New York Governor David Paterson has done what so many people, on the left and right, have been making an annoying habit of doing lately. According to the New York Post, Paterson was ranting on liberal talk-radio station WWRL last week, and the subject was racism.
More often than not, that is a heated topic for any American of African descent. During the diatribe he began blaming his political woes on a “biased media.”
And he went on to say President Barack Obama would be the media’s next victim. (Um, has he NOT been watching or listening to the news lately? NEXT victim? Geez.) This, in turn, teed off Obama’s aides who reportedly delivered a retort within hours of the Friday morning broadcast. It is alleged to have come from White House political director Patrick Gaspard, who is on the “in” as far as New York politics go, and was sent to Larry Schwartz, the governor’s first deputy secretary.
Gaspard wanted to know “why [Paterson] was dragging the president into” his troubles, said one source. But although Obama’s aides were unhappy, the sources said, the conversation was not hostile.
Obama, who still enjoys popularity in the polls despite taking some hits on the health-care issue, has rarely touched directly on issues of race. He won election by a wide margin with support across demographic lines and broad support among white voters.
“I’m not surprised” that his advisers were displeased, said one Democratic insider, adding that Gaspard is a fiercely loyal adviser who has been monitoring the situation in New York. Paterson is facing growing calls from union leaders and others to reconsider his chances of winning election in 2010.
Paterson, New York’s first black governor, is suffering historically low popularity. He blamed his and Obama’s problems on a white-dominated media that he said had embarked on an attack campaign.
“My feeling is it’s being orchestrated, it’s a game, and people who pay attention know that,” he said.
He compared his troubles to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the nation’s only other black governor, then brought in the president.
“The next victim on the list — and you see it coming — is President Barack Obama,” he said, citing his efforts to change health care. (Again we ask, NEXT victim?)
Paterson said the health-care debate was an example of how the nation is “not a post-racial” society, a phrase often proudly used to describe the United States in the wake of Obama’s election. But later on Friday, the governor issued a “clarifying” statement, saying: “What I did point out was that certain media outlets have engaged in coverage that exploits racial stereotypes.”