The Competition

The all-important Nagourney/Slackman political reporting slot at the Times is going to Pat Healy. No, not that Pat Healy. That Pat Healy.

Here’s the memo:

Subject: good news from metro
To: The Staff
From: Susan Edgerley
March 26, 2005

Patrick D. Healy will become Metro’s next government and politics correspondent, taking over for Michael Slackman when Michael heads to Cairo. It’s a crucial position coming open at a crucial time in the city’s political life. Healy, in addition to being a wonderful writer and keen observer of people and politics, is an absolute animal of a reporter. He will do the job full justice.

But I initially hesitated at the thought of asking Pat to take the job because, well, he’s only been here a few months. Sure, sure — I know he has the smarts, the guts and the passion for it. But what does he know about New York?

So off he went to Albany to help out with the legislative session and begin to learn a Pataki from a Bruno. He had a huge impact in a short period of time. Remember his story about Hillary Clinton seeking shared ground on abortions? Or his takeout on SUNY this week? Or his Page 1 pinch-hitting on the Larry Summers mess?

In short order, Healy persuaded everyone that he was not only ready to walk in the footsteps of Slackman and Nagourney, but to blaze his own trail.

And so that’s what he will be doing, first on the Mayor’s race, working with Rutenberg and his posse, then on the gubernatorial contest, working with Cooper and his crew. And then there’s the race for Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat, and whatever other jobs the senator may seek.

Healy says he’s thrilled about the new gig, and he should be. It’s a great job. And he will be great in it.