Paterson: ‘What Happened to the Handshake?’

ALBANY—In a five-minute tirade, David Paterson just told reporters it was an "outrage" that Senate Republicans would conduct such a "despicable" "dereliction of duty" by engaging in a coup that was an "unnecessary distraction from government dressed up in the cloak, falsely, of reform."

"This is a government. Our country was founded on the basis of individualism, where people were encouraged to have beliefs, to have dialogue and flesh their problems out in public. In January, they elected the leadership in the Senate, and those individuals committed to support that person for two years. What happened to the handshake? What happened to somebody's word? What happened to the integrity that we all believe we are advocating when we took our own oath of office?"

(It should be noted that Paterson took power as minority leader during a coup in 2003.)

He went on: "I don't know if I can take any of your questions because I don't really know what happened, I don't really know what the process was, and I don't know what the outcome will be. But I came here tonight to speak to everyone in this state that still believes in democracy; that still believes that there are perimeters in which we govern. That still believes that Albany can be more than the dysfunctional wreck that it's become over the years."

"Now, anything goes," he said.

He attacked the hypocrisy of a "wealthy donor" taking credit for the action, and Republicans who called for State Senator Hiram Monserrate not to be seated, but now welcome him into their conference.

"I will not allow this to go on," Paterson said, "much further."

He then noted that he had no way to dictate the process. He said he would deal with whoever is "legally designated" to be in power, and would meet with whoever over the coming days. He said "if necessary, I will ask the legislature to stay later so we can get this problem resolved."

And he still recognizes Malcolm Smith as the Senate majority leader, though "the issue is in dispute." Paterson: ‘What Happened to the Handshake?’