The statements and actions of President Obama and Governor Paterson in the past few days have made it clear that the de facto Democratic Party leader has given the patriarchal blessing to Andrew Cuomo. Obama began his speech yesterday in Troy thus: "We have special guests here that I want to acknowledge. First of all, a wonderful man, the governor of the great state of New York, David Paterson. Next, your shy and retiring attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, is in the house. Andy is doing great work that has to be done."

Watch the video: the dutiful mention of the governor is followed by real warmth displayed to Cuomo. And in a business like politics where only competence and success count, being called a "wonderful man" is not a compliment. "Doing great work that has to be done," is what you want to hear.

So sure enough, the Republican Party jumped to the defense of the wounded and perhaps unelectable governor. The Times quoted former governor Pataki, considering a run himself: "I just think it's wrong.... The president should not be reading a poll and determining from that who should or should not run for governor in the state of New York." The Post is running an editorial today called, "Run, Dave, Run!" in which they plead on behalf of the public weal in their inimitable brainless staccato style: "Now the kingpins want to simply anoint Andrew Cuomo as New York's next gov? Don't let them do it, Dave. Stay in the race. Give New Yorkers options. It may wind up being the boldest move of your term. For you — and the state."

UPDATE: ABC's Jake Tapper reports that Obama expressed to Paterson his regret that the story leaked and caused such trouble. This is in character, and we're pretty damned sure Obama didn't want all this right before he was coming to New York for the UN meetings.