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Can it Get Any Worse for NY Gov. Paterson?

Amsterdam News, News Analysis, Herb Boyd Posted: Sep 02, 2009

News that Gov. Patersons plan to have Richard Ravitch as his lieutenant governor was torpedoed by the court was quickly overshadowed by reports that he was embroiled in a yet another controversy.

Appearing on New York Daily News reporter Errol Louis radio show on WWRL-AM last week, Paterson let his interviewer know that he wasnt pleased that Dominic Carter, host of Road to City Hallon NY1, had chosen to discuss with the Rev. Al Sharpton his alleged late night outing.

After refuting the rumor, Paterson tore into Carter, suggesting that such reportage was an example of the negative media coverage he hasendured. We dont have the kind of forces in the community that we had before, the governor asserted.

In other words, our Black media outlets, save your program and a few others, are the only ways we have access, and even our own reporters from our own community buy the public line, which is, Were going to get rid of David Paterson, he added.

Paterson, according to the New York Times, then implied that Carter often ingratiated himself during his interviews with certain guests. Carter took exception to this characterization, interpreting Patersons suggestion as demeaning and that he was an Uncle Tom. Carter said that was the first time in his life hed been called an Uncle Tom.

The following evening during his broadcast, Carter took time to put the entire brouhaha in context, even airing portions of the interview he did with Rev. Sharpton to vindicate himself from any unto-ward accusation of the governor or his family. I really feel the governor owes me an apology, Carter said.

In the African-American community, one of the biggest insults you can direct at another African-American, from a historical point of view,is to call them Uncle Tom or to imply that they are an Uncle Tom, Carter told the press. He owes me an apology for basically calling me an Uncle Tom but without actually using the term.

Then it was the governors turn to ask for an apology. Paterson claimed Carter exaggerated the details of a party Paterson attended with his daughter and demanded an apology.

Quite frankly, anybody that does that, I just see them as a son of a bitch, Paterson said in an interview with reporter Gerson Borrero onMonday. Borrero is often a guest on Carters Road to City Hall.

In his show on Monday evening, Carter made a valiant effort to defuse what had become a nasty dispute, hoping the words between him and the governor would not escalate into a full-fledged battle.

Meanwhile, Paterson was taking heat from another quarter. When the governor told Louis that the media has exploited stereotypes in coverage of him, President Obama and Black Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, the Obama team was not comfortable with the president being dragged into the conversation.

Spokesperson for the president Bill Burton said, In terms of media coverage of the president, he thinks that there are a lot of people whoagree with him in the media, there are a lot [of] people who disagree with him in the media, and there are a lot of folks who play it straight.Burton was speaking to the press from Marthas Vineyard, where the president is vacationing with his family. Former Mayor David Dinkins told the press that the governor should definitely get off the racist thing. Right or wrong, its a fight you sure cant win.

Dinkins, who has known Paterson since he was a child and is very close to the family, questioned whether the governor really believed therewas an orchestrated campaign by the media to destroy him. I dont think he means theyre picking on him because he is Black, Dinkinssaid. I suspect he more means, were he not Black and maybe its pretty hard to make the distinctionthose kind of comments would nothave been made.

As for the Ravitch setback, Paterson offered this statement: Im obviously disappointed by the ruling of the Appellate Department, but I am determined, based on the part that the Appellate Division has granted us leave, to take this to the court of appeals, where we all believed this case would be resolved anyway. We will try to persuade them that under Public Officer Law 43, the governor does have the right to fillvacant officesthe explicit rightand we see that the lieutenant governor is one of those offices.

With things spiraling out of control and his re-election chances dwindling, Paterson needs Ravitch nearby in some capacity.

Related Articles:

Gridlock Haunts Albany -- Patterson Holding Talks

Exclusive Interview with NY Gov. Paterson

Paterson to New York: Were Broke

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