Governor David Paterson endorsed fellow Democrat Bill Thompson for mayor today at Madison Park, saying “it is in no way a put down of Michael Bloomberg’s two terms of service to this city by insisting that there be new blood in City Hall.”
Paterson did not identify a particular policy or issue advanced by Bloomberg that he considered harmful to New Yorkers or poor and middle-class residents, which has been a main talking point of Thompson’s campaign.
But Paterson did latch onto Bloomberg’s push to extend term limits legislatively, going against two public referendums.
“Respecting the demonstrated desire of the people of the city of New York, of the voters of the city of New York, to restrict the service of their leaders both citywide and countywide to two terms is not a small matter,” Paterson said. “Especially in as cherished a system of representative government as is our democracy.”
Paterson said that the vote by the City Council to extend term limits wasn’t illegal, or even unethical, “but it’s clear” that “the public didn’t buy it. The public doesn’t believe this. How can you explain that two candidates are running against each other? One has immense resources, the other hasn’t spent any resources and they’re ten points apart in the polls.”
Later, Paterson said he wouldn’t call on Bloomberg to restrict his spending, but did say he’d like Bloomberg to accept Thompson’s invitation to participate in five debates.
“The campain finance board asked for two debates because they thought the candidates were on equal footing. Clearly that’s not the case here,” Paterson said.
Afterward, Thompson’s campaign manager said the governor didn’t attack Bloomberg because as a chief executive, that was not his role, and would not have fit with the decorum people expect from the governor.