Governor David Paterson arrived 15 minutes late to the press conference at his midtown office where he announced that he would no longer be running for governor this year. His wife, Michelle, stood behind him as he spoke.
Mr. Paterson did not begin by getting to the point.
“For the past 25 years, it has been my privilege to serve the people of New York,” he began. But, he said, the question now is “are we doing what’s right for the people of New York?”
He went on to list his accomplishments: Along with the Legislature, he said, he has reduced the deficit; “I have had to act alone” on the budget by withholding payments; we have “eradicated Rockefeller drug laws,” he said, and passed “landmark legislation.”
Then: “There’s more work to be done,” but, “I am being realistic about politics.”
He blamed his political misfortune on “an accumulation” of events, and said it’s become “increasingly clear in the last few days that I cannot run for office.”
“I have never abused my office,” Paterson said, “not now, not ever.” He referenced the investigation he requested from Andrew Cuomo (who is now almost certainly the next governor). “I have 308 days left,” he said. “I will serve them all.”
Paterson ended by saying, “I hope that history will remember that I fought the good fight, that I did what was hard and I put the people of New York first.”
“People make mistakes,” Paterson said, “and I’m one of them. We all make mistakes.”
The State Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs said he, and others, will be endorsing Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for governor, shortly.