Yesterday, Governor Pataki took a few former governors on a tour of the World Trade Center, because if there's any place that needs more politicians, it's Ground Zero. The ex-governors included Massachusetts' Bill Weld, Tennesse's Don Sundquist, South Carolina's David Beasley and Iowa's Terry Brandstand. Well, that doesn't smell like a "before I leave office, let's invite potential allies in a presidential run" stunt at all! Pataki's spokesman said that the group would be talking about "the future of the Republican party." And while Pataki wouldn't discuss whether he's going to throw his hat in the ring for the 2008 race, the AP reports that he did say that it would be "very positive" if former Mayor Rudy Giuliani or Senator Hillary Clinton ran.

As for the plans themselves, Pataki said he didn't think Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer would change the project: "I think there's so much momentum and so much emotional understanding of the importance of doing this right, that I believe it will simply continue." Well, we'll see what happens in 2007 - we can imagine Spitzer would like to get this fingerprints over the project, but not be associated with any of the inevitable inertia of the development, which is what comes to mind when we think of Pataki.

Newsday also notes Pataki's explanation of having the former governors at Ground Zero: "Their interests and their presence here this afternoon points out what we as New Yorkers really all know and that is that what we're doing here at the World Trade Center site isn't just for New Yorkers -- it's for America."

Photograph of Gov. Pataki, far right, with former Gov. of South Carolina David Beasley, center, Vice Chairman of Port Authority Charlie Gargano, left, former Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist, second left, and former Gov. of Iowa Terry Branstad, second right, during a tour of the World Trade Center site in NewYork by Adam Rountree/AP