Bill Clinton videotaped a birthday message that was played at David Paterson’s birthday party fund-raiser last night at the Mandarin Hotel, people at the event told me.
In the video, Clinton warmly praised Paterson’s work, thanked him for his support, and wished him a happy birthday, they said.
It wasn’t an official endorsement, but could be seen as a sign of support, something Paterson—who is trailing in the polls to prospective challenger Andrew Cuomo—could benefit from.
Paterson’s campaign spokeswoman said the video of Clinton would be posted online this morning.
Also at the event, Paterson sought to commiserate, humorously, with Malcolm Smith, the deposed Senate leader.
Paterson called Smith up onstage and said—according to another attendee—“This man has been through hell this week. But that’s just one week, Malcolm. Try being governor.”
The crowd laughed and applauded.
Paterson also told the crowd that if the Legislature departed for recess without passing legislation he wanted, they would be called back to Albany and spend their summers working.
At the event were rapper LL Cool J—who praised Paterson and said that he was proud to be a New Yorker—Carl McCall, David Dinkins, Paterson’s father and operatives from a number of labor groups were in attendance.
Outside the event, members from police and firemen unions protested the governor’s veto of a pension bill that would have enhanced their benefits.