What a joke! This is getting to be like the boy that cried wolf. Just blame it [on racism]
ALBANY – Gov. Paterson blamed a racist media Friday for trying to push him out of next year’s election – launching into an angry rant that left even some black Democrats shaking their heads.
“The whole idea is to get me not to run in the primary,” Paterson complained on a morning radio show hosted by Daily News columnist Errol Louis.
He suggested that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the country’s only other African-American governor, also is under fire because of his race.
“We’re not in the post-racial period,” Paterson said.
“The reality is the next victim on the list – and you can see it coming – is President Barack Obama, who did nothing more than trying to reform a health care system.”
Paterson said the campaign against him is being “orchestrated” by reporters who would rather make the news than report it.
But critics said the governor should blame his own blunders.
“He’s given the media more than enough to feed on with the incompetence shown in his administration,” said state Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn), an African-American.
“To quote Michael Jackson, he should start with the man in the mirror,” Parker said.
Even state Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Harlem), a black supporter of the governor, urged him to be more like Obama by staying “focused on the message.”
Paterson has been the target of Democrats who fear his low approval ratings – 18% at their lowest and about 30% now – will endanger the party next year if he decides to run for his first full term as governor.
Paterson insisted in the interview that he has made tough decisions to deal with the state’s ballooning budget deficits while at the same time helping those most in need.
He noted that the state, despite its fiscal crisis, has not had to write IOUs or had its bond ratings drastically reduced, like California, and is not in as bad straits as Pennsylvania, Michigan or Massachusetts.
He seemed to take a shot at Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, a possible primary competitor. Polls show Cuomo would trounce the governor in a match-up.
“If I run in the primary, the same people who are sitting in beach chairs while I’m in the ocean with the sharks will have to come into the ocean – and they will be eaten alive.”
Paterson said there would be no shame in running next year – and losing.
“It will be my highest honor to have served as governor of this state, to make the tough decisions,” he said.
Later, Paterson looked to downplay his comments, saying, “At no point did I claim that this media piling-on effect was due to race.”
“What I did point out was that certain media outlets have engaged in coverage that exploits racial stereotypes,” he said.