Update: At the African-American Day Parade in Harlem today, Paterson responded by saying, “I have said time and time again that I am running for governor next year."
If Governor Paterson goes ahead and continues his quest to run for governor next year, not only will he be doing it against the wishes of a majority of New Yorkers, he'll now be bucking orders that have just been given to him by the president of the United States. President Obama has made it clear this past week that he would like the unpopular governor to drop out of the race so that he doesn't do (any more) harm to the Democratic party.
When Obama visited Wall Street Monday, Paterson was given the old "maybe it would be best if you didn't come" treatment from the White House followed by the "in fact, we'd like to have a little talk with you." Then, like Fredo Coreleone on Lake Tahoe, Paterson learned his fate in a visit from White House Political Affairs Director Patrick Gaspard. In case the message wasn't clear, Paterson was reminded of the president's feelings on the matter Friday in a dinner with Queens Congressman Gregory Meeks.
Obama has certainly made his presence felt in state politics since ascending to the White House. This spring, the president called Democratic Congressman Steve Israel and asked him not to challenge Kirsten Gillibrand in a Senate primary race. Ironically, sources say Paterson's selection of Gillibrand was one of his first major missteps with Obama—apparently the governor had assured the White House he would not select Gillibrand to replace Hillary Clinton. That situation was aggravated by Paterson's treatment of Caroline Kennedy, who was one of Obama's closest advisors. And then there were Paterson's recent comments on a media racial bias— he suggested that the media would be coming after Obama next— which is exactly the kind of race-talk the administration has tried to avoid.
Early word is that Paterson is "resistant" to Obama's orders.