

    Note that the President is the leader of the National Party. The Governor’s race is a state Party affair. There is a difference. Note that NY State races are won with Conservative Party and Republican Party alliances vs Liberal Party and Democratic Party alliances. Nationally there are no Conservative or Liberal Parties.

    Having said that, Obama’s bus must have those gigantic wheels and tires we see on those trucks at the monster truck rallies to fit all those folks under.