WH throws David Paterson under the bus

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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