Poor polls make some wonder if David Paterson's endorsement can win anyone an election these days, but the beleaguered governor did formally come out in support of Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Thompson yesterday. Well, sort of.
Paterson had nothing bad to say about the comptroller's rival, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as he endorsed Thompson. In fact, he actually defended the mayor moments after Thompson slammed him for allegedly gearing policies to the wealthy at the expense of the middle class, reports The New York Post.
“We can’t go down the same path we’ve gone down the last eight years,” Thompson said at a news conference in Madison Square Park, standing with Paterson and Stu Applebaum, of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
Actually, he hasn't been so bad, Paterson told reporters a few minutes later.
"I said last summer that I thought Mayor Bloomberg had done a good job in his two terms," the governor said, reports the Post. "He hasn't done anything in the last year that necessarily persuades me otherwise."
Paterson spent the last few months waffling over whom to back for mayor after initially promising reporters in March he would endorse the Democratic candidate. He did end up doing that, but it appears the governor, struggling with his own sinking approval ratings, didn't want to burn bridges with the billionaire Bloomberg.
We don't blame him.
Despite Paterson's plummeting poll numbers, his endorsement still counts for something – especially for Thompson, the underdog candidate, who embraced it with open arms.
"I'm proud to have David Paterson's support and endorsement," Thompson said. "He's the governor of the state of New York. He's the leader of the Democratic Party of the state of New York."
"David's a friend," he continued, "and he's someone I have a great amount of respect for. So I am honored to have his support. Is it a great day? You bet it is."
The governor said he was supporting Thompson because it was time for "new blood" at City Hall in the aftermath of public outrage over the City Council's decision to extend term limits – a ploy crafted by Bloomberg so he could run for mayoral office again.
That was enough perceived tippy-toeing around Bloomberg for Applebaum, who jumped in and slammed the mayor's economic policies as catering to the rich and relegating working people to poverty-level jobs, reports the Post.
Ever the opportunist, Bloomberg, who won the support of Rep. Nita Lowey and Planned Parenthood yesterday, took the time to fire back at Thompson for engaging in class warfare that he says doesn't exist in the city to the degree it does in other places.
“We don’t have the class distinctions that they do elsewhere, and I’m not going to allow us to degenerate into that kind of political campaign — at least, I’m not going to participate in it,” Bloomberg said, according to the Post.