Governor Paterson Tries to Back Off Race Comments, Unsuccessfully


In the wake of a near total lack of sympathy for his contention that he’s been treated unfairly by the media because of his race, Governor David Paterson has been trying, in the past day, to walk back his prior statements. But so far, he’s doing a pretty horrible job at it! Yesterday, during an appearance at Stony Brook University, he told reporters, “My remarks never say that there’s a race element at all,” which is patently untrue. It was all about a race element! Unless Paterson’s strategy is to confuse everyone to the point of exhaustion, this is a fairly unconvincing position to take, and reporters were left appropriately unconvinced.

But Paterson tried again this morning in a radio interview with the Daily News’ Errol Louis. He started out pretty well, telling Louis, “I do not think that race has anything to do with my poll numbers, anything to do with my political issues in this day, and shouldn’t have said it. Straight out.” But for some reason he couldn’t let himself stop there, going on to say that the coverage of him partying at a club — one report mistakenly said his 21-year-old daughter was underage — was shaped by negative stereotypes of African-Americans. “They’re hanging out. They’re in the club. They’re drinking, and they have no regard for their children,” he said of such stereotypes. “And had I gone to a party for a vice president at Elaine’s … if that was the case I don’t think it would have been reported.” It’s pretty much impossible to know whether Paterson has a valid gripe, but from a strategic standpoint, if he’s really trying to put this race flap behind him — as former mayor David Dinkins, among others, has advised — continuing to accuse the media of racial biases seems like a pretty bad way to go about it.

Paterson Steps Back From Race Remarks [NYT]
Paterson: ‘I Was Wrong’ To Take On The Media, But… [Daily Politics/NYDN]