Paterson: Wall Street Lucre Is Like Our Clam Chowder, Oil

In an afternoon speech that’s unlikely to boost his poll numbers, David Paterson said–again–today that the state is broke, and he asked New Yorkers to stand with him in defending Wall Street.

“You don’t hear anybody in New England complaining about clam chowder,” he said. “If you say anything about oil in Texas, they’ll string you up from the nearest tree. We need to stand by the engine of our economy in New York State, and that engine is Wall Street.”

Back in October, Mr. Paterson reminded the Obama Administration that their clamp on executive pay was costing the state money–probably $1 billion, the governor estimated–but said he shared in the “populist outrage” over bankers and their “reckless schemes.”

That outrage seems to have passed. “Now Wall Street has come under great attack–Americans are mad at Wall Street,” Mr. Paterson said today in a speech at 26 Broadway in the financial district. “We can remind them of the inextricable progress between New York’s economy and Wall Street’s benefits.”

Mr. Paterson was not simply playing to the crowd; after the speech, he reiterated the message on Twitter. “Iowa, corn. Michigan, autos. Texas, oil. NY, Wall Street…We must stand behind the engine of our state’s economy & strengthen it,” he wrote. Then, half an hour later: “If we support Wall St, and make the tough choices necessary to stabilize our state, Wall St will help NY as we build a New Economy.”

Defending Wall Street seems unlikely to help Mr. Paterson’s low standing with the general public, but he could certainly use the financial sector’s campaign contributions. And Wall Street is one of the few places his presumed rival hasn’t made a lot of friends. Paterson: Wall Street Lucre Is Like Our Clam Chowder, Oil