Democratic Gov. David Paterson's spokeswoman said today he has no plans to resign -- a declaration that comes amid unsubstantiated rumors and accusations about his behavior in Albany.
"This is a new low even by the standards of planet Albany. The circus of the past week -- entirely fabricated out of thin air and innuendo -- is an embarrassment for all who have played a role in fueling it," Marissa Shorenstein said.
The strongly worded statement comes after days of speculation about a rumored New York Times profile that could cause the governor some embarrassment -- or even prompt his resignation when it hits the newsstand.
According to the Associated Press, Paterson met this weekend with key Democratic leaders about his re-election plans.
Paterson campaign spokesman Richard Fife said the weekend meetings and calls had nothing to do with the accusations but were "routine re-election campaign calls."
"The governor started making calls two weeks ago to step up his campaign effort and get ready to officially announce his re-election campaign," Fife said. "The calls were -- and are -- going well ... And then look what happens -- a coordinated effort to stop him and spread rumors."
A Democrat close to the situation, though, said the meetings included discussions about whether Paterson would resign or announce he will not run because of the unsubstantiated claims in the whisper campaign surrounding the governor's behavior. The Democrat spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Paterson became governor 23 months ago when Eliot Spitzer resigned amid a prostitution scandal. Paterson had been forced to confront allegations of sexual affairs and drug use since the day he rose to office on March 17, 2008. He held an extraordinary news conference detailing past affairs that he and his wife were involved in during an 18-month period when it appeared their marriage would end. He also recounted drug use from his youth.
He said he made the admissions so he couldn't be compromised as governor and to avoid further fracturing a government rocked by Spitzer's resignation.
Paterson already had plenty of conflict among his fellow Democrats. A week ago he vetoed an ethics bill adopted by the Democrat-controlled Legislature that was widely seen as essential this election year. Paterson says he wants a tougher bill.
He also has refused to abandon his campaign for a full term, even as the far more popular and better-funded Andrew Cuomo, the attorney general, waits in the wings.