Long-Awaited Paterson Profile Finally Published

Governor bristles at article as "remote"

Friday, Mar 12, 2010  |  Updated 1:54 PM EDT
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Gov. David Paterson's aide dismissed a critical profile of the Democrat as gossip-laden and subjective.

The New York Times, citing former administration officials and unnamed staffers, portrays Paterson as often detached from the pressures of the job and his election campaign. The piece caps an 11-day Internet frenzy, as bloggers fed a never-ending rumor mill that the governor would have to resign in the wake of the Times report.

Friday's long-awaited profile that spawned weeks of speculation does not portray Paterson as a drug-using womanizer. But it does paint a picture of a governor disengaged with the daily trappings of his job – one who prefers cavorting with potential donors in the Hamptons to meeting with lawmakers to discuss policy.

Paterson spokesman Peter Kauffmann says the story fails to accurately portray Paterson's reasons for some actions and fails to note the successes.

The Times article describes Paterson as less involved and less interested in the operations of major agencies and those who run them than his predecessor Eliot Spitzer. It notes he is increasingly close to two longtime friends, former roommate and aide Clem Harris and a former girlfriend, Gabrielle Turner, whom he hired to a key post in his Washington office, and suggests the sudden rise of people with longtime ties to the governor perpetrates divisiveness and resentment within the administration.

For his part, Paterson insisted in extended interviews with the Times that he is the person to lead the state, emphasizing his tough decision-making in tough times. He portrayed himself as a man standing up for the people of New York, battling special interests and as one who wants – and deserves – the job of governor.

But Paterson also described himself as victimized by the media in an ongoing smear campaign he believes to be engineered by those who want to see him out of office.

"This latest kind of bashing of me is a depiction of me in what is, in my opinion, a racialized, hypersexualized and more or less dissolute context," the governor told the Times. "I resent this sort of, in my opinion, and I'll be frank with you, kind of profiled way that it appears that all I'm doing is drinking, chasing women, doing drugs."

The Times didn't immediately respond to a call seeking comment Friday.

The paper published an article earlier this week that many had assumed to be the anticipated Paterson profile. Instead, it was an examination of one of his most trusted aides, David Johnson, and his alleged teenage past of selling drugs and abusing women.

On Saturday, Paterson will officially launch his campaign in his childhood home town of Hempstead, L.I. He'll spend the weekend meeting and greeting at small events upstate. The governor's campaign staff canceled a rally planned for Sunday in Harlem out of concern not enough high-profile New York Democrats planned to show up. 

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