[UPDATES BELOW] Everyone's talking about the supposed "bombshell" article on Governor Paterson that the NY Times is said to be sitting on (except the NY Times). Over the weekend, Paterson met privately with key Democratic leaders, but his campaign spokesman says the "routine" meetings concerned his re-election plans, not the sensational rumors of a drug and sex scandal that some speculate will end his administration. "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 told the AP. "The calls were—and are—going well... And then look what happens—a coordinated effort to stop him and spread rumors." But one source reveals that Paterson's resignation was discussed.

An anonymous Democrat "close to the situation" told AP there was talk 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." Paterson spokesman Richard Fife went on the offensive, calling the rumors "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." And Baruch political professor Doug MuzzioI observed, "I've never seen the rumor of a story becoming the story as this one has."

Meanwhile, support for Paterson among the city's African-American political leaders appears to be collapsing. Today Elizabeth Benjamin at the Daily News reports on a meeting among big shots at Sylvia's two weeks ago, during which the "What to do about Dave?" question was agonized over. Rep. Charlie Rangel, Sen. Bill Perkins, former state Controller Carl McCall, and other lawmakers were in attendance. "People were concerned about the fact that you could have a new governor, and nobody helped him get there from our community," Benjamin's source says. "If we stay with [Paterson] until he quits, and he quits in September, we're too late. This is about who's going to be onboard that [Cuomo] owes something to." Even Al Sharpton is being pressured to jump ship.

UPDATE:Politco hears from an anonymous source that Paterson will sit down for an interview with the Times tomorrow.

UPDATE 2:59 p.m.: The rumormongering continues! WPIX says expect the story Wednesday; their source explains it "hasn't run yet because reporters were seeking additional corroboration and because attempts were still being made to have the governor respond to the allegations, which reportedly involve the governor and other women in a possible sex scandal." The latest rumor has Paterson cheating with a woman from Buffalo, which isn't really bombshell material, considering his past disclosures.

And a "ranking member of the legislature" tells PIX News the source of all the salacious rumors is the estranged wife of "an aide extremely close to the governor... Apparently angered over a bitter divorce, she began circulating so-called 'inside' stories about the governor that only his closest allies would know about." Also, Paterson did recently request that State Police leave the Executive Mansion, "but not because he was caught in any compromising position with a woman." Not so reassuringly, a Democratic Party insider insists, "No resignation is imminent...at least not today."

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: A source close to Paterson tells New York that the Times's "bombshell" story "is PG-13, not XXX. Not to say it won't be problematic, but the Aqueduct situation? That's potentially criminal. On his extramarital affairs, the question is who those people are, and what jobs they've held."