NY Governor Paterson Backpedals from Race Remarks, Kind Of

Illustration for article titled NY Governor Paterson Backpedals from Race Remarks, Kind Of

Let's be honest: We can be quick to pull the race card, but even The Buzz had to give Gov. Paterson a side  eye on this one. From The New York Times:

Gov. David A. Paterson attempted to distance himself on Tuesday from comments he made last week suggesting that some in the news media who are critical of him and other black politicians are motivated by racial bias.

If he intended to quell the furor his remarks caused, his comments on Tuesday appeared to only complicate the situation.

While Mr. Paterson said he regretted the distraction his comments had caused and hoped he could put the episode behind him, he denied having insinuated that race was a factor in criticism of his leadership. That denial — which is contradicted by what he said in two interviews — made for an odd exchange with reporters on Tuesday afternoon.

“My remarks never say that there’s a race element at all,” Mr. Paterson told reporters after an appearance at Stony Brook University on Long Island, where a speech on his economic initiatives was quickly overshadowed by the controversy over his earlier remarks.

“What I did talk about was some negative racial stereotyping, which I think has gone on from time to time,” Mr. Paterson added. “But I didn’t blame my problems on that, and I’m not changing the remarks I made. I’m just correcting the interpretations of my remarks that are wrong.”

In a radio interview on Friday, Mr. Paterson said governors of other states with similarly difficult financial problems have not experienced the kind of criticism directed at him and Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, the country’s other black governor.

“My poll numbers are no worse than the 40 other governors who are in states that have deficits,” he told Errol Louis, the host of a morning call-in show on WWRL-FM. “My point is you don’t hear this crusade that it’s time for the governor to step aside. My feeling is that it’s being orchestrated. It’s a game, and people who pay attention know that.”

Then he pointed to what he saw as derogatory depictions of black leaders of the State Senate and said President Obama would probably be the next black political figure to face such attacks.

“I submit that the same kind of treatment that Deval Patrick is receiving right now in Massachusetts, and I’m receiving, the way in which the New York State Senate was written about, calling them a bunch of people with thick necks,” Mr. Paterson continued, “that we’re not in the post-racial period. And the reality is that the next victim on the list — and you see it coming — is President Barack Obama.”

Mr. Paterson raised the issue of bias again in an interview on Saturday with Gerson Borrero, a political commentator, that was posted on the Internet on Monday

The comments have left Mr. Paterson more politically isolated. The White House distanced itself on Monday from Mr. Paterson’s remarks, saying that President Obama does not believe that his critics are motivated by race. And on Friday Mr. Obama’s political director, Patrick Gaspard, took the unusual step of telephoning the governor’s top adviser, Larry S. Schwartz, to express displeasure with the remarks.


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While The Buzz understand the White House's position, we still find their response a bit amusing. You guys don't think that even a handful of the president's critics are motivated by race? Not even a teeny, tiny bit?