Paterson Bristles at Soda Tax, Sees No Silver Lining in Democratic Setbacks

ALBANY—David Paterson was decidedly unexcited when Mika Brzezinski brought up the soda-tax idea today on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, something she said he “brought to the table” in the context of a budget deficit Paterson wants legislators to address next week.

“That’s actually not true,” the governor replied. (He did mention the idea during a radio interview last month.) “That was something I brought to the table last year and the legislature rejected it, so I’m not going to encumber any companies or lose more jobs for New York by pressing that right now.”

Brzezinski asked Paterson what he wanted, then.

“What I want is for all of us to pay attention to the fact is that 28 percent of young people that are under 21 are now technically obese,” Paterson said, before going into the litany of other health issues.

Also in the interview, Paterson reversed a suggestion made yesterday that losses for candidates backed by Barack Obama break favorably by him.

“I don’t feel empowered by any Democratic losses. I support Democrats and I support the president. But what I think we learned Tuesday is that there’s a very angry public and the vitriol is being fomented in every direction,” Paterson said. “How could I be empowered? Every incumbent suffered shocking challenges in the last couple of days. That doesn’t empower me at all. That’s why I’m trying to get my story out.”

Paterson also attacked some legislators who hesitated about attending a special session he called for next week.

“I’d like to point out that our legislature shut itself down–the Senate shut itself down–with two weeks until the end of session last year. What I’m going to do is bring them all to a special session of the legislature on Monday,” he said. “I’m going to persuade them that keeping New York’s finances stable is more important than anybody’s political differences.”

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Paterson Bristles at Soda Tax, Sees No Silver Lining in Democratic Setbacks