Friday, November 06, 2009

New York's Paterson: Running "Against" Obama?

New York's accidental governor, David Paterson - he of the one good eye, primarily used to keep a look-out for potential mistresses - made the national news back in September when the Kingmaker himself, Barack Obama, told him to step off in 2010:

National Democratic Party leaders have asked Gov. David Paterson to consider withdrawing from the 2010 governor's race, according to two senior New York Democratic advisers.

The New York Times, which originally reported the request on its Web site, said that it was President Barack Obama who asked Paterson to withdraw.

But Paterson, perhaps sensing the national mood better than your common D.C. Democrat, is flipping the bird to O and the party, and has every intent of running again. In fact, whatever doubts he had were apparently erased by Obama's miserable showing (by proxy) in last Tuesday's election:

Paterson, whose popularity currently hovers in the 20 percent range, was seriously wounded when Obama let it be known he didn't want Paterson to run because Republicans like Rudy Giuliani consistently beat him in the polls. But Obama's recent lack of success in backing local candidates, including New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, has empowered Paterson.

"The President went to New Jersey five times for Corzine and wasn't able to turn that around, so I think here in New York, New Yorkers know everything is local," said [Bill] Lynch.

But that's not all Paterson is doing. He's bringing on board campaign powerhouse Harold Ickes, who was former President Bill Clinton's Deputy Chief of Staff.

And here comes the campaign ads - with a surreptitious knock at Obama? The New York Post reports:

Gov. Paterson kicks off his long-shot 2010 election campaign today with a two-commercial, $500,000 television blitz in which he challenges those saying he shouldn't run.

"Some say I shouldn't be running for governor," Paterson says in one commercial before he proceeds to outline what he says are his accomplishments since Eliot Spitzer resigned amid a hooker scandal in March 2008.

A second ad outlines Paterson's biography and concludes, "Gov. Paterson. The people first."

So Paterson does not fear the wrath of the Obami...and why should he? It's all about the underdogs this time around, and Paterson can play that card - blind, black, and shoved into the spotlight - with ease. He sees Hoffman almost win as a third-party populist, he sees Christie win despite being out-spent and out-Obama-ed....why should he fold on Barack's orders? Hey, by the time the 2010 election rolls around, who's to say that the president won't have a lower favorable rating than Paterson?

And how influential was The Obama Touch in New Jersey? Can you say, not at all?

Votes for Democrat Jon Corzine in Newark, New Jersey in 2005: 39,573.
Votes for Corzine in Newark in 2009, two days after Obama hosted a rally for him there: 35,669.

Votes for Jon Corzine in Camden County in 2005: 76,955.
Votes for Jon Corzine in Camden County in 2009, two days after Obama hosted a rally for him there: 66,996.

If Paterson and his 20% approval ratings are not afraid of Barack Obama, why in the world would anyone else be?

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