WASHINGTON–Bill Clinton paused from the ceaseless hand-shaking and picture-posing in his wife’s K Street political headquarters to make a prediction about how the interests of New York city and state would fare under the new administration.
“You know, they have such smart people and a lot of them are New Yorkers,” he told the Observer in a corner of the 10th floor office of Friends of Hillary. “You’ve got Geithner. You’ve got Donovan. Hillary.” Here, a squinting smile.
“So I’m upbeat, he said. “I expect New York to do quite well.”
It was the day before the inauguration, and the former president (and New York resident) echoed the outwardly optimistic view of many New York officials who descended on the nation’s capital for the days of exclusive cocktail parties, political dinners, sacred services and boozy media functions surrounding the historic swearing-in.
But along with the optimism about the country’s new leadership was some nervous uncertainty about New York’s own. With Hillary Clinton still waiting to be confirmed as secretary of state, David Paterson was still doing his best not to give any indication of who he intended to pick to fill her Senate seat.
“I think there have been a half a dozen candidates mentioned, maybe more, who I think would do an excellent job,” said Mr. Clinton, who, unlike most of the lower-profile Democrats around him, might plausibly not have a horse in that particular race. “That’s the governor’s choice and he has enough pressure on him from other people. I’m not going to add to it. I used to be a governor. I’m not going to do that.
For their part, the actual candidates for the job did their best to appear deferential to the governor, and spent what was essentially crunch time for their stealth campaigns granting Mr. Paterson a conspicuously wide berth.
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