Protesting Too Much on Paterson?

A side-story to the Paterson pick, not worth much ink, but worth noting, is how hard the Spitzer and Paterson camps have been pushing the notion that Paterson was dragged to the altar here.

The fullest version of this is in Juan Gonzalez’s column today:

“Two weeks ago, [Paterson] got a telephone call from Attorney General Eliot Spitzer…. During the phone call, Spitzer offered to back Paterson in a run for the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor…. The offer took Paterson, a mild-mannered but methodical planner, by complete surprise.”

I’m not questioning the literal truth of that chronology. Or of the talking point a Spitzer aide gave again today: “Eliot asked David, and David said yes.” Of course.

But a number of other sources uptown say Paterson has been pushing for this hard for a while, and first raised the issue in a conversation with Spitzer last fall, asking why he wasn’t being considered for the job.

Why spin so hard on something like this? Well, the dissonance between the two stories might help explain the anger uptown. The whole thing’s not entirely clear to me, but seems to have something to do with that wonderful place where politics meets…high school.